Secrets to Bathroom Shelving

Open shelving may be just the stylish organizer your bathroom needs — if you follow these expert tips from interior designers.

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HGTV Marketplace Decorative Asian Style Jar Rock Fish Cloisonne Covered Tea Jar by Tozai Home®

Baskets are just the start of decorative containers that look great and can still hold necessities like cotton balls or bath oil beads. Consider antique Ball jars, cut-glass decanters, ceramic ginger jars, even the Italian glass bottles with stoppers sold to hold olive oil or vintage kitchen cookie jars.

This tea jar from Tozai Home has an Eastern inspiration perfect for your very zen bathroom.  Serving two purposes, the tea jar is both a piece of artwork and a contaner for small entities like hair accessories or cotton balls. 

You can also use a small shelf to make a design statement of its own - every bathroom accessory designer worth its salt seems to be designing an arty version. Lacava, for example, offers a wall mounted corner shelf with polished chrome bracket that's dipped and graceful.  This shelving loveliness can display candles, some soap you name it. Kohler's Portrait Lavatory Shelf is white, long and lean with a metropolitan feel. It looks great over a sink or on a small stretch of bathroom wall, whether it's full of shaving soap and razors or decorative bottles of scent and little ceramic figurines.

But in most cases, shelves should match your decor, says Christoffel. "Unless it's just a single decorative shelf, usually the material for open shelves should be painted or stained the same as what you use for the rest of the cabinets for a unified look."

And no matter how gorgeous the shelf or how representative of your personal style, keep in mind that it is, first and foremost, out in the open. "Whether you're displaying decorative or utilitarian items, you have to be able to keep them neat on open shelving," says Christoffel.

If you and your bathroom-mates can't handle the tidy factor, opt for shelves behind closed doors.


Deborah Burnett, ASID Registered Interior Designer/Licensed Building Contractor

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