Small Bathroom Cabinets

Explore your options for small bathroom cabinets, and get ready to add an attractive and efficient storage element that can help maximize your bathroom space.



By: Sean McEvoy

Small bathroom cabinets can be an extremely efficient way to maximize the space in a tight bathroom design. They offer essential storage, but do so in a low profile way that allows for other design and furniture elements to be incorporated without making the bathroom inefficient or difficult to navigate.

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Creative Storage

Storage in small baths is essential to a functional space. Sarah Susanka, author of Not So Big Remodeling, encourages homeowner to get innovative in small baths. Walls, which are typically four inches thick, offer a place for additional storage whether it's a recessed medicine cabinet or open shelving. "Little indents in walls can be great for all the stuff you have in bathrooms like soaps and shampoos," Susanka says. "We don't often think of it, but it's space and it's there and it's easy to use."

Make the Most of Your Floor Plan

A challenge with any bath, but particularly a small one is the placement of the toilet. "It can be very difficult and expensive — and sometimes impossible — to move a toilet from its current location," says Rob Bennett, an Indianapolis, Ind. remodeler. If the layout has to stay the same, you can still make the floor plan more functional. If there is a separate tub and shower, Susanka advises clients to scrap the tub in favor of a super-sized shower stall since it's used daily.

Lengthen the Countertop

Get creative when square footage allows for only a single, small vanity. Susanka recommends extending the countertop material over the toilet to create a shelf. It may only be a place for a box of tissues or container of cotton balls or another decorative item, but it creates the illusion of more surface area.

Trick the Eye

One of Susanka's favorite ways to make a room feel larger involves lowering the ceiling over the sinks and tub. "What happens is that creates more spatial variety. It's paradoxical, but it actually makes the whole room feel bigger," Susanka says. "This is because your eye and your body experiences contrast between the middle of the room and essentially these alcoves that have the lowered ceiling."

From: Drury Design
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Extend Floor Space

Beverley Binns, a designer with Binns kitchen + bath design in Ontario, Canada, recommends using wall-hung vanities in contemporary baths and furniture-like vanities with legs in traditional rooms. Doing so visually extends the floor space. Along the same lines, Binns often continues the floor material into the shower to make the room appear larger. "If you see more of the floor it's going to feel like a more spacious place," she says.

Reflective Quality

Add a mirror. "You can make the experience of that room much bigger because your eye then believes the room is twice the size than it really is," Susanka says. "It's such a simple solution, but it really truly makes such an enormous difference." In her designs, Susanka likes to specify a window adjacent to a reflective surface such as a mirror or light-colored wall. The goal is to increase the amount of natural light that bounces around the room.

Your options for small bathroom cabinets are wide-ranging, and you'll likely want to decide on the style and materials for your cabinets first. This decision is likely to be based on whether you want the cabinets to mirror the overall design of the bathroom or offer a slight style departure and perhaps a pop of color. You can also use a unique material or finish choice in the space to add visual appeal. If you choose to complement a common design, small bathroom cabinets in traditional, contemporary and modern materials and finishes are widely available, so you should have no trouble finding the style that suits your bathroom.

Once you've chosen the style for your small bathroom cabinets, you'll need to determine their placement. Some common areas for installation of these space-saving cabinets are corners, which are often under-utilized, and spaces underneath vanities or other freestanding furniture, which can often provide areas ripe for the placement of storage elements.

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