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Bathroom Shelf Ideas — 15 Washroom Shelves That Blend Storage with Style

Smart bathroom shelf ideas give you the storage you need to create a stress-free environment in a room where functionality meets relaxation.

Smart bathroom shelf ideas give you the storage you need to create a stress-free environment in a room where functionality meets relaxation.

‘It’s easy to become aware of how cluttered and disorganized your bathroom has become, especially if you work from home. ‘That’s where bathroom shelves come in,’ explains George Holland, Bathroom Specialist at Victorian Plumbing.

‘They make excellent bathroom additions, freeing up space and creating an open and welcoming environment.’

While other bathroom storage ideas, such as cabinets, are important for keeping the messier aspects of life hidden behind closed doors, bathroom shelves provide the grab-and-go convenience you require first thing in the morning.

‘It’s important to keep toiletries easily accessible in the bathroom,’ says Drummonds Creative Director James Lentaigne. ‘Each area of the bathroom – sink, bath, and shower – should have some form of storage to keep toiletries close at hand when needed,’ says the designer.

‘If you thought open shelving wasn’t for you, think again,’ Holland adds.

Bathroom shelves can be both functional and decorative. Displaying decorative objects on open shelving is a great way to add personality to bathroom ideas and designs. Aesthetically pleasing shelving units, when carefully chosen, can function as a design feature in and of themselves.

15 OF THE BEST BATHROOM SHELF IDEAS

These bathroom shelf ideas will help keep your washroom neat, tidy, and stylish, with everything from luxurious heated towel rails to bath racks, shower caddies, and revealing the hidden shelving you already have (but just didn’t know about).

1. BUILT-IN SHELVES WILL HELP MAXIMIZE SPACE

Bienal Vanity Bathroom

If you need small bathroom storage ideas and need to cram storage into every sensible corner of your bathroom, built-in is the way to go.

‘Built-in storage maximizes space and reduces bathroom clutter, allowing decorative elements to take center stage,’ says Lentaigne.

Adding built-in shelves to a bathroom is, of course, easiest to do during the design stage of a renovation.

If you’re past that point, look for ways to incorporate space-saving shelving into the design.

A tall alcove around the sink in this bathroom has been outfitted with full-width, full-depth shelving to make an otherwise empty space useful.

2. OPEN UP YOUR VANITY UNIT

Bienal Vanity Bathroom

Using the space beneath your sink for storage keeps useful items close at hand while also making use of otherwise wasted floorspace.

Open bathroom vanity ideas not only make items more accessible, but also make a small bathroom appear larger.

‘Many of Drummonds’ classic vanity units feature a shelf beneath the basins that is ideal for storing towels or holding baskets to store toiletries, etc.,’ says Lentaigne. ‘Open shelving, as opposed to built-in units, helps to create the perception of space.’

3. THINK SMALL

Bienal Vanity Bathroom

Bathroom shelves, perhaps more than in any other room, come in all shapes and sizes – but even the smallest ones can have a big impact.

‘Adding a clever accessory, such as a shower caddy, can eliminate the appearance of additional’mess’ around your shower,’ Holland says.

‘This, in turn, can make your bathroom appear larger. The great thing about shower caddies is that, depending on the size you purchase, each member of your family can have their own individual shelf.’

4. ADD A SHELF ABOVE THE SINK

Bienal Vanity Bathroom

If you have a vanity unit or at least some space around your sink, a shelf above the sink may seem unnecessary. Lentaigne disagrees.

‘Storage above the washbasin in the form of shelves or cupboards works well and keeps the vanity surface from becoming cluttered.’

Items like soap, hand lotion, and toothbrushes need to be visible, so putting them on a purposeful shelf, as seen in this modern bathroom, gives them a dedicated space.

The shelf does not have to take the place of a mirror and can be placed just below it.

5. WARM UP YOUR COTTONS WITH HEATED TOWEL SHELVES

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An open vanity unit is a great place to keep fluffy clean towels – having them out in the open makes them even more appealing. Invest in a heated towel rack, such as the models offered by Rutland London, to pique the prospect’s interest even more.

‘For those looking for the ultimate in under-sink storage, it combines the benefits of a heated towel rail with the functionality of a basin stand to create a heated vanity suite with an integrated heated laundry rack,’ says Gorden Riddoch, Managing Director of Rutland London.

‘It’s ideal for warming robes and towels during the colder months!’

6. KEEP IT ‘BARELY-THERE’ WITH GLASS SHELVING

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Wall-mounted shelving in a small bathroom must be unobtrusive. This means keeping shallow depths so that units don’t protrude too far, as well as a design that is an extension of its surroundings.

If you’re looking for storage to go along with your small bathroom ideas, glass shelving is a great option. It’s simple to clean, complements most wall colors, and gives your unit a barely-there appearance.

Most importantly, it is a material that can withstand whatever a bathroom can throw at it. ‘You must ensure that every product you choose to put in your bathroom is moisture resistant and can withstand the damp environment,’ warns Holland.

7. TURN YOUR TOILET INTO A SHELVING UNIT

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‘Toilet shelves allow you to maximize storage space in any bathroom,’ Holland explains. ‘If you don’t have enough natural storage space or cabinets in your bathroom to hold all of your toiletries, you should try toilet storage.’

While it may not be the most appealing location for a shelving unit, the awkward shape of your WC can be used to facilitate storage, making it one of the best bathroom storage ideas.

Choose to wrap the cistern in a separate unit that includes a small shelf on top. Alternatively, as shown in the cloakroom idea above, conceal the cistern in a larger unit built into the wall, creating an elongated mantel shelf with potential for additional cabinetry.

Small wall-mounted shelving units can also be used in the space above the toilet.

8. MAKE THE MOST OF EXISTING FEATURES

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Have you run out of bathroom shelving space? There could be a ready-made shelf in your bathroom that you aren’t aware of.

A built-in fireplace in this room serves as a decorative shelving unit and even has space for some more practical items if needed.

You might not have a fireplace, but you almost certainly have a window, so convert its sill into a functional storage space.

9. MIX CLOSED AND OPEN SHELVING

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‘If it’s a family bathroom, storage for medicines and grown-up products should be at eye level and away from the kids, or better yet, in a built-in or lockable cabinet,’ Lentaigne says.

‘The children’s products should be out in the open on shelving and easily accessible, but there should also be cupboard space to stash these items away.’

Because both closed units and open shelving have a place in the bathroom, it’s a good idea to include both in any built-in storage.

A vanity unit that runs the length of the room in the bathroom shown above has open shelving that is easy to reach for standing users, as well as storage drawers that reach all the way to the floor.

10. INDULGE IN PURELY DECORATIVE SHELVING

Bienal Vanity Bathroom

Making the most of available storage space is essential, but so is having some fun with your bathroom decor.

If you’ve taken care of your storage needs, devote an entire shelving unit to expressing your personal style. A purely decorative shelving unit can assist in transforming a functional bathroom into a relaxing haven.

To help create a personal haven, fill it with candles, bathroom art ideas, books, and ornaments.

11. GET CREATIVE WITH FREESTANDING SHELVES

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While built-in shelving is great for maximising space, if you like to change the layout of your bathroom on a regular basis, freestanding units are more adaptable and offer a little more room to move in terms of slimmed-down design.

This delicate, wall-leaning shelving unit is a simple approach to storage that also serves as a focal point in the room.

‘They are ideal for adding personality to your bathroom and having your own unique interior spin, while not damaging any walls because not all shelves require a drill to fit, making them simple and inexpensive to recreate at home,’ Holland says.

12. MAKE BATHTIME BETTER WITH A BATH RACK

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Nothing is worse than realizing your shampoo is tucked neatly inside a cupboard on the other side of the room when you’re up to your neck in bubble bath.

Bathers should invest in a bath rack, an accessory stand, or both, as shown in this room, to keep everything within easy reach.

A small shelving unit, such as this accessory stand, serves as a decorative table and can be easily moved around the room as needed.

13. DOUBLE VANITY MEANS DOUBLE STORAGE

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‘Compact vanity suites will help to create extra storage space for those limited by smaller bathrooms,’ says Riddoch.

‘In bathrooms with plenty of space, people can make a regal feature of their vanity and take advantage of the extra under-sink storage space they provide.’

Doubling your vanity unit means more than just having two sinks. It also doubles the amount of storage space available in a single piece of bathroom furniture.

14. ADD A BUILT-IN SHOWER ALCOVE

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Shelving that juts out of the wall isn’t always ideal in a small shower space, so consider going inside the wall instead, as shown in the walk-in shower idea above.

‘If the depth of the wall allows, it is good to have a built-in alcove to house shampoo, body wash, etc’, says Lentaigne.

‘Failing that, our bottle racks – available in a large and a small size – are perfect and can be positioned in exactly the right place for showering.’

15. USE SHELVES TO ADD GREENERY

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Green has recently seen a significant increase in bathroom usage, most likely due to quarantined longings for the natural world.

Rather than repainting your walls, consider how shelving can add a touch of the real thing to your bathroom. A shelving unit has been transformed into a miniature indoor plant nursery in the creative bathroom wall idea shown above.

Choosing scented plants will also contribute to the creation of a multi-sensory environment in your bathroom.

16. BUILD A NICHE TO HIDE PIPEWORK – AND PROVIDE STORAGE

Bienal Vanity Bathroom

When attempting to introduce new pipework into a bathroom, a false wall is frequently required.

This false wall, on the other hand, can be used to create an interesting architectural feature by inserting a niche shelf at a height that’s just right for storing bath essentials.

Received knowledge? To prevent water from pooling on the shelf, make sure it slopes very gently downwards at the front.

WHAT DO YOU PUT ON A BATHROOM SHELF?

Bathroom shelves must meet both aesthetic and functional requirements.

‘Because they don’t conceal products or cosmetics, they can be used to display colored linens and towels for a touch of style,’ Holland says. ‘Feel free to be inventive. There are no hard and fast rules for what should be on your shelf; it all depends on your personal needs and desires.’

Shelves, on the other hand, are the best way to quickly access items when you’re in a compromising position, such as being soaking wet in the shower or needing to brush your teeth quickly before rushing to work.

‘Shower shelves are ideal for everyday shower and bath items like shampoos, conditioners, and body washes (and even snazzy loofahs),’ Holland adds.

‘On the other hand, towel shelves can create elegant storage spaces for essential shower items.’

HOW DO I ADD STORAGE TO A SMALL BATHROOM?

‘When it comes to bathroom storage, every inch counts,’ Holland says. Consider units that will make the most of the space you do have if you’re designing a bathroom.

‘A well-designed vanity unit can provide you with plenty of storage,’ Holland says. Their spacious cupboards, drawers, and shelves will give you plenty of storage space. They also have useful internal shelves that can be used to organize toiletries and keep your bathroom clutter-free.’

Tall cabinets don’t take up much space, but they provide a lot of extra storage for all of your bathroom essentials. They’re ideal for storing towels and keeping cleaning products out of the reach of children.’

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