90 Bathroom Shelf Ideas
Does your bathroom lack storage? It’s one of the most used rooms in the house. Yet we all seem to struggle with a lack of storage for our toiletries and bathroom supplies. Shelves are perfect for creating more storage while also displaying your bathroom accessories.
These bathroom shelf ideas will spark your creativity. Maybe a sleek glass shelf is a perfect accent above your sink. Or perhaps you have the ideal nook to place a recessed shelf. It can be a challenge to decide which one of these bathroom shelves will look perfect and be functional.
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Table of Contents
1. Creative DIY Bathroom Shelf Ideas
If you’re a bit crafty, you can create a custom shelf that you’ve built yourself for your bathroom. Even if you aren’t very handy, there are some simple DIY shelf ideas that you can create. Making your own shelf ensures it’s the perfect size for your bathroom wall.
The easiest DIY shelf idea you can create uses wood planks and rope. You can choose a piece of wood that’s the perfect size for your space in both length and width. Then drill two holes in each of the short ends. String your rope through the holes and make a loop long enough to hang the rope on a hook in your wall. That’s it; you’re done!
Take your shelf to the next level and string several boards together to create an entire open shelf storage space.
Another option is to hang decorative woven raffia or wire baskets on the wall. Place a nail on the wall and hook the bottom of the basket on it. You could hang several baskets to create a wall display out of them.
2. Embrace the Natural Beauty
If you love the look of wood shelves but don’t want to DIY them, you still have plenty of options. Wood is a durable material that can adapt to a wide range of decor designs. Maybe your wooden shelf has an unfinished edge for a rustic and country look. Or perhaps it’s painted white to blend in with your all-white bathroom. You could even place your wood shelves in an alcove for recessed shelving.
When choosing wood shelving, think about the style of your bathroom, then choose a shelf that will blend. A more country or rustic bathroom could look good with salvaged or pallet wood. Also, look for rare species of wood carved with intricate designs. You can also look for innovative features such as integrated lighting to match other touches, like vanity or shower lighting.
3. Efficient Storage Solutions
If you have no other bathroom storage, at the bare minimum, you need a place for toiletries. The most common solution is the medicine cabinet. It’s a small cabinet on the wall near the bathroom vanity that holds bathroom essentials.
Look for a cabinet that has several shallow shelves and a door. That way, you have plenty of storage space in which you can hide your bathroom accessories.
If you have a small bathroom, a cabinet may not be a good idea. It can make your bathroom feel smaller and more closed in. A great alternative is an open shelving unit that has several shelves. This keeps your bathroom feeling open while also giving you plenty of places to put your toiletries.
If you’re really limited on space, you could use a corner shelf and use an area that’s typically forgotten.
Remember, toiletries tend to be smaller and more numerous. This means you can opt for shallower and closer together shelves.
4. Smart Towel Storage Options
It’s a bathroom necessity to have a towel bar with a towel available to dry off when you’re done bathing. But what about the rest of your towels? An obvious solution is to place a towel rack in your bathroom. But this isn’t your only option.
Mount open shelving in your bathroom and place your towels on it. You could fold or roll them to create an eye-pleasing display. Another storage idea is a corner shelf or ladder-style shelving unit in the bathroom. Then dedicate one shelf to towels and the other shelves to toilet paper or bathroom supplies.
If you struggle to keep your towel storage looking neat, then keep them contained in a basket. You could mount the basket directly on the wall or place it on the bathroom shelving.
5. Elevate Your Bathroom Style
Your bathroom shelf should be more than just a storage shelf; it should also contribute to the decor of your bathroom. When you have a bathroom cabinet, you can close the doors and hide your storage, but this isn’t the case with an open shelf.
The easiest thing to add to your bathroom is some greenery. Consider an easy-to-care-for plant that doesn’t need watering. Succulents and air plants are perfect for this. They use the natural moisture in the bathroom to thrive. You can also scale them to fit the space you have; a single succulent for a tiny bathroom, or an entire planter for a master bath.
Another obvious addition is a candle or other pleasant scent-producing scent. Choose one that has a smell you love or encourages relaxation, such as lavender.
A final touch could be some small art in the form of a beautiful picture or an inspirational saying. If you have a sense of humor, there’s no shortage of bathroom decor that’ll garner some laughs.
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6. Functional and Stylish
If you aren’t excited about hanging shelves on your walls, then a shelving unit is the storage solution you’re looking for. You’ll need to have the floor space to accommodate one, so they work better in medium to larger bathrooms. These units are a smart choice because you get many shelves in one compact area. You don’t have to put holes in the wall either, and you can scale the shelf to your available space.
A corner shelving unit lets you put that dead corner to use in your bathroom. Another option is to use an over-the-toilet unit with long legs that reach down to the bathroom floor and support shelves above the tank. Also, consider a unit next to the sink for toiletries.
If you’re concerned about your bathroom feeling cramped with another piece of furniture, stick with a low-shelving unit. If your unit is about counter height, it’s below your eye line and won’t close in the space. Also, look for a unit that isn’t enclosed; the open shelves will also help to keep your bathroom feeling open.
7. Space-Saving Solutions
Recessed shelving gives you the ability to enjoy extra storage without anything closing in your bathroom. There are two ways to go about building recessed shelves in your bathroom.
The first method is to look at the architecture of your bathroom. Do you have walls that create corners and indents? These are naturally occurring places where you can simply mount floating shelves. You’ll then create a built-in look.
If you have a plain square or rectangle bathroom, you’ll need to create the space for your recessed shelves. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. Look for wall space where you can build your shelves. You’ll then need to locate the studs behind your wall. Cut the drywall out between two studs while also ensuring this cutout makes sense on the wall.
Once you have a hole, you’ll create a recessed space by lining your hole with drywall, wood, subway tile, or stone to finish the recessed cutout. Then mount your shelves in the newly created space.
If this space isn’t big enough, you can look at cutting studs. This requires building knowledge as you don’t want to cut a support beam or risk the integrity of the entire wall.
8. Organize with Ease
If you’re struggling to find a place to hang your shelves, look above your toilet. This is easily the most wasted space in a bathroom. Shelving above the toilet tank creates toilet paper storage. The rolls will be within reach while you’re, ahem, indisposed. It also utilizes a space that wouldn’t otherwise get used.
One option is to mount your shelves directly on the wall. Just be sure they don’t extend out too far. You don’t want your guests hitting their heads or bumping into them. A good rule of thumb is not to make them wider than the toilet tank. That way, they won’t stick out too far.
Another easy option is to buy a shelving unit that sits around the toilet. This effectively “hides” the toilet by surrounding the tank and bringing the eye’s focus upward.
9. Maximize Space and Functionality
To create some serious open space in your bathroom, remove the vanity that holds your sink and replace it with a shelf. The open space underneath the cabinet will give the illusion that the bathroom is larger than it is.
To make a shelf and sink combo work, you need to choose a sink that sits on top of the shelf. Sinks that sit flush with the counter will hang below the shelf and look strange. This is your chance to make the sink a statement piece and a focal point of the bathroom.
A simple white sink will look classic and clean, but a bold copper or stone bowl will be stunning. Then consider the plumbing under the sink. You can place another shelf below the sink shelf and place towels, toilet paper, and other items on it to hide the pipes. You might choose a pipe to display, such as vintage-inspired plumbing that looks like cast iron or copper.
10. Support and Style
The easiest way to hang a shelf is with brackets. You could go to your local hardware and buy some basic metal brackets, but that’s boring and lacks style. The brackets are your opportunity to give your shelf a bit of flair and panache. If you plan to hang a glass shelf, you must use brackets to mount the glass on.
For a rustic look, you can make a brace out of wood. Or use wide and flat brackets that wrap around the shelf. These can also look at home in a vintage-inspired bathroom. But if you’re looking for something genuinely vintage, head to your local antique shop. Maybe you’ll find antique wrought iron brackets.
For a modern take on shelf brackets, look for ones that wrap around and support the shelf from above. They tend to have a geometric and angular look and could be black or gold. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your shelf brackets. You could also use pipes for an industrial look.
11. Sleek and Minimalistic
If the look of brackets isn’t for you, then you might want to install floating shelves. They get their name because you can’t see how they’re mounted on the wall. They look like they’re floating. This method for hanging works for all kinds of shelves, from straight flat shelves to shapes.
When mounting a floating shelf, there is a bracket on the wall side of the shelf. You’ll then attach a hook on the wall onto which the shelf’s bracket will hook. This works with wood or metal shelves, but not with glass.
With this mounting style, you could choose to hang modern shelves, such as squares, triangles, or octagons.
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Bathroom Shelf FAQs
What’s the best material to use for my bathroom shelving?
The material you choose will depend on the style and the other decor in your bathroom. Modern or contemporary bathrooms look beautiful with metal and glass shelves. Country or rustic bathrooms look better with wood shelves. Whatever material you choose, it needs to be impervious to water or treated to be water-resistant.
How do I hang a bathroom wall shelf?
The best thing to do is to find the studs behind your wall. This will provide your shelf with the proper support so it won’t rip out of your wall. Smaller shelves could get away with a single hook while larger shelves may need more than one.
What if I have a tiny bathroom?
Size the shelf you mount to the wall space you have available. This could mean that you have a shelf just large enough to hold a candle, a small succulent, or a single bottle. Look up and down while you’re at it—you may be able to put floating bathroom shelves somewhere unexpected.