Small Bathroom Ideas | Reviews by Wirecutter

Over-the-toilet rack

The rebrilliant over the toilet cabinet in bamboo.
We like the Rebrilliant bamboo rack because it has sliding doors that hide clutter and take up less space than swinging doors. The bamboo should also hold up well in a moist bathroom. Photo: Wayfair

Our pick

Bamboo Over the Toilet Space Saver

Bamboo Over the Toilet Space Saver

Over-toilet racks get a bad rap, but this one should keep you happy with its attractive appearance, durable construction, and sliding doors that won’t invade your airspace.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $121.

After researching more than twenty over-toilet storage racks and considering nine, we found the Rebrilliant Over the Toilet Storage is the best. This cabinet is made from more durable materials than the competition, has sliding doors that hide visual clutter while taking up less space than swinging doors, and has the highest user reviews of any cabinet we looked at. We didn’t actually test racks, but the specs, user reviews, and a recommendation from one of our editors who owns the Rebrilliant make us confident in recommending it.

Durability was one of the biggest factors we considered when researching above-toilet racks. We saw many negative reviews about over-toilet racks being unstable and falling apart, so it was important to us to find an option that would be both sturdy and built to last. Bamboo is one of the most durable materials we found for bathroom furniture, as it resists swelling with changes in humidity. The Rebrilliant’s bamboo construction should be more durable over time because it withstands humidity and moisture better than manufactured wood or particle board.

After speaking to experts, we also limited our search to options that came with doors to hide visible clutter. Open shelves also allow items to fall off, often into the toilet. The Rebrilliant has sliding doors, which occupy far less space than swinging doors would, making it not only more functional but also more compact for a small bathroom.

Although this rack is the most expensive one that we considered, it had the best reviews of the competition. People who like it say that it’s easy to assemble and looks great in their bathrooms. One reviewer mentioned that the cabinet is well-constructed and can easily fit rolled-up towels. (At only 8 inches deep, though, we think it’d be a stretch to store bath towels). Another reviewer loves the sturdiness of the bamboo. Among the cons, reviewers were mainly concerned with poor packaging, and some had issues getting the rack to fit behind their toilets. Measure your toilet (and the placement of any hoses or valves) before ordering this rack; the part that fits over the toilet measures 22¾ inches wide, 9¼ inches deep, and 36¼ inches high. (The total height of the cabinet is 67 inches.)

We also considered the Zena Home Bathroom Saver and the Beyond Value Summit Space Saver, as well as the now-unavailable Rebrilliant with plain doors, Rebrilliant with slatted doors, Rebrilliant with toilet-paper dispensers, and Ambassador with modern doors. We dismissed these styles because they either had unattractive designs, did not fit our materials criteria, or earned poor owner reviews.

Do note: Any over-toilet rack may be unstable if it’s not properly anchored to a wall. We recommend doing so, especially if you have small children.

Wall-mounted cabinets

The Ikea lillanger mounted on a wall.
Photo: Ikea

Our pick

Ikea Lillången Cabinet

Ikea Lillången Cabinet

The Lillången cabinet stores more than most bathroom cabinets. It will fit rolls of toilet paper and cleaning supplies (although it’s not deep enough for towels).

We looked at both mirrored and non-mirrored “medicine” cabinets when we were searching for a good wall-mounted storage option for this guide. After researching 50 options and considering 13, the Lillången wall cabinet from IKEA is the best because it fits large bathroom essentials better than the competition—but isn’t quite large enough for towels—and comes in a few finishes.

Home organizing experts we talked to recommend reducing visual clutter in the bathroom, and a wall cabinet can be great for this. If you have a pedestal sink, or are otherwise short on bathroom storage, the Lillången would be an excellent place to keep things like cleaning supplies and extra toilet paper. It’s 8¼ inches deep and 25¼ inches high, which is ample space for storing tall spray bottles and extra toiletries. As someone who has been living with open-shelved storage in my bathroom for the past three years, I’d recommend a closed-door cabinet like this because it’s great for hiding away lotions and potions, and will help keep some of that inevitable accumulation of bathroom gunk at bay. This cabinet also comes with two adjustable tempered glass shelves, so you can customize the placement to suit your needs.

The inside of the Ikea Lillangen wall-mounted cabinet.
Photo: Ikea

The Lillången is available in two finishes (brown and white) and as a mirrored vanity. Beyond that, IKEA also makes a handful of other Lillången cabinets with mirrors and open shelving. If you’re looking for good towel storage, the Grundtal shelves would be a good option to mount above the Lillången, thus providing you with towel storage and toiletry storage alike.

In the past, we recommended wall-mounted cabinets from IKEA’s beloved Godmorgon line. We still like the Godmorgons—they’re the only IKEA bathroom furniture that come with a 10-year warranty and are available in tons of sizes and finishes—but the wall-mounted Godmorgon cabinet that’s currently available is only 5½ inches deep. If you’re looking for just something to store toiletries, this is a great option.

We also seriously considered but dismissed two other non-mirrored cabinets. The Sumter from Wayfair and the Elegant Home from Amazon appear to be exactly the same in size, style, and finish; we eliminated them because their clear glass doors will show clutter. Most of the mirrored cabinets we looked into were the same stylistically—and not big enough to offer much storage—but if you need a medicine cabinet, the Pegasus and Kohler got the best reviews of those we researched. We also considered two cabinets with warranties: a limited lifetime for this Glacier Bay model, and five years for this Sauder model.

Floating shelves

The ikea grundtal shelf holding towels and scrubber.
We like that the Grundtal shelves double as a spot to hang and stack towels. Photo: Ikea

Our pick

IKEA Grundtal

IKEA Grundtal

The Grundtal shelves are the only ones we found that are multi-functional for stacking or hanging towels that can also be mounted above a door frame.

When we brought up the challenge of towel storage with our experts, all of them said that if you must keep towels in the bathroom, shelves above the toilet or door frame are a good solution. As pro organizer Debbie Harwin told us, shelves make “use of all your vertical space all the way up from floor to ceiling.” After considering 25 floating shelves (and looking at hundreds more), the IKEA Grundtal shelving was our favorite because of its more-durable materials than the competition and multifunctional design—it serves as both shelving and a towel hanger.

We focused on shelving that would be ideal for storing towels and linens: deep enough to hold a folded towel (about 10 to 12 inches) and durable enough to withstand prolonged exposure to humidity. The Grundtal shelves fit the bill, as they are 11 inches deep—the deepest shelf we could find. Unlike shelving made from particleboard, these should not delaminate or deteriorate over time and unlike glass they are less likely to break during shipping, assembly, or use.

We also like that these shelves are multifunctional as both a shelf and a towel rack. The other metal shelves we looked at had towel rods, which would make them impractical to mount over a door. At 31½ inches wide, the Grundtal should also be a perfect fit when mounted above a door frame.

Not only does the Grundtal pack in a ton of functionality, but reviewers on Amazon awarded the kitchen version of these shelves 4.2 stars (over 80 reviews) and were quick to shout out their sturdiness and functionality. One dissatisfied reviewer did mention that this shelf may not fit on standard spaced studs, so we would recommend using drywall anchors if you can’t drill both ends of the shelf into studs.

We considered tons of other shelves from retailers including Amazon, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Bed Bath & Beyond, Wayfair, CB2, and The Container Store. The primary issue with all of the shelves we looked at was that they weren’t deep enough to hold bulkier items. The Organize It All shelf with towel rack in either chrome or bamboo would be a good alternative to the Grundtal, but didn’t receive quite as positive reviews, isn’t as deep, and a lower towel bar makes it difficult to mount above a door frame. If you’re okay with spending a bit more and want a bigger unit that is still deep enough for towels, this wire rack from West Elm or this heftier cabinet from Pottery Barn were nice. For those of you who just need something unobtrusive to store toiletries, we also like the acrylic shelves from The Container Store and CB2, which take up little visual space and come in a variety of sizes but will not fit towels comfortably at only 8 inches deep.

 

Storage options for pedestal sinks

The ikea ragrund shelves set up under a bathroom sink.
The Ragrund shelves are only 20 inches tall, the perfect height to fit under a pedestal sink, plus they’re deep enough to double as extra towel storage. Photo: Michael Hession

Our pick

IKEA Rågrund Shelving

IKEA Rågrund Shelving

These triangular shelves are the most creative solution we found for people with open space below their sinks. A pair will hide ugly pipes and take advantage of dead space.

Pedestal sinks pose challenges for a small bathroom: the lack of a sink cabinet eliminates potential storage for toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and other essentials. We found a number of recommendations online for using a sink skirt or large baskets, but we don’t love either solution. Sink skirts can easily get dusty and mildewy, and baskets can attract more clutter. The best space-maximizing storage solutions we found were the Rågrund shelving and the Råskog cart from IKEA.

The Rågrund shelves are the only kind we found that are the ideal size and shape to fit around pipes or a sink pedestal. At around 20 inches high, they are short enough to fit below a variety of pedestal sinks without bumping into the bowl, and their triangular shape is ideal for presenting a clean look on the front while still fitting to hide ugly pipes in the center. Durability in moist environments is a crucial factor in all of the items we recommend, and this shelving is not different, as it is made from bamboo—a strong material that will not swell or shrink with moisture. Finally, each shelf is 13⅜ inches deep with 8½ inches of clearance—enough space to comfortably store bulky linens. Since they are triangular, these shelves would also work in a corner too.

The ikea raskog cart holding bathroom supplies between a toilet and trash can.
A cart is another good solution for people who need some extra space, but also want something they can easily move around. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

Our pick

IKEA Råskog cart

IKEA Råskog cart

This rolling cart is sturdier and more affordable than the other cart we considered. Its three deep shelves are great for cleaning supplies and essentials like TP.

If you’d prefer storage you can roll from under your pedestal sink, the IKEA Råskog cart is an affordable storage option with sturdy steel construction and three shelves to keep your additional bathroom items. This cart’s epoxy-coated steel frame should stand up well to repeated moisture, and its 13-by-17-inch trays have plenty of space to store bulky linens or cleaning supplies. Another bonus is how simple it is to assemble; when we put this cart together ourselves, it only took about 15 minutes. While most IKEA items seldom receive user reviews online, this cart received 4.9 stars from 44 reviewers. Depending on what time of year you order, IKEA seems to cycle in and out a variety of fun color options.

The only other cart we saw that was well-suited to bathroom use was the Tower Bathroom Storage Cart from Urban Outfitters. Ultimately we weren’t impressed, as this cart is much smaller, costs about $50 more, and one reviewer had issues attaching some of the bolts during assembly.

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