Nice bathroom, but where do I put my stuff?
July 30, 2013 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Need lots more storage in my cramped bathroom, but don't know how. Would prefer something that works well and looks nice, and doesn't require drilling or otherwise altering the walls. More details and pictures too after the break

I'm an American expat in Europe who recently moved into a new apartment here in Frankfurt and am having a bit of a conundrum. The place is employer-furnished and has it's ups and downs - it's quite large for the area, and in a good location, but the flip side is the layout and design seems to be somewhat lacking.

To give you an idea of what I'm working with, I have pictures here, here, and here. It's not a terrible design (unless you hate white), just not nearly big enough for two people (one of whom has a lot of makeup, hair curlers, you name it). It's worked out okay for me, but my fiancee is moving in, I need space for her stuff, and unfortunately we only have the one little bathroom.

So any suggestions of ways to add more storage space? The only places to keep stuff now are the medicine cabinet and the little white shelf unit seen next to the towel unit. No counter space, under-sink space etc of any sort. I was thinking a storage unit of some sort under the sink with clearance for the drain pipe , and maybe an over-the-toilet shelving unit would help some, although with the latter I have to allow clearance for the water-shutoff valves seen above the toilet. I'm open to any other ideas, or any specific product recommendations. Prefer something matching and NOT white. And of course it would have to be something I can either get here in Germany (IKEA, etc), or something I can order online and have delivered.

posted by photo guy to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I use something like this over-the-door shoe holder to keep all my random bathroom cruft on the door. Mine's an open-weave mesh, so I can hang earrings and stuff like that on it as well.

You can actually put one on each side of the door, if you don't mind some of your stuff showing outside when the door is closed. If you have a broad selection of organizers, you might pick one that isn't see-through for the outside. (I also use one of these on my spare bedroom door for craft and office supplies.)
posted by Lyn Never at 1:56 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: IKEA makes sink cabinets with cut-out tops that will fit around your drain there -- like this one.

IKEA also has very narrow cabinets -- maybe replace the current small cabinet with one that has the same footprint but goes all the way to the ceiling?
posted by pie ninja at 1:58 PM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

You want over-the-door shelving. I don't know what its availability is in Europe, but it's the same basic idea as Lyn Never's but with some more structure.
posted by phunniemee at 2:42 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

A) Look at over the door storage or a towel rack. With two people, you will need more towel space.

B) Look at organizers for shampoo, etc, that will hang from the showerhead.

C) Over the toilet open shelf storage with adjustable shelves should accommodate your plumbing dookies.

D) I would very carefully measure that corner where the radiator is and see if an over the toilet shelf or cabinet might work there.

I would stick the trash can under the sink, not storage. If you put storage over the toilet, the trash can will have to move. You might also need to remove the existing fre-standing cabinet if you add other storage so you don't find yourself bumping into it.

It might help to take careful measurements and draw it to scale on graph paper, then get measurements of potential items and make little cut outs and see how it fits.
posted by Michele in California at 2:42 PM on July 30, 2013

I'd pick up a rolling rattan cabinet with a couple of drawers in it -- -- along these lines for under the sink.

And I would put up some light wicker style shelves like these on some of your free wall space such as to the right of the sink and over the toilet.
posted by bearwife at 3:14 PM on July 30, 2013

And P.S. -- a small wicker trash basket will work fine tucked just behind/next to the toilet.
posted by bearwife at 3:15 PM on July 30, 2013

Shower curtains with pockets are good for light items.
posted by corey flood at 3:16 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Haha, that looks pretty big to my apartment-dweller eyes :) You could always try an "over-the-toilet" style shelf. Some of them look pretty nice.
posted by Cygnet at 3:27 PM on July 30, 2013

Could some of the "makeup, hair curlers, you name it" be redefined as bedroom stuff and stored in that room instead of clogging the bathroom? Perhaps a small chest of drawers could be dedicated to cosmetics.
posted by Cranberry at 3:28 PM on July 30, 2013

I had the same problem and picked up a ladder shelf. They lean against the wall. Google it for tons of pics. I'm having problems posting a link.

It leans against a wall next to our sink in our teeny tiny bathroom. You could measure the width of the little cabinet you have and replace it with a ladder shelf. If it blocks the towel rack, just take that down and put a couple of towel hooks on the back of the door.
posted by michellenoel at 3:30 PM on July 30, 2013

My parents bought an under sink unit at a German mass market furniture place. A toilet etagere will give you a place for towels and baskets.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:54 PM on July 30, 2013

Seconding what Cranberry said -- consider where else in the apartment you can find or make storage. If she has good lighting and a mirror, your girlfriend can do her makeup in the bedroom. In my last place, I had to store towels and extra toilet paper away from the bathroom, with just one extra of each near the point of use.
posted by wryly at 5:57 PM on July 30, 2013

Lots of good suggestions above. I will add to hang a few towel hooks on the wall that ends up behind the door when the door is open, next to the white shelf. The space is essentially unusable for anything except hanging towels and robes, but it's great for exactly that.
posted by amycup at 8:26 PM on July 30, 2013

Sorry to disappoint but it's not small as far as apartment bathrooms go....go to IKEA and walk round and explore their cabinet and shelving options as well as their light storage solutions such as hanging storage which attaches to over the door hooks. You can get the latter in your local DIY store or on
posted by koahiatamadl at 9:45 PM on July 30, 2013

I agree with koahiatamadl - I would love to have that much storage!

That said, I've learned to redefine what is "bathroom" stuff.
- Extra towels and toilet paper (save for a spare roll) go in the hall closet)
- Makeup, hair stuff, and other personal stuff in the top drawer of my dresser
- Cleaning stuff in the hall closet or under the kitchen sink
posted by radioamy at 9:18 AM on July 31, 2013

Best answer: Fullen from Ikea is the kind of thing I'm thinking of. The U at the top accomodates the pipe and you can't beat the price.

Or schlep on down to Mömax, they also have these kinds of units, and some other storage options as well.

I think this might solve a lot of your problems!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:35 AM on July 31, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, I think the Ikea under-sink cabinet is what I was searching for (I didn't even know they made ones with a cut-out!). Hanging shelves aren't a bad idea either, although there's a lip at the top of the door that might keep them from hanging properly. Will have to stop by Ikea once I have a car and see what they have. Also, thanks to Ruthless Bunny for the Mömax suggestion - I'd never heard of them, but looks like they have a pretty good selection.
posted by photo guy at 1:23 AM on August 4, 2013

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