Storage/space solutions for a galley bathroom?
March 9, 2017 8:44 AM   Subscribe

I'm seeking ideas for making my galley-style bathroom more functional. Maybe you have some suggestions for improving how the space works, and maybe adding storage that won't have everybody ducking or squeezing by?

The bathroom is 11' 6" x 39." Which means that nothing can stick out too much. It also has a low ceiling, at a bit over 7,' so hanging objects are ruled out.

Wall A (short side) is the door, which has hooks for bathrobes. Wall B (long side) contains a second door (more hooks), the sink (housed in a 2' x 3' freestanding cabinet, which is as large of a cabinet as can be used), and the toilet (there's a medicine cabinet above). Wall C (short side) is the shower stall. Leaving wall D--a long run of wall with nothing on it but a full-length mirror and a single standard towel bar.

This is a heavily-used space. At any given time, there are three bath towels and a bath mat needing to dry (plus facecloths, etc.). And there's no place for spare towels, or more than the basic equipment that can be stored under the sink. How can I make this a more functional/storage-friendly area? Specific product recommendations welcome.
posted by MonkeyToes to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Can you please post some photos of the space?
posted by saradarlin at 8:53 AM on March 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm assuming you have a mirror over the sink? You could swap that out for a mirrored medicine cabinet (Pottery Barn usually has nice ones), then put a storage unit like this (or this for smaller linens) over the toilet.

I'm also having trouble understanding how the shorter wall works - 11'6 seems like enough space to maybe put a corner cabinet, if it doesn't block the shower door?
posted by Mchelly at 8:57 AM on March 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Can you keep as little as possible stored in the bathroom and use a nearby closet or dresser drawer instead (towels, medicine, cleaning supplies) and dry hair and apply makeup in the bedroom. I keep my primping stuff in small vanity in my bedroom, so I really only use the bathroom for the very basics. Not a direct answer to your question but a sideways one.
posted by waving at 9:00 AM on March 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

When I was looking at this a few years ago, the best shallow/low-profile sink and cabinet options were at Ikea, specifically their Lillangen collection. (One caveat: the plumbing guts under the sink are specific to Ikea, they're not off-the-shelf US standard parts, so can be a little fiddly to join to existing plumbing. Another: the drain of that particular sink takes a hard right turn just under the sink body, to leave room for cabinet under it, which a plumber warned me makes it susceptible to clogging with hair. In our case we have it in a little-used powder room, so little problem with hair, but in a main whole-family bathroom it might be a problem.) I think the big box home stores now have knockoff sinks that are low-profile, and which might have more standard guts underneath. The Lillangen cabinets or Ikea's other bathroom shelves might still be worth a look.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:06 AM on March 9, 2017

My own bathroom is shaped similarly. When exploring the Ikea, don't omit the kitchen section. Me, I'm going to replace the single towel bar on my long bathroom wall with an abundance of fintorps. I'll put towels on some and adorn the others with fintorp hooks and fintorp condiment stands and fintorp utensil holders into which I'll put shampoo bottles and spare soap and rolled washcloths and so on. I have me a ladder of three fintorps in the kitchen that works gorgeously for storing lots and lots of stuff against the wall.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:12 AM on March 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

What sorts of measures are you willing to implement here? Depending on the layout of the rest of the house, I'd get rid of one of those doors and replace the other with a sliding pocket or barn-style door. In effect a swinging interior door uses up a 3' x 3' square, not to mention useful wall space. This would likely alleviate 90% of your problem.

High shelves provide both storage space and wall-adjacent hanging space underneath them.
posted by cmoj at 9:13 AM on March 9, 2017

Something that I've considered for our very tiny bathroom is a shower curtain with storage pockets.
posted by PearlRose at 9:31 AM on March 9, 2017

Recessed shelves are relatively easy to install. You aren't limited to just the depth of the wall, i.e., if you build it out into the room just a couple/few inches, you could have a cabinet ~7" deep. And, of course, you can add doors to keep things neat..
posted by she's not there at 9:50 AM on March 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Are you renting or do you own? I'd install recessed cabinets, a recessed toilet paper holder and a semi-recessed medicine cabinet/mirror combo.
posted by halogen at 10:24 AM on March 9, 2017

Clear-pocket over-door shoe holders over every door you can manage, and you can hang them on the walls too with nails or cup hooks or large picture hangers.

You can get a LOT of stuff in them (I also have basically no bathroom storage, and I even have one hanging on the outside of the shower door), you can make them cute with some sheets of scrapbooking paper (this can also obscure some pockets if you want to "hide" some contents) or tuck some artificial plants or even air plants into some of the pockets. And the shoe-sized pockets will hold fairly large items like bottles of product, and I have an plastic drinking cup in one of my pockets for dropping a wet toothbrush into.

You can also use clips (binder, or this kind in colors or stainless, or clothespins, or drapery rings) to make hangers for jewelry and stuff like that.

I also use hanging jewelry organizers for little makeup bits and jewelry (I also have one in my office for earbuds/batteries/dongles/doodads/tape/crap). Even with stuff in them they're quite light, so I can hang them on the shoe sorter as a second layer.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:00 AM on March 9, 2017

I just checked to see on the off chance if a towel would roll up into one of the shoe pockets and that's a no, though washcloths and hand towels will. Give up one of your doors for a big over-door towel rack or hook rack for robes and towels.

And/or, if there's anywhere else, store unused and drying towels out of the room. Actual dripping-wet facecloths can be hung on suction hooks up high inside the shower until they aren't actively dripping, but air circulation is so bad in most bathrooms you'd be better off drying items nearly anywhere else.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:07 AM on March 9, 2017

Seconding an over the door towel rack is also really useful
posted by Mchelly at 11:21 AM on March 9, 2017

You could hang towels on a ladder/shelf.

You might also find inspiration from tiny houses, RVs, and boats.
posted by oceano at 11:22 AM on March 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

A shoe cabinet like this IKEA one mounts to the wall, has a narrow profile, and would allow you to store bottles of stuff, rolled-up towels, and such.
posted by telophase at 2:46 PM on March 9, 2017

Replying again to add that we've got this version of the shoe cabinet, which lacks the handy top shallow drawer, but which is about 3" narrower, which you might prefer in your space.
posted by telophase at 2:48 PM on March 9, 2017

Also, if you do decide to give up one or both of the doors for storage (I'd put hooks into the wall and use those for robes and such), I can recommend the Container Store Elfa over-door rack, which graces just about every single door in our house in various permutations (in our pantry, linen closet, multiple storage closets, and laundry room).

If you do this, measure the thickness of the door before shopping because they have two different sized hooks that hold the central pole, and you'll want to know which one to get, and measure the width of the door so you know which size shelves/baskets/whatever to get.
posted by telophase at 2:55 PM on March 9, 2017

We got a double shower rod. Towels hang on the outside rod, shower curtain on the inside rod. Extra towels can go on the wall if you need to store them in the bathroom.
posted by sadmadglad at 2:57 PM on March 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Is there space for a shelf above the door?
posted by unicornologist at 5:02 PM on March 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Do you have access to Japanese markets? I find they carry lots of imported housewares that are scaled down for small Japanese apartments and homes.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:12 PM on June 17, 2017

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