This $200 Shelving Unit Solved My Bathroom Storage Woes

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A freestanding bathroom shelf for storage

The Spruce / Illustration by Amy Sheehan; Wayfair

What’s a bathroom without storage space for all of its components? I’ve found that it’s still a bathroom somehow, but one that poses a challenge. Towels floating around surfaces, errant shampoo bottles on the floor, and no space to hide ugly cleaning supply bottles or personal items are just a few daily occurrences I had prior to figuring out some kind of fix. The architects of the apartment building I live in left me—and I assume all the other residents—to our own devices when it comes to storing bathroom essentials

Fortunately, the room is relatively spacious, and even has a bathtub (that doesn't really get much use, to be honest) but storage space? Good luck. There are exactly two shelves that it came with, both of which are contained under my tiny sink and leave enough room for only a toothbrush and a few other must-haves.

Admittedly, there is another ledge running the length of my bathroom. It’s great for moisturizers and beauty products, but an inconvenient space to store towels and a bit invasive in terms of leaving everything out in plain sight. Despite the ample square footage, there is really only one spot where storage could go that was a bit more covered, didn't involve drilling, and prevented me from likely losing my deposit: right next to the toilet—not prime bathroom real estate.

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Steelside Frida Free-Standing Bathroom Shelves

Freestanding shelves

Wayfair

As any renter knows, you can daydream of knocking down a room and renovating, but it’s a moot point in most rental properties. Relying on clever storage solutions is really the only way forward in many spaces. So after measuring, I began the quest for a way of getting a little more use out of that corner.

I came across a three-shelf storage unit that fit the bill. I normally prefer sticking with neutrals and matching tones in monochromatic spaces, but the all-gray fixtures in my bathroom were beginning to feel cold and sterile. I was craving a warmer tone and really just a spot to just put my towels down. 

So, I opted for a shelf with warm wood tones, which went against the tiny amateur designer voice in my head, but as several professionals have pointed out recently, mixing materials is definitely a rule that's worth breaking. The color wasn't the most important point either—the shelf is exactly what my and any other storage-less bathrooms need. 

With three shelves, there's plenty of room for necessities as well as customization. I can line up skincare products, bath goodies, and an atmospheric candle up top and keep fresh towels sandwiched between the upper and bottom shelves. On the bottom, items often are rotated out. It’s this shelf where I also tend to personalize as I see fit. This makes the open air shelving so useful.

Bathroom goods (in my home at least) are always changing, especially when I have guests. Sometimes I need extra towels and toiletries for friends staying over and other times I need my weekly routine of products laid out and ready to go when life is busy.

Occasionally, I’ll leave things as-is or I’ll place baskets and tubs on the shelf to keep cleaning products and other supplies protected from the expected bathroom climate (and keep products I don’t want paraded out in the open tucked away). Placing smaller forms of storage on the compact unit makes for easy cleaning, too, which is typically nothing more than an occasional dusting. 

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SouLips Self Adhesive Black Wall Mounted Hanger

Self-adhesive black hooks

Amazon

The short stature of the shelf is also something I appreciate. A towering construction would look funny standing next to the toilet and would awkwardly block a portion of the mirror and ledge. This petite option was just the right height with a low profile that’s not too invasive or bulky. It also happened to match the adhesive hooks I found on Amazon—another helpful find that keeps in-use shower and hand towels hung up with zero cordless drills necessary.


I didn’t splash out on the shelf, but this was an instance where a lower price didn’t equate to lower quality. The shelf has been sitting in my bathroom for almost two years now and has held up perfectly. Even the constant moisture, humidity, and accidentally-spilt soap haven't been enough to affect its integrity or warp the wood. Storage space isn’t always a given in bathrooms, but this shelf has proven to me that it doesn’t necessarily need to be.