Where to Put a Toilet Paper Holder in a Small Bathroom

Sunlight coming through from the window in a stylish bathroom

Oscar Wong / Getty Images

There are a surprising number of factors to consider when choosing the best toilet paper holder during a bathroom remodel. It's not just the style and color you have to think about. Where you position it, especially when your powder room is pocket-sized, helps you avoid awkward body twisting, exasperating sheet unraveling, and taking up too much of that limited space.

When you're short on storage ideas for a small bathroom, these tips for where to position your toilet paper holder will save your muscles from mayhem.

  • 01 of 09

    On the Wall Towards the Front of the Toilet

    White and gray bathroom with floral wallpaper

    Ursula Carmona for Homemade by Carmona Bath

    If your bitsy bathroom has the right configuration, position your toilet paper holder where it's most accessible. That means at the appropriate height and distance from the toilet when seated.

    The National Kitchen and Bathroom Association recommends locating the holder 8 to 12 inches in front of the edge of the toilet bowl and around 26 inches above the floor.

  • 02 of 09

    Hanging on the Front of the Vanity

    Purple accented bathroom with toilet paper holder on the vanity unit

    Design by Julie Rose / Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

    Organized vanity storage is great when things are tight around the toilet. A clutter-free bathroom helps to create an illusion of space.

    Cramped bathrooms often have limited wall space, so why not fit your toilet roll holder onto the front of the vanity? Just ensure you position it so it won't impede the drawer or door opening. You can also store spare toilet rolls in the cupboard.

  • 03 of 09

    On a Stand

    Contemporary white bathroom with gold and black accents

    Design and Photo by Malcolm Simmons

    Slim and unobtrusive, free-standing toilet paper stands are well-suited to slot into a corner in a compact bathroom. Plus, they're easily transportable, DIY friendly and renter-friendly as you don't have to drill holes in the wall.

    They often allow you to store spare rolls on the bottom half—another handy space-saving solution. Look for a weighted base—you don't want your paper toppling into the toilet water.

  • 04 of 09

    In a Wire Basket on a Vanity Shelf

    Bathroom with green floor tiles and white subway tiles on the walls

    The Travelling Apartment

    If you don't want to mess up your beautiful bathroom subway tiles, using a basket as a toilet paper holder like this one is a great alternative. Ideally, you want it on an open shelf for ease of access, and it should be close enough to your toilet so you don't have to stretch too much to reach it.

    While baskets are ideal for spare roll storage, they aren't as hygienic and convenient an option as a traditional toilet paper dispenser. You'll probably need to use both hands to roll out and tear off the sheets. A wall-mounted or free-standing design might be the more practical choice if you have small children roaming about.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    At the Side of the Toilet

    Pink-peach bathroom with a toilet paper holder on the wall at the side of the toilet

    Design by Caitlin Higgins / Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

    If it's tricky to position your paper holder in that ideal position at the front of the toilet, it'll still work sitting a bit further back. In this bathroom designed by Caitlin Higgins, a recessed space for the dispenser is cleverly integrated into the small bathroom remodel. This fully secure option is a perfect solution in petite powder rooms that stops the toilet paper from frustratingly falling off the arm.

  • 06 of 09

    In a Basket Under the Sink

    Pink tiles in a white contemporary bathroom

    House of Chais

    This fun pink bathroom has some spatial challenges: there isn't room on the wall around the toilet for installing a dispenser. Even if the sheets won't roll off easily like they will on a wall-mounted design, storing the paper in a basket on the shelf under the sink keeps things tidy and within easy reach.

    Pick a basket with a treated finish for durability. Small, steamy bathrooms can gather moisture, and natural materials might wick this up.

  • 07 of 09

    On the Side of Your Vanity

    Black and teal contemporary bathroom

    Kate Marker Interiors

    If your vanity unit is close but not right next to your toilet, why not mount a dispenser on the side of the cabinet? Just be cautious when drilling into the unit—you don't want unsightly damage on this major piece of bathroom furniture.

  • 08 of 09

    On Top of the Toilet

    Top of a toilet with black and white wall art above it

    Musings by Madison

    This above-the-toilet storage idea works perfectly in an itty-bitty bathroom when shelf and wall space are finite. Having to stretch around behind you to access the paper isn't the easiest option, however, so there are definitely better solutions if household members have limited mobility.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Keep It Out of Sight

    Black and white bathroom with a pink bath panel and dog in the bath

    Martina's Cosy Crib

    Let's face it; toilet paper holders aren't generally the most attractive element of a bathroom design. If you want your small bathroom to look clean and clutter-free, locate the dispenser out of sight when looking straight in through the door. Positioning it away from the bathtub saves it from soggy splashes and you can even hang the holder on the door in a tiny bathroom if the toilet is close enough.

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  1. Bathroom Planning Guidelines with Access Standards. National Kitchen and Bath Association