Functional Zen: Storage Ideas for Your Minimalist Bathroom
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2, 2019
The clean lines and calm, soothing nature of minimalist interior design is a great choice for bathrooms. To fully achieve this look, it’s important to find storage options that keep clutter, toiletries and accessories both organized and hidden from view.
Here are a few essential tips for striking that balance in your bathroom.
Minimalist Storage Basics
True minimalist living is all about using only the things you need. This means quality is more important than quantity, freelance writer Justine Harrington points out. Instead of impulsively buying random decor and fixtures for your bathroom, you should take time to decide which elements are truly necessary. Then, invest in high-quality pieces that look great and work well, so that you don’t have to sacrifice style to become more minimalist.
Question every purchase agrees Maria Campbell at Pastels and Macarons. She suggests asking yourself if you really need something before buying it, so that you’ll actually think about how you’ll use the product once it’s in your bathroom. This reigns true for large items and for toiletries and everyday bathroom products: accumulating too many items can reduce the minimalist look you’re aiming for.
To achieve a minimalist space, you’ll need to devise creative solutions to everyday bathroom inefficiencies. Blogger Donella Crigger sets out a number of ideas just for storing and hiding toilet paper, as an example, including a shoe organizer inside of a closet. This allows for easy access, but keeps the extra rolls of toilet paper hidden.
Another idea is installing an open shelf above the bathroom door to store larger quantities of toilet paper. The idea is to give the rolls a specific home that doesn’t add clutter or interfere in the space.
Rachel Lynn at home improvement blog, Queen Bee of Honey Dos, says that mosaic tiles can be used as camouflage to keep extra drawers and shelving hidden. When tiles are used across recessed spaces and built-in drawers, it helps create a cohesive look and maximizes the illusion of space. You could also try this strategy with wood, wallpaper, paint or any other wall decoration that suits your minimalist design preferences.
The key to creating a minimalist bathroom is reducing clutter at every opportunity. That’s why Hadley Mendelsohn at MyDomaine suggests installing built-in shelves in the bathroom. Shelves conserve wall space and make a room look bigger while storing essential items at the same time.
Cabinets behind the toilet also provide a simple storage solution that doesn’t obstruct the sense of cleanliness and style in a minimalist bathroom. In particular, Brit + Co style writer Cassandra Ann Vega likes the idea of a cabinet with a sliding barn door. This keeps things looking neat and hidden, but adds a warm and rustic touch if you want to keep your bathroom from a starker, Scandinavian-inspired design.
Another clever idea for wall organization comes from the Organise my House blog. Instead of having jewelry hanging haphazardly on random hooks and overflowing on countertops, keep it hidden behind a picture or mirror. Adding a hinge on one side of the picture can make it easy to open and close. Then, just attach hooks to the wall behind the picture on which you can hang jewelry, watches and other items.
Built-in shelves can also be designed as squares, New Life Bath and Kitchen explains. These are more like cubbies which are better for holding larger items like towels and baskets of toiletries. Cubbies can also be covered with a minimalist door or curtain if you’d like to keep things hidden even further.
The bathtub space provides another excellent opportunity for creating elegant, minimalist storage.
Adding a storage cabinet above the bathtub can look great and allow convenient storage at the same time, Jennifer Baum Lagdameo at Dwell writes. In one example, she shows how creating the storage cabinet using the same material as the floor helps add to the minimalist vibe. The cabinet includes drawers in addition to shelves, all of which are hidden from view.
Architectural Digest home editor Lindsey Mather points to a historic estate in Belgium with a different interpretation of the the minimalist wooden cabinet idea. Here, a wooden cabinet is subtly tucked into a slanted wall on one end of the bathtub, keeping toiletries nearby, yet hidden. The light colored wood in this storage design adds a Scandinavian touch to the minimalist bathroom.
How to Store Toiletries
Proper toiletry storage is essential if you want to reduce clutter and boost minimalism in the bathroom. You might choose to use small storage containers within a larger one, Dena Beckner at Cultivating Stillness writes. These boxes create a home for everything which, keeping unnecessary clutter off bathroom surfaces. This is especially true for tiny items like hair ties, bobby pins and makeup.
It’s important to separate everyday toiletries from items that you don’t use as much, Lindsay S. Nixon at Happy Herbivore says. She puts all items she doesn’t use everyday, such as first aid supplies and extra toothbrushes for guests, in a single container. Keeping all these small items in a neat little box –– and having a hidden shelf on which to put them –– is an easy way to prevent clutter.
House tour editor Adrienne Breaux at Apartment Therapy agrees that the key to bathroom organization is separating what you use daily from what you use weekly or monthly. She says that drawers in the sink or shelves in the medicine cabinet should be reserved for everyday items, while under-sink storage can hold larger items used on a weekly basis. Once you start to put things under the sink, however, keeping things organized there is a key strategy for achieving minimalist storage.
Lauren Piro at Good Housekeeping recommends a lazy Susan to keep large toiletries accessible under the sink. Storing tall shampoo bottles and bulk soap supplies there makes it easy to restock smaller bottles in the shower and on the sink.
Check out these 16 minimalist bathrooms to inspire your dream bathroom.
A Minimalist Bathroom Renovation on a Budget
Lauren Yacht of Minimal Domesticity shares how she and her family transformed her outdated bathroom. Originally built in the 1950’s, her bathroom had gone through previous, uninspiring remodels. When ants started coming out of the shower walls, Yacht knew it was time for an update.
The bathroom now consists of black and white tile on the floor, white subway tile in the shower, a new tub and an elegant, yet simple vanity and sink. The circular mirror with its champagne bronze frame matches the fixtures. This gives a touch of flare to the minimalist design without adding clutter to the small space.
Spark Interest with Glass Mosaic Walls
With minimalist bathrooms, the idea is to keep things simple, clean and gorgeous. Minimalist bathrooms don’t have bare walls or dull fixtures — and they never have to downplay luxury. The bathroom envisioned by designer Mary-Beth Oliver has a walk-in shower with two showerheads, a glass mosaic feature wall and a sleek vanity with lots of storage to prevent clutter. Neutral colors with pops of blue make the bathroom feel fresh.
Minimalist Bathroom with Freestanding Tub and Modern Shower
The bathroom created by the team at Etelamaki Architecture is another case of deluxe minimalism. This beautiful space features both a freestanding tub and separate shower. A contemporary wood paneled wall behind the bath balances the black and white walls, and gray tile floors. The floating wood vanity, with discreet towel hooks below the sinks allows a streamlined appearance. Hanging light fixtures, paired with recessed lighting above the tub, creates a unique fusion of lighting options.
Clean Lines Create More Space
This bathroom remodel shows how traditionally styled fixtures, such as pedestal sinks, can bring a modern touch to the space depending on its shape. The previous pedestal sink was curved and appeared dated. “For this small modern bath, it was important to maximize both light and space,” says lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner. “I opted to use another pedestal sink, but with clean lines to give the appearance of more space.” The new sink, paired with gold faucet and tall mirror add a more contemporary and spacious feel to a small bathroom.
Choose Bold Tiles To Be Your Statement Piece
Black and white brings bold to a minimal look. “The key to nailing bold minimalism is combining striking visuals with functionality, like this stunning black honeycomb floor,” explains interior designer Casey Keasler. “Doing so allows you to make a major style impact without piling on a bunch of clutter-making decor.” The wood vanity features ample storage space for your toiletries. The contrast of the warm wood with the monochromatic color scheme is a perfect blend of old and new, and adds warmth to the design.
Floating vanities and toilets can create a more open space. This bathroom renovation by Justin at Design At Nineteen features unique black and white tile on the floor and bath alcove, with textured white subway tile on the walls. A recessed shelf above the tub is perfect to hide bulky toiletries that normally sit on the side of a tub. Plus, there’s a stylish ledge on the wall that runs above the tub and the sink to make extra space for hand soaps and a few intentional accessories, such as indoor plants. The modern sconce and window provide plenty of light.
Mix Warm and Industrial
Australian home renovators Kyal and Kara share photos of their coastal home, including their minimalist bathroom. The gray tiles, large walk-in shower and floating wood vanity are a perfect balance of contrasting styles. There is a shower ledge that blends in to keep shampoos, conditioners and soaps at an accessible height. The gray mermaid tile adds a punch of modern style to the simple bathroom.
All White and Stone
This spacious Parisian bathroom designed by architect Frederic Berthier features high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows and drapes, and a chandelier. The freestanding tub is paired with a contemporary freestanding curved faucet. The double vanity with stone countertop and white drawers sits below a large mirror that adds even more space to the elegant bathroom. The bathroom is full of a white color scheme — making the minimalist space feel even more luxurious.
A Modern Scandanavian Home in Colorado
“Set in Aspen’s historic West End neighborhood, Artist’s Haven is a complete modernization of a neo-classical home,” writes the team at Rowland Broughton. The artist-client shares the minimalist view that less is more. This is expressed through an abundance of natural light and the perfect balance of white, light wood and pops of color. The beautiful bathroom plays with clean lines and soft curves created by the modern freestanding bath. The floating wooden vanity is both modern and warm. The extra-large window sitting above the tub makes soaking even more enjoyable, inviting nature in.
Take a look at this Scottish home that belongs to Nina Plummer, the founder of online homewares store Ingredients LDN. The bathroom is a simple space featuring a vintage clawfoot tub-shower combo on a hardwood floor. It’s also home to an oversized window, small wooden chair and a few delicate accessories on the windowsill. These add minimalist style to the bathroom, not clutter.
Modern Apartments in a 400 Year Old Building
This historic building in on the Spanish Island of Mallorca was renovated into a complex of 12 individual apartments. Each apartment has its own design, says Danielle de Lange, owner of The Style Files. One apartment’s master bedroom opens up onto a doorless bathroom. The open space with a modern shower, gorgeous floating vanity and neutral tones is a beautiful example of minimalism. The large amount of closet space with sharp lines adds to the minimalist design and function.
A Dim Warehouse-Style Loft Transformed
Jamie Chioco and Vanessa Francis of Chioco Design renovated a dark loft into a light-filled, modern home in Austin. The poorly lit ensuite bathroom was transformed into a beautiful and bright space. The white and black marble shower has a switch glass window punched out to bring in natural light and open up to a view of the city. There is a ton of storage in the vanity and an adjoining towel and cabinet space, keeping the minimalist look pristine. White tiled walls and brass faucets add to the clean, modern vibe.
Mix Tones and Textures To Add Warmth
Minimalism can sometimes be criticized for being too stark, but it doesn’t have to be. Designer Amber Anderson “decided on a very bright, open look, mixing varying tones and textures with small pops of black-matte metal in the fixtures and details.” This luxurious Arizona home features a bathroom with expansive floor-to-ceiling windows with a view of the valley from the modern freestanding tub. Two white vanities don’t distract from the awe-inspiring view and provide ample storage.
Choose One Element to Build Your Bathroom Around
It can be overwhelming to choose all the different tiles, colors and fixtures for a bathroom renovation. If you’re feeling stuck in the midst of all the details, determine one element that you absolutely love and build your bathroom around that. Jen Pinkston at The Effortless Chic says she worked with interior designer Claire Zinnecker for her guest bathroom remodel. Although indecisive, Pinkson knew she wanted terrazzo flooring. The finished bathroom resulted in a chic minimalist bathroom with terrazzo floors, subway tile walls and a shower with a frameless glass door. Black-matte hardware and a wooden vanity completed the look.
Soft and Minimal Apartment in Copenhagen
This project ‘Sense’ designed by interior designer Natalie Dubrovska proves the idea that every detail matters in minimalist design. The bathroom features terrazzo floors and a floating terrazzo vanity. The concrete tub is the focal point and the neutral colors of the tub, floors and walls are balanced with glamorous brass fixtures. There are no accessories added to this bathroom — just one brass side table next to the tub. The large mirror adds reflective light and makes the bathroom look more open and spacious.
Curved Shower Door Saves Space
The interior design team at Create Perfect in the UK designed this modern bathroom remodel. The tile choices and curved shower door are key to making this small space feel larger. “Whilst the large horizontal tiles elongate the space by drawing the eye through the room the smaller grey mosaic patterns along the wall add a feature for more interest,” writes Fiona Mostyn. The floating toilet and vanity with clean lines add to the contemporary, minimalist style of this bathroom.