Los Angeles residents can relate to space being a high-premium commodity. As far as the bathroom in concerned, the same is true.
There never seems to be enough storage to house the real necessities and little luxuries of the bathroom. Los Angeles residents can relate to space selling at a premium. But creative solutions abound.
Start by asking yourself this: do you prefer a spare, open space, or a decorated one? This simple question nudges you toward the most basic decision when it comes to storage: built-ins or freestanding furniture. Built-ins, obviously, can do the really hard work of storage by effectively increasing usable space. You can have built-ins designed to occupy any area where conventional cabinetry and furniture won’t fit.
You can also specify fine, furniture-quality finishes or add decorative details to the cases and doors. Even simple shelving is easily customized and can make use of overhead space or transform corner space into working elements of the bath.
Armoires, historically, came first, at least for storage, and a trend toward freestanding furniture in the bath is once again gaining steam. If your taste dictates and your floor plan allows it, an armoire is a particularly elegant storage solution. Or, look for other, more unusual ways to accommodate your needs: a steamer trunk, a bombe chest, or a group of baskets or boxes. Whatever storage you choose needs to be able to survive the rigors of the bathroom environment. Many materials are not suitable for bathroom storage finishes. Wood, metal, and wire need to be properly sealed, while hem, reed, and rush function well in a wet environment.
Laminates or composites offer great flexibility, and new technologies now make glass an option for bath vanities. Vintage pieces with weathered surfaces may not show wear as much as highly polished ones.
Never overlook hooks. Employing these very basic pieces of hardware can make the most of just a little wall space. Hooks are easy to install and are the best place (second only to towel bars) for towels and robes to dry out evenly after use. They come in many decorative styles.
It’s your choice whether or not to put everything behind closed doors. Covered cabinets, drawers, and bins protect items from dampness and offer surfaces to display the things you’d really like to look at. On the other hand, keeping the basics of the bathroom out and within reach can create a visual palette all its own. Make a virtue of necessity and store toiletries and bath linens beautifully and in plain sight. With so many available options, you can find a storage system that meets your needs with style.
Storage on Display
When it comes to storage, think from the inside out. There’s something to be learned from old-fashioned candy stores and apothecaries. These were places where merchandise was always visible, accessible, and appealing to the eye. Keep this idea in mind when you choose a storage system for your bathroom.
First, take stock of your belongings, then seek out creative solutions that allow flexibility. Once you’ve surveyed the items you use (everything from bath towels and robes to tiny items like cotton swabs and cotton balls), and how often you use them, you can start looking for containers that meet your needs.
Storage is far more useful if it’s near the fixture where it’s needed. In a limited space, two small pieces provide more flexibility than one large one.
Organizing small, loose items into matching containers creates symmetry and instant order. Decanting liquid soaps, shampoos, and bubble bath into clear bottles or putting packaged items into clear containers (i.e. glass pantry jars) results in a clean presentation, with the added benefit of banishing labels.
One trick to unifying storage vessels with a bathroom’s design scheme is to keep everything pale or white. White storage makes a space look neat and fresh, and integrates especially well if the moldings and fixtures in the room are also white. If white isn’t your style, polished metal containers (silver, nickel, and stainless steel are always elegant) reflect the palette of the room, while clear or translucent containers let the colors of the provisions inside shine through.
Some type of storage, like glass-fronted cabinets, occasional tables, and built-in shelves, can double as display. Clear panes of glass offer a convenient window to your belongings and a chance to create decorative still lifes. Combine large things with small, such as stacks of towels with a group of perfume bottles. You can also achieve a sense of transparency (without the constant need to keep the contents neat) by using translucent materials such as frosted glass, colored or frosted acrylic, or sheer fabric.
Storage for Two
No two people envision the ideal bathroom in exactly the same way. With the right demarcation of space, a his-and-hers bathroom can be a shared oasis.
Smart storage planning makes use of the spaces behind closed doors, with interiors customized for smaller provisions. For instance, a countertop vanity may cover a shallow slide-out tray for makeup or jewelry. Drawers can be subdivided and fabric-lined to protect beauty supplies. The partner’s side of the bathroom may have a packing closet fitted with pull-out rods and space for suitcases. Each side could have a window seat with adjacent recessed shelving to store towels near the shower while keeping them out of sight. Built-in cabinets would provide handy additional storage, while tall shallow cabinets painted the same color as the room will seamlessly integrate the storage into the space.
Ideally a shared bath provides a mix of separation and togetherness. If you’re working with a single room or a smaller space, use finishes, fixtures, countertops, and mirrors to define distinct zones for each user.
It’s up to you how much visual symmetry you create between the two sides. Each person is bound to have different storage and display needs, though. If you want mirror images, you might build in a bureau on one side that corresponds to a built-in vanity on the other. For a sense of unity, use a shared motif in decor to tie the two sides together.
How to Make Storage Decorative
Storage and display can be two halves of one whole when it comes to bath design. Open- or glass-fronted furniture provides a union of the two. Rooms with open storage require organization, attention to detail, and maintenance to look their best. On open shelves, use baskets or other closed containers of various sizes to house smaller items. Multiples of the same container, or different containers in the same material, keep the arrangement looking orderly. The same is true for the contents themselves. From toilet paper to towels to books and magazines, you can celebrate everyday items by displaying them en masse.