Whether you’re privy to a spacious ensuite bath equipped with double sinks, a separate shower, and a soaking tub, or confined to a tiny water closet with a commode and a single sink, bathroom storage is essential.

NYC designer Mina Lisanin has seen her fair share of bathrooms. “Whether it be a spacious ensuite covered floor to ceiling in Italian Calacatta marble with a large-scale window overlooking Central Park, or a tiny studio rental with pink tiles from the ’50s, one thing these bathrooms have in common is the need for storage,” says Lisanin. “No matter the scale, bathroom storage can make or break your [routine] when you’re getting ready to start your day.”

Any bathroom can benefit from open shelving as a versatile style choice!

7 Savvy Ways to Use Floating Shelves in the Bathroom Pinterest

We’ve come a long way with bathroom storage through the decades, both in style and utility. Storage options have evolved from narrow medicine cabinets and uncomely over-the-toilet units to designer cabinetry and beautiful open shelves. “One simple solution [for bathroom storage] is to incorporate floating shelving,” says Lisanin. “Add a [few shelves] above the toilet with wire framed baskets to neatly organize all your toiletries and extra towels.”

While floating shelves provide an excellent storage option, they also enhance a bathroom’s appearance by opening up the space in the room and allowing you to showcase your design aesthetic with your favorite decor items. Read on for some stylish and practical tips and ideas for using floating shelves in an array of bathroom spaces.

A luxurious soaking tub with accouterments to hand in nearby shelves.

1. Above a Soaking Tub

Those lucky enough to own a free-standing soaking tub know the design lacks a designated space for keeping bath accessories close at hand. By installing a floating shelf on the wall above the tub, you’ll have ample room to store and display your favorite bath salts, loofah sponges, towels, scented candles, and perhaps a glass or two of wine for a luxurious soak that soothes the senses. Whether your tub is a cast iron clawfoot, a pedestal bathtub, or one propped up on a wooden or metal stand, you can find floating shelving that coordinates with your design preferences.

Cottage + Sea 1
Coordinate your vanity and shelves over the toilet - zing! Photo Credit: @cottageandsea

2. Over The Toilet

Floating shelves above the loo provide a stylish storage solution compared to unsightly over-the-toilet shelving units. If you have one, you know they can get wobbly, and in a small bathroom, their legs take up the little amount of floor space you have around your toilet.

When mounting floating shelves, leave plenty of room (about 20 inches) between your bottom shelf and the toilet tank in case you need to replace parts such as flappers and fill valves or clean and freshen the tank. Try a few drops of lavender or tea tree essential oils to keep your tank clean and your bathroom fresh with every flush.

When properly fastened to the studs in walls, floating shelves can provide a stable place to display delicate decor like glass bottles that you couldn’t put on flimsy shelving units or in bathrooms with uneven floors.

Shelves to display your most-used items rest near the sink for easy access.

3. Around the Vanity

Floating shelves provide functionality and beauty around vanities, allowing you to store essentials and display decorative items. For one, if you’re renting and have a small bathroom, your vanity might not even contain a drawer.

Even if you have drawers, they might be packed with items such as brushes, combs, hair ties, and an electric razor or toothbrush. Is the space in your vanity cabinet crowded with your blow dryer, curling iron, and other items? Consider floating shelves around your vanity for storing extra toiletries in decorative containers.

For a stunning look and to create balance, place floating shelves on both sides of the mirror to create a focal point. Another great spot for wall shelves is a wall to the right or left of your vanity. Amp up the style with plants and your favorite bathroom decor.

You can even mount a floating shelf on the bottom of your vanity. “If your bathroom allows it, a single floating shelf below a vanity is a great way to get a custom look that won’t break the bank and provides additional storage, '' says Lisanin. “Pair it with a motion sensor cabinet light and some rolled-up towels and you’re on your way to having an ensuite spa in the comfort of your home.”

Corner shelving cut to a perfect fit is a can-do!

4. In a Corner By the Shower

We’ve all stepped into a shower only to forget important items like razors, combs, washcloths, or body wash (when we realize it’s empty) after we’re soaked and lathered up. If the items are far from the shower in a linen closet, we jump out of the shower, drench the floor with water, and get the item. To prevent this scenario, consider installing floating shelves on a corner wall by the shower that is arm’s length away. You can place shower toiletries on a floating shelf or two and reach out when you need them.

Having a corner shelf by the shower also keeps the area inside your shower neat and organized. “One pet peeve of mine is having [multiple] shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel bottles in the shower that can totally clutter up the look of any shower,” says Lisanin. “One tip [I recommend] is to skip the metal wire caddy and add a floating shelf adjacent and outside your shower.”

“[On shelves,] you can [display] some cute, matching, refillable bottles with custom labels such as your initials or your last name, followed by ‘hotel collection’ or a saying such as ‘rise and shine’ on your citrus-scented body wash [container], recommends Lisanin. “This will give your shower a clean look with a personalized hotel look and feel.”

What else could you display to ramp up your bathroom’s style?

5. A Stylish Way to Display Decor

You can’t show off your treasures and collectibles in a closed cabinet. Showcase perfume bottles, figurines, and bath-themed decorative objects. Pick up some matching containers in the same color or finishes that coordinate with your bathroom color palette and hardware, and fixtures. You can bring nature indoors with plants and floral arrangements on shelves. If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry — you can find some elegant faux plants and flowers that look real these days. Choose silk rather than plastic.

6. Hide Toiletries in Decorative Containers

You can store items you don’t wish to display in stylish, decorative containers on your floating shelves. Containers come in the form of glass, baskets (made with protective coatings that resist moisture), sealed wood, metal, and plastic. Having a designated container for cotton balls, cotton swabs, and even TP means you won’t have to go digging into the closet and mess up an already cluttered space.

Another benefit of containers: they come in a plethora of styles, colors, and materials — and match any decor style. Need black or white or glass for a modern look? Check. A natural material like rattan or wicker basket to go with your boho vibe? Check. For the farmhouse aesthetic, opt for apothecary or mason jars. Want a contemporary yet elegant look? Select a canister in marble. You can go as far as matching the veining in your marble containers to your vanity countertops.

Hartwick Bathroom
Cubbies or closets can benefit from a shelf upgrade! Design credit: @renovate108

7. Inside Closets

While closets come with shelving, if you have the standard wire shelving systems, you might find that the toiletries you place on your shelves come tumbling down. This leads to a disheveled and disorganized closet space. While towels and heavier items with bigger bases might remain standing, plastic bottles that hold beauty products tend to lose their balance on thin wire shelves, especially as they get empty.

If you want to style the inside of your closet to impress your guests (a great idea in the guest bathroom), consider installing floating shelves for a more stylish presentation. You may have seen them in pantries off the kitchen. They’re also perfect for bathroom closets.

If you're in need of a bathroom storage solution that inspires, speak to a shelf geek about your floating shelf options.

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another really cool svg