interiors & styling

Form vs Function : Bath Storage Edition

Form vs Function : Bath Storage Edition - roomfortuesday.com Happy Friday, friends! I had an idea for a new blog series… form versus function. All this work on the bathrooms throughout our home has me dreaming of finished spaces. I thought I’d talk through an important element of bathroom design today- how to balance function (the bathroom HAS to be a functional space after all) and form. I think baths can be beautiful AND functional! Click through for five tips on how to make the most of your bathroom while also making it look aesthetically pleasing. I’m talking about what to store behind closed doors (like extra toilet paper) and what to leave out for easy access (like cotton swabs or mouthwash). This should be an interesting one, folks! 

I’m just going to dive right in with some tips. I’ll also link some of my favorite bath organization and storage essentials in shopping sliders throughout the post. Hopefully all of this info is helpful! A little bathroom reorganization can really go a long way in making your space more functional. A refresh might be just the thing you need to love your bath. Here we go!

Form vs Function : Bath Storage Edition - roomfortuesday.com

#1: Make the Most of What You Have

Remember the color blocked hallway in our previous home (pictured above)? We only had one small bathroom and it barely had any storage, so the linen closet in the hallway was a lifesaver! It definitely needed a major update, but after Emmett’s handy woodworking skills and some fresh wallpaper and paint, it became one of our favorite features in the house.

Form vs Function : Bath Storage Edition - roomfortuesday.com

It was the perfect place to store our towels, toiletries, and linens- out of sight, but within reach. It wasn’t necessarily ideal to have the bathroom storage in the hallway versus the bathroom, but we made it work.

In the bathroom itself, we had a bit of open and closed storage in the vanity. I kept items we used on a daily basis, like toilet paper, cosmetics, face wash, and towels there. Because space was so limited, we had to be intentional about what brought into the space and where we stored it. I quickly learned that towel hooks and medicine cabinets are your friends when you’re short on space! The overall point of this tip? Use what you have to maximize function in your home.

Form vs Function : Bath Storage Edition - roomfortuesday.com


#2: Be Thoughtful About What you Really “Need”

This is a tough one for me- you know how much I love my hand soaps, towels, and bath accessories, but editing down the items you keep in your bathroom is a great way to stay organized and really focus on what you need versus items you never really use…. especially if you’re limited on space.

Form vs Function : Bath Storage Edition - roomfortuesday.com

It helps to go through your daily or weekly routine and think about the items you use or need each day. When square footage is an issue, it’s probably worth switching out decorative items (like a candle) for items you’re actually using (like mouthwash). Does mouthwash look as beautiful as a candle sitting on the vanity counter? No, but it can! That counter space is precious real estate that can be more functional. Think of ways to make your ordinary objects and products feel like they belong. Decant your mouthwash in a glass vessel, toss your cotton rounds in a small bowl, or fill a jar with cotton swabs.


#3: Think Like Your Guests

We love hosting friends and family in our home, so I always try to think ahead and stock our guest bathroom for visitors. I want them to feel at home while they’re here, and make sure I have everything on hand in case they forgot something. I keep the essentials out on the counter, while other items are hidden away in our beautiful vanity. We’re really lucky to have the space for a TON of storage in the guest bath.

Form vs Function : Bath Storage Edition - roomfortuesday.com


#4: Plan for Storage

When I’m creating a design plan, one of the elements I always include is storage. I think of where things will live within the space. Is there enough space for toiletries and towels? I make sure to integrate space for open and closed storage whenever possible. This creates a nice mix of beautiful things on the counter and shelves (like candlesmatches, and linens), as well as dedicated space to store other items I’d prefer stay hidden (like extra toilet paper or feminine products).

Form vs Function : Bath Storage Edition - roomfortuesday.com

As I previously mentioned, the bathroom in our previous home was tiny and the only bath in the house, so we had to be very thoughtful about storage. The vanity did a lot of the heavy lifting, with a closed storage compartment for toiletries and an open shelf underneath, which ended up being the perfect spot for baskets. It was a great way to store items in reach but out of sight.

Form vs Function : Bath Storage Edition - roomfortuesday.com


#5: Don’t Feel Like You Have to Hide Everything

I’m a details person, so for me everything needs to have a place. The items that are out in the open need to feel like they belong, but that doesn’t mean you have to hide everything- you still need to access these items so you can clean your bathroom or blow your nose (anyone else struggle with allergies?). I keep certain things behind closed doors- like toilet paper, but items like tissues, cotton rounds, and Q-tips are good examples of things I don’t mind leaving out on the vanity for everyday use.

Form vs Function : Bath Storage Edition - roomfortuesday.com

For me, the compromise is to find a beautiful container for these types of items. If they’re corralled, it feels less chaotic. I gravitate toward basic items with clean lines- think a simple white tissue cover or a frosted glass bowl for cotton rounds, or a vintage brass vessel for cotton swabs. Having beautiful and organized items helps me embrace the convenience factor of keeping these things out all the time, for easy access.

Form vs Function : Bath Storage Edition - roomfortuesday.com Just for fun, would you like to see a breakdown of things I prefer to hide versus objects I’m perfectly happy keeping out? Ok… yes = I don’t mind leaving it out, and no = not a chance you’ll see it in plain sight; it’s behind closed storage. PS: I think lots of these are just personal preference. Regardless, it’s probably fun to see what bothers me and what doesn’t.

  • extra toilet paper rolls // NO
  • toothbrush // YES
  • hand soap // YES (obviously)
  • makeup // NO (but cosmetic brushes are ok in my mind… weird, I know)
  • cotton swaps & cotton rounds // YES
  • bath salts & bubble bath // YES
  • cleaning products // NO
  • towels // YES
  • toilet brush // YES & NO (not optimal, but if it blends in, then it’s ok)
  • mouthwash // YES (because I like to be fancy and decant it, ha!)
  • feminine products // NO
  • air freshener or poo pourri // NO
  • candles & matches // YES
  • tissues // YES
  • shampoo & conditioner // YES (but in the shower)
  • bath mat // YES (but not on the floor… draped over the bathtub or hanging on a towel bar)
  • perfume // YES
  • hairbrush // NO
  • plunger // NO (not going to lie though- our toilet flooded because someone couldn’t find where I kept it, haha)
  • waste basket // YES (obviously)

Form vs Function : Bath Storage Edition - roomfortuesday.com

I hope that helps you make the most of your bathroom so it looks great AND functions for you- it’s always a balancing act! Speaking of bathrooms, if you’re following along with my Instagram stories, you know we’re moving right along on the basement bathroom renovation (the heated floors are in!) AND I started demo on the powder bath. I can’t wait to show you both spaces once they’re buttoned up! This is already shaping up to be “the year of bathroom renovating”. Haha! But really… our master bath started having plumbing issues a couple weeks ago and between leaking pipes, I’m nervous that space might come next. Whew.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend! We’re going to tile town again. I can’t wait to see the marble tile on the basement bath walls. It’s going to look so good!

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  • Reply
    Peggi
    February 7, 2020 at 4:41 am

    So much good information! We are pretty lucky in the storage department-especially for an older home. Not only are there upper cabinets in one bathroom, but we have massive built-ins in our hallway. (Massive like I could hide in a drawer!) Still, corralling stuff and staying organized can be a challenge. I also can get a little nutty about having things out that are ugly: I’m looking at you electric toothbrush. (Plunger! HA. I think ours is in the garage!) Due to Joe’s charming penchant for eating toilet paper and tissue, those items are inside cabinets. I actually like not having the dispenser marring my walls. I try to find pretty vintage containers for items I want out; a tea tin for swabs, a ceramic leaf for earrings. Having a dedicated place for everything really does keep me neater! (Organized girls like you already knew this!) Have a lovely trip to Tile Town. I’m hoping to score some AMAZING vintage nightstands. (Trying to connect with s FB seller. Eyeroll) Happy (for real) Friday!💖

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 9, 2020 at 11:45 am

      That is AMAZING!! You and I are in the same boat (I won’t leave my electric toothbrush out and Emmett does, argh). Haha! Like Joe, both of our dogs eat toilet paper and enjoy digging through the bathroom trash- it’s infuriating. We often keep our bathroom doors shut because of it. Silly boys! Did you end up with the vintage nightstands?! I want to see and am crossing my fingers for you. I’m currently trying to negotiate on a leather recliner chair with a FB seller (for Emmett’s valentine’s day gift). We shall see! Hope you’re having the best weekend :) xo

  • Reply
    Julie S
    February 8, 2020 at 11:52 am

    I’ve always had a strong suspicion that baskets under the vanity being regularly pulled in and out will make drag lines in the finish of the vanity shelf or wear the finish off the edge corner (especially if it’s been painted aftermarket!) and automatically made them a NO for me. Can you convince me otherwise?!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 9, 2020 at 11:28 am

      Great talking point, Julie! I’ve never had an issue with it. I wouldn’t place a metal bin or basket under a vanity in fear of that, but I haven’t had any trouble with woven storage! :) Hope this helps! xo

  • Reply
    Julie S
    February 8, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    Also so sorry to be a bit off topic but it’s still bathroom related! And I guess form vs function, too. In your previous home’s ORC bathroom, you mentioned the new black window in the tiled shower but don’t talk about any more window details that I could find. We’re prepping for a bath remodel and have a 42″wx10″h window up high in the shower that I’d love to replace with one that extends a bit farther down to let in more light! Our home has aluminum slider windows that are blackest-brown inside and out, so I’d love a near match visually. I’ve had a heck of a time googling for what material windows are best in showers, no clear answers or it’s not even addressed in the forums… what did YOU use and where did you get it? Thanks so much!!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 9, 2020 at 11:32 am

      Happy to help, Julie! In our previous bathroom shower (the black window) came from Renewal by Andersen windows. It was a custom black vinyl window with privacy glass. As we replace the windows throughout our current home, we’re using Pella. You can read more about those in this post: https://roomfortuesday.com/kitchen-windows-the-selection-installation-process/ . I’d choose a local company you like best and chat with the pros about your concerns. They can then tell you their capabilities, material options, and recommendations :)

      • Reply
        Julie S
        February 9, 2020 at 4:35 pm

        Great answer, thank you :)

        • Reply
          Sarah
          February 9, 2020 at 7:11 pm

          No problem :)

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