July 12, 2024

DIY Small Bathroom Shelf

Creating DIY shelves for small bathrooms can be a rewarding project that combines creativity, practicality, and personalization. When it comes to small bathrooms, space is often at a premium, and every square inch needs to be utilized effectively. One of the simplest and most effective DIY projects is to install floating shelves. Floating shelves offer a sleek and modern look, as they don’t have visible brackets, giving the illusion of more space. They can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, or even glass, depending on the style and aesthetic you want to achieve. Installing floating shelves above the toilet or next to the sink can provide much-needed storage for toiletries, towels, and decorative items without taking up valuable floor space.

Corner shelves are another excellent DIY project for small bathrooms. Often, corners are underutilized, but by adding corner shelves, you can make use of these awkward spaces. Corner shelves can be customized to fit your bathroom’s specific dimensions and design. They are perfect for holding small items like candles, plants, or bath products. Building corner shelves can be as simple as cutting wood to size, sanding, and staining or painting to match your bathroom’s decor, and then securing them in place with brackets or supports.

Repurposing old materials can add a unique touch to your bathroom shelving. For example, using reclaimed wood or old ladders can create a rustic and charming look. An old ladder can be sanded, painted, and then leaned against a wall to serve as a multi-tiered shelf. Each rung can hold baskets, towels, or decorative items. This not only adds storage but also infuses your bathroom with character and a sense of history. Repurposing materials is also an eco-friendly approach, reducing waste and giving new life to old items.

Another creative DIY shelf idea is to use baskets as wall-mounted storage. Wicker or wire baskets can be attached to the wall with screws or brackets, creating open shelving that adds texture and interest to your bathroom. These baskets are great for holding rolled towels, toilet paper, or bath toys. They can be arranged in various patterns and heights to suit your storage needs and aesthetic preferences. This approach is particularly useful in bathrooms with limited cabinet space, as it provides accessible and attractive storage options.

For a more industrial look, consider using pipes and wood to create a custom shelf unit. This type of shelving combines metal pipes and wooden planks to create a sturdy and visually striking storage solution. The pipes can be arranged in various configurations to suit your space, and the wooden shelves can be stained or painted to match your bathroom decor. This type of shelving is not only functional but also adds a modern, industrial vibe to the space.

A more advanced DIY project involves building recessed shelves. This requires cutting into the wall to create a niche, which can then be framed and finished with shelves. Recessed shelves are particularly useful in small bathrooms because they don’t protrude into the room, saving valuable space. They can be installed in the shower to hold shampoo and soap, or above the sink for toiletries. While this project is more complex and may require some knowledge of drywall and framing, the result is a clean, streamlined storage solution that blends seamlessly with the bathroom’s architecture.

If you prefer a simpler project, over-the-toilet shelves are an easy DIY option. These shelves can be built to fit snugly over the toilet tank, providing storage for items like toilet paper, towels, and decorative pieces. The construction is straightforward: two vertical supports with shelves in between. This type of shelving is practical and can be customized to match the style and color scheme of your bathroom.

Creating shelves with rope is another creative idea. Rope shelves are made by suspending wooden planks with sturdy ropes from hooks or brackets attached to the wall or ceiling. This type of shelf has a nautical or bohemian feel and can add a unique decorative element to your bathroom. They are perfect for holding lighter items like small plants, candles, or decorative jars. The materials needed for this project are inexpensive, and the shelves can be easily adjusted or moved as needed.

Adding a shelf above the bathroom door is a great way to use an often-overlooked space. This shelf can be used to store items that are not needed daily, such as extra towels, toilet paper, or cleaning supplies. The shelf can be built to match the width of the door frame and secured with brackets or supports. This high shelf keeps items out of sight but easily accessible when needed, helping to keep the bathroom clutter-free.


Glass shelves can add a touch of elegance to a small bathroom. They are less visually intrusive than solid wood or metal shelves, making the space feel more open. Glass shelves can be mounted with metal brackets and are perfect for holding toiletries, decorative items, or small potted plants. When using glass, it’s important to ensure the edges are polished to avoid any sharpness, and the glass should be thick enough to support the weight of the items you plan to store.

If you have a bit of carpentry skill, building a built-in shelving unit can be a great project. Built-in shelves can be customized to fit your space perfectly and can be made as simple or elaborate as you like. They can include a combination of open shelves and closed cabinets, providing both display space and hidden storage. Built-in shelves can be painted to match the walls or finished with a contrasting color to make them stand out.

Using crates or wooden boxes as shelves is a trendy and practical DIY idea. Wooden crates can be painted, stained, or left natural, and then mounted on the wall to create modular shelving. They can be arranged in various configurations to suit your storage needs and design preferences. This type of shelving is particularly versatile and can be easily reconfigured or expanded as needed. Crates provide deep storage space, making them ideal for holding larger items like towels or bulk toiletries.

A pegboard shelf system can be a highly customizable and flexible storage solution. Pegboards can be mounted on the wall, and shelves can be added by inserting pegs and placing wooden planks on top. This system allows for easy adjustment and reorganization of shelves to suit changing storage needs. Pegboards can also be painted to match your bathroom decor, adding a pop of color and a modern touch.

Floating box shelves are another stylish and functional option. These shelves are essentially hollow boxes mounted on the wall, providing both storage and a unique visual element. They can be arranged in a grid pattern or staggered for a more dynamic look. Floating box shelves can be painted or stained in different colors to create a vibrant display that also serves a practical purpose.

Utilizing magnetic strips as shelves is a clever and space-saving solution. Magnetic strips can be mounted on the wall to hold metal items like tweezers, scissors, or nail clippers. This keeps these small items organized and easily accessible. For a more creative approach, magnetic jars can be attached to the strips, providing storage for items like cotton balls, swabs, or small toiletries. This type of shelving is particularly useful in very small bathrooms where every inch of space counts.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When embarking on a DIY small bathroom shelf project, several common mistakes can detract from the functionality and aesthetics of your storage solution. One major mistake is not planning the layout properly. Before starting, measure your space carefully and consider how you use the bathroom. Planning helps ensure that your shelves fit well and provide the necessary storage without overwhelming the room. Another mistake is using materials that aren’t suitable for the humid bathroom environment. Wood should be properly sealed, and metal should be rust-resistant to prevent damage over time. Choosing the wrong materials can lead to shelves that deteriorate quickly, reducing their effectiveness and requiring premature replacement.

Another common error is overloading shelves with too many items. While it’s tempting to maximize storage, overcrowding shelves can make the bathroom look cluttered and disorganized. It’s important to strike a balance between storage and aesthetics. Use shelves to display a few key items and keep others stored out of sight to maintain a clean, uncluttered look. Additionally, neglecting to secure shelves properly can lead to safety hazards. Make sure that all shelves are mounted securely using appropriate brackets and anchors. This is especially important for heavier shelves or those holding substantial weight.

Not considering the weight capacity of shelves is another frequent mistake. Each shelf material and mounting method has a specific weight limit. Overloading shelves beyond their capacity can cause them to sag or even collapse, potentially causing injury or damage. Ensure that you distribute weight evenly and avoid placing heavy items on shelves that are not designed to support them. Finally, ignoring the need for periodic maintenance can lead to long-term issues. Regularly check the condition of your shelves and their mounting hardware, making any necessary adjustments or repairs to keep them safe and functional.

What are some simple DIY shelf ideas for small bathrooms?

Simple DIY shelf ideas for small bathrooms include floating shelves, corner shelves, and over-the-toilet shelves. Floating shelves provide a sleek, modern look and can be installed above the toilet or sink for added storage. Corner shelves make use of often-overlooked spaces and can hold small items like candles or bath products. Over-the-toilet shelves are easy to build and provide practical storage for items like towels and toilet paper. Each of these options can be customized to match your bathroom decor and maximize available space.

How can I ensure my DIY bathroom shelves are durable and long-lasting?

To ensure your DIY bathroom shelves are durable and long-lasting, use materials that can withstand the humid bathroom environment. Wood should be properly sealed to prevent moisture damage, and metal should be rust-resistant. Secure the shelves with appropriate brackets and anchors to ensure they can support the weight of the items you plan to store. Regular maintenance, such as checking for any loose screws or brackets and reapplying sealant as needed, will also help prolong the life of your shelves.

What materials are best for DIY bathroom shelves?

The best materials for DIY bathroom shelves include sealed wood, metal, and glass. Sealed wood is a popular choice because it can be customized with different stains or paints to match your decor. Metal shelves, especially those made of rust-resistant materials, are durable and can add an industrial touch. Glass shelves provide a sleek and elegant look, making the bathroom feel more open. When choosing materials, consider the overall style of your bathroom and the durability required for the humid environment.

How can I maximize storage with DIY shelves in a small bathroom?

To maximize storage with DIY shelves in a small bathroom, utilize vertical space by installing wall-mounted shelves and corner shelves. Over-the-toilet shelves and shelves above the door can provide additional storage without taking up floor space. Use baskets or containers on the shelves to organize smaller items and keep the bathroom tidy. Consider multifunctional shelving solutions, such as shelves with hooks or built-in towel racks, to make the most of the available space. Planning the layout and carefully selecting the placement of shelves will help maximize storage efficiency.

Are there any safety tips to consider when installing DIY bathroom shelves?

Safety tips for installing DIY bathroom shelves include using the correct hardware and ensuring shelves are securely mounted. Use wall anchors appropriate for the type of wall (drywall, tile, etc.) to ensure stability. Avoid overloading shelves beyond their weight capacity to prevent sagging or collapse. Distribute weight evenly across the shelves and place heavier items on lower shelves. Regularly inspect the shelves and their mounts for any signs of wear or damage, and make repairs as needed to maintain safety and functionality.

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