You only miss things once they're gone, and the bathroom in my last apartment spoiled me. The mirror opened into a deep vanity, the windowsill in my shower held every product I could ever hope to use, and countertop storage held additional beauty products, hair tools, and toilet paper. Our new apartment, on the other hand, is nearly double the size of our last, yet the bathroom is about half the size with almost no storage—the vanity can barely fit a toothbrush, let alone my entire skincare and makeup routine. That doesn't mean it can't look as beautiful as my last bathroom does; it just takes a more concerted effort now. Here's how I make my tiny bathroom, with minimal storage, still feel luxurious:
The simplest way to make a small room appear larger is to open it up with light colors (something like a black towel can act as a black hole, weighing down the room and pulling light out of it). Considering using a plain white shower curtain, white bathmat and towels, white hand soap and candle, and white accented shower rack (I purchased this one, which I love!).
Showers are an overlooked opportunity for interior design—but considering you use yours every single day, why not make it feel special? Even if your shower products are pared down and organized, they can still appear messy if they aren't cohesive. Earlier this year, I splurged on Aesop shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, which made my bathroom immediately look and feel like a spa (as much as I love Aesop, I plan to refill the containers with other products when they finally run out, since it's pricey!). In a happy accident, the other products I use and love are all pink: Goop Exfoliating Shampoo, OSEA x Parachute Bath Salt, One Love Organics Vitamin C Body Polish, and Lano Face Wash. I decided on a Billie Razor in 'Blush' to coordinate with them, and bought a white and teak rack to compliment my Dry Brush, to pull it all together. Once my shower curtain is dry, I actually like to keep it open to show it off since it looks so nice!
The trouble with a small bathroom is that it doesn't get as much airflow, so bad smells can be stubborn. To counter bathroom smells, keep an air freshener on the back of the toilet (these Post-Poo Drops from Aesop smell amazing, and are pretty enough to keep out), and light a candle for the duration guests are over.
Speaking of airflow... things that get damp stay damp in small bathrooms, and that's when smells like mildew can take hold. Switch out your heavy towels for lighter alternatives that dry quicker (I love these waffle towels from Parachute) and hang your bathmat so it dries fully each day (and doesn't get dirty from people stepping on it in shoes). After showering, open your curtain all the way until fully dried and wash the plastic every month or so (I use this method to wash it), and keep the fan running for an hour after showering or keep a window open, if you have access to one.
In the limited storage I do have in my bathroom (a shallow, small vanity behind the mirror), I keep my daily makeup products. My routine was already pared-down—I've finally found the products I use and love—but if you haven't edited yours yet, the key is to be realistic about the products you actually use every single day and keep everything else elsewhere.
Everything I can't fit into my bathroom goes into a hallway closet right outside. This is where I keep all of my products and tools, organized by category, in boxes and caddies that I can easily carry into the bathroom as I need them. I keep my evening routine in a small shower caddy, my "going out" makeup and products (like makeup and face masks) in a plastic box with drawers, all of my hair tools in this caddy which can hang on my towel rack when I bring it in, and the rest of my overflow products (mostly extra serums, lotions, and shampoos I swap out when I run out) in these bins from Target.
While I'd initially purchased these shelves for my bathroom, I discovered as soon as I held them up to the wall that they'd only make the room look smaller and more cluttered (the same would be true for any over-toilet shelves). Less is always more for a small room. Instead, I put the shelves in the hallway, and kept the walls clear of all hooks except for those that already came built-in. It helps keep the room clear and more open.
This should go without saying, but keeping surfaces clean makes any small room look better! I wipe down surfaces every day, am diligent about keeping the mirror clean of toothpaste splatter, and use a Magic Eraser to keep the bathroom tile in the shower squeaky clean.
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