Whether you have a large bathroom or a small one, sometimes the storage space afforded by your bathroom vanity or medicine cabinet doesn’t quite cut it. Maybe you need to store a lot of hair care products, or just want to keep some spare towels on hand. Either way, adding additional storage cabinets to your main bathroom vanity or bathroom vanities can not only afford you the extra space you need, but can also give you some flexibility of design – without having to do a major remodel.
Now, I’m not talking inexpensive rolling carts or wire racks. While those will work, they’re always going to look like a temporary solution. Instead, I prefer storage cabinets made at the same level of quality as your vanity – genuine pieces of furniture rather than stop-gap solutions. The most common of these are half-height linen cabinets that can either be pushed up against the side of your vanity to extend your countertop, used as connector pieces to join two vanities together, or simply used freestanding as a decorative, floating cabinet. Regardless of how you set them up, these small linen cabinets give you a good deal of extra storage (usually a set of drawers) and expands your counter space so you can keep additional frequently-used items out and accessible without overcrowding your sink area.
Storage cabinets are often designed to be added on to or paired with certain bathroom vanity sets. But while you might not happen to have the bathroom vanity they’re intended for, many of them are made in a few standard colors: usually black, white, and espresso, which stay pretty consistent and easy to coordinate across different brands. Even if your vanity doesn’t quite fit the bill (say, you have a fairly distinctive wood stain), you still have a few options. First, you might be able to reverse engineer some matching pieces by tracking down the original manufacturer of your vanity and seeing if they have any matching offerings. Or, instead, you can look for sets from another manufacturer that involve multiple matching pieces (like a linen cabinet, mirror frame, and wall storage) that are either close enough to your color, or at least coordinate with each other to make the contrast with your vanity feel more intentional.
Traditional bathroom vanities can be even harder to match, since they often have intricate carved details that are unique to their specific designs. But while having all the parts and pieces of your vanity collection perfectly matched will certainly create a sense of unity, getting a little eclectic with your coordinating pieces isn’t going to ruin your design. In fact, a still-traditional-looking linen cabinet that’s painted a solid white, black, or gray can feel like a statement piece set against a set of wood vanities. That said, if you’re able to find a stained wood linen cabinet that’s a close match for your vanity, don’t worry if the hardware or fine detailing isn’t exactly the same; at a glance, they’ll look matched, and on a closer inspection, you’ll only have more interesting woodwork to find.
While it might not be possible to match your exact design if your vanity has a lot of antique-style woodwork, many traditional (and even contemporary) bathroom vanities share similar silhouettes that are much, much easier to match. As a rule of thumb, look for cabinets with designs that are more simplified than intricate. Especially if your vanity is very heavy on the details, you don’t want to try to pair it with a piece that’s equally heavy on different details. But a simplified, transitional cabinet won’t feel out of step with a more traditional design – it’ll simply give your space a slightly more contemporary feel.
All that said, if you have a white bathroom vanity, you’re in luck. While, sure, the color and quality of white paint will vary a little from brand to brand, it’s worlds easier to get “close enough” with a white cabinet than any other color – even gray, black, or espresso, which have even more variance between manufacturers. As an added bonus, with white vanities style is much less of an issue. A very modern linen cabinet won’t look out of place paired with a cottage vanity and vice-versa; the color itself lends well to transitional style mixing-and-matching, which means that even if your pairing is a little oddball, chances are good it’ll feel intentional rather than slapdash.
For an antique style white vanity, again you want to look for storage cabinets with a slightly minimized, more transitional design, and probably an off white finish rather than a pure white one. Even if the color and design aren’t a perfect match for your vanity, the recognizably traditional silhouette will give it that sophisticated, elegant feel, without a lot of intricate carved detailing that would make the two designs clash.
Now, on the way other end of the spectrum, if you have a more modern bathroom vanity, adding storage to your existing setup is easy. Modular storage cabinets, especially wall-mounted ones, are easy to install, don’t take up much space, and when they don’t come in exactly the same shade as you vanity, they’re funky enough to make statement pieces all on their own. These cabinets range from super-small cubbies to surprisingly hefty cabinets, and can be affixed wherever or however you want – on their own, in a checker pattern, mirrored on either side of the vanity, or otherwise. Wall mounting storage cabinets, especially shallow ones, allows you to make the most of your wall space without taking up any floor space, and give you the freedom to get exactly the storage you need exactly where you want it, especially in a small bathroom.
Wall mounted storage cabinets, like wall mounted vanities, are also customizable to your height. This is especially nice for people who are particularly tall or small, and who might otherwise have difficulty finding storage cabinets that are of a height that’s convenient and comfortable to use. They’re also great for a master bath for two people of very different height, since you’ll be able to nab everything you need in the same style without having to compromise on a comfortable height. Add to that the fact that most modern vanities (and, hence, most modern cabinets) come in either relatively limited palettes (you know the drill: white, black, gray, and espresso) or really unusual faux wood veneers, and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one that will complement your existing setup.
Buying new storage cabinets as part of a larger remodel may make it easier to get a matching setup, but buying storage cabinets separately gives you a ton of flexibility to build exactly the type of storage you want. Big modular storage sets are more common than they used to be, and even if it’s a little more trouble to purchase them all individually, being able to choose and assemble the pieces you want the way you want them means the resulting “storage cabinet” will look and work exactly the way you want it to.
If you’re feeling a little crowded with your current bathroom configuration, or if you’re just sick of the wire towel rack or bargain-store hutch over your toilet, even if you have a small bathroom, there are so many options out there to get the storage you need and have it look the way you want.
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