Bathroom Upgrade #1: Adding Storage

Glancing at my archives, I realized it’s been a while since I blogged about anything house-related, other than our progress on the nursery. In fairness, the nursery is the only part of the house that’s been getting that much attention lately — but even so, there are a few little upgrades that have taken place since we moved in that haven’t made it to the blog, and I thought I’d take a look at one of those today.

I believe I’ve mentioned our old apartment on here before, but just to recap, it was a one-bedroom basement unit. It had its shortcomings, but one thing that was very hard to complain about was the bathroom, which was huge. It was seriously about the size of our current bedroom, and it had enough room for two sinks, a standalone shower stall, and a big luxurious jacuzzi tub.

Our new bathroom is tiny by comparison — a 5-foot by 7-foot box with just the minimum amount of space needed to accommodate a toilet, sink, and (standard-sized) bathtub. The following diagram illustrates the size difference — the exact dimensions of the old bathroom may not be exact, but it’s a pretty close approximation:

Floorplan of our old apartment's bathroom (left) compared to our current bathroom (right).

I didn’t realize until we moved just how much I’d taken all that space for granted. We ended up packing up an entire box of “bathroom stuff,” but we quickly found that in the new house, there was nowhere to put it. The medicine cabinet over our new sink was less than half the size of the one at the old apartment, and there was no linen closet or shelves to help make up for it. We had a cabinet under the sink to work with, and that was pretty much it.

One possible response to this dilemma would have been to find a way to reduce the amount of bathroom stuff we had. But instead, we opted to upgrade our bathroom’s storage capabilities, and began shopping around for some kind of shelving system that we could install over the toilet. We ended up picking up one from Target — the physical store, not the website — and unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the exact listing for it online. This one is pretty similar, though it has a different shelving configuration and is more expensive than what we paid for ours.

Anyway, here’s the bathroom as it looked when we moved in — the space above the toilet gets cut off on the left side of the picture, but you can kind of see that there’s nothing there except a towel rod:

The bathroom as seen when we moved in.

Unfortunately I don’t have any “before” pics from other angles. But here’s the bathroom as seen from the other direction, showing the new shelving unit installed over the toilet:

The shelves and cabinet installed over the toilet.

We picked the darker color because the only other choice was white, and it seemed like the bathroom might risk becoming too pale and bland if we kept adding white things. Unfortunately, it ended up looking darker in real life than it did in the picture on the box — the photo gave the impression that it was more of a rich wood color similar to the doors and trim we already had in the house.

But even if it isn’t the sort of classy, color-coordinated thing you’d see in the interior decorating magazines, it provided exactly the functionality we wanted: more storage! The shelves offer plenty of space for spare rolls of toilet paper and soaps and the like, and the big concealed cabinet added a welcome place for stashing stuff like shaving supplies and deodorant that we’d rather not have lying out all the time. Here’s a closer photo showing the setup of the shelves and cabinet:

Closer view of the storage shelves and cabinet.

So that’s the happy ending to what started out as an unfortunate bathroom downgrade, at least compared to our old place. But with that out of the way, the bathroom to-do list still has quite a few things on it, including:

  • Caulking around the bathtub — the need for which was glimpsed in this drain-related post. We actually went and got the supplies already, so it’s just a matter of getting to work on that.
  • Upgrading the plumbing fixtures — especially the showerhead, which is old and beige and generally kind of icky.
  • Ripping down the wallpaper — yeah, there’s wallpaper. Apparently the previous owners just painted over it at one point… which wouldn’t be a problem, except that it’s starting to peel up in places. Boo.

So there are plenty of bathroom projects left tackle. Although unless I get a mega-dose of pregnancy nesting energy soon, I have a feeling that most of these things are going to have to wait until after Baby Hart makes her debut!


  1. I love those over the toilet storage units. We have one in each of our bathrooms. They are very handy. I do love that bigger bathroom in your apartment (especially with the Jacuzzi tub), but some things are just more important than bathroom space. Love and hugs to you all! :)

  2. I think you made the right move going with the darker looking cabinet…It gives your bathroom a more modern/professional look. It also takes care of the storage issue (the bathroom being smaller in size then the previous).Good choice, and great post!

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