How to organize a half bath — tips and tricks from the pros

Learn how to organize a half bath to make the most of a tiny space

natural material half bath with sink and wallpaper and mirror
(Image credit: Anthropologie)

Learning how to organize a half bath the right way can make all the difference in a tiny space. 

Unlike a traditional bathroom, which typically features enough space for shelving, a half bath is often made up of only 16 to 20 square feet. This means filling your bathroom with organizational tools, like large shelves or plastic bins, just isn’t an option. 

To add to the challenge, most half baths are also linear, with the sink facing the toilet or even side-by-side with the toilet. But don't stress — organizing a small bathroom can be pretty simple if you have the right advice.

How to organize a half bath

We asked organization pros for ten ways to help keep your half bathroom looking fresh and organized. Their bathroom organization ideas are actually pretty easy to implement, even if your commode looks more like a shoe box.

1. Over-the-toilet cabinets or shelves

White minimalist shelf over the toilet in a bathroom

(Image credit: Urban Outfitters)

If the space above your toilet is free, this can be the ideal place for storing what you need in your half bath. With a plethora of over-the-toilet storage shelves on the market, like this minimalist shelf from Urban Outfitters, there are plenty of options to create the bathroom you want. 

A great place to store bath towels or extra toilet paper, these shelves often come with cabinets or sliding drawers as well, making them an indispensable storage option for your small space. 

2. Cut back on hand towels

Pink bathroom with mirror and sink featuring bronze faucet

(Image credit: Anthropologie)

Hand towels in a half bath, which is typically used by guests, are a must. However, because hand towels are so often used, they can really pile up.

Instead of going overboard on hand towels, consider taking a minimalist approach by only placing one to two towels on the sink and changing them out as needed or every few days. This frees you up with more space for other sink necessities. 

If your cabinet is overflowing with linens, it may be time to declutter your small bathroom.

3. Limit space-stealers

Decorated bathroom with wallpaper and black wooden sink

(Image credit: Anthropologie)

When adding personal touches, anything that takes up too much space, such as knick-knacks, is going to make your half bath feel cluttered and overwhelmed. 

Instead, consider changing out existing elements, such as door handles, or adding some peel-and-stick-wallpaper (we love this floral wallpaper available on Amazon) to inject some personal style into your half bath without compromising space. 

4. Utilize under the sink

Wooden bathroom vanity with marble countertop and white sink

(Image credit: Artem Kropovinsky)

When it comes to storage space you may only have the cabinets underneath your sink to work with. Because every square inch of a half bath is precious space, make sure to keep the under-sink space organized and use lid-covered bins or shelves.

Interior designer Artem Kropovinsky goes one step further to add more space. "Lazy susans inside cabinets," Kropovinsky advises. "Thorough and a very intelligent idea for hair products or skincare."

headshot of Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Artem Kropovinsky is an interior design expert and the founder of Arsight, a global award-winning design firm with over a decade of experience in residential and commercial interior design.

5. Find the perfect sized rug

Bathroom tiger rug on tiled floor

(Image credit: Urban Outfitters)

A bathroom rug can be both a fun, personal touch as well as a necessity. Although every bathroom, especially if the half bath has a shower or tub, should have a bathroom rug, adding a rug or bath mat that's too big can make the room feel cramped.

By measuring your small bathroom, you can find the right rug for your space, whether it's rectangular or even tiger-shaped like this fun bath rug from Urban Outfitters.

6. Utilize in-shower storage

Shelf in shower with vase and flowers

(Image credit: Artem Kropovinsky)

Many showers have built-in shelves or spaces to place shower caddies that can allow for extra storage. 

A great space to store any of your bath supplies, including bath bombs or other items you may not use on a daily basis, a shower shelf can be your secret weapon for storing more items in your small half bath. 

7. Try floating shelves

Light green floating shelves on a bathroom wall

(Image credit: Urban Outfitters)

Maximize your vertical space in your half bath by installing floating shelves, like these minimalist shelves from Amazon, to store the necessities you need. From storing cotton balls to extra toothpaste, floating shelves are a great, stylish way to keep your items organized without sacrificing excess space. 

"Floating shelves can be installed just about anywhere and are great for small bathrooms. You can use them to store plenty of small items like toiletries and wash clothes," says Artem.

8. Keep cleaning supplies nearby

Kitchen sink with light wooden cabinet

(Image credit: Artem Kropovinsky)

"It's always best to store cleaning supplies where you need them rather than having to carry them around the house," advises professional organizer Lindsey Mahanna

A great way to keep those items organized in a small space is by finding an area where you can group them together. Avoid buying bulk cleaning supplies as those products can take up too much space in your limited-space bathroom. 

Lindsey Mahanna
Lindsey Mahanna

Lindsey Mahanna is a professional home organizer and founder of Clutter to Clarity, based in Morris County. As a busy working mom and former CPA with over 20 years of experience in accounting and human resources, she knows how customized organizational systems can calm the chaos of life.

9. Let the light shine in

White bathroom with wooden vanity and mirror

(Image credit: Artem Kropovinsky)

Although opening a window won't technically add more square footage to your small half-bathroom, more natural light will make your space feel bigger

Instead of relying on ceiling lights to create a mood, consider using transparent drapery or window treatments, like these sheer curtains from Amazon, that allow more light to flow through. 

"The biggest impact you can make in a small space is to add more light. This can be tricky in a bathroom where privacy is essential, but some sheer window treatments can be enough to let in some light while keeping the view obstructed," says Artem.

10. Replace outdated items

Minimalist planter on a bathroom counter top

(Image credit: Artem Kropovinsky)

Even with the most limited space, it's important to make your bathroom feel like it showcases some of your personal design style. While you may not have room for tons of knick-knacks, replacing your outdated bathroom accessories with ones that reflect your personal style will help the room feel put together.

Although it's a great solution to choose minimalist decor to highlight what space you do have, it's not necessary to strip everything away. To add a bit of style, consider adding a few decor pieces including plants, colorful curtains, or a shag rug. 

FAQs

How can I make guests feel more comfortable in my half bath?

Many half bathrooms are used as guest bathrooms. When it comes to making guests more comfortable in your bathroom, consider changing out the hand towels often and adding an element of fragrance (such as a candle or potpourri).  

What types of items cannot be stored in a bathroom cabinet?

When it comes to storing items in a bathroom cabinet, it's best to keep anything electric stored elsewhere. That includes hair tools such as curling irons or blow dryers. Further, makeup products stored in a bathroom cabinet can experience moisture, which could damage these items. Instead, find someplace these items can stay dry. 


From utilizing the little open space you have to make the most of your existing storage options, there are plenty of ways to create a half bath that stays organized and clean. 

Overloading your W.C. with items you may never use is one of the biggest things people with an organized bathroom never do. So keep your belongings to a minimum and make sure you love every item in your bathroom.

Kate Santos
Contributor

Hello! I’m Kate Santos, a writer and photographer based in Los Angeles. In the design world, I got my start working as an Editorial Intern for Dwell magazine in San Francisco. Since then, I’ve written about design and architecture in many national magazines and online publications, including Playboy, Hunker, and The Culture Trip.


I grew up in a very old house in North Carolina and am still influenced by the rustic, charming, antique and aged elements of a home. Sustainability and longevity is extremely important to me and I believe learning to reuse materials or purchasing items you’ll love forever goes a long way. I also lean towards the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi when designing my own home, embracing the perfectly imperfect items I can find. 

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