Wednesday, May 17, 2017

16 Space Saving Storage with an Organized Medicine Cabinet

We have recently made two changes to our home that I just can't stop lovin' on. First, we added the board and batten treatment to our family room and it was such a dramatic difference in the overall feeling, not to mention it totally amped the coziness factor. The second change was in our main bathroom in the form of major space saving storage!


This was 100% one of the "Why in the world didn't we do this sooner?" projects. Sometimes the obvious solution isn't even on the radar. We have a very, very small main bathroom, and it has been played with so many times over the years. Tall storage cabinets, short storage cabinets, no storage cabinets... I have struck out so many times attempting to find that perfect storage balance, without taking up too much real estate in an already teeny tiny space. I have been tempted to utilize the wall over the toilet, but I find that too much wall shelving can also make a room feel cluttered and small... I would much rather conceal things. So for the past couple of years, some bathroom items and toiletries would live in the hallway linen closet, and other daily essentials would be tucked below the bathroom sink. And to protect their personal care items even further I added some sanitary storage drawers.

The last update took place almost three years ago, here is a quick refresher of what the bathroom was looking like up until recently:


Not bad, but the mirror was broken and completely rigged with objects to hold it away from the wall at the proper angle. And the topper to the vanity was never my first choice, but it came stock with the cabinet and I really was having a hard time finding a replacement piece that came in the correct size. And finally, the boys would get careless and just toss their toothbrushes into their drinking cup on the counter instead of back into their storage drawers below the sink. Oh! And teenage boys! I had no idea that they would need any type of toiletry beyond a toothbrush, but suddenly I was storing a razor, shaving cream, deodorant, cologne, face wash, hair paste... the list goes on.


I had thought about adding a medicine for a hot minute but immediately dismissed the idea because I had visions of oversized and boxy dated wall cabinets (which our builder originally installed in a couple of our bathrooms and they were promptly removed after we moved in). You guys, that is most definitely not always the case! Medicine cabinets can be recessed into your bathroom wall cavity which also allows the mirror to remain flush! And you know what else? This has been happening for years and years and years! Totally not a new concept, just new to me. Because I live under rocks. And piles of laundry....

Once I spotted a vintage style recessed cabinet at Pottery Barn, I promptly placed an order. Although the cabinet is intended to have a vintage appeal, I found it to be simple and modern and perfect for our growing boys.


We were able to open up the wall, cut away part of a stud and create a picture frame for the cabinet to be mounted to inside of the wall cavity. I shared the entire installation tutorial over on the Angie's List website here.


As you can see, this was just a quick weekend warriors type of update, the walls stayed the same but I also swapped the vanity top, faucet, and light (the light was a floor model clearance score!) to compliment the new mirror.


The medicine cabinet added the storage and freed up clutter, while the white vanity top made the room feel larger and brighter.


The actual cavity/interior of the medicine cabinet is smaller than the mirror, but it still holds everything the boys utilize each day.



The entire interior is made of metal so it is also magnetic! Magnetic equals the ability to add an endless variety of magnetic organizers and bins. Suction cup organizers will work just as well!


I found the interior to be quite dark in all black, so I added some vinyl shelf liner to the back wall. I love that it brought in a subtle pattern and some color, and it is also easy to wipe down and clean. The one thing it also did was reduce the effectiveness of the suction cup razor holder, so I just hot glued a strong magnet to the holder and the problem was solved.


For the smaller toiletries, I always hunt my house for organizers, dishes, votives and jars. The toothbrush holder is an old IKEA cup that we have had for years, while the floss sticks are now easy to access in an egg holder.


Another small kitchen dish holds random grooming tools and objects that needed to be corralled inside of the cabinet.


The shelves are adjustable to fit a variety of bottle sizes and shapes, and deep enough to fit typical bathroom canisters and organizers.


Counter clutter in small spaces makes my head spin. I find that just a couple of items on the counter can really impact the entire room. I would much rather use free space for a pretty votive of flowers and handsoap than see all of the daily toiletries scattered around the sink. And I am not sure why a cabinet over the sink is easier for my boys to maintain than a cabinet below the sink, but it seems to be working that way for now! #yes #momwin



So now I am able to use the area below the sink to hold extra towels, cleaning supplies, paper products and a small basket of bulky overflow items. The pretty stuff stays out and all of the daily items are tucked away.


I will never shy away from medicine cabinets ever again. The difference this upgrade made has been huge! No more oversized cabinets taking up floor space. No more worrying about adding extra shelving. No more running down the hall for cotton swabs and extra towels. We really couldn't be happier with this upgrade to a very high traffic area.






Are you thinking of adding a recessed medicine cabinet to your bathroom? Don't forget to head here for the full medicine cabinet installation tutorial. Also, please join me Thursday, May 18th for a Twitter chat @ 2:00 p.m. EST! Just follow the #DIYBlogChat hashtag and we will be answering questions and talking through the entire project!


16 comments:

  1. Love it! We have a very similar bathroom situation and I will be sure to embrace the medicine cabinet when we remodel

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  2. My cabinet is so shallow, probably only about half the depth of yours, so I'd pretty much given up on it. But now I'm inspired to see how I can make it work better!

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  3. My question is with the toothbrush storage. Do you find that the bottom of the cup gets all wet and grimy since after you use the toothbrush it is still wet and water accumulates at the bottom? Same question with the toilet brush holder....

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    1. No to the toothbrush holder, yes to the toilet brush holder. The toothbrush cup is tossed into our dishwasher every couple of weeks and it doesn't seem to be very grimy at all (same with the drawer organizers we use in our bathroom, they just get wiped down every few weeks). I haven't found a solution to the toilet brush other than to put a dash of cleaner inside of the holder after each use and then occasionally cleaning it with a bucket of boiling water / cleaner as needed.

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  4. What perfect timing! We are moving soon and while I love the house, the master bath is small! This looks like a great solution to counter clutter for us. Thanks

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  5. I have this same cabinet in my bathroom. Just be careful - I wear contacts and after a short time, I found that the saline started to corrode the bottom "shelf" - the one that is metal at the very bottom, not the glass upper shelves. I had to put shelf liner on the bottom too. I've also noticed that my husband isn't as careful as I am and there are scratches on the metal behind the mirror. Just wanted to give you a heads up in case you want to protect those areas as well :)

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    1. Oh no! Sorry to hear that Evelina. I appreciate the warning, it's too bad that such a beautiful cabinet is showing so much wear.

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  6. Oh! I need to do this! Is it a problem, structurally, to cut out part of a stud like that? We'd probably have to do the same...

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    1. Hi! First, that is not necessarily a cut and dry answer. Our bathroom wall is not load bearing, so we knew it was OK to remove a portion of the stud without structure concerns. Even a load bearing wall could be modified, if the proper support was added within the framing of the medicine cabinet inside of the wall.

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  7. Love this idea! We were going to put an additional medicine cabinet in our master bedroom, but the wall was too thin to add one in and I didn't want to have anything sticking out too far

    Love the solution to keep the little items organized in a dish (like the clippers, etc) I will have to try this in our additional bathroom!

    xo, Lisa
    @ Showered With Design

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  8. It is truly ironic that the littlest things can make such a big difference. Bravo to you for thinking outside of the box, or inside the wall, as it were. The bathroom looks great !!

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  9. Do you happen to know where you purchased your sink and pedestal? We are re-doing our boys' bathroom and that would be perfect!

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    1. Hello,
      The vanity base was purchased from Lowes here: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Style-Selections-Ashen-White-25-in-Undermount-Single-Sink-Bathroom-Vanity-with-Cultured-Marble-Top/3775347 and we just swapped the top for this one: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Ronbow-24-25-in-W-x-19-75-in-D-Vitreous-China-Vanity-Top-in-White-with-White-Basin-215524-1-WH/300979931.

      The original top ended up chipping in a few spots when the boys would drop something and the marks would show through the dark top. The white replacement has really been a better option all around and also opened up the space quite a bit. :)

      Have fun with your boys' bathroom project!!

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  10. I love that you share what worked and what didn't work! It's the same for me in my house. I tried some systems but eventually they didn't yield the right results and I have to improvise again & again. It's a fun journey! :D Thanks Jenn for your sharing, I really love reading your blog!

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    1. Thanks Joan! It's definitely a journey, especially as family member grow and needs change. Always a process for sure! ♥

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  11. Jenn, this looks awesome! I love how it doesn't look like your typical "medicine cabinet"! I would love to do something like this in my space bathroom, and I always love how you line your cabinets! Looks fabulous!

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