How to organize a bathroom - 10 clever steps professionals use for an instant declutter

Design and decor tricks for how to organize a bathroom mean you can turn your space into a serene and Zen-like spa

An organiszed bathroom by Project Refuge Studio
(Image credit: Project Refuge Studio)

Knowing how to organize a bathroom is one of life’s great challenges. A bathroom must be a practical space which can often make for unsightly interiors, but they are essential spaces for self-care and relaxation. A little organization and decluttering goes a long way to transform these rooms into stylish sanctuaries - places to unwind, and a clean space can go really lift your interiors.

‘My bathroom is my favourite place to escape to,’ says Chrissie Rucker, founder of The White Company. ‘Taking time to make it a much-loved room is so worthwhile. Super-soft towels, a lovely robe and sumptuous bath mat all contribute to the experience and never fail to lift the spirits, too,’ she says. 

‘I am a great believer that every bath, or shower, we take is a great opportunity to make a mini-spa moment. In our ever-growing digital world, it’s so important to create time to unplug, switch off and just enjoy being at home.' Here's our top tips for inspiration for how to organize your bathroom and live a clutter-free life.

HOW TO ORGANIZE A BATHROOM - OUR TOP TIPS

'Considering we start and end our days in the bathroom, how you set up your bathroom can make or break your day,' says professional organizer Laura Cottano (opens in new tab). 'Not only how the bathroom is designed and decorated to suit your taste and create a feeling of calmness, but how things are organized.

'Being organized is knowing what you have and where to find it - knowing the products you have and having them easily accessible is key to actually using them,' she says. Storage solutions can help, alongside clean and linear design. 

1. Opt for multitasking storage solutions

A shelf that doubles up as hooks

(Image credit: Tom Raffield)

Get clever with design that combines form, function and style. Mirrors that double up as cabinets and bounce the light around the room are a great way to disguise bathroom storage while providing a practical function. ‘Why not create a unique focal point in your bathroom as well as a practical space needed to display your bathroom essentials,’ says Tom Raffield (opens in new tab), founder and designer of the eponymous contemporary furniture brand. Tom's House Shelf with Mirror (pictured) is another deft solution, providing a place to store your small trinkets like jewellery and other everyday essentials that you need to grab on the go. You can even tuck a small towel on the hoop.

Shelves too can provide dual functions. Not just a place to put your bathroom toiletries, shelves can save valuable floor space with hooks for hanging towels. ‘Our Tor Twist Shelf is a great solution. Shaped from flowing ash wood, the fluid design challenges everyday linear storage solutions. The sustainable design is practical, yet aesthetically pleasing,’ says Raffield. 

 2. Decant bottles into tasteful receptacles

Decanted bottles for a stylish and comprehensive look

(Image credit: Jeffreys)

For a conscious bathroom design, go for refillable bottles, which can work to be sustainable and environmentally sound while keeping a uniform and slick design to your bathroom. A complete accessory set for your shampoos, conditioners and all your other lotions and potions can also work as a decorative piece that complete the overall look. 

'Hiding shower products can be tricky, especially if they're in brightly coloured packaging as this can jar with an otherwise cohesive scheme. Instead of hiding your bathroom products, think about dispensing them into pumps and containers that complement your room style. Think brown glass bottles or smoked green containers,’ says Xander Shreenan, interior designer at Dowsing & Reynolds (opens in new tab)

Meanwhile, glass jars and mason jars work for other bathroom essentials like cotton buds and nail files, and can complement the scheme and bring a harmonious design to your bathroom aesthetic. For extra organization points, don’t forget to label. ‘You can even get personalised with tags or a simple marker pen in contrasting color can work,’ adds Shreenan.

3. Style your towels in a perfect way 

Perfectly folded towels make for a clean and decluttered bathroom

(Image credit: Neptune)

The type of towels you pick for your bathroom can really add to the look and feel of the space. They are an important addition that soften the room and you want them to be uniform, well looked-after and enticingly fluffy. 

Hanging towels are an easy way to store, but can be visually busy and aesthetically displeasing. Consider folding your towel to keep things neat and organized. ‘It’s good to learn how to properly fold your towels, says Joanna Ross, manager of design at Sheridan (opens in new tab). ‘It helps keep them soft and they will stay in far better condition without excessive creasing. Also make sure they are fully dry before storing them.’ 

Make sure you carefully consider how to fold your towels, too. ‘My favorite technique when it comes to displaying towels is similar to what you see in a hotel,’ says Ross. 

‘It’s one of the simplest and least time-consuming methods and involves laying the towel flat and then folding each long edge into the middle, so both long edges meet in the center. This leaves you with neat sides, hiding the various labels. Then simply lay the towel over your towel bar and if you are feeling really fancy, order your towels by size starting from the largest at the bottom and working your way to the top with smaller towels.’

Another method is to roll the fabric. This method takes up less space and is more visually appealing plus adds a spa feel to your bathroom.

4. Maximize your vanity cabinets

A bathroom cabinet housing both the basin and storage

(Image credit: BC Designs)

The ultimate in bathroom organization, the vanity cabinet is an essential for a decluttered space. Combining a space for your taps with valuable storage space underneath, there are a variety of bathroom vanity ideas for storing your bathroom essentials. 

“Vanity units utilize otherwise dead space, but when picking the right vanity unit, check out the depth and height of the space to check that it would work for you and the kind of items you are wishing to store away,’ says Barrie Cutchie of BC Designs (opens in new tab)

‘Choosing the right vanity cabinet will mean that it will never be a problem to keep your bathroom surfaces clutter-free,’ says James Stevenson, creative director of Imperial Bathrooms. ‘Your favorite soaps and scents will always be within easy reach, and any household cleaning products kept out of sight, ticking these functional boxes is key and means your bathroom can be the relaxing retreat you need it to be.’

5. Add shelving in the shower

A shower with in-built shelving

(Image credit: Interior Fox)

Explore bathroom shelving ideas and add extra storage in your shower area for a specific place for your bath and body essentials. This will give them a home in the bathroom and mean they’re never out of place and causing unwanted clutter. ‘Recessed shelves are ideal for creating extra storage in your shower area, though they can also be placed close to sinks and baths,’ says Barrie Cutchie of BC Designs.  

‘The best way to achieve this is by installing one within a stud wall which makes it much easier to construct, and by doing so, it allows you to create a shelf storage without decreasing the space within the shower cubicle. This is really important for helping to organize when space is tight, but if you are lucky enough to have a large shower area, it can also be used to showcase luxury toiletries or plants.’ 

6. Give your bath a side table or bath tray

A bath tray makes an aesthetic storage unit

(Image credit: Zac&Zac. Design: Jeffreys)

Another place for storage for your soaps, shampoos and conditioners is a bath tray, which works well to marry style and practicality. It’s not just a place for your essentials, but a great storage solution for your bathroom luxuries. ‘I always like to pair a freestanding bath with a smart bath tray, you can even prop your tablet on there for a bit of in tub viewing,’ says interior designer Pandora Taylor (opens in new tab).

A side table is another chic option, propped up next to your freestanding bath. A place to put your bathtime essentials while bringing that element of luxury and pampering to the space.

7. Think about the overall aesthetic

Complementary colors and neutral tones in a bathroom

(Image credit: Wing Ho. Design: Project Refuge Studio)

It’s not just about the tricks, tips and storage solutions though, and as Victoria Sass of the Minneapolis-based Prospect Refuge Studio (opens in new tab) points out, ‘there is a lot of power in aesthetics.’ Simple things you can do to declutter the space through clean lines and soothing colors and help you to reorganise your mind and restore your bathroom to that peaceful oasis of calm. 

According to Sass, a way to mentally declutter the space is to minimise visual noise, so opt for a monochromatic color palette and keep things simple. When it comes to bathroom tile ideas, choose a single size tile and use it in as many places as you can. ‘It sounds small, but grout choices can affect the energy of a space. The less grout lines between tile, the less visually busy an environment is, so consider a larger format tile. Find a grout color that matches the value of your tile - for example, light tile with light grout reads as a single unbroken surface and accentuates the simplicity of a space.’ 

For Tom Raffield, bathroom organization is all about the furnishings and natural materials too. ‘There’s no better way to create your own bathroom sanctuary at home, than by bringing nature inside. Natural materials like wood are the perfect way to create calm, quality living spaces. If your bathroom is on the small side, keep the colour scheme neutral, highlight architectural features with clean lines, and add some greenery to keep things fresh.’ 

8. Get clever with your wall radiators

A wall radiator in a bathroom

(Image credit: The Radiator Company)

Use the wall to your advantage and utilize your heating source as a rack for hanging towels all at once. There are a wealth of styles out there, from standard vertical formats to horizontal and side loading rails, plus oval tubes are becoming increasingly popular.   

'Bathrooms tend to have limited space and towel radiators are an ideal solution, designed to function as both a heating source as well as a towel warmer,’ says Simon Morris of The Radiator Company (opens in new tab). ‘A towel rail can totally transform your bathroom space, offering the ultimate indulgence of toasty towels after a shower or bath. It’s also a great way to keep the space tidy.’

For extra efficient bathrooms, plan ahead and organize your bathroom to be the perfect sanctuary in the warmer months with a dual fuel towel rail for the warmer weather. Dual fuel radiators offer a lot more flexibility and control than standard radiators as they can be used when your central heating system is off - perfect in summer when you still want a warm towel after your bath or shower.

9. Use wicker baskets for extra storage

Wicker baskets make for a great storage solution

(Image credit: Neptune)

There are a lot of essentials that end up stored in the bathroom, from beauty products to children’s toys, to more unsightly cleaning products and toilet roll. Tasteful bathroom baskets can be a simple way to organize into one comprehensive space. 

‘When styling your bathroom and thinking of storage, we find baskets are our first port of call to keep bathing essentials in one place,’ says George Miller, home designer at furniture brand, Neptune (opens in new tab). ‘Stacked under the sink or used decoratively as part of a washstand set-up, baskets will add structure and texture to your bathroom’. Neptune create wicker and jute baskets in a pleasing neutral color palette that are slouchy but sturdy.  

10. Consider customized cabinetry

Floor to ceiling cabinets in the bathroom

(Image credit: Purple Cherry)

Cabinets aren’t just for the kitchen. For larger bathrooms, don’t miss out on the opportunity to add cabinets and built-in drawers along the walls. In this example from architectural designer Purple Cherry (opens in new tab), storage has been used on every spare wall. 

‘Add in-drawer electrical outlets for hairdryers, styling tools or electric toothbrushes and razors. The appliances remain plugged in and hidden and unsightly outlets remain out of site,’ says Cathy Purple Cherry.

Our favourite bathroom organizers...

Here are just a few of our favoriture bathroom organizers for you to shop now, for an easier life and a clutter-free bathroom.

HOW TO DECLUTTER TOILETRIES

A tidy organised bathroom really repays and will mean you’ll start and end the day so much more relaxed. The first thing on your list should be organizing those toiletries. 

‘Take everything out and sort as you go,’ says Peter Jackson, member of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (opens in new tab) (APDO) and owner of Calm the Clutter (opens in new tab). ‘Get rid of anything that’s used, or out of date. Toiletries have a durability or ‘periods after opening’ times and it’s usually 12 or 18 months. But of course you can’t remember when you first opened things, so just use your judgement. Anything dried up or faded has to go. Next there’s all that duplicated stuff. Consolidate opened duplicates into one container.’ 

In terms of make-up, keep an eye on what is used up and go through your make-up bags every few months. 'Sadly, items like mascara use lots of plastic and toxic ingredients, meaning they’re not as eco-friendly as we’d probably like,’ says Sian Pelleschi, conference director of (APDO) and founder of Sorted! (opens in new tab). However, there are ways to dispose of these previously unrecyclable items responsibly like initiatives such as Terracycle (opens in new tab).  

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.