adding storage to a tiny bathroom

by | Feb 17, 2016 | All Things Home, Bathrooms, Decorating, My House, Organizing | 56 comments

Remember the upstairs bathroom that I worked on last year?  It is just the sweetest bathroom and I smile every time I walk past it…even with toothpaste globbed in the sink and splattered on the mirror.


The only downside is that it is really tiny and doesn’t have any storage.  None at all.  Not a cabinet or shelf or hooks or anything.  And, with a pedestal sink, there aren’t many places to set your stuff.

So, I added a glass shelf to the right of the sink.  We set a few extra rolls of toilet paper up there and it gives a place for guests to set their toiletries.  (The boys don’t have anything beyond a toothbrush, so I have an antique alarm clock and little boxwood topiary up there for now.)

I would’ve preferred no shelf at all, I think, but a glass one allows the paper to still be the feature.

There is a large, flat wall perpendicular to the sink, on the left, and that was an ideal place to hang some hooks for towels.

I’ve had the hooks (from Hobby Lobby) hanging out in a closet for months and I finally cut a 1 x 4 board to size, primed and painted it, and then nailed it to the wall with a finishing nailer.  I inserted the hooks with 3/4″ screws.

This room is really awkward to photograph!  I was wedged at the back of the tub with a 24mm (wide angle) lens to capture this picture, but you get the idea!

I really prefer hooks over towel bars.  First of all, towels don’t try when they are folded up over a towel bar.  Second, it’s really hard to keep towels on a towel bar neatly folded when they are actually used.  They always end up looking sloppy, so we don’t have one single towel bar in our entire house.

I was going to put something cute on the sink, but this is the boy’s bathroom and I decided to just keep it how it is every day (well, after a nice cleaning)…Ironman toothbrush and all.

I picked up this cast iron sign at the Raleigh Flea market last summer…

I like it from a decorating perspective, but I think it’s also fair warning that I am not always responsible for the state of the toilet.  Boy moms everywhere understand.

So, if ever you’re at my house, you have fair warning.

Wallpaper Mural is from Anthropologie

Mercer Double Horizontal Sconce is from Pottery Barn

Convington Glass Shelf from Pottery Barn

Mirror is painted in a custom mix of Lucketts Green, Boxwood & Mustard Seed Yellow in Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint


  1. Marsha Kern

    I too love hooks in the bathroom! It looks great!

  2. Melanie

    I like the hook idea. I have a really small bathroom and a really small towel bar. Hooks would be so much better!

  3. Karen

    I love the uniqueness of this little bathroom! I am waiting for you to decide to paint the orange doors. It seems like they are the last thing left to renovate in your very lovely home.

    • Katherine

      I was just about to say how much I love the door! But you’re right, it is that orange/honey-color that everyone seems to want to get rid of these days. But the grain! It’s so interesting.

  4. karen keller-eyer

    As a mother of three boys and the owner of an equally small bathroom this post speaks to me but then again 95% of your posts speak to me !

  5. Argelia Brown

    Your bathroom always brings a smile to my face. We also live in an old house with high ceilings. So instead of painting the bathroom ceiling, I made many, many copies of the Sistine Chapel and glued it to the ceiling! It’s always a nice surprise to look up and see a beautiful piece of art in such an unexpected place! You’re always an inspiration. Thank you!

  6. Lorie

    As a mom of now grown boys this post made me smile. And I totally agree with
    you about the towel bars. We didn’t install them in our house when we built it. And
    luckily there is a heating vent under my towel hook in the master bath so not only do the towels
    dry faster, but in the winter they are toasty!

  7. lisa Bivona

    I love this bathroom. still working on mine, I wish I’d leveled the floor before laying the little marble tiles. thanks for sharing again.

  8. beverlee

    Love it. we removed the towel bars a couple of years ago when we painted. They are always a mess and usually take up too much room. hooks for us. love them.
    I love that bathroom, think it’s perfect for y’all.

  9. Noelle

    I simply adore this small bathroom that’s big on personality :):)

  10. Sheila

    I LOVE the “Gentlemen’s Restroom” sign. May I ask where you got it?

  11. Jennifer Faris

    Love everything about this bathroom!!!

  12. Susan

    I always enjoy your posts, but I must say all of the ads and the way they are presented in between the the text is completely annoying and ruins the feel of your blog! I usually just delete the post rather than slog through all the ads. Just lettin ya know!

    • Katherine

      I’m using Chrome as my browser, and I actually don’t see ads in between any of the text or photos on the blog itself. They are on the right or below the blog. I will say I have read other blogs that have the text popping up from the graphics (and half covering them) and in between the paragraphs so you’re not sure what is the article and what is an ad! So I feel your pain, Susan. But also wanted to reply that it may be the way the browser is representing the page that is the culprit.

    • marian

      Are you looking on a phone or computer?

    • Beth H.

      download Adblocker What a lifesaver that has been! just on this page alone it says it blocked 46 ads!! Its free and fast and simple!

  13. KimL

    I cracked up when I read your “disclaimer”. I always cringe when someone unexpectantly asks to use our powder room. It is used mostly by my son so I feel the need to give the same disclaimer.

  14. Kay

    Love your sign!!! I’m in the process of changing up our small Master Bathroom. I am short on storage space there as well…. I had pegs on a 4″ board all around the room. I am switching those out for some vintage looking hooks. I also don’t believe in towel racks. Love your bathroom!

  15. G.S.

    I live in a 90-year-old house and UNDERSTAND small bathrooms. I need storage space for towels, but where? And how? Any ideas? No floor space.

  16. KATHY B.

    I like your sign on the door. Gentlemen they are(most of the time I am sure) !! I have a grown son and daughter, also 3 grandaughters and one grandson, He is a real boy!!

  17. Cindy Musselman

    As a mother of two boys (now grown) I solved the toilet problems by bringing them in and asking them if they wanted to clean the toilet. Of course they said no and I told them that neither did I so, if they wanted me to clean it, no more of the mess or they would have to clean it. Well it worked! 🙂
    Lovely job!(but then, you always do)

  18. Marlene Stephenson

    I live in a house that the MB is really small. Pedestal sink, shower and stool but,i find it hard to find a place for towel storage. Always something i don’t think i have ever seen a perfect house, well maybe in heaven.Lol!!

  19. Stephenie Klingler

    Love that wall paper! The mirror is unique, too. Just wonder where do you put cleaning supplies? When they are older and start to have their own toiletries, where will they keep them? Is there some kind of shelf or ledge around/near the tub for shampoo and soap? Thanks

    • marian

      I keep my bathroom cleaning supplies in a tote and carry them around to each bathroom when I’m cleaning. As far as the toiletries, there is a closet right across from the bathroom, so we’ll probably keep them in their. Fortunately, I have boys instead of girls, which makes keep the toilet clean harder, but it helps when it comes to storing toiletries! 🙂

  20. Naomi S.

    I wasn’t sold on that mural you put in this tiny bathroom, but, now when I see it I think it’s okay. Gives the bathroom kind of a unique, funky look. Is there a red bird in it somewhere? Because I recently bought a pair of shoes and I swear the lid of box has that mural design on it with a red bird! How strange is that!

    Regarding the towel hooks, I was debating whether to put up hooks or a towel bar in my main bathroom after I finish the do-over that I started about ten years ago. After reading your rationale for the hooks I’ve decided they make the most sense. So thanks for settling that debate for me!

    Storage can be a bear in older houses. I wonder if there would be room for you to put a little, lowish white towel cabinet between the sink and the bathtub. At least that would be a place to keep a few towels and washcloths handy. And maybe a roll of t.p. or two. Just a tho’t.

  21. Cheryl

    ☺️Giggle Giggle?, having raised tow boys, I get it!
    Sweet room! Totally enjoyed the blog as usual?. Thank you!

  22. mary

    I would totally paint out the doors, they make the your house look so dated and drab.

    • Laura C

      Wow. That’s a little harsh.

  23. Kim

    How about building a box around the radiator with a little extra cabinet space? You could also stack things on top.

  24. Nancy

    Love the bathroom , but I’m just the opposite. I find the towels dry better on a rod, but I have hooks too! Hooks don’t take up as much toom.

  25. Jean

    The wallpaper stuns me. I want it. Sigh.

    I had a neighbor with 4 sons and a daughter. On each kid’s birthday, they got their own box of detergent and bottle of bleach and had to do all their own laundry. Sheets and towels included.
    They each had a day and they all stuck to it. And they all knew how to clean toilets. Just sayin’.
    It’s like teaching good manners and how to appreciate special china and glasswear, if they are not taught/exposed, they won’t suddenly know at 18 or 21.

    • marian

      Oh yeah, I agree! We make them do cleaning and chores, but I do have to go behind them to get the bathroom properly clean. 🙂

    • Laura C

      My son did his own laundry too. When he moved back in after college, he asked me why I didn’t have bleach because he needed it for his whites. Too funny!

  26. Patti

    Really like what you’ve done with the boys’ bathroom – from the mural to the green mirror! I’ve just recently decided to add hooks to my bathroom.

  27. Melanie

    I really love the wall paper in this bathroom!!! The sink, the tile, the mirror and sconces all send me to a happy place, but I have to agree with some of the other comments. The orange doors are not matching anything. They look horrible with all the white, grey and green. And as much as I love that cute little sign, it just draws more attention to the orange doors. I think they need some kind of paint, stain or wash.
    Also, I am with you, I love hooks and there is not a bathroom in our house that has rods either. I think that for more storage, you should build around the radiator like you did in the 1/2 bath. It would look lovely!
    Thank you for always making your blog such a wonderful place to visit.


    • marian

      Yeah, I painted all of the trim in the house, but there is something about the doors that makes me want to leave them alone. I like how the white trim frames them out. Also, the floors upstairs are very orange pine, so they work with the doors. You know I’m always up for painting, but I’m at peace with the doors. 🙂

  28. mary m young

    As ever love your ideas. Wish I had known this trick when I was training my two sons.
    Put cherrios I the toilet for target practice! Practice makes perfect……….

  29. Liz

    I love everything about this bathroom!

  30. Addie

    NO!!!! don’t paint the doors!!!! I think they are beautiful.and add character. You DO live in an older home and that is the way they were. Why do people buy older homes just to change every single thing??!!!! Can you believe a neighbor had original french doors that opened out to a small porch
    and took them down and made a solid wall!!!! He showed me, as he was proud of what he had done and I was just sick about it. This was a home built in 1914……keep the doors!!!!

  31. Antonella

    I love the mural wallpaper, but I’m wondering: how about water splashes or toothpaste globs on the wallpaper between sink and mirror? Do you notice any discoloration/ripping etc? How would you clean that?
    thanks for sharing

    • marian

      No, actually it’s been great to wipe up with just some warm water.

  32. Dianne

    Love the new hooks. We have a small home and I prefer hooks as well.

  33. Sheila

    I love a glass shelf! You did a beautiful job with a small space and the wallpaper adds the finishing touch. I had a little sign when my son was small that said “I am to please…you aim too please”! LOL

  34. Jamie

    Very nice, love the wallpaper!

  35. Alison G

    In the photos three and five it looks like the top of the wallpaper is short or has white on it. Is that the case? I have towel rods because I think they dry better. I agree a radiator cover would give you another place to set things.

    • marian

      My ceilings are very uneven, since it’s an old house. There was almost an inch difference from one side to the other! So, there is a little white space at the top of some of the pieces, where the wall slanted. Since it was a mural design, I didn’t have as much play as I would’ve with a repeating pattern.

      • Alison G

        I see, thanks for the reply.

  36. marylisa noyes

    I like the idea of the wood backing for the hooks. It gives them a nice finished look.

  37. Cheri Gibson

    I love that you went outside the box and created an enormously functional, gender neutral restroom! The paper, the hooks & the paint treatment on the mirror are the BEST!

  38. Melody Yates

    Lovely little bathroom! Mine is also that small and I need to think of ways to add storage. It is a good idea to have many hangers but I think that it will be great to have a closet under the sink and one above it. Thanks for the post! I really like the design of your cute little bathroom. The vintage enamel plate and the wooden chair make the atmosphere very special!

  39. Lindsey

    Wow this is a very unique wall paper and green color but to my surprise they look fabulous together!

  40. Lee W.

    I love the sign Gentlemens Rest Room. Can you tell me where I can find one?

  41. Judy

    I WISH my bathroom was that big! I can literally sit on the toilet and put my feet in the tub, and wash my hands in the sink all at the same time! And the only light fixture is overhead on the ceiling, not above the mirror so I can see my face as I it my makeup on. Always bumping into something because everything is slanted or uneven. I did use over the door hooks for the towels. Have a toilet tank size metal basket for necessities like hair dryer, cosmetics, toothpaste, hairspray, etc. etc. Any ideas?

  42. Eva Nash

    I have to say I LOOOOVE the doors !! REAL WOOD DOORS ARE A TREASURE!! I grew up in a 1936 beautiful cape colonial in Westport CT .. 35 years my parents lived there then idiotically I agreed with a realtor who wanted them to sell..saying that a new house would be better. I was WRONG. Our whole family grieves for the character and real wood and authentic old bay windows and wood built ins of that precious house. The buyers tore it down and built a hideous McMansion. Ruined the entire sweet maple lined river front neighborhood. The guilt haunts me to this day. I would weep if you painted those doors! To paint beautiful wood doors white just makes them look like the cheapo plastic fake wood doors I loathe in our new home in Florida. Cannot wait to replace every singke one with real wood. And don’t get me started on vinyl siding or proud ( ugly) replacement windows everyone is slapping on their houses with no clue how it eliminates the Beautiful shadows and architectural proportions that original old windows have that create that warmth and charm . . I’d give my eye teeth to find a house with the charm and character of yours. Steam radiators are a zillion times better than forced air. Keeps the house from being brutally dry in winter and eliminates 90% of dust. Also wonderful for warming towels on and drying out winter boots and mittens. I think that door looks FABULOUS ( love the sign! Boy mom here!) and the entire bathroom makes me smile as does everything you do! You are truly gifted with a brilliant eye and I adore everything you do! Love love love it .. and YOU. Thank you for your authenticity and grace. It’s so refreshing in this plastic door filled bland white cookie cutter world. Bless you!! 🙏🏻♥️🥰


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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