6 powder room storage mistakes to avoid – and what you should be doing instead

Swerve the errors that make a powder room cluttered and find space for all the essentials it needs

Powder room storage mistakes
(Image credit: Future/Farrow & Ball)

Creating sufficient storage space in a powder room can be a challenge. One of these is typically the smallest room in a house, and powder room storage mistakes can render it awkward to use and cluttered in appearance.

The room’s fixtures take up a large proportion of the room, so storage needs to fit into the limited leftover space for powder room ideas to prove a success, making it easy to end up with too few places to put away essentials.

The good news? Design professionals have seen all the ways powder room storage can go wrong before and, here, they reveal the common traps along with the ways not to fall into them.

6 powder room storage mistakes to avoid

Like a small bathroom a powder room poses a design dilemma in fitting its sink and toilet plus storage for the room’s necessities. A vanity can serve two purposes with a single footprint but small powder room ideas often need more than that in the way of tidying space. 

Find out what can go wrong when trying to satisfy all the room’s requirements, and what to do instead.

1. Keeping storage low

Modern powder room with wallpaper and metal fittings

(Image credit: Nicole Gerulat Photography / Alice Lane Interiors)

Storage that only occupies the lower part of the room can be a mistake in a powder room as it might as part of bathroom ideas and half bathroom ideas. After all, there’s so much more space that you can exploit.

‘Opt for tall cabinets and shelves that kiss the ceiling – this can do wonders for your organization game,’ says Elizabeth Vergara, the founder and principal designer of Vergara Homes.

Interior designer Artem Kropovinsky agrees. ‘Often overlooked, vertical storage solutions can be transformative in a powder room,’ he says. ‘By embracing tall, slender cabinets and wall-mounted elements, we can gracefully draw the eye upward, making the space feel both organized and expansive.’

Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Based in New York, Artem Kropovinsky, founder of Arsight, has a decade of extensive and considerable global design experience. Prioritizing minimalism, sustainability, and authenticity, Artem, alongside his team of professionals, works on projects in the US and worldwide.

2. Not using the walls

Blue and yellow powder room

(Image credit: Simon Brown)

To ensure a powder room is chic and spacious rather than cluttered, consider how the walls can be employed to expand storage.

‘In a small powder room space, the walls are your friend,’ says NYC-based interior designer Kaitlin McQuaide of McQuaide Interiors. ‘A delicate wall shelf for hand towels, or a wall-mounted soap pump provides an alternative storage area when you are lacking essential counter space.’ And think wall-mounted faucets to free up the countertop, too.

A headshot showing designer Kaitlin McQuaide
Kaitlin McQuaide

Kaitlin McQuaide began her career working for Victoria Hagan and the architecture firm Workshop/APD before launching McQuaide Co. Her company is a full-service interior design and consulting studio based in New York City. Estbalished in 2018, it specializes in interior architecture & design for high-end residential and hospitality projects.

3. Trying to fit too much

Powder room

(Image credit: Ca' Pietra)

It’s a mistake to cram a multitude of supplies into a powder room, according to the experts. It can only end up as a cluttered rather than efficient space.

‘Store any extras in a different area of your home, such as your laundry room or a storage cabinet nearby,’ recommends Leah Tuttleman, interior designer at Re-Bath.

Make sure there isn’t an excess of items on show, either. ‘Display only the necessities when it comes to hand towels, soap, tissue, and lotion,’ she says. ‘This includes limiting the number of accessories.’

4. Failing to corral items

Powder room with marble tiles

(Image credit: Future)

Powder room storage is precious, so don’t neglect the extras that maximize its usefulness.

‘Baskets and drawer organizers are your allies for keeping small items in check,’ says Alice Moszczynski, interior designer at Planner 5D. ‘They help maintain a neat and clutter-free appearance.’ Follow the rule of keeping like with like, too, to make items easy to locate within organizers. 

5. Swerving mirrored cabinets

modern powder room with large mirror

(Image credit: Ward & Co.)

Think mirrored cabinets to boost storage and incorporate an essential into the room. ‘Recessed mirrored cabinets won’t eat up your space, but they will add hidden storage at your fingertips,’ says Leah Tuttleman.

Storage like this is perfect for smaller items that don’t look good on display, making them easy to access.

6. Tidying everyday items away

Small-bathroom-ideas-artwork-Cole and Son wallpaper

(Image credit: Future/Rachael Smith)

While there are some items that should be kept behind closed doors in a powder room, it can be a mistake to hide away all of the everyday items. This is especially the case if the room is largely used by guests since it should be easy for them to find what they need.

The answer can be to use open shelves to make them accessible. ‘This likely means you’re going to have to decant some things from packaging into more attractive containers such as glass jars,’ says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor at Homes & Gardens. ‘And you might want to add a few decor items, too, to bring individuality to the room. Towels, meanwhile, can be rolled to fit onto shelves or into a niche and washcloths rolled and stashed in a basket.’


Do you need storage in a powder room?

While a powder room doesn’t need the same amount of storage as a full bathroom, it should still contain a selection of storage solutions. For example, you’ll need space for items such as soap and hand towels plus toilet paper, and supplies for cleaning the room. While some of these items can be kept on open shelving or in niches, be sure to include closed storage to hide away items that don’t look good on show. If you have young kids, make sure that cleaning supplies will be out of reach or secured.

Team clever storage solutions with good practices to keep a powder room neat and tidy. Focus on each of the fixtures and fittings including organizing a bathroom cabinet, organizing bathroom shelves, and organizing a vanity to create order in the room. And don’t miss out organizing a bathroom countertop to keep necessities to hand without creating clutter.

Sarah Warwick
Contributing Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.