5 things minimalists never have in a bathroom – and what to use instead

This design style is about removing the unnecessary to make a space for what truly adds value

(Image credit: The Wood Flooring Co. / Quick-Step / Crosswater)

A minimalistic bathroom is all about creating a relaxingly simple space, and doing so involves prioritizing items in your bathroom that serve a functional role and contribute to a sleek and tranquil atmosphere, which means certain items are not welcome.

Minimalism is about intentional living, which is why when designing a minimalist bathroom it's important to only display items that serve a purpose. After designing the base features of your bathroom for a minimalistic aesthetic, it is also important to consider the smaller items that you keep in your bathroom, and which of those should be got rid of or displayed to adhere to the minimalist's motto of 'less is more.'

Our experts have explained the things minimalists never have in a bathroom.

Things minimalists never have in a bathroom

'Anything that disrupts the serene and orderly aesthetic, such as mismatched containers or vibrant colors, is not found in minimalist bathrooms,' explains Tadas Pukas, CEO and founder of Minimalistic Linen. Instead, minimalists invest in smаrt stоrаge solutiоns thаt kееp essentiаls hidden but аccessible, mаintаining а cleаn, open sраce.

'Minimalists are also not fans of extraneous decor,' explains, Karen Miller, owner of the Miller Design Group. 'The emphasis is on functionality and simplicity, hence, heavily ornate pieces, be it mirrors, faucets, or light fixtures, are avoided. Rugs and shower curtains are usually monochromatic, without bold patterns that could disturb the flow of energy.'

1. Uncessecary decor

Small wet room ideas with tadelakt

(Image credit: Quick-Step)

Minimalist bathrooms have an emphasis on simple decor with a purpose.

'Minimalist bathrooms are oases of simplicity. As with things minimalists never keep in a living room, rather than crowding every surface with knick-knacks, candles, and greenery, they follow the less-is-more mantra. Clean, uncluttered spaces are their canvas, allowing natural light, materials, and soothing hues to take center stage,' recommends Jacky Chou, principal and director at Archute. 'While minimalists may introduce one or two standout pieces, like a statement mirror or a chic faucet, the key is avoiding unnecessary clutter that can rob the bathroom of its serenity.'

Co-founders and directors of Interior Fox, Jenna Choate and Mariana Ugarte comment, 'We have worked with numerous minimalist clients, and what we've learned is that minimalists prefer to have only items in their homes that serve a purpose or that they truly love. It makes us focus more on finding beautiful, functional pieces rather than layering and filling up space.'

Consider incorporating functional, statement pieces that harmonize with the overall design, such as a towel ladder, stool, decorative storage boxes or baskets, and select candles or plants to reduce condensation.

We love this Travis decorative towel ladder, from Anthropologie.

Principal and Director at Archute
Jacky Chou
Principal and Director at Archute
Jacky Chou

Jacky Chou is the Principal and Director at Archute, an editorial magazine about architecture, home and garden. They have been referenced by The New York Times, Bustle, House & Home, Bloomberg, and Angi. Jacky also his own an online interior design company as well called Laurel & Wolf.

2. Cluttered countertops

freestanding white marble bath in minimalist bathroom design

(Image credit: C. P. Hart)

Minimalists strive for clean lines and an uncluttered environment, so it's essential to keep countertops and bath and shower caddies clear of excess items.

'One thing minimalists never have in a bathroom is excessive toiletries and cosmetics. They stick to only the essential items, preventing clutter on the counter spaces,' explains Karen Miller.

Jacky Chou adds, 'The notion of a shower or vanity crammed with an array of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotions seems foreign in the minimalist world. In their spaces, it's all about quality over quantity. 

'Minimalists carefully curate their essentials, choosing only the products they truly adore and need. It goes beyond mere aesthetics; environmental responsibility guides their choices. They tend to go for refillable and eco-friendly products whenever possible, allowing them to reduce waste and optimize bathroom storage.'

You can create dedicated containers for items to take from your cupboard when you need to use them, such as bath or cosmetic supplies to keep them tidied away at all times except when they are in use.

3. Spare bath mats and towels

Minimalist bathroom with grey concrete walls and freestanding tub

(Image credit: John Pawson / Gilbert McCarragher)

There are two reasons minimalists never have excessive towels or mats in a bathroom: aesthetics and functionality.

In the spirit of keeping your bathroom clutter-free, select a few quality towels and bathmats in neutral colors, and display only the essentials, storing the rest away in a dedicated linen closet or bathroom cabinet.

Angela Rubin from Hellamaid also explains, 'While decorative towels can add style, minimalists tend to avoid them in favor of functionality. Avoid having decorative towels that are never used. Prioritize practicality when it comes to your bathroom linens.'

'Stepping out of the shower onto a damp, bacteria-prone bath mat is a no-go for minimalists. Instead, they enhance the experience with wooden or bamboo mats, a nod to the natural world,' says Jacky Chou. 'These mats provide a touch of warmth and are a breeze to keep clean, eliminating the fuss of traditional fabric mats.' You can find this slatted bamboo bath mat at West Elm.

This approach not only reduces visual clutter but also makes it easier to maintain a tidy and cohesive bathroom.

4. Bulky, crowded storage units


(Image credit: The Wood Flooring Co.)

Although storage is essential in the bathroom to keep smaller items out of sight, it is important to maintain the minimalist aesthetic when it comes to the bathroom storage units we choose. So prioritize bathroom storage with sleek lines that are proportionate to the size of your bathroom and that will conceal your bathroom items.

'Bulky storage units or laundry baskets are replaced with compact, foldable, or hidden solutions to maximize spatial perception,' recommends Tadas Pukas. 'Remember to employ opaque storage solutions to neatly conceal everyday items, ensuring a tidy and visually calm environment.' 

We recommend this Gemini Armoire storage cabinet, from West Elm.

5. Shower curtains

Marble shower, black handles

(Image credit: Elisa Baran)

'Minimalists don't like the idea of hiding their shower behind a flimsy and often-faded shower curtain. Instead, they opt for the crisp, clean lines of a glass or acrylic door,' explains Jacky Chou. 'This choice ensures abundant natural light, making the shower area feel more spacious and inviting rather than confined.' 

What lighting do minimalists use in bathrooms?

To create a serene, minimalist bathroom, avoid harsh lighting fixtures that create a sterile atmosphere. Minimalists choose soft, diffused lighting options with warmed-toned bulbs to create a soothing ambiance. While task lighting in bathrooms is important in any bathroom this should be incorporated in subtle ways.

'Surprisingly, technоlogy is somеthing thаt some minimаlists embrаce in thеir bаthrooms, аs lоng аs it аligns with thеir vаlues оf simрlicity, effiсienсy, аnd mindfulness,' says Shri Ganeshram, CEO at Awning

'For example, smаrt mirrоrs thаt displаy news, weаthеr, оr showers with adjustable remote lighting cаn enhаnce thеir mоrning routines without аdding physicаl сlutter.'

Remember, minimalism isn't about deprivation, but about removing the unnecessary to make a space for what truly adds value to your life. 

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past six years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including practical household advice, recipe articles, and product reviews, working closely with experts in their fields to cover everything from heating to home organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.