Why Adding A Towel Bar To Your Bathroom Vanity Is One Of The Best Ways To Save Space In A Small Bathroom

There’s tons of advice out there about how to make the most of a small bathroom, from making smart choices when choosing big fixtures like a bathtub, toilet, or vanity, to working in smaller details to make the bathroom easier to use. But some of the most effective ways to save space are ones that are seemingly simple, but that have a larger impact on the bathroom as a whole. One of my very favorites is exactly that: hanging a towel bar directly on the bathroom vanity. Not only will this add a place for you to hang a towel or two, it can free up storage space in other crucial areas, ultimately streamlining the way you use the whole bathroom.

Traditional Towel Bars Are Inefficient

Copper Cove Encore 30" Single Bathroom Vanity 301-V30-BNM from James Martin Furniture
Copper Cove Encore 30″ Single Bathroom Vanity 301-V30-BNM from James Martin Furniture

Of any common item stored in the bathroom, towels are the biggest space hogs: they’re big and awkward to store, and the more people use the bathroom, the more you need to have on hand at once, which just means taking up more space. But they’re also one of the few things that you really can’t store outside the bathroom. What that means is that bathrooms of all sizes come standard with towel bars and towel rings. These can take up a good portion of the wall space, especially in a smaller bathroom. But the space taken up on a wall by a big, hefty towel (or even a set of hand towels) is space that can’t be used for anything else.

Towel Bars On The Bathroom Vanity Open Up Wall Space

Ambrosia 24" Black Vanity 5360-BLK from Decolav
Ambrosia 24″ Black Vanity 5360-BLK from Decolav

The solution is both surprisingly simple and unusual enough that not many people think of it: put the towel bar on the sides of the bathroom vanity. Unless your bathroom vanity is pressed directly up against a wall, the sides of it are probably left bare. Even the nicest bathroom vanities aren’t much to look at from the side, and what that means is there’s a ton of usable surface area that’s simply going wasted. Mounting a full sized towel bar to the side of the vanity makes it possible to take those towels down from the wall, opening up the rest of the bathroom simply by moving one small piece of metal.

Save Wall Space

Infusion Wall Mounted Lavatory Console in Mable 2550-8CHW-MP from Decolav
Infusion Wall Mounted Lavatory Console in Mable 2550-8CHW-MP from Decolav

This is a small but very important change, since in a small bathroom most of the usable real estate is vertical space rather than horizontal space. When floor and flat surface areas are limited, the best way to amp up storage is to build it onto or into the walls. When you relocate a towel bar or even a single, smaller towel ring from the wall to the side of the bathroom vanity, all that space can be used much more efficiently. In fact, many vanities that come with built in towel bars are paired with wall mounted storage cabinets to hang in place of the old bars. This can help maximize your practical storage without having to move anything out of the bathroom.

Keep Your Hands Dry And Your Counter Cleared

Copper Cove 48" Driftwood Patina Single Bathroom Vanity 300-V48-DRP-3CAR from James Martin Furniture
Copper Cove 48″ Driftwood Patina Single Bathroom Vanity 300-V48-DRP-3CAR from James Martin Furniture

The best part is, you won’t be sacrificing anything by sticking a towel on the side of your vanity. Unlike the walls, there aren’t many other ways to use a bathroom vanity, and certainly not many ways to add storage to one. And on a very basic level, having your towels next to the vanity just plain makes sense: it makes it more convenient to dry your hands after washing them (no drips!), gives you a place to leave hand towels to dry, and by extension keeps small towels from cluttering up your counter space.

Where WON’T It Work?

Lakeside 30" Single Bathroom Vanity 410-V30-WLT from James Martin Furniture
Lakeside 30″ Single Bathroom Vanity 410-V30-WLT from James Martin Furniture

Admittedly this technique isn’t 100% perfect in 100% of bathrooms. Most of the vanities I’ve mentioned here are ones that have a towel bar mounted on one side or the other. But in a small enough bathroom, there’s hardly room to fit a vanity between the toilet and the wall – let alone an extra towel bar. A simple modification is to install a towel bar to the front of the bathroom vanity. How well this works depends on the style of the vanity; not all of them have a convenient place to mount one to the front. That said, built-in towel storage is becoming a more common feature, especially on minimalist modern vanities in. Pared down vanities are a perfect option for a guest bathroom or half bath, where you want towels and toilet tissue to be easily accessible, but don’t need many other toiletries on display.

Adding a towel bar to your bathroom vanity might seem like an insignificant change, but in a small bathroom it’s a great way to add much-needed functionality without sacrificing precious surface space.