The Big Secret To Better Small Bathroom Storage: Offset Sinks

There are a million tips and tricks out there for sneaking more storage into a small bathroom. In recent years, many of them have gone mainstream – including a lot of once-niche bathroom vanity features. Better storage space – and making the most of smaller spaces – is on everyone’s mind right now; from designers to homeowners, and even to the people making the furniture for your spaces. That’s why we’re seeing a lot more of my very favorite space saving bathroom feature: bathroom vanities with offset sinks.

Best Vanity For A Small Bathroom

I’ve talked a bit here and there about these types of vanities before. But for those who aren’t long time readers, I’ll give you the simple gist. If you want to make a small bathroom more usable, offset sinks are the best feature to look for. It might seem like a change so small as to be inconsequential. But shifting the sink a few inches to one side completely alters the interior structure of the vanity. Why? Because moving the sink means moving the plumbing; moving the plumbing means opening up a whole host of new options

Smart Ways To Maximize Storage Space

Even the most thoughtfully designed bathroom vanities have to accommodate the underside of your sink, the water lines, and the drain pipe. Many storage smart bathroom vanities accomplish this by creating U-shaped drawers that wrap around the plumbing. In other words, they fill the space left open (and unusable) in conventional single cabinet vanities. It’s an improvement to be sure, and a good solution for many designs. But offsetting the sink can actually eliminate the need for complicated drawer designs entirely.

The Importance of Drawers

How do they do it? Simple: Moving the sink to one side leaves the opposite end of the vanity clear of all the hardware. Aka, with ample room for drawers that go all the way up to the level of the counter. In a small vanity, using that side space for drawer storage also means tightening up the size of the cabinet; in other words, you’ll end up with a cabinet that’s narrower and typically much shorter (with storage underneath). This change in turn results in a petite cabinet that’s great for storing tall toiletries and cleaning products. More importantly, it eliminates all the empty, unused space in the prime storage real estate right beneath the counter.

How Much Space Could A Sink Need?

When vessel sinks were hitting their peak trendiness, they were pitched as a way to do something similar. If the sink sits on top of the counter rather than underneath it, you have that much more storage space (and less plumbing taking up space) inside the cabinet itself. Now, bathroom vanities with offset vessel sinks are a little less common, which is a little more on trend. But a deep undermount sink often comes paired with one of my least favorite features: a faux drawer or decorative panel just under the counter top that covers up the space occupied by the sink.

Ditch the Faux Drawer

The good news? Most bathroom vanities with offset sinks resist this all-too-common cover-up, opting instead for a more functional solution. My personal favorite are tip-out drawers. At a glance, these look the same as that ubiquitous faux drawer panel. But instead of a fixed board, these tip out, revealing a small drawer or shelf; extra storage in the the narrow space the sink doesn’t occupy. These “drawers” are perfect for small toiletries like tweezers or toothpaste tubes, and are great for keeping your counter clear. More commonly, you’ll find cabinets designed with a bank of drawers one one side, a small cabinet directly beneath the sink (to accommodate the plumbing) and an additional drawer down below, to help maximize your storage space.

Bonus: More Counter Space

All that said, my very favorite thing about offset sinks has nothing to do with all the storage it facilitates within the vanity itself and everything to do with the counter space it creates up top. Most vanities in the 36″-48″ range have a little sliver of counter space to either side of a wide sink. But pushing the sink and plumbing one way or another doubles the counter space on one side. It’s no makeup table, but in a small bathroom, it can mean the difference between precariously balancing items to either side of your sink and actually having room to leave out a nice-looking display of items.

Center-placed sinks are obviously still the standard in the bathroom vanity industry. Even now, trying to find one with an offset sink can be a little hit or miss. But if you’ve been wracking your brain trying to find a way to make your small bathroom more usable, the answer might not be a hyper-modern bathroom vanity jam-packed with unique storage options. It might just mean taking a traditional style and scooting the sink a few inches sideways.