13 Bathroom IKEA Hacks That Actually Work in Small Spaces
Square footage is a nonissue.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:08 AM
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Cut back on your Sephora products all you want—without the right organizational tools in place, a cramped bathroom will soon become your worst enemy. For anyone struggling to control the chaos, a clever IKEA hack can be the saving grace your sanctuary needs.
These 13 clever DIY solutions are reminders you don’t need to renovate to experience your space in a whole new way. Whether your weakest link is under the sink or your tiny, drab shower, these ideas make the most of the Swedish retailer’s cult-favorite products.
The Luxe Vanity
Mallory Fletchall’s original vanity was essentially just one large cabinet, so keeping the clutter inside to a minimum was tough. The Reserve Home founder scrapped the entire structure for a cabinet box with two deep drawers, a faux marble countertop, and a vessel sink (all of which adds up to around $295 from IKEA). Then she bought dividers and organizers that the company designed specifically for the slim cupboard, so nothing is ever out of place.
Kara Whitten refaced this formerly black unit by adding new natural wood fronts and small dowels, held together with Liquid Nails glue. The one side of the vanity is still dark, but she plans to paint it cream so it blends in with the warm timber.
The Farmhouse Vanity
When this IKEA Hackers contributor was quoted $1,000 for a custom vanity, they decided to trim down the side panels of a Silveran cabinet (which was on sale for $88) instead so it would fit the depth of their existing sink. Benjamin Moore’s Mopboard Black paint and wood legs elevate the furniture, literally and figuratively.
The Wall Unit
The Skadis pegboard isn’t just for offices—add on a bunch of ready-made accessories, such as shelves, containers, and letter holders, and you can use it to store everything from foundation bottles to moisturizers to toothbrushes.
The Over-the-Door Hanger
Designated for mattress support, the wood slats of the Luröy bed base can find a new purpose on the back of a door. Casually drape washcloths over the ledges, as DIYer Kristina Steinmetz has done, or add baskets to house products. All she needed was two wall hooks.
The Towel Rack
The Raskog cart can double as a mini mobile catchall for essentials—no serious upgrades required. A Beautiful Mess’s Elsie Larson organized hers by using the top shelf for small, everyday items like lip balm; the middle for bins filled with nail polish; and the bottom for spare towels.
When Helena Nord had to replace all the storage in her bathroom due to water damage, she decided to take advantage of the room’s height. The L-shaped design she came up with uses basic white cabinet fronts and maximizes every square inch around the sink and newly poured concrete countertop. Now she doesn’t have to bend down all the time to grab toiletries.
The Sink Shelf
Disguise unsightly pipes under your bathroom basin and transform an awkward nook into a functional storage spot with two of IKEA’s genius corner shelving units. Suddenly having a pedestal isn’t so bad.
Originally intended as a part of the Ivar shelving unit, this pinewood side piece takes on new life as a makeshift ladder in German blogger Antonia Schmitz’s tiny city bathroom, where it serves as a beautiful place to display makeup brushes and plants.
The Elevated Doors
Finished in a white block pattern by Superfront, this two-drawer vanity isn’t necessarily a lesson in making room for storage, but it is one in bringing style to what little room you have with a simple upgrade.
The Hanging Baskets
In the instances where extra cabinets or storage will soak up precious square footage, take to the wall. The Nodrana set of two blue handwoven baskets can corral awkward sink or shelf spillover, whether it’s hairbrushes or hand towels. No toolbox? No problem. IKEA’s Skoghall renter-friendly self-adhesive hooks are doubly safe for tiled walls. All five pieces total $16.
The Wallpaper Shelf
For those more comfortable with a drill, IKEA’s simple white wall shelf (for less than $3), the Burhult, can quickly be transformed from bland to punchy with a patterned wallpaper or can of bright spray paint. Combine with Sibbhult brackets (or a colorful climbing rope) and it’s primed to put toiletries on display.
Erika Ver, the blogger behind Peony + Honey, is no stranger to IKEA hacks (she’s successfully completed around 10 projects, including her bathroom vanity). Here she answers a few of your burning questions to help you get started on tackling your very own.
What tools are essential for most bathroom IKEA hacks? A miter saw and a brad nailer are most essential. The former is great to cut any type of slats or trim work, and the latter is so helpful for easily installing the trim. I use the Ryobi miter saw and the Dewalt 20-volt 18-gauge brad nailer, which I’ve found to be the lightest cordless option on the market.
Any advice on how to avoid common mistakes when working with IKEA pieces? I always prime any IKEA furniture with my favorite BIN enamel primer. This will save you from having to sand down that shiny IKEA finish, but will make sure your paint sticks to the surface!
Do you have a go-to IKEA product you’d recommend for others with a small space? I’m obsessed with the Godmorgon bathroom vanity. I love the floating look, and it really lends itself to all kinds of hacks since it’s supermodern with clean lines.
This story was originally published November 13, 2018. It has since been updated.