I Swapped My Rental Medicine Cabinet So I Could Actually Store My Skin Care
And just like that, my tiny NYC bathroom feels fancy.
Updated Jan 25, 2024 4:04 PM
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New York City rental apartments are known for their quirks, with even the best of them leaving room for improvement. In some, it’s the view out the window; in others, it’s the questionable backsplash. In mine, it’s the medicine cabinet that’s missing all but one of its shelves. I don’t know what the previous tenant could have possibly done with them, but I do know that the wall-mounted unit is my only storage salvation inside this barely there bathroom. After extensive replacement research, one thing became unfortunately clear: Medicine cabinets are expensive. Even on Amazon, finding a decent-looking option for under $150 was no easy feat. As there was no cheap way out of my shelfless debacle, I decided to bite the bullet and splurge on a higher-budget buy I’d been eyeing: West Elm’s Seamless medicine cabinet. Because although it would cost me a whopping $350, at least it looks and feels expensive…and has all of its shelves.
What ultimately set West Elm’s design apart from the other medicine cabinets I’d considered was the frame. I decided that its smooth, rounded edges would afford my sad beige-tiled bathroom a little more aesthetic oomph than a generic rectangle. While I’m a polished chrome girl all the way, the cabinet is offered in four other metals (antique brass, matte black, dark bronze, and brushed nickel) to suit a range of style preferences while also matching existing hardware or fixtures. There are two sizes (16.5-by-27.5 inches and 21-by-34 inches) available for all of the finishes, plus an additional length (60-by-24 inches) featuring three doors for the brass option. Naturally, I chose the smallest size.
As it’s a fairly heavy piece, I left it to the professionals (aka a hired handyman) to drill into my bathroom tile and secure it. Another advantageous facet of the medicine cabinet is its adjustable glass shelves, which allow me to customize the storage space to support my skin-care and hair regimen: a shallow slot for small eye cream tubs and a hairbrush laid flat; taller sections for tumblers filled with makeup brushes and tubes. The cherry on top? A mirror-lined interior that makes my getting-ready process all the more convenient because I don’t need to close the cabinet in order to see my reflection. The whole vibe, both in fashion and function, is decidedly luxe—transforming the bathroom from itty-bitty to small but fancy.
Having invested in this permanent glow-up—along with a handful of other rental apartment decorating fixes—it’s safe to say that I won’t be moving anytime soon. Meaning, I’m ready for my next upgrade project. Stay tuned.