Practical Ideas for Building Bathroom Shelves and Racks

Given all the permanent fixtures in a modern bathroom – toilet, bathtub, and sink – it’s a wonder that there is any room left over – apart from the cabinets and closets – for books, magazines, and extra linens. Of course there is, but the trick is to introduce storage units that make use of seemingly lost space.

This article will provide a few practical ideas for building shelves that fit above toilets and doors and magazine racks that can be added to a wall. Most of these units have simple designs and can be easily built by a do-it-yourselfer using standard lumber.

If you choose to purchase a shelving unit, consider an over-the-toilet unit to take advantage of space that would otherwise be wasted.

Mini-Library for Private Browsing

Many people appreciate the privacy bathrooms afford for reading in solitude. Here, a selection offers food for thought, but hospitality and decorative flair as well. The shelves rest on ledger strips screwed into studs on opposing walls.

A Recessed Rack

This rack for reading matter is a simple box that is recessed into the wall, fitting snugly between two studs. Since wall studs are usually 16 or 24 inches apart (center to center), the miniature library will probably need to be 14 1/2 ” or 22 ½” wide; 14″ is a convenient height. Locate the studs, measure and mark and remove your wallboard to accommodate the box. Use pine 1x4s or 1x6s for the box frame. Before assembling the frame, drill shallow holes in the side pieces to hold a 5/8″ dowel. Assemble the frame and add a ¼” plywood back. Slide the unit into the wall cutout, and side-nail the box into both wall studs. Add molding strips for a finished look.

Building a Simple Wall Rack

This simple wall rack is easy to build. Cut two side-pieces and a bottom piece from pine or fir 1x3s, and cut a back from ¼” or 3/8″ plywood. Assemble the pieces, then nail ¼” thick strips of wood trim across the front to keep magazines and books in place. Finally, drive two wood screws through the back of the rack and into the wall studs. Apply a paint, varnish, or polyurethane finish. The one I made in our bathroom was 12″ high and 20″ wide, but these dimensions can be adjusted to suit your needs and wall space.

A Movable Solution

A freestanding commercial shelving unit fits around and above your toilet. Lightweight and easy to install, you can put books or magazines on its shelves or add some ambience to the bathroom by adding a plant or two.

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