How to Create a Minimalist Bathroom

How wonderful it would be to have a bathroom with simple lines, gleaming white surfaces, not a toiletry in sight…ahh…

Seem out of reach? Don’t despair! You can achieve a similar “clean and serene” look in your own home—even if designer Italian fixtures aren’t in the budget.

Just follow these ten tips for creating a minimalist bathroom, and you’ll have a space that soothes your soul while you brush your teeth.

The basics:

1. Empty all the (moveable) contents out of the bathroom. Yes, really. You’ll be surprised how many things you’ll find that don’t really need to be there: that moisturizer that made you break out, the hotel samples you brought home from your last vacation, the curling iron you haven’t used in a decade.

2. Go through your daily routine, and put back only those items you use on an everyday basis. If you don’t touch it at least once a day, it doesn’t belong in your bathroom. Keep those seldom-used items in a box in your linen closet instead.

3. Create ample storage. Make sure you have enough storage to keep all items hidden (preferably behind opaque, mirrored, or frosted doors), even if this means adding a cabinet to the space. It’s important that everything have a place.

4. Keep surfaces clear. If you follow only one tip in this article, make it this one. Clear surfaces are the key to a minimalist bathroom. Do whatever’s necessary to keep your hairbrush, deodorant, razor, eye shadow, and other sundries off the countertop.

5. Keep it clean. Basic cleanliness goes a long way towards making your space more serene. Give surfaces a quick wipe down once a day to maintain that spotless look.

The extras: (if you want to go a step beyond…)

6. Paint the walls white (or a very light color). White walls make a small space feel larger and airier, and create a sense of uniformity. To achieve a minimalist look, you want the walls to “disappear;” the less obtrusive you can make them, the better.

7. Replace old-fashioned fixtures with modern ones. This doesn’t mean you have to spend big money on a designer faucet. Simple, streamlined fixtures can be obtained at reasonable prices from home improvement centers like Lowe’s and Home Depot.

8. Replace the shower curtain with a glass or acrylic door. If this isn’t an option, choose a simple clear or white curtain.

9. Use white towels for a luxurious, spa look. Nothing will ruin your minimalist look faster than a hodgepodge of mismatched towels.

10. Accessorize with one decorative item like a single candle, orchid, or glass bowl of pebbles.

39 comments to How to Create a Minimalist Bathroom

  • Robert

    I had 1 and 2 down already, but I don’t know why I never thought of 3 and 4 – brilliant! I need to get to bed, but I think I’ll go clear all my vitamin supplements, toothbrush, etc off the counter before I do. I’ll be shocked (in a good way) when I get up in the morning. Thanks!

  • miss minimalist

    Thanks for your comment, Robert; I hope you awoke to a beautiful minimalist bathroom!

  • Robert

    Yes, I did! It surprised me again this morning! Thanks again!

  • Hah! It’s funny how the bathroom seems to gain so much clutter. I think, at least for me, it’s partly because people give me cosmetics and other bathroom stuff as presents. And then there’s that tendency to buy too much. Plus I’ll keep leftover meds, just in case I get sick again . . .Also, it’s a little hard keeping the surfaces clear when you have a husband sometimes. We have room to put everything away, but DH seems to like to have it all in view. Sigh.

  • miss minimalist

    Hi Trish! Just clear the surfaces (ie. put everything away) whenever you clean the countertop–DH will eventually get the picture. ;-)

  • The only issue I have with having everything off the counter and hidden away is that it can make life more complicated. Having to get into a cabinet every time I need something is not always ideal. I compromise and put the daily toiletries for DH and I in a shoe bag on the back of the bathroom door. They are in reach, neatly stored, and categorized but are off of the counter and out of immediate view most of the time.

    • Nicole

      Kimberly – that is pure genius as I have the same problem. We have cupboards, not the bend down to the cupboard for the toothbrush, moisturiser etc gets a little tiresome. That stuff is now up on the counter again but as I don’t like it there either – your behind the door idea is now our new idea. Thanks!

      • Nicole

        Little update – I ended up screwing two small wire baskets onto the inside of each of the cupboard doors so no more bending and searching inside the cupboards. We just swing the door open and grab from the basket. We have this in the door under the sink as well – I keep dishwashing liquid and vinegar spray in a basket. Don’t know why I didn’t think to replicate this into the bathroom. I blame hayfever ;0)

  • […] How to Create a Minimalist Bathroom: Ten ways to create a space that soothes your soul while you brush your teeth. […]

  • Kristy

    We have cupboards under the sink as well, so my husband and I each have a basket with all of our daily toiletries. We take our basket out the 2x a day we need it, and put it back when we’re done. This way, everything is out when we need it, and put away when we don’t. Sometimes DH will leave his basket out after he goes to bed since it’ll only be out when we’re sleeping. If he doesn’t put it back, I will when I do the daily wipe down. It makes cleaning so much easier.

  • Thanks for recirculating this… I need a little shove in the minimalist Bathroom direction these days!

  • Kim

    We have moved several times – after the first place, my husband and I finally figured out how to have all his stuff “in view” but keep a clear counter. The top drawer goes to him. He likes to put paper towels down first. Then he lays all his daily stuff very neatly in the drawer. When he is in the bathroom, he pulls out his drawer and leaves it open. When he is done, closes the drawer. I get all the other drawers so it works out quite nicely ;o All the “extra” supplies are underneath the sink or in a linen closet.

    Our next house has very little space in the bathroom – I think I’m going give that to my husband and set up a tiny “make-up” station somewhere else in the master bedroom since I only use it one or twice a week anyway.

  • Kim

    I actually read this article a few months ago when I discovered your wonderful site and was making my way through the archives. I followed your advice and replaced our towels with all-white (the animal shelter was happy to receive the clean used towels). I spray-painted the wicker waste basket white and even got tissues in a white box to match the new decor. What a difference! Though it was a clean, uncluttered space before it now has a whole new clean, visually uncluttered appearance.

    Thanks …. and keep writing!

  • Great list of tips. I like it when you wrote: “It’s important that everything have a place.” and “Do whatever’s necessary to keep your hairbrush, deodorant, razor, eye shadow, and other sundries off the countertop.” Kim, so true about the functionality of using drawers.

  • Samantha

    We are in a rented house with no cabinets, drawers or cupboards. We have added some storage underneath the counter, but my husband and I each have a small plastic box (actually for storing CDs) which we keep our daily toiletries in. It makes it so much easier to clean – just move the two boxes :)

  • jenn

    white linens are minimalist in theory, but hardly in practice, since they tend to show the most dirt and wear. one of the smartest things i ever read about bathrooms is to switch to chocolate brown or charcoal grey towels. still luxurious and clean, but never a need for bleach or stain treatment or any other time consuming cleaning of stains or yellowing. since they stay looking neat, they last longer and require less toxic cleaning. that’s minimalist in my book.

  • David

    I glued a bunch of silk butterflies
    around the bathroom. I had this tiny
    dingy apartment. The bathroom had the
    area of several phone booths. It wasn’t
    practical to hang pictures. Any
    picture seemed oversized. The butterflies
    made the room come alive

  • Gerda

    @Jenn: you’re right about the white towels. I replaced all my towels with white ones a little over a year ago – but unfortunately they don’t look so crispy white anymore. It’s more like sort of a greyish smoke taints my beautiful white.

    I already had some dark grey kitchen towels; maybe when my bathroom towels are to bad to use, I might switch to grey too!

  • Meg

    Inspired by this post, I cleared my bathroom counter of everything except a soap pump yesterday. I relocated our daily toiletries into the medicine cabinet and our less used items under the sink. It makes my bathroom like I haven’t moved in yet and makes it really obvious that I need to clean. :)

    I’m considering replacing our busy floral shower curtain with a white one and buying two new white towels to replace the two bath towels, hand towel and hair towel that we currently have. My husband tells me it would be more minimalist to keep what we’ve got but I think that the aesthetic is important too.

  • Darla

    ok, I did this, then re-read the article after I was finished-went BACK upstairs and removed all 6 of my Bath& Body soap hand pumps , I love all the individual scents and colors of the labels, although each bottle itself is a deep pine green,still, I do only use one at a time, so put the others under the sink cabinet-and left one out. The only decor is a cool shaped empty clear galss bottle with a jade green ceramic top-because I like looking at it. The white towels and thick white cotton rugs I already have and bleach them every weekend because I and my cat love the smell! My concession to color is the cloth beige shower curtain, because it has a texture but is a solid color. This article helped me stay focused and just do it! Thanks, I did need this.

  • I have a large shower with ceramic tile walls. Recently as I stood there with the tension shower rod and freshly washed curtain in my hands I suddenly realized…I don’t need a curtain! My shower head pipe runs straight out from the wall and the shower head itself sprays the water straight down so there is not much splashing and the water stays in the stall. Try modifying your shower head apparatus and you may be able to do the same.

  • rebecca

    what about bathroom floor rugs and mats. THEY GET IN THE WAY AND DONT LOOK THE BEST.. ANY IDEAS?

    • Waymire

      I know this is really old but in case someone comes along later with the same question.. we don’t use them. We put a towel down and pick it up when done.

  • The easy way for me and my roommate to maintain a semi-minimalist bathroom is the fact that it’s juuuuust large enough to turn around in. You could piddle and brush your teeth at the same time! When there isn’t anywhere for stuff to collect, you can’t collect stuff in it! :) Of course it still isn’t as minimalist as yours, but you get the point…

    Thanks for sharing your photos, by the way! :)

  • Ali

    Was just searching around on the internet about minimalist design and came upon your wonderful blog! The way you organized these steps are extremely easy to read and follow! Do you think you could possibly do another one for other rooms of the house? (i.e. bedroom, living room, etc.)
    I know a ton of people that just need some basic steps and I would happily recommend your blog and book to them!
    That reminds me, what stores supply your book if you don’t mind me asking?

    Thanks so much for your time and please continue making these lovely articles!
    ~Ali :)

  • Taryn

    We use navy towels and a navy fabric shower curtain(with a liner). The floor and cabinets are white. The walls are a light blue. The second bathroom has just a shower stall and not a tub like the main bathroom has. The only thing next to the sink/on the counters is liquid hand soap. We once made our own liquid hand soap and we were very happy with it but we never got around to making it again.

  • CJ

    Points 6 onwards seem the opposite of minimalist – go out and buy new stuff to replace existing stuff just because it fits in with a new ‘must have’ aesthetic to suit a craving for a new image. Also there’s no reason why minimalism has to be all white. My bathroom has a mix of white bathrobes, cream, beige and duck egg towels. I like all those colours, they complement the rest of our house and we have them and they’re still in good condition. I think it looks nice and my bathroom is VERY minimalist. Also, why a decorative item? There’s no space in my bathroom to put one as I only have the necessary fittings (shower, basin, toilet). Plus a minimalist bathroom, to me, should only contain what is used and needed in there. (Plus ornaments are a pain to clean!)

  • Andrea

    I took every single movable item out of my bathroom, consolidated (partially used shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, etc.) or threw out at least half of it , made a basket of the hotel sized items or giveaways or samples, and put all these items in a hallway closet, since they are not used every day. I put one shampoo bottle, one conditioner bottle, one soap, each person’s daily use items back in the bathroom, where now everyone has their own shelf in the cupboards. The hallway closet also holds the clean towels (I keep bedroom sheets there too) and replacement toilet paper.

    The bathroom is now a cinch to clean, and it is a very peaceful place.

  • Instead of a decorative item, what we did is we put soap on a super pretty soap dish, with gold accents (former saucer), and now it looks really nice and sleek!! WOOT!!

  • susan d

    I think I have done pretty well with this one. I love my white bathroom and white towels. I did keep a hand blown glass fish which hangs from the ceiling as a decorative item because I really like it and it makes me smile.

  • Tina

    I grew up with a hoarder, so I never buy more soap, toilet paper or toothpaste,etc than we will use in 2 weeks. That keeps the cupboards fairly empty. I also try to keep my husband from stocking up on things.

  • Kathie

    Question: What can I do about my husband’s WaterPik Water Flosser and also his standing/charging electric toothbrush which he insists on keeping on the counter? They take up a lot of space and are difficult to clean around (I do place them on top of a small, folded white towel). He likes to keep them plugged into the outlet, plus he doesn’t want to haul them out every night from underneath the sink cupboard. I appreciate any suggestions. Thank you!

    • Gaby

      If you don’t rent, you could have an electrician move the electrical outlet to the inside of the cupboard under the sink. Or tell hubby it’s now his job to clan the bathroom once a week. Or live with hubby’s stuff on the counter; life’s too short for petty arguments.

  • […] minimalist bathroom can be one of the things that make it feel modern. If there are too many patterns and details in […]

  • I know many people who have walls of toilet paper, paper towels, soap, etc. I am glad I only keep a few of anything. People visit and tell me my house is empty. I say we like it this way.

  • Waymire

    I don’t understand the minimalist infatuation with white. White=work, and a short life span. I recently remodeled our second bath and went very minimal because it is a very small space and chose a lovely muted soft pale green for the walls (in bathroom approved satin finish for easy cleaning)with white trim and porcelain. It’s fresh and easy on the eyes. The floor and countertops are a warm toned “marble” acrylic tile that is total camouflage for dirt, dust, etc lol. We took out the bulky traditional sink/cabinet that filled an entire wall and put in a clean cut pedestal sink with a small cabinet for storage, along with a wall mounted storage/towel holder. Few flat surfaces=less clutter because it’s impossible. Fixtures are all brushed nickel which shows less dirt and spots. My DD’s towels are a two toned blue stripe, mine are tan. The key there is tossing out all the old (or regulating them to utility towels) and buying everything in a matching shade. Ditto for shower curtains.. curtains can be easily cleaned in the washer, glass is a major pain especially if you have hard water and seldom ever looks good unless you are a maniac about drying it by hand daily. Just choose a solid color (not white or clear unless you feel like cleaning it constantly) or make it a focal point in a bright or dramatic pattern. My dd’s is chocolate brown, mine is a lovely tapestry pattern that includes the tan of my towels. Minimal doesn’t have to mean “blank” or high maintenance… to me high maintenance is in direct opposition to minimal yet I see these suggestions for everything to be white/black and glass everywhere.

  • I am a new minimalist . I Have only been doing it for 3 months now but I LOVE IT :)! And I would like to point out minimalism does not work its way into every part of my life , just personal preference . My minimalism has only over taken my bathroom no other part or area of my life. I don’t feel like this is right or wrong its just the way i prefer to do it personally. Here is a list of absolutely every item that is currently in my bathroom : Nivea care and diamond body wash , 32 fl oz bottle of jergens daily moisture lotion , 32 fl oz bottle of daily defense argon oil shampoo , electric toothbrush, one tube of aim tooth paste , arm and hammer clean essentials stick deodorant, nivea cocoa butter body cream 1 jar, 1 jar of noxzema classic clean cleansing cream, 1 schick hydro razor , 3 extra blades , 14 black regular pony tails , one small black hair dryer, one big square black hair brush, one light gray bath poof with a long handle , one mint green regular size bath towel , and 1 package containing 45 small things i absolutely need . And that is a complete and total list of everything in my minimalism bathroom no more no less . I hope you enjoyed this look into my bathroom . see you on the flip side .

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