Top Picks: Selecting the Perfect Countertop Bathroom Cabinet

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the humble bathroom cabinet. As a home decor blogger and thrifter, I’m creatively maximizing every inch of space in my 1910s bungalow. And let me tell you, those often overlooked cabinets above the sink play a crucial role! 

Like many homes built in the early 1900s, our bathroom is snug. And with two kiddos constantly unpacking the cabinets to “play beauty shop,” things get chaotic quickly. As much as I dream of a sprawling double vanity, that reno isn’t in the budget right now. 

But here’s the thing – you don’t necessarily need a huge bathroom to create a luxurious space. It’s all about selecting fixtures and furniture that work smart.

The Storage Struggle is Real

As a kid, I remember our bathroom cabinet was always in disarray. Crammed on the shelves were dusty hairbrushes tangled up with bottles of Caladryl lotion from my mom’s ’80s perms. The cabinet doors were perpetually popping open from the clutter overload.

bathroom tower cabinet

The vibe was more horror film than spa sanctuary.

Most standard bathroom cabinets need to be deeper to be functional. And they typically have just one shelf, limiting storage. It’s no wonder so many beautiful bathrooms end up a messy free-for-all! 

So today, I’m sharing one of my favorite space-saving secrets – cabinets, and vanities that sit *right on the countertop! Keep reading to get inspired by the creative storage solutions these cabinets offer.

Double-Duty Storage and Style 

The first time I saw a cabinet sitting on a bathroom countertop, it was a total lightbulb moment. 

You can find these cabinets as standalone pieces or combined with a vessel sink as a vanity. Either way, they provide concealed storage space as a decorative focal point. It’s like a piece of furniture!

I especially love the look of a vintage dresser or cabinet repurposed as a vanity. The contrasting styles are so unique. Say goodbye to boring builder-grade bathrooms!  

Beyond style, my favorite thing about these cabinets is their function. Their storage is way more accessible than under-sink cabinets or inset medicine cabinets. No more rummaging around dark corners!

Problem Solvers for Small Bathrooms

If you’re working with a petite powder room, a countertop cabinet can be a bathroom game changer. These compact cabinets maximize every inch. 

Even in larger bathrooms, they free up precious floor space usually occupied by a bulky vanity. This makes the whole room feel more open and airy.

bathroom countertop cabinet

There are many customizable options, too – drawers, shelves, and other compartments keep all your products organized. For my bathroom, I’d love a cabinet with a spinning “Lazy Susan” shelf to neatly corral all the colorful bottles. 

So, if you want to upgrade your bathroom storage, a countertop cabinet should be on your radar. Let’s look at some of the most popular options out there.

Countertop Cabinet Styles for Every Taste

One of the best parts of choosing a bathroom countertop cabinet is the wide range of styles. Whether your taste runs modern, traditional, or something in between, there’s a perfect option for you.

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Modern and Contemporary 

If you lean toward a sleek, contemporary look, there are lots of clean-lined options made with materials like glossy lacquered wood or Lucite. Built-in lighting creates a relaxed, futuristic vibe. 

Minimalist white cabinets keep the focus on modern accents like metallic fixtures. For a bit of edge, bold black cabinetry makes a dramatic style statement. 

Vintage Finds for One-of-a-Kind Style

As a thrifter, I’m drawn to unique vintage pieces that tell a story. Watch for charming dressers, cabinets, or sideboards at flea markets and antique shops. 

Look for a size that fits your bathroom countertop dimensions. I love it when the piece has patina and character – don’t be afraid to mix wood stains and paint finishes. Mismatched hardware adds to the eclectic charm.

Pros and Cons of Countertop Cabinets

Warm and Rustic 

Want to cultivate a cozy cabin vibe? Rustic-style cabinets, often made from natural reclaimed wood, are just the ticket. 

There are many creative ways to integrate wood into your bathroom design – from live edge vanities to cascading wood plank walls. A polished quartz or concrete countertop balances the organic look.

Traditional Touches

While contemporary bathroom designs are hot, traditional elements always stay in style. For a classic look, choose painted cabinets with crown molding and brass hardware. 

Carrara marble or porcelain ceramic countertops pair beautifully with traditional cabinetry. Don’t be afraid to mix finishes – aged brass or black metal handles provide an unexpected twist.

Intelligent Strategies for Sizing Your Countertop Cabinet

Once you’ve settled on a cabinet style, it’s time to choose the right size. You want adequate storage capacity while keeping proportions harmonious with your countertop and bathroom dimensions.

corner bathroom cabinet that sits on the countertop

Here are some top tips for selecting an appropriately sized countertop cabinet:

  • For a single vanity, standard widths range from 15 to 30 inches wide. But remember to account for handles, which can protrude an extra inch or more on each side. 
  • Medium to large bathrooms can accommodate double vanities ranging from 30 to 48 inches wide. Make sure you have enough clearance to open drawers and doors.
  • When planning placement, leave enough space between the cabinet edge and neighboring walls or fixtures. At least 15 inches of clearance allows you (or houseguests) to comfortably sit at the vanity.
  • If your cabinet has legs, pay attention to the height – the standard is 31 to 34 inches. Make sure it aligns with the size of your countertop.
  • Take exact measurements of your existing countertop, including depth. Compare them against the cabinet specs to ensure the right fit.

The correct measurements ensure your new cabinet feels tailored to your space rather than squeezing it in.

A photo of a white countertop cabinet

Choosing Materials Made to Last 

Shopping for furniture is exciting. But I’ve learned the hard way that not all materials can withstand the hot, humid environment of a bathroom. 

Laminate and particle board cabinets may fall apart or warp. So be sure to choose cabinetry made from high-quality woods like maple, oak, or birch. Here are some of the most durable options:

Solid Wood 

Solid wood cabinets are super sturdy and can last decades with proper care. Popular choices like oak and maple have beautiful visible grains. The drawback of solid woods is that they expand and contract with humidity changes. Frequent caulking and touch-ups may be needed in steamy bathrooms.

Countertop Cabinet Styles

Plywood & Veneers

For a more budget-friendly option, plywood covered in veneers combines durability and aesthetics. The cross-grain plywood core prevents warping, while the front offers decorative possibilities. Durability does depend on the quality of the adhesives used.

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Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) 

For a waterproof budget option, PVC cabinets are hard to beat. The dense polymer material resists moisture, warping, and bacteria. PVC cabinets are also lightweight. If you go this route, choose a style with removable legs. Built-in legs collect grime and moisture. 

No matter what you choose, select a style that allows for ventilation to prevent mildew and moisture damage.

Picking Colors for a Flawless Design Scheme

Maybe I’m biased as a color addict, but your cabinet hue has a massive impact on the overall aesthetic of your bathroom! 

A bathroom with a countertop cabinet that has been repurposed as a vanity

White and black cabinets are popular classics. White reflects light, feeling fresh and airy, while black makes a sophisticated style statement. 

For a more neutral but warm look, soft beiges, grays, and browns complement most color schemes. Or make the cabinetry a bold accent shade like navy, emerald, or crimson. Just be sure it complements your existing tile and fixtures.

I love it when people mix up their bathroom cabinets and countertops. A navy blue cabinet paired with a breezy linen white countertop looks beachy and beautiful. The possible combinations are endless!

Installation Tips from a Serial DIYer

If you’re handy like me, you should install your new cabinet immediately. Well, slow down, fellow DIYer! Even experienced renovators can run into trouble.

How to choose the right bathroom tower cabinet for your needs

Here are my top lessons learned from several vanity installations:

  • Take precise measurements, and triple-check that your cabinet will fit in the allotted space. Nothing’s worse than unpacking your cabinet only to discover it’s too big!
  • Be aware of protruding molding or tiles that may obstruct the cabinet. Remove or work around them.
  • Ensure you have the necessary clearance for plumbing, especially if you opt for a vessel sink.  
  • Use a stud finder to locate studs and secure the cabinet into them sturdily. 
  • Consider the manufacturer’s instructions – especially if your cabinet has unconventional shapes or features.
  • Caulk generously around the edges to prevent moisture from seeping into the wood.
  • A second set of hands is invaluable for holding cabinets in place as you secure them. Don’t be stubborn like me!

While cosmetically installing cabinets seems simple, plenty can go wrong behind those walls. For tricky spaces, it may be wise to hire a professional installer. They have the expertise to get everything level and plumbed correctly.

Get Organized with Style

Once your beautiful new cabinet is installed, it’s time to organize your essentials for easy access. For small spaces, utilizing every inch is critical.

A photo of a small bathroom with a countertop cabinet that helps to maximize storage space

Here are my favorite tips and products for maximizing cabinet storage:

  • Use adjustable shelves to customize configurations based on your products. Bonus points if they have raised edges to corral loose items!
  • Install storage racks or slide-out trays on cabinet interiors to neatly organize grooming gadgets and cosmetics.  
  • Add matching baskets or bins to group items like soaps, first aid supplies, etc. Clear acrylic bins allow you to see the contents.
  • Use adjustable cosmetic organizers that fit around pipes and plumbing.
  • Add a mirror inside the cabinet door to give you a sneak peek before heading out. 
  • Install hooks along the back of doors to hang often-used items like hairdryers.
  • A rotating “Lazy Susan” shelf brings items right to you with a quick spin.
  • Tiny but mighty organizers like slidable razor trays and toothbrush holders keep necessities handy.

With a few organizational products, you can simplify your entire morning routine. No more frantic searches for lost brushes!

The Everyday Perks of a Clutter-Free Countertop

Like you, I start most mornings groggy-eyed in front of the bathroom mirror. The last thing I want is to sort through a disorganized mess to find my face wash.

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bathroom tower cabinet storage

By keeping toiletries and tools stowed neatly away in my countertop cabinet, I enjoy an uncluttered countertop. 

It’s a little luxury, but I think a well-organized bathroom cabinet has a natural, tangible impact on your daily quality of life. You get to begin each day a little more zen.

Plus, there’s something so satisfying about beautiful, neatly arranged bathroom shelves. It brings me the same joy as an artfully styled coffee table or bookshelf. 

So, take the time to organize your cabinet thoughtfully. You and your bathroom both deserve it!

Caring for Your Cabinet to Preserve Its Life 

Honestly, some of my earlier DIY pieces weren’t built to last because I used cheap materials. So, nowadays, I invest in quality furniture made from solid wood. With proper care, it lasts for decades.

Caring for Your Cabinet to Preserve Its Life

Bathrooms can be rough on cabinetry, so consistent maintenance is vital. Here are my top care tips:

  • Dry cabinet surfaces after steamy showers and baths using a clean soft cloth.
  • Frequently wipe down shelves and interiors to prevent mildew in moist areas. 
  • Clean spills right away to prevent stains. A mix of vinegar and water works great for cabinets.  
  • Avoid abrasive cleaners or scrubbers that can damage the finish.
  • Inspect under the cabinet for leaks, and re-caulk around sinks to prevent water damage.
  • Consider having cabinets professionally refinished every few years to keep the wood looking its best.
  • Use cabinet door bumpers to protect against slamming and dings.  

With diligent care, a high-quality bathroom cabinet should serve you well for over 50 years! It’s a worthy investment if you ask me.

Unleash Your Creativity with These Customization Ideas

Unleash Your Creativity with These Customization Ideas

Are you looking to add some personal flair to your bathroom cabinets? Look no further than these fun and functional customization ideas:

  • Attach trim pieces, feet, or molding to builder-basic cabinets for a custom built-in look.
  • Use gel stain, chalk paint, or wallpaper to give boring cabinets a quick makeover.
  • Replace generic hardware with unique knobs, handles, or pulls that showcase your style.
  • Have glass door fronts etched or beveled for beautiful transparency.
  • For open shelving, paint the back panel a bold accent color for a unique pop of color.  
  • Decoupage the interior of cabinet doors with wallpaper, photos, or artwork meaningful to you.
  • Display collections like rolled towels, colored bottles, or ceramics on corner shelves built just for them.
  • Attach a removable lighting strip inside dark cabinets to see what’s inside.
  • Have a talented local artisan create custom wood-burned or hand-painted cabinet doors featuring your favorite flowers or phrases.
bathroom with a countertop cabinet that helps to maximize storage space

Hopefully, these ideas spark your creativity! Indeed, there are so many ways to make your bathroom cabinet your own. 

In Conclusion…

Suppose you made it here, thanks for joining me on this cabinet daydream! I hope you feel empowered to maximize both the form *and function of your bathroom with the creative use of storage. 

It truly is possible to cultivate a bathroom that’s both tidy and beautiful. You have to get clever with the design details. 

So what are you waiting for? Let the cabinet hunt begin! And remember to have fun and choose something that sparks joy in your heart. 

You spend too much precious time in your bathroom not to love it!