Half Bath Makeover and Floating Shelf Tutorial

It’s always nice to have an extra bathroom nearby the main living areas of your home for guests to use. Half baths are popular solutions for small space guest baths, but they usually don’t come with a lot of storage options. Today, I’m featuring a half bath that got a storage makeover that was both useful and beautiful.
As long as we’re thinking about storage in small bathrooms, take a look at these options:

1. 320 Sycamore | 2. Shelterness | 3. Woman’s Day | 4. Design Sponge

What I love about the half bath I’m featuring today is that the homeowners made the most of the space they had. Better still, they focused on the details to make their open storage shelves as pretty as they are functional. If you need a tutorial for floating shelves, this one is perfect.

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Submitted by Designed to Dwell

Hi! My name is Wendy & I write a blog called Designed To Dwell. My home is my favorite place to be, & my husband & I are working hard to turn it into a beautiful, customized space our family can enjoy.

We recently took on the project of adding storage space in our tiny half bathroom. It is the only bathroom on the main level in our house & is only about the size of a coat closet. I came up with a solution to remedy the lack of storage by adding shelving behind the toilet. As is usually the case, I had the idea & my talented husband brought it to fruition. I’m excited to show you what we did and offer a tutorial for anyone who is interested in doing something similar.

The most-used bathroom in our house is also the smallest. I would say the size of our half-bath is comparable to that of a coat closet! Since we spend most of our time on the main floor, this bathroom sees a lot of traffic & needs a lot of storage. We needed space to store extra toilet paper, toothpaste & toothbrushes (It’s just easier if the kids brush their teeth downstairs after breakfast.), hairbrushes, & more! With no room for a sink vanity, we decided to use the vertical space to fulfill our storage needs.

Before adding the shelves, I took down the large towel rack & filled in the holes. Then I painted the walls Toasted Almond by Olympic Paints. I love how much lighter the room is now!

We decided to build these shelves in a recessed area above the toilet tank. After deciding how many shelves we wanted, the amount of space between each shelf, the thickness of the shelves, & the amount of space needed above the toilet, my husband nailed a half-inch strip of wood along the three sides of wall to act as bracing for the shelves. (If you are attempting this project, don’t forget to make sure the braces are all level!)

Next, Mark cut the wood for the shelves. We wanted our shelves to be 1 1/2 inches think, so we bought 1/2 inch thick sanded plywood. He cut the top & bottom of each shelf to size & then cut & routed a molding strip for the front with a 1/2 inch bit.

After I stained (Minwax Early American) & applied polyurethane to each piece of wood, they were ready to be installed. Mark nailed in the top & bottom of each shelf to the braces.

Finally, Mark added the front strip of molding to complete our custom shelves.

I enjoyed shopping the house & a few stores for accessories for the shelves. I bought the basket on the top shelf from Garden Ridge a couple of years ago. The gold bowl on the second shelf was from a flower arrangement my mother-in-law gave me years ago. I saved it because I loved it, but this is the first time I’ve been able to use it in my décor. The silver tray is from Dollar Tree & the succulents-I-will-never-kill were about $10 from Target! The candle holder & shell bowl on the third shelf were both from Garden Ridge. The bottom shelf holds my grandmother’s sewing basket & tiny kitten figurine. The mirror is from Marshall’s.

The sink portion of the bathroom was a little harder to photograph. We replaced the large towel rod with a smaller towel ring & changed the toilet paper holder to match. I also added a new soap dispenser. It’s not my favorite soap dispenser ever, but I needed something that was plastic, since my five-year-old loves to play in the sink…urgh! It came from Target & the hand towel is from Marshall’s.

I just love looking at this room now!

Fantastic job, Wendy! If you are looking for more half bath redos and inspiration, check out these posts here at Remodelaholic:

1. Park House Half Bath | 2. Half Bathroom Facelift | 3. Striped Wall Update for Half Bath

And don’t miss our Half Bath Pocket Door Installation Tutorial. Pocket doors are not the beasts they used to be and we LOVE ours!

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  1. How did you insure that the braces could hold the weight of both the wood you used for the shelves and anything you wanted to place onto the finished shelves? Half an inch seems flimsy to me. Just curious, because I want to do something similar in our main upstairs bath. Thanks.

  2. Hi I’m wanting to make shelves for 1/2 bath also. How are the shelves placed on braces? I apologies in advance for not understanding. I’m just starting to try wood work