Best Height for a Bathroom Cabinet Over a Toilet

Last Updated on September 20, 2022 by Alex Cubias

Bathrooms are typically smaller than any other room in a house. Closets are arguably the only area of a house that is smaller than a bathroom that isn’t designed to be luxury. This comes with a few different issues, the most prevalent of which is storage space.

The best height for a cabinet over a toilet is 18 inches or 24 inches. The most common height above a toilet is two feet to allow for comfortable seating below the cabinet or shelves. This helps optimize the storage space provided by shelves or cabinets and keeps the space free and open.

Designing a comfortable bathroom isn’t easy, and there are a few different things that might help, including the choice of cabinet or storage unit, the height of the storage unit itself, and even what other spaces you can use to store bathroom items.

Height of the Cabinet

Typically, the height of a cabinet, shelf, or any sort of storage unit above a toilet needs to be at the height that someone sitting on the toilet wouldn’t get their head hit on either the furniture or the door when it swings open (if it’s a cabinet). The other thing to consider is whether or not the cabinet space will be a shallow or larger cabinet.

The usual height of the average American home is around nine feet tall. This sometimes is cut down to around seven feet in older housing as the housing requirements have changed over the years. When putting a cabinet above a toilet, it can be relatively easy if it is about the depth of the toilet tank, the width of the toilet itself or a little wider, and then up to the ceiling or a little below. This provides the best optimization of the space.

The unfortunate aspect of this is that there’s no sure way to know what each toilet and bathroom arrangement is. Some toilet tanks are smaller, while some don’t have tanks at all. Keeping the cabinet within easy reach of whoever’s needing to reach various items is also a good thing to keep in mind. The average height of Americans doesn’t exceed 6 feet, so having cabinets that are a bit shorter than 6 feet tall is necessary so that it can be reached without a stool.

In most cases, the height of the cabinet should be about two feet away from the toilet or even 16-18 inches away. This makes the space comfortable to be in and ensures the cabinet is easily reachable. If the 18 inches isn’t far enough, going the full 24 inches that equates to 2 feet will help, and depending on the actual dimensions of the cabinet itself, this pretty much solves the issue.

Cabinets

The best cabinets for above toilet storage depend on the needs of the individual and the space that is there to be worked with. Most of the time, shallow cabinets are better just to keep the space more uniform and will better fit the space, but if deeper cabinets are desired by the homeowner and will meet their storage needs, they will work as well.

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For the most part, cabinets over toilets aren’t actually mounted to the wall, but rather go all the way down to the floor. When mounted to the wall, this shallower wall-mounted cabinet is a stylish choice. It also generates a fair amount of storage space and is small and unobtrusive. There are other style choices for what kind of cabinet, like the one below, that are good examples of deeper set cabinets that still accomplish the same goal.

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Cabinets should always be mounted to the wall, as things resting on top of the toilet tank make it harder to reach the toilet when things go wrong and maintenance is required. It is crucial that you are able to access the toilet tank, especially since the insides often get discombobulated and overflowing toilets are no one’s favorite thing.

Shelving

When cabinetry isn’t going to solve the storage issue or simply doesn’t fit the aesthetic of the room, the best alternative is shelving. There is a variety of different shelving units that do a mixture of both incorporating a cabinet-like approach while also maintaining a shelf-like appearance.

The biggest decision for those is usually determining if the shelving should be wall-mounted or be behind the toilet and rising from the floor. There are some great minimalist designs for storage over the toilet. They give more shelf space, while also keeping things clear for any other sort of decor to shine.

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Searching simply for over-the-toilet storage will lead anyone down a rabbit hole of ideas and options, and narrowing it down to a certain style will help even further. What all of this comes down to are two things: the space available, and the aesthetic that is trying to be met. If those two things can be reconciled, then everyone will be able to be happy with the storage space as well as the appearance of the storage.

Storage Alternatives

Sometimes, an over-the-toilet storage unit isn’t the best idea. There are some great things that can be put over the toilet rather than shelving units or cabinets, including racks for towels, hooks for towels, and other smaller things that keep the space open and accessible. Command hooks are a popular choice for less permanent fixtures that still accomplish their duty and help the area be aesthetically pleasing and functional.

There are small free-standing cabinets, drawers, and other methods of storage that don’t have to be directly above the toilet. In fact, some can even be right next to the toilet and accomplish a similar number of things that an over-the-toilet storage unit would accomplish. Thinner drawers can slide alongside one or the other side of a toilet, depending on orientation, and be able to store things like extra toilet paper rolls, hygiene products, and more.

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Ultimately, it’s up to the owner of each space to optimize it accordingly to what they need, and the storage space available in a bathroom is no exception.