Bathroom linen cabinets provide convenient and aesthetically pleasing storage for all of your bathroom linens and accessories. With so many options for styles, sizes, materials and configurations, selecting the right linen cabinet for your bathroom can be an overwhelming process. This guide covers everything you need to know to choose the perfect linen cabinets to meet your bathroom storage needs and match your style.
What are Bathroom Linen Cabinets?
Bathroom linen cabinets are freestanding or wall-mounted storage units designed specifically for holding folded towels, washcloths, hand towels, bath mats, toilet paper, and other bathroom linens and accessories. They keep these items organized, easily accessible and out of sight.
Linen cabinets come in a wide range of sizes, from narrow 12-24 inch models to larger 36-48 inch cabinets. Most provide open shelving, but some feature doors or drawers to fully conceal contents. Materials commonly used include wood, laminate, metal and glass. Styles available include traditional, contemporary, transitional, rustic and more to coordinate with any bathroom design aesthetic.
Benefits of Bathroom Linen Cabinets
There are many benefits to installing bathroom linen cabinets:
- Organization – Linen cabinets provide dedicated storage to neatly organize bathroom linens instead of cramming them into vanity cabinets or a hall closet. Folded towels can be stacked horizontally and washcloths stored vertically for easy access.
- Accessibility – Located right in the bathroom, linen cabinets make towels, toilet paper and other necessities quick and convenient to reach. No more dashing to a hallway closet in just a towel!
- Tidiness – Linen cabinets keep piles of linens and bathroom products off countertops and out of sight, maintaining a tidy, decluttered look.
- Customization – With the wide range of sizes and configurations available, linen cabinets can be customized to fit storage needs and layout. Open, closed, deep, shallow, tall or short – there are many options.
- Aesthetics – Bathroom linen cabinets contribute beautiful built-in storage to complement any style of decor. They become part of the overall bathroom design.
- Added Storage – In many bathrooms, a linen cabinet effectively doubles storage capacity compared to cramped vanity cabinets alone. More space for towels, toiletries and cleaning supplies.
- Durability – Quality linen cabinets withstand high humidity bathroom environments and frequent opening/closing better than hall closets. Many feature moisture-resistant finishes.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Bathroom Linen Cabinets
Several key factors should be considered when selecting bathroom linen cabinets:
Bathroom Size and Layout
Measure bathroom dimensions and layout to determine the best size, placement and configuration for linen storage. Allow for door swing clearance. Corner units maximize small spaces.
Evaluate how much storage area is needed for linens, toilet paper and miscellaneous bathroom items. Count the number of towels, washcloths and hand towels used to estimate capacity.
Determine if a freestanding or wall-mounted unit is better suited for the available space. Floor area or wall space may be limited.
If replacing a previous linen cabinet, make sure to measure properly for the correct new fit. Note coordinating design elements to match.
Decide most convenient placement in the bathroom traffic flow. Near the tub, shower or vanity? Easy access versus out of the way.
Door or Open Style
Assess preferences for open shelving, fully concealed cabinet or a combination style linen storage unit. What will best suit the bathroom?
Material and Finish
Consider cabinet materials and finishes that will perform well in moisture and that coordinate with other bathroom finishes.
Good quality linen cabinets start around $150 with prices going up to $1000+ for custom designs. Set a realistic budget and get quotes.
Choose linen cabinet style that matches the bathroom decor – modern, contemporary, transitional, traditional, etc.
Bathroom Linen Cabinet Materials
Bathroom linen cabinets are constructed using a variety of materials and finishes. Here are some of the most common:
The most popular choice, wood cabinets provide a classic, warm look. Oak, maple, cherry and birch are commonly used. Choosing moisture-resistant finishes is important.
Laminate linen cabinets are affordable, durable and available in many colors and “wood look” finishes. Great for contemporary designs.
Sleek metal cabinets in finishes like brushed nickel, chrome and stainless steel add modern style. Steel is the most moisture-resistant.
Tempered glass cabinets make a beautiful statement combined with metal or wood framing. Frosted glass provides obscured views.
Rattan and Wicker
For a light, airy feel, natural woven rattan or wicker linen cabinets are lovely choices. Urethane coating helps repel moisture.
Eco-friendly bamboo linen cabinets have a clean, contemporary look. Bamboo is moisture-resistant but finishes should still be well-sealed.
Bathroom Linen Cabinet Styles
There are several popular bathroom linen cabinet styles:
Freestanding cabinets sit on the floor rather than being wall-mounted. They come in narrow 15-24 inch widths to wider 30-48 inch models and in various heights. Freestanding cabinets can be positioned anywhere with adequate floor space.
Wall Mounted Cabinets
Wall mounted linen cabinets attach directly to the wall. Removed base allows them to sit flush against the wall at any height. Great option for small bathrooms. Recessed or semi-recessed installation is also an option.
Floor to Ceiling Cabinets
Tall and slim floor to ceiling linen cabinets maximize vertical storage space. Tower configurations often have open shelving up top and closed storage on the bottom.
Corner linen cabinets effectively use otherwise wasted space. Angled designs, curio cabinets, and under-sink corner units are available. Well suited for small bathrooms.
Medicine Cabinets with Linen Storage
Many medicine cabinets now feature wider and deeper dimensions to allow integrated towel bars, open shelving or other linen storage alongside the mirror and cabinetry. A space-saving two-in-one storage solution.
Bathroom Linen Cabinet Configurations
Linen cabinets come in many possible configurations:
Open Shelving Units
The most common style, open shelves provide easy access and display. Excellent for organizing folded towels and frequently used items.
Enclosed cabinet spaces allow linens and toiletries to be completely concealed and protected behind doors or drawers. Helps control moisture.
Stacks of smooth-gliding drawers in linen cabinets keep items neatly organized and compartmentalized. Allows customizing storage.
The best of both worlds – combined open and enclosed storage in one linen cabinet. Typically open shelves up top and cabinet storage down below.
Pull-Out Towel Bars
Narrow pull-out towel bars maximize storage of neatly folded and rolled towels in compact cabinets. Can also accommodate washcloths.
Pull-Down Drying Rods
Horizontal pull-down rods or perches mounted inside cabinets provide space to hang damp towels or clothing to dry. Retract when not in use.
Having adjustable shelves allows customizing storage as needs change. Great for accommodating taller items like detergent bottles.
Tilt-out canvas hamper bags built into cabinets offer a hidden spot to stash dirty towels and clothing until wash day.
Choosing the Right Size Bathroom Linen Cabinet
Choosing the right sized linen cabinet for your bathroom involves calculating storage needs and measuring space dimensions:
- For each family member, estimate 2 towels, 2 washcloths and a hand towel changed out weekly. This determines capacity needed.
- Measure the open floor area available for a freestanding cabinet. Measure wall spaces that could accommodate a wall-hung cabinet.
- Standard cabinet depths are between 12 and 16 inches deep. Heights up to ceiling are generally 84-96 inches.
- For small spaces, corner linen cabinets, tall tower cabinets and over-toilet designs maximize storage capacity.
- Allow for the door or drawer extension clearance so that doors and drawers can fully open.
- Take into account existing architectural details – are baseboards, moldings or tile surfaces an obstruction?
- Remember to leave adequate bathroom floor space for walking paths and door access when planning placement.
Installing Bathroom Linen Cabinets
Proper installation is important for functionality and safety of bathroom linen cabinets:
- Freestanding cabinets should be placed on a level surface and secured to the wall studs with provided hardware.
- Wall mounted cabinets must be firmly attached to wall studs, not just to drywall. Toggle bolts work for studless walls.
- Fully loaded cabinets can get heavy. Ensure mounting hardware used provides adequate support.
- For recessed or partially recessed linen cabinets, wall openings must be precisely measured and cabinets sized accordingly.
- If planning lighting above or inside the cabinet, install wiring before mounting the cabinet.
- Have an assistant help with lifting and holding when mounting cabinets overhead.
- Take care not to damage bathroom surfaces with tools or hardware. Use painters tape when needed.
- Check that cabinet doors and drawers align properly and are level. Adjust hinges or slides as needed.
- Properly seal any gaps so moisture does not seep between cabinet and walls or ceiling.
Bathroom Linen Cabinet Ideas
Here are some creative ideas and tips for using bathroom linen cabinets:
- Incorporate clever storage like pull-out towel ladders, slide-out trays and adjustable shelves for maximizing capacity.
- Add top or side crown molding to build an integrated custom look that matches other bathroom millwork.
- Use glass doors on wall cabinets to allow natural light into a windowless bathroom space.
- Try open metal shelving up top and enclosed cabinetry on bottom for a mixed utility cabinet.
- Opt for a wall-to-wall spa style linen cabinet with no gaps on either side to mimic built-ins.
- Include electrical outlets, USB charging ports, lighting or glass shelving in cabinets to add function.
- Use a style that complements the vanity. Contemporary cabinetry pairs well with floating vanities.
- Make a small linen closet feel bigger by removing the doors and adding plenty of lighting. Use decorative baskets for rolled towels.
- For a true built-in look, have cabinets custom designed for a tailored recessed installation within the bathroom walls.
Style Ideas for Bathroom Linen Cabinets
Linen cabinets are available in styles to match any bathroom decor. Here are some top design styles to consider:
Modern Linen Cabinets
Modern, contemporary linen cabinets feature sleek, simple designs. Materials like glass, metal, high-gloss lacquer, and laminate are common. Built-in LED lighting creates a spa aesthetic.
Rustic and Farmhouse Cabinets
Rustic style linen cabinets tend to be wood, in distressed painted or naturalunfinished looks. Glass door fronts and open shelving are design elements seen in farmhouse style cabinets.
Traditional Linen Cabinets
Traditional cabinets are often made of quality wood with carved detailing. Inset doors, molded trim and crown molding up top provide a furniture look.
Transitional Linen Cabinets
Transitional cabinetry combines elements of traditional and contemporary styles for a versatile, fresh look. Simple Shaker cabinets in wood tones work well.
Coastal Style Linen Cabinets
Coastal cabinets feature breezy woven seagrass or rattan paired with driftwood or reclaimed wood. Whitewashed finishes and beadboard accents complement the beachy style.
Bathroom Linen Cabinet Organization Tips
Keep bathroom linen cabinets neatly organized with these tips:
- Designate shelves or drawers for linens, medicines, toiletries, cleaning supplies to stay organized.
- Use shelf dividers, small baskets and boxes to neatly corral and contain items.
- Stack towels horizontally and fold washcloths vertically so items stand upright for easy access.
- Add drawer organizers and inserts so smaller items don’t get jumbled and lost in the back.
- Label shelves with sticky notes or install permanent lettering so all family members know what goes where.
- Hang a folding drying rack that can be pulled out to dry bath mats over the tub after use, then folded out of the way.
- Add small turntables in cabinets to easily access items stored at the back without unstacking everything in front.
- Incorporate slide-out trays in lower cabinets to access items in the back without bending down or kneeling.
- Install child safety locks on cabinet doors and drawers to keep medications and cleaners secure. Magnetic closures are an option.
Bathroom Linen Cabinet Ideas by Size
Here are some great linen cabinet ideas for bathrooms of all sizes:
Small Bathroom Linen Cabinets
- Corner floor unit or wall-hung corner cabinet
- Narrow 18-24 inch tower cabinet
- Space-saving cabinet above toilet
- Cabinet with integrated pull-out towel ladder
- Tiered wall cabinet with staggered depths
Medium Bathroom Linen Cabinets
- Double-door cabinet under a window
- Wall-to-wall cabinet spanning one entire wall
- Armoire-style cabinet with enclosed storage
- Cabinet with open and enclosed sections
- Recessed cabinet flanking vanity with matching details
Large Bathroom Linen Cabinets
- Built-in floor-to-ceiling linen closet
- Double tower cabinets for his & hers
- Peninsula cabinet accessible from two sides
- Large cabinet with laundry hamper storage
- Linen cabinet “built-in” to match vanities
Bathroom Linen Cabinet FAQ
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about bathroom linen cabinets:
Are bathroom linen cabinets moisture resistant?
Quality bathroom linen cabinets are made of materials like moisture-resistant woods, laminates or metals that can withstand steam and splashes. Be sure to use thoroughly sealed finishes.
Should bathroom linen cabinets have doors?
It’s a personal choice – doors hide contents and contain moisture but take up space opening. Open shelves provide unfettered access. Many cabinets combine both doors and open shelving.
Where should linen cabinets be placed in a bathroom?
Common placement is near the tub and shower for easy access when bathing. They can also be next to vanities or toilets or even on an adjacent wall.
How deep should bathroom linen cabinets be?
The most common depths are 12, 14, 16 and 18 inches. Around 16 inches deep provides enough space for neatly folded towels. Deeper cabinets take up more floor space.
How tall are bathroom linen cabinets?
Standard heights range between 30-84 inches for freestanding cabinets. Wall cabinets can go all the way up to the ceiling. Measure your space to determine best fit.
Should cabinets match vanities and other wood finishes in the bathroom?
Matching finishes creates a coordinated, built-in look. Contrasting wood stains or colors can also make the linen cabinet a unique focal point.
How much weight can bathroom linen cabinet mounting hardware hold?
Look for wall mounting brackets or cleats made of steel or solid wood that can handle 100+ lbs of weight. Properly installed, they securely support loaded cabinets.
The right linen cabinet can help even the smallest bathroom feel organized and spacious. Evaluate your bathroom storage needs and layout to select the ideal size, placement and style. Invest in high quality, moisture-resistant cabinetry made to handle the steamy bathroom environment. Take time to properly organize cabinets so linens and necessities are conveniently at hand. With the many size, configuration and style options available today, you can find beautiful bathroom linen cabinets to match any decor.