Open vanity storage is one of the hottest trends in bathroom design right now. Gone are the days of closed cabinets and drawers. Today’s bathrooms feature open shelving, woven baskets, and other creative storage solutions that give bathrooms a lighter, airier feel. In this article, we’ll explore the open vanity storage trend in depth – from the pros and cons to examples and ideas you can use in your own bathroom remodel or redesign.

What is Open Vanity Storage?

Open vanity storage refers to bathroom vanity designs that do not have traditional closed doors or drawers. Instead, these vanities have some or all of the following open storage elements:

  • Open shelving – Wall-mounted or free-standing shelves above, below, or on the sides of the vanity sink and counter area. These shelves are exposed with no doors or panels covering them.
  • Woven baskets – Rattan, wicker, or woven baskets of various sizes placed on open shelves. These serve as attractive and functional storage bins.
  • Wire pull-out shelves – Shelves that pull out of a vanity’s open middle section on metal rails, providing access to items in the back.
  • Slim drawers – Drawers with a more open, airy feel thanks to narrow widths and/or gaps between them.
  • Glass-front cabinets – Vanity cabinets with full glass fronts or glass doors, creating transparency.
  • Other open cubbies – Small open cubby spaces built into the vanity design.

The key advantage of open vanity storage is the lighter, more spacious look it creates in bathrooms. It also provides easy access to items you use every day.

Pros of Open Vanity Storage

There are many benefits that make open vanity storage a popular choice today:

  • Creates a lighter, more open feel – Ditching vanity doors instantly makes bathrooms feel more expansive and airy. The open concept minimizes visual clutter.
  • Improves functionality – Everyday items are visible and within easy reach instead of hidden behind doors and drawers. No more rummaging to find things!
  • Promotes organization – You can clearly see everything in your open shelves, baskets, and cubbies, which encourages tidiness.
  • Allows for display – Open vanities let you decorate with pretty jars, bottles, baskets, and other items that bring style to your storage.
  • Modern aesthetic – The open look aligns with contemporary, minimalist design trends and feels fresh and current.
  • Easier cleaning – Vanities without doors make cleaning fast and fuss-free. You can quickly dust shelves and wipe down interiors.
  • Customizable storage – Mixing open shelves, baskets, drawers, and more lets you optimize storage just the way you need it.
  • Enhances natural light – No vanity doors means light bounces freely around the bathroom, making it feel bright and airy.

Cons of Open Vanity Storage

There are a few potential downsides to keep in mind with open vanity designs:

  • Exposed clutter – Items on open shelves will be visible, so any clutter will be on full display. Keeping things organized is a must.
  • Accessible to children – Kids may be able to reach and play with items if vanity storage is open and low. Consider safety with items that could be hazardous.
  • Less privacy – Open designs mean your toiletries and medications will not be hidden behind closed doors, which some may not like.
  • Dust collectors – Open shelving will need frequent dusting since items are exposed and not in enclosed cabinets.
  • Bathroom clutter – Too many everyday products on display can make a bathroom feel messy and crowded if the space is small.
  • No facelift option – Doors and drawer fronts allow you to easily change the vanity’s appearance later on. Open designs do not have this option.
  • Difficult resale – Some homebuyers may dislike open vanities or see them as outdated, making resale value suffer. Popular tastes may change over time.

Carefully weigh the pros and cons before choosing open vanity storage in a bathroom remodel or redesign. The right choices can enhance the space beautifully.

Design Ideas for Open Vanity Storage

If you opt for open vanity storage, there are many cool design ideas you can incorporate:

Shelving Styles

  • Floating wall shelves – Shelves that appear to float on the wall above the vanity look light and modern. They come in various materials like wood, glass, metal, and more.
  • Ladder shelves – Straight or leaning ladder-style shelving adds a charming farmhouse vibe and useful storage next to or above the vanity.
  • Corner shelves – Make use of awkward angled corners by installing narrow angled shelves. Great for extra storage space.
  • Curved shelves – For a softer look, install shelves with a graceful curve. Works nicely with round vanity mirrors.
  • Geometric shelves – Make a statement with shelves in unique geometric shapes or that zig-zag.
  • DIY concrete shelves – For an industrial edge, poured concrete shelves have a cool, raw, bespoke aesthetic.

Basket Ideas

  • Woven baskets – Classic rattan, banana leaf, water hyacinth and other natural woven baskets lend rustic texture.
  • Metal & wire baskets – Sleek metal or wire baskets in black, gold, or silver look modern and streamlined.
  • Fabric covered – Baskets covered in cotton, linen or burlap fabrics bring softness. Use one fabric or mix patterns.
  • Bath caddies – Multi-compartment woven bath caddies neatly corral toiletries and keep things organized.
  • Slim line baskets – Thin handmade baskets save space on narrow shelves but still hold essentials.
  • Ladder baskets – Baskets designed to hang ladder-style maximize vertical storage space.

Smart Organization

  • First aid station – Designate a shelf or basket for a neatly organized first aid and medicine station.
  • Makeup organizer – Acrylic or woven makeup organizers with compartments keep cosmetics tidy but visible.
  • Book ledges – Ledges installed to hold books, magazines and devices at an angle facilitate browsing.
  • Essential oils bar – Display your oils beautifully on a small bar cart or shelves. Makes them easily accessible.
  • Towel ladder – An upright wire or wood towel ladder adds spa style. Fold towels over each rung.
  • Artful display – Use apothecary jars, trays, tumblers and more to display cotton balls, q-tips, soaps and other bathroom essentials like art.

Inspiring Examples of Open Vanity Designs

Here are some stunning open vanity designs to provide inspiration:

Rustic Modern

A double vanity features sleek concrete countertops and backsplash. The two sinks each have their own set of open shelving, with straight-lined wood shelves holding woven baskets full of rolled towels and bathroom essentials. A cluster of glass apothecary jars filled with cotton balls and q-tips adds an artful element. The rustic yet modern look makes a stylish statement.

Scandinavian Style

This light and bright vanity has wall-mounted matte black floating shelves staggered artfully on the wall above. Plenty of plants in ceramic planters bring life and freshness. Below, the white porcelain sink and golden faucet pop against a wood counter. Three small boxes and a trio of slim black woven baskets corral toiletries while contributing to the minimal Scandinavian vibe.

Industrial Chic

Rough-hewn wood open shelves made from reclaimed barn wood lend an industrial edge in this bathroom. Bronze wire baskets hold rolled white towels, medicines, and self-care products. The stone vessel sink mounted on a wood base reinforces the earthy style. Edison bulbs in clear glass pendant lights further the vintage industrial look.

Glamorous Diva

Make a bold glam statement by combining gilded accents with open storage. A Hollywood-style lighted mirror takes center stage above an elegant quartz vanity. The stone sink is surrounded by open glass shelves holding perfumes and jewelry boxes on display like priceless artifacts. Accents of gold, velvet, and leopard print dial up the glam factor.

Spa Retreat

This zen bathroom mimics the serene feeling of a luxury spa with its use of natural materials and greenery. An organic edge-grain wood vanity has matching open shelves to hold neatly folded white towels, candles, and plants. Rattan baskets corral bath products. The stone vessel sink and walk-in shower with a pebble floor create an oasis vibe. The open vanity keeps things visually tranquil.

Design Considerations for Open Vanities

When planning an open vanity, keep these design factors in mind:

Space – Make sure you have enough counter space for essentials like soap, toothbrush holder, etc. Despite being open, the vanity still needs to function well.

Scale & Proportions – Size your floating shelves and baskets to suit your space. Oversized shelves in a small bathroom overwhelm. Go smaller scale for a cramped space.

Visual Weight – Wood and stone shelves add heaviness, while glass, metal and wall-mounted shelves feel lighter. Choose what works for the room.

Color Scheme – Coordinate your shelves, baskets, and accessories with the color palette used in the rest of the bathroom for a cohesive look.

Personal Style – Let your own taste shine through rather than just following trends. Add accessories, art, baskets, and objects that reflect your personality.

Multi-Purpose – Look for shelving and baskets that can corral many items from makeup to first aid essentials. Multi-functional storage helps maximize open designs.

Easy Access – Place everyday products on shelves and in baskets located closest to the vanity at eye-level for convenience. Reserve top shelves for lesser-used items.

Texture Mix – Combine glossy and matte, rough and smooth textures. For example, glass shelves + linen baskets + concrete countertop. This creates eye-catching contrast.

Lighting – Properly illuminate your open vanity with ample task lighting. Wall sconces, pendants, and LED lighting all help keep the space functional.

Common Questions about Open Vanity Storage

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the open vanity trend:

Is open vanity storage just a trend?

The open look has been popular for over a decade now and shows no signs of going away. The enhanced light and spacious feeling it creates appeals to many. As long as clutter is kept under control, open vanities have lasting design power. They fit well with both current and more traditional design styles.

Does open vanity storage limit selections?

There are now many styles of open vanities available from various manufacturers and at different price points. The options include floating shelves, glass cabinets, woven baskets, and more. Even custom designs are an option. There are fewer limitations than in the past.

Is it less expensive than vanities with doors?

Pricing varies widely, but generally speaking, open vanities will cost less than most full cabinet vanities. The construction is simpler with fewer materials. Labor is reduced since doors, drawers, and hardware don’t need to be added.

How do you reduce bathroom clutter?

Choose storage baskets in staggered heights and sizes to prevent a cluttered look. Corral small items in bins, trays, or apothecary jars. Store infrequently used items out of sight in drawers or elsewhere. Maintain discipline about putting things away. Curate so only essential daily items are out.

Is open storage safe for kids?

If small children will be using the bathroom, it pays to take safety precautions. Avoid large baskets they could potentially climb into and risk injury. Install child-proof latches on pull out drawers. Store any hazardous items totally out of reach.


The move toward open vanity designs reflects the larger trend toward lighter, brighter, more relaxed bathrooms. When planned well using the right mix of materials, colors, and accessories, open vanity storage allows you to add style while enhancing functionality. Just be sure to edit ruthlessly and keep clutter in check. With creative storage solutions and a bit of discipline, you can enjoy the beautiful benefits of open vanity designs.

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