Bathroom Linen Cabinets: A Homeowner’s Guide and Buying Tips

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If a dedicated hallway linen closet is out of the question for bathroom storage, then a freestanding linen cabinet can be a practical alternative. These bathroom cabinets come in many different sizes, configurations and styles. Some of the feature choices range from shelving to drawers to glass doors, and these freestanding cabinets are a great place to store bathroom essentials. Prices vary from budget options that may require assembly to higher-end units that boast a great deal of custom features.

Linen Cabinet Types and Sizes

There are a variety of freestanding linen cabinets that work well in the bathroom space. Among the most often used are things such as a tall linen tower, small and medium linen cabinets, dressing/makeup tables with storage space, the handy corner cabinet and over-the-toilet storage solutions. Each provides a different kind of advantage, and these cabinets come in a wide range of sizes. For example, some tall linen cabinets can run over 60 inches high and may be more narrow, while a makeup vanity is lower and wider with a counter above.

Space considerations in the bathroom will dictate the type of unit that may work best in each situation. Some bathrooms only have room for a tiny 8 x 30-inch cabinet to hold toilet paper and a few other essentials. Others may have ample space for a freestanding bathroom cabinet with ample shelving. Take some measurements to get an idea of the available floor space and try to think through how much bathroom storage is needed.

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Finding Freestanding Linen Storage Units

There are a number of different places to buy freestanding linen cabinets. Those who enjoy the appeal of unique furniture pieces can scout antique or secondhand stores for a one-of-a-kind find that suits the space. One of the nice things about a freestanding unit is the fact 3that all types of different furniture pieces can be repurposed and used in this space to add interest. Homeowners who are handy may even want to go the DIY route, especially if all that is needed is a simple style of cabinet.

Another option is to order a linen cabinet online. Browse through the many bathroom furniture options available on sites such as Overstock or Wayfair to get a sense of the multitude of choices out there. Many of these items will require some degree of assembly upon arrival, so it helps to keep that in mind. If assembly isn't appealing, a number of retail and furniture stores sell bathroom furniture such as freestanding cabinets. This route can also be good for people who like to get an in-person look at what they are buying.

Price points are varied, but there is something out there for every budget. A small, basic cabinet can be scooped up at many department stores for a reasonable price as a low-cost solution. There are also high-style choices made of hardwood with decorative legs, scroll work and other appealing features. Many if not most of the bathroom cabinets out there fall somewhere in the middle on price, and this cost is often based on specific factors such as the quality of construction and the inclusion of any custom features.

Linen Cabinet Styles, Materials and Finishes

There is a full selection of linen cabinet styles available for use in the bathroom space. Units range from more decorative, traditional pieces to sleek, contemporary designs and everything in between. From plain, flat-panel cabinet doors to beadboard details to louvered doors, finding the right style to match a design concept shouldn't be an issue. Wood and medium-density fiberboard (MDF) are two of the most popular materials for these units, but some are also fashioned with glass and/or metal as part of the cabinet.

Since the bathroom space tends to be very moist, it's important to select a linen cabinet that has a factory finish or stain to make sure it holds up well over time in this environment. If you are doing a DIY project, keep in mind that oil-based and higher-gloss paints are better at repelling moisture than other options. In terms of color, white is always a classic choice for this room, as it keeps cabinetry from looking heavy in small spaces. Gray, espresso and natural wood tones are some of the most commonly available colors.

Linen Cabinet Features

The features needed for any individual bathroom linen cabinet will vary from one household to another. Some families may want to invest in a tall linen tower with adjustable shelves so they can configure it to hold multiple towels, children's toys, cleaning supplies and other essential items. Someone living on his own might just need a space-saving, over-the-toilet unit that will provide a bit of space for extra toilet paper and cotton swabs.

Once a general style is selected, it's a good idea to map out the practical features that will help keep things organized. These range from shelving to drawers to compartment organizers designed specifically as inserts to make items easy to access. There are a great deal of different configurations out there, and many have a combination of features, such as drawers and shelving. Some units will have high-end choices available, like soft-close cabinets or laundry hamper sections.

Decorative features are also an important consideration, as they can dress up the look of the linen cabinet and elevate it from a mere functional storage piece to a part of an overall design concept. Some of these extras include things like attractive hardware and glass shelving. Cabinet doors can also provide visual interest, whether they feature a more traditional slat-door design, a frosted glass panel or other appealing details.

Tips for Bathroom Linen Cabinet Use

Every household has different needs for storage in the bathroom, and there are a variety of ways to customize any linen cabinet to help meet them. First, when choosing a design, consider how the configuration will work with the storage needs for your household. For example, some tall linen cabinets have features such as adjustable shelving, dividers and pull-out drawers that can help with organizational capacity, making items easy to see and access quickly. This helps keep the cabinet from becoming a catch-all space.

Mixed-use units that feature multiple options can also be very convenient for day-to-day living. Consider some open shelves for quick-grab items like perfume or air freshener and cabinets for personal care supplies like toothpaste and razors. Wicker bins or cloth baskets can also provide a smart solution for stowing supplies out of sight while adding a decorative touch, and labels can be added to help family members keep track of what is stored where.

Put often-used items on lower shelves and in cabinets that are easy to access, and place things that are needed less often on a high shelf or in a bottom drawer. It can take a little time to come up with a system that works best, but one of the benefits of a linen cabinet is that it is easy to rearrange the items inside. Lastly, keep towels, sheets and other fabrics fresh by tucking a container of baking soda or a sachet into the cabinet and changing it periodically. It's also a good idea to do a deep cleaning inside from time to time.

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Catherine L. Tully

Catherine L. Tully

Catherine L. Tully has been a professional writer since 2002, and authors work for a wide range of clients in the U.S. and beyond.