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Falling somewhere between a rite of passage and an inside joke for anyone who's lived in New York City, tiny showers are ubiquitous among apartment dwellers. But you need not live in the Big Apple — or any big city with little apartments — to find yourself faced with a small stall and the challenges that accompany it.
It can feel like the bathmat is being pulled from under you. You may find yourself wondering if you should dig out the plastic shower tote you used to transport your shampoo and conditioner between your room and the communal bathroom back in your dorm days.
Luckily, according to some of our favorite interior design and organizing experts, having a small shower is more than workable — and they are more than happy to share their top tips for making the most out of the least space.
The one thing you need the most in a small shower — other than, say, a showerhead and temperature control valve — is the thing that's most conspicuously missing: surface space. This is where a little innovation goes a long way in a tiny stall. Linda Hayslett of LH.Designs in Los Angeles is a fan of adding a shelf to one of your shower walls and arranging your shampoos, conditioners, and masks on it — "like [you're] at a hair salon," she says. She recommends the ProttyLife Shower Shelf, which comes with a special adhesive mounting sealant that's stronger than suction cups but less invasive than drilling holes.
Los Angeles-based designer Amy Sklar's suggestion has a double purpose that she can attest to personally. "I speak from experience on this one, as both showers in my house are teensy," she says. "I have a small, rectangular, teak stool in my shower, and it is a must-have." It offers a surface not only for a few favorite products but for your foot as well. "If there are any folks out there who have tried to shave their legs without a place to elevate your foot, you know what I am talking about." She's a particularly big fan of Rejuvenation's Teak Corner Shower Bench.
No ledge? No problem.
"You can get some cute dispensers that suction to the tile wall to keep [products] up off the floor," Hayslett says. Simplehuman makes a wall dispenser available in one-, two-, and three-chamber versions, all of which mount to the wall with double-sided tape. For smaller items, Boston-based designer Taniya Nayak loves Tooletries 4-in-1 Silicone Tile Series. "These adorable silicone tile mounts are a really useful find for items that you don’t want to leave sitting in a bit of water after your shower," she says. These small, black silicone squares stick to your wall and are outfitted with different mounting systems – some have hooks, others grooves for holding razors or toothbrushes.
If you're not actually opposed to keeping items on the floor, you can make it more aesthetically pleasing by putting your products into matching pump dispensers. "Just because it's a small space, doesn't mean you still can't make it a spa experience with simple items that are pleasing to the eye," Hayslett says. Nayak loves the West Elm Sono Soap Dispenser for this purpose. These are just as handy if you do have an elevated surface but don't love the look of your favorite products' packaging — and speaking of "elevated," adding labels has exactly that effect.
"I have a weird obsession where I love to have my shower products — soap, shampoo, body wash, shave gel, etcetera — in matching containers with coordinating labels," says Sklar, who sings the praises of Etsy label designer Paper & Pear. "It has such an impact in making my small shower look tidy and pulled together. I can't party with a cacophony of bottles."
So, about shower caddies…
The design pros we spoke to aren't super into the ever-popular, over-the-showerhead product caddy. "I'm not a real fan because of the amount of water that can gather in them, being right at the showerhead," Hayslett explains. They obviously serve a respectable purpose in the plight for small-shower success and they can, in fact, look sophisticated.
"A teak model is a great [alternative] to the harsh look of a typical metal caddy against the tile," says Nayak, who recommends the AquaTeak Original Moa Small Teak Shower Caddy. Sklar suggests Umbra's Aquala Shower Caddy, made of mildew-resistant bamboo.
The design pros' favorite products
Now that you can organize your tiny shower like an interior decorator, why not actually shower like one too? Both Hayslett and Nayak adore Fresh Sugar Face Polish. Hayslett loves how soft and smooth it leaves her skin. And although they may not be in their original bottles, Sklar keeps True Botanicals Renew Nourish Cleanser in her shower along with Cetaphil Ultra Gentle Body Wash.
Fresh Sugar Face Polish
True Botanicals Renew Nourishing Cleanser
Cetaphil Ultra Gentle Body Wash
Home is where the heart is, sure — but it's also where we live our beauty lives. So, we teamed up with the editors at AD to bring you tons of great design tips, trends, and tricks for making over your bathrooms, showers, and vanities. For more like this, click here.
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