If you’re setting up a new house or giving your current home a refresh, there are certain things that everyone needs to have in a bathroom. Bathrooms are fairly universal when it comes to what happens in them and we all use our bathrooms on a daily basis, so this is one of the rare times when we can talk about things that we all should have in the bathroom.
No matter how many people live in your house, bathrooms tend to be one of the highest traffic areas in any dwelling and that means they can also get dirty easily. That means you’ll need an arsenal of supplies to keep things nice and clean.
Before we dive into the bathroom guide, check out all of our bathroom related articles below:
Bathroom Guide 101
There are certain essential items that every bathroom should have. Even the smallest bathroom will need certain items, and even when space is at a premium there are always ways to make it all work. Thankfully there are all kinds of bathroom storage options available to suit your needs.
The biggest consideration is how you utilize your bathroom. If it’s the bathroom you share with your spouse then there are things you might include to make it more of an oasis. In the case of the bathroom that your kids share, you might skip storing the cleaning supplies and opt to keep extra towels and toilet tissue in their bathroom. And if it’s a guest bathroom without a tub or shower you might not keep the same things in it as you would one that you use on a regular basis. (After all, if you’re not using it you won’t have to clean it quite as often as the one you do use regularly)
Let’s assume that your bathroom has the basic offerings: Toilet, sink, vanity, tub and shower. Your setup might have a tub and shower combo, or just a shower, but that won’t matter for the sake of this list of essential must have items.
There are two kinds of must-have items for the bathroom: The things you need to have and the things you want to have. For the purposes of this list, we’ll keep those two categories separated.
Need to Have:
- Bathroom fan: It's important to install a bathroom exhaust fan to remove excess humidity, mold, stale air and to keep the room in good condition. You don't have to interfere with ducts to install a bath fan, you can consider using a ductless bathroom fan that doesn't require outside ventilation.
- Towels: You should have at least one complete set of towels for each person using the bathroom in your household. If you live alone or don’t share a bathroom, then two sets will be sufficient but extra towels are always a good thing. A set of towels includes a bath towel, a hand towel and a washcloth. Some people use a new washcloth every day, so you might buy a week’s worth of washcloths so that you have enough to use throughout the week.
- Antibacterial Soap: Every bathroom needs antibacterial hand soap. Most soaps come in pump bottles, or you can buy your own soap container and a big bottle of soap so that you can fill it on your own.
- Toiletries: Every bathroom will have toiletries in it. Whether you keep your toothbrush in a cup on the sink and your shampoo and conditioner out on the edge of the tub, or if you keep it all hidden, every bathroom should be stocked with the essential bathing and grooming items that you use on a daily basis. Organization is what varies the most with toiletries, and there are lots of options when it comes to keeping things stored in a functional yet aesthetically pleasing manner.
- Cleaning supplies: Some people prefer keeping their bathroom cleaning supplies under the sink in the vanity so that they’re available for use when they’re needed while other people prefer to keep all cleaning supplies together. The essential cleaning supplies for every bathroom include glass cleaner for the mirrors and glass, a tub and tile cleaner for the bath and shower areas, toilet cleaner and a toilet brush. You can find a toilet brush that is self-enclosed and can be kept behind the toilet for quick use.
- Trash can: If you have little kids, having a trash can with a lid is a good idea. There are all kinds of things that get thrown away while in the bathroom and having a lid to keep the little ones out is a good idea. Pro tip: If you’re using trash bags, place a few extra bags in the bottom of the can so that swapping them out is even easier.
- Extra toilet paper: Some people keep the extra toilet tissue elsewhere. You need to have at least another roll handy. (Pun very much intended) There is nothing worse than needing more toilet tissue and not being able to reach it.
Want to Have:
- Towel warmer: There’s nothing like stepping out of the shower and wrapping yourself in a towel that’s fresh out of the dryer. A towel warmer gives you that same experience. Most of us find towel warmers at high-end hotels and wish we had one at home without realizing how easy it is to have one of your very own.
- Scent diffuser: If you love taking baths, or you’re looking to minimize bathroom odors, a scent diffuser is a lovely thing to have in the bathroom. If you get a wax melt diffuser then you have to make sure there is a place on the counter for it along with access to an electrical outlet. You can also purchase an oil diffuser that doesn’t require electricity, and that will serve the dual purpose of keeping the bathroom smelling fresh while also working as decor.
- Candles: From a utilitarian standpoint, candles aren’t very useful in the bathroom but a candlelit bath at the end of a long day goes a long way to help you unwind. (Ask any mom and she will tell you the same thing…and if you add a glass of wine it’s pure bliss) If you don’t have a tub, even a shower by candlelight can be nice. It’s all about creating ambiance in your personal spa space, so a few candles isn’t a bad idea. Make sure that for safety’s sake they don’t tip over easy, and if you have young ones around them avoid using glass candle holders near the tub, where they are easy for young ones to grab.
- Facial tissue and lotion: Some people grab a handful of toilet tissue when they need to blow their noses in the morning, but having a box of tissues nearby is helpful when you’re about to sneeze or if you need to wipe your face quickly. Having some lotion nearby is also a nice touch so that you can moisturize after washing your hands.
There are products that can help make your bathroom spotless without the need to get on your hands and knees to scrub it all down every day.
- Tidy Toilet: Look for toilet bowl cleaners that can be dropped inside the tank or directly in the bowl. That way the toilet will clean itself with every flush and limit how often you need to clean it.
- Spray and Go: If you use a spray on shower cleaner, you can eliminate water spots on the glass and keep the tile and grout clean without actually scrubbing it. There are products that can be sprayed on after showering so all you need to do is spray and go.
- Pick It Up: Keeping a hamper in your bathroom is a great idea if you have the space. That way you can deposit dirty clothes and towels in the hamper instead of leaving them on the floor so that helps to keep the bathroom tidy. You can also buy a hamper with two compartments built in so you can sort your dirty towels and clothes easily. This is especially helpful when you have multiple family members using the same bathroom and you’re the one in charge of doing the family’s laundry.
- Shower Caddy: If space is at a premium in your bathroom, a hanging shower caddy is a great way to keep all of your toiletries organized. A shower caddy hangs from the shower faucet and usually comes with multiple baskets and hooks to hold shampoo bottles, face wash, washcloths and scrubbers. They’re a great way to keep a teen’s bathroom tidy, too.
- Under the Sink Organization: Keeping the area under the sink organized is a very helpful thing for many reasons. It might seem like extra steps to store things in plastic bins, but when you have your under the sink area organized it makes it easier to pull everything out to clean, and in the event that you need to call a plumber then it’s easy to get everything out of the way quickly – especially if there’s a leak.
At the end of the day, all bathrooms need essential items like toilet tissue, towels and cleaning supplies. If you have the essentials, you’re set. Anything on top of that is icing on the cake and it helps to create a nicer bathroom space for you and your family.
Whether you prefer a utilitarian space or a lavish oasis getaway from your hectic life, the bathroom is a space where you should feel comfortable. Fill it with things that make you happy and help to make your life comfortable along with the essential items that make it a functional space. We hope this bathroom guide was helpful!