For many of us – especially those with larger families – the bathroom is often the busiest place in the house. However, it is often one of the smallest rooms as well, so keeping the bathroom well-organized is a necessity. We like clean counter-tops and vanities, but what to do with all those medicine bottles, half-used tubes of toothpaste, and Q-tips? Cue to the often over-looked MVP of the bathroom – the medicine cabinet!
Medicine cabinets should be a must with any new bathroom remodel, but they can even be added to already existing bathrooms in dire need of extra storage space. To start, let’s get familiar with the two main types of medicine cabinets.
Recessed Medicine Cabinets : Built into the wall, these cabinets are more aesthetically pleasing and space efficient than other types of medicine cabinets. They also have deeper shelves for additional storage space! When remodeling or building a new bathroom, you should absolutely consider installing recessed medicine cabinets, if you can. As a result of being “recessed” or built into the wall, these cabinets may require plumbing or electrical rerouting and cutting of wall-studs, so this project should be tackled by a professional.
Surface-Mounted Cabinets: If cutting into the bathroom wall is not an option, surface-mounted medicine cabinets are a great alternative. They’re cheaper and easier to install in existing bathrooms. If you go this route, plan for their taking up a little more space and be sure to mount them to wall studs when installing.
What else should I consider when selecting a medicine cabinet?
- Doors: Consider the space around the medicine cabinet when selecting doors. Swinging doors are the most popular style for new medicine cabinets, but if you have light sconces or fixtures that could hit or be hit by the cabinet door, you may want to opt for more space-efficient sliding doors. You should also consider the number of doors, as there are single, double, and even triple paneled medicine cabinets. If you have the space for it, this choice is entirely up to your design interests.
- Materials: Medicine cabinets are almost always placed above the bathroom sink, so most medicine cabinet doors have a mirror on front. For the body of the cabinet, you can choose from wood, plastic, or various metals; make sure you keep the humid environment in mind!
- Lighting: Proper lighting in Medicine cabinets can be very important if you also want to use it for tasks, applying make-up, etc. Newly installed medicine cabinets are often integrated with lighting inside and magnified mirrors. Doors with double sided mirrors reflect more light into the cabinet when open as well.
- Other Features: Modern medicine cabinets offer a wide variety of available features. Besides the often standard internal lighting, some offer electrical outlets, defogging mirrors, and even clocks for the terminally hurried.
When planning for your new bathroom, have fun picking out your tile materials, shower heads, and soaking tubs, but don’t forget to pick out a great medicine cabinet as well!