15 November 2011

FOOD FOR THOUGHT #4 - Why aren’t more powder rooms (and public restrooms) purse-friendly?

It happens all the time… I’m at a Barnes & Noble, Outback Steakhouse or Best Buy and there’s nowhere clean or dry to rest my purse while I wash my hands. You have a strap on that bag, so why not just hang it on your arm, you ask…

Well, that doesn’t work terribly well if I want to find whatever has inevitably migrated to said bag's least accessible corner. Usually, it’s my lip gloss or nail polish for touch ups. Murphy’s Law of Purses dictates that whatever one needs is always going to be buried at the bottom. I have found this to be cruelly and consistently true!

This anti-purse problem isn’t unique to public restrooms either. Many powder rooms, (and, sometimes, guest baths), I visit have the same shortcoming. The main difference is that I’m less squeamish about setting my purse down on a friend’s or relative’s bathroom floor or toilet tank than a public space's.

Still, there are numerous solutions to this problem that before now you didn’t even realize you had. (Aren’t you glad you stopped by!) I offer the following suggestions as a public service to all of your purse-wielding visitors and house guests.

Solution #1: If you have some floor space available, consider a small, rectangular side table or bath cart that coordinates with your décor. You can find them at your favorite furniture store, home center or even discount chain stores like Target.

Affordable, contemporary bath solution - 3 Tier Jumbo Cart from Bed, Bath & Beyond

Transitional choice adds a storage shelf below - Marin Side Table at Crate & Barrel

Luxe traditional bath choice adds great storage - Mirage Side Tables from Horchow

Solution #2: If you don’t have floor space, consider a wall shelf. Install it in a spot that won’t get easily bumped or interfere with outlets or towel hooks. This could be on a wall near the sink or above your toilet tank. (This second location calls for a shelf that isn’t deeper than the tank itself so you don’t bang into it when standing up.)

Sleek shelves for modern baths - West End's Paxton Wall Shelf

Rustic elegance for traditional baths - Glass Shelf by Restoration Hardware

Transitional bath shelves - Cafe Shelving from Ballard Designs

Solution #3: If neither is possible, consider adding a double robe hook to the back of a non-pocket door or a nearby wall. This works for hanging purses and coats, (another item that sometimes needs a hygienic resting spot!), or small purses without straps that can rest on the double hook instead of sitting on a wet counter.

Modern Bath Solution - JVJ Hardware Prism Pewter Double Robe Hook on Bellacor.com

Rustic hooks for transitional baths - Pottery Barn's Wire and Wood Double Hook

Double hook for a classic traditional bath - Bancroft Double Robe Hook by Kohler

There are so many choices in each of these categories that can match your décor, space availability and budget that you have virtually no excuse not to invest in at least one of them! That’s all I’m saying.


  1. The small wall shelves are a great idea for bathrooms with limited floor space. You can add a couple extra up high for more storage space as well!

  2. Mark, this is especially helpful for full baths, where storage is a greater need than in premiums.

    Thanks for sharing your insights! I hope you'll continue to drop by.

  3. Jamie,

    Odd question, but when you mount those shelves to the wall, how well do they hold? Just wondering since earthquakes are a factor here in California.

  4. I'm in CA, too, so I know where you're comimg from. The key is skilled installation. If anything breakable or heavy sits on them, Museum Wax could be a good resource to keep them from crashing on the floor or occupant.


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