Should You Choose a Medicine Cabinet or a Vanity with Lots of Storage?

When it comes to bathrooms, storage is at a premium. It seems like no matter how much changes, there’s just never enough space, or space in the right places. What about vanities and medicine cabinets—do people still use them? And if so, can you find stylish options that are also functional? In this guide, we’ll cover everything from whether medicine cabinets are still a thing to the best things to keep in mind when choosing storage to keep the clutter off those gorgeous new bathroom countertops. First, let’s talk about what’s trending and what’s best for the home.


Photo by John Maniscalco Architecture

Do People Still Install Medicine Cabinets?

Today, modern homes seem to have given up on the medicine cabinet in search of better storage solutions, more options for mirrors and vanity selection, and something a bit more stylish. Some people haven’t even realized the change until recently—they suddenly walk into a home with a medicine cabinet and feel like they’re back in the 1980s and remember this oft-forgotten bathroom storage solution.

Some people still install medicine cabinets. More often, people choose to install vanity mirrors that include a cabinet for storage. They choose this route because it’s easier to find styles that fit the space and match the vanity cabinet below. A functional medicine cabinet is great for storage, but does it really deliver any aesthetic appeal?

Well, it can. However, most people think of standard rectangular mirrors and cabinets when the phrase medicine cabinet comes up. These do offer added storage and come in several options, but the space is shallow. Not only that but if you choose a recessed model and there’s not already one in place, the installation could be costly because of the wall that will need to be removed.

Related: Medicine Cabinets: Mixing Functionality And Style

Vanderbilt Triple Door Medicine Cabinet

Vanderbilt Triple Door Medicine Cabinet

Does a Medicine Cabinet Add Value?

As mentioned, medicine cabinets have their place and they offer a few different perks. With recessed options, you get built-in storage that can help boost your home value. It also means you don’t have a cabinet hanging out off the wall, which can improve the look of the space and even add a protective touch because there’s no cabinet that someone could run into.

Aside from functional bathroom storage, modern medicine cabinets also offer a lot more design options and models than you might have found in the past. This means that you can still use this feature and give it a touch of style by choosing a modern look.


In some instances, a medicine cabinet may qualify as built-in storage that can add to your home value. However, when you consider the small amount of space, you’ll see that it’s not going to increase the value by any huge amount. Therefore, you’ll ultimately have to decide which is best for your space based on style, storage, and other needs.

Related: How To Make A Bathroom Look And Feel Luxurious


Photo by Kohler

How to Increase Storage Space Without Adding a Medicine Cabinet?

There are plenty of ways to increase storage space in the bathroom, even if you forego the medicine cabinet. For starters, you can take advantage of your bathroom door. The back of the door is a great place for an over-the-door hook that will hold towels, robes, and other items. You can also use a shoe organizer to store toiletries, washcloths, beauty products, etc.

They also sell special cabinets and door storage systems, if you want to upgrade to something a little more permanent and stylish. However, if you’re on a budget, storage solutions you can grab at the local dollar store are always a good bet. You can also add storage over the toilet, such as a pre-built unit or even just a few floating shelves. Consider a nearby closet to store linens and other items needed less frequently in the bathroom.

Related: 6 Ways To Maximize Bathroom Space


Of course, we can’t talk about storage without discussing the bathroom vanity cabinet. You don’t want everything sitting on the countertops or the toilet tank, so you need to consider where to store it. Modern vanity cabinets have a lot of storage options, and you’ll find them in sizes and styles to fit every space. Bathroom vanities include drawers and doors with shelving, giving you plenty of space to store your belongings, big and small.

Many people elect to choose a vanity with more storage and just hang mirrors above their new bathroom vanity to create a cleaner look. If you can find the right vanity and other storage solutions, that’s a great way to go.

60 Inch Single Sink Bathroom Vanity in Cottage White with Choice of Top

60 Inch Single Sink Bathroom Vanity in Cottage White with Choice of Top

What to Consider When Choosing a Bathroom Vanity for Storage?

There are bathroom vanities in every size and style imaginable. When you are looking to upgrade your space, you’ll want to make sure that you know what you’re looking for. To begin, take a look at the world of bathroom designs online. Thanks to sites like Pinterest and Houzz, you can see what others have done in their bathrooms, including impressive space-saving and storage ideas. This is sure to help you find inspiration for your own storage solutions.

Consider the size of the bathroom and what kind of storage you need from a vanity. Are you installing a double vanity with plenty of room for extra storage, or do you have a small space that needs a smaller vanity, and therefore may not have as much storage readily available? The good news is that there are plenty of options out there today.

Related: Trending 72 Inch Bathroom Vanities: Everything You Need To Know

103 Inch Double Sink Bathroom Vanity with Makeup Table

103 Inch Double Sink Bathroom Vanity with Makeup Table


The Bottom Line

There is still a place for the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, but it’s not quite as popular as it was in the past. Since people are looking for alternative solutions, many vanity cabinets are being designed specifically with storage in mind. When you are in the market for more storage for your bathroom, you’ll have to think about where you can afford to put it—do you want a cabinet jutting out from the wall at eye level? Can you afford to tear out the wall and reroute the wiring to install a recessed cabinet?

One thing is certain. No matter what you choose, you’ll appreciate all the storage space available to keep bathroom essentials out of sight and keep your space looking neat and clean.

My name is Julia Ritzenthaler, Founder and President of Unique Vanities, started in 2005. I started this business as an extension of our residential remodeling business, which focused on the design and build of custom cabinetry and architectural trim. I also worked as a financial advisor for 10 years at Ameriprise Financial, helping clients make sound money decisions, including budgeting for home improvement expenses. This expertise led me to start Unique Vanities, which offers a handpicked selection of high quality bathroom vanities, sinks, mirrors and more. You can find me most days sitting in Starbucks, my second office, or in my car driving my daughter across Dallas to gymnastics training.