Bathroom Basics: Stocking Your First Home

updated Sep 19, 2022
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(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

When it comes to stocking your first home, it’s easy to see why the bathroom could be an afterthought. After all, you’ve got furniture to add to your living room, and pots and pans and tons of tools and appliances to purchase for your kitchen. But bathroom essentials are every bit as important as the things you’ll need for other rooms of your home. 

Remember, not only will you use your bathroom multiple times a day, any guests that come to your house may use it as well. So, you need to make sure your bathroom is stocked with all the things you (and they!) will need. Below, our list of 15 bathroom essentials to add to your list of must-haves in your new space. 

1. Shower Curtain and Liner 

If your shower or tub is unsightly, go with an opaque curtain that moves easily for quick concealment. If your shower is somewhat presentable, consider a sheer curtain to let some light into the shower stall. If you don’t have a sliding glass door on your shower, have fun finding curtain hangers that match the vibe you’re going for. 

2. Hand Soap Dispenser

A fashionable pump or holder for your hand soap of choice is a great way to level up the experience of washing your hands after each trip to the bathroom. 

3. Shower Caddy

A place to keep all the bottles and items that inevitably pile up on the sides of your shower is the best way to avoid the rust stains and soap scum that gather beneath them. Find a shower caddy that secures over the spout of your shower to keep items up and out of the way.

4. Toothbrush Holder

Your toothbrush needs a clean place to hang out that’s far away from your toilet. Check out these 12 fun ideas. For those of you who use a bulky electric toothbrush, look for more accommodating holders like this Orvino one at Umbra

5. Trash Can

You can purchase a simple plastic trash can for just a few dollars, or you can find something with personality. Even a wicker basket with a shopping bag is a totally acceptable substitute for a trashcan. Just don’t skip it, since unsightly and unsanitary trash will build up in your bathroom more quickly than you realize. 

6.  Bath Mat 

Sure, you can toss a hand towel on the floor as you step out of the shower. But an attractive bath mat will put a smile on your face every time you turn the water off and reach for your towel. If you’re going for a spa-like experience, invest in a super plush bath mat that makes your feet feel like they’re melting into it. No judgment if you buy a second one for in front of your kitchen sink, too! 

7. Cleaning Supplies

No matter how close your bathroom is to your kitchen (where most people store cleaning supplies), it’s always helpful to stock your bathroom with its own small caddy of cleaning supplies. Stock a basic glass cleaner for mirrors and glass shower doors, a disinfectant for the toilet and floor, and a scrubbing cleanser and sponge for the shower. 

8. Innovative Storage Solutions

Look beyond the bath stores and consider bedside tables, mini book shelves and etageres with baskets for extra storage. And don’t forget the space behind the toilet! 

9. Over-the-Door Hooks

This easy-to-overlook bathroom essential is, well, essential. After all, where will you hang your robe, extra towels, yesterday’s clothing that hasn’t yet made it to the laundry hamper and… lots of other things (trust us on this one)? 

10. Bath Towels

If you’re not looking to splash out on bath towels, try stores like Marshall’s or Home Goods for quality towels at a reasonable price point. Aim to have about two to four towels per person. White towels are a great option since they never fade, look outdated and they match everything. An added bonus? It’s easy to tell when it’s time to replace them. 

11. Good-QualitySoap

There’s no need to spend a ton of money, but a few extra dollars spent on a delicious-smelling hand soap for your sink is totally worth it. It’s so nice to enjoy the scent that lingers on your hands after you wash them, and your guests are sure to appreciate it, too. 

12. Good Lighting

If you can’t put in your own lighting, adjust the bulbs to get the softest, most-forgiving glow possible. And look here for some reader tips on dealing with poor lighting in a rental unit. 

13. A Mirror

We love the ones from Wisteria and Restoration Hardware. If you are a homeowner, consider installing a mirrored cabinet set into the wall for extra storage. For inspiration, look here  for some cheap but good options.

14. Hand Towels

You can get creative with these. Install a looped towel hook so guests know to use the hand towel and not your bath towel! Or if you don’t want to drill into the walls, use a freestanding towel stand. 

15. Basket of Towels

A wire basket of rolled-up hand towels and extra toilet paper for company or guests to use is always appreciated. And it helps you to avoid running out of towels or toilet paper, which you’ll appreciate!  

16. Plunger and Toilet Bowl Cleaner

These should be tucked behind the toilet or under the sink for use by an embarrassed, panicking guest.

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