When Decorating, Don’t Forget This Tiny (but Often-Viewed) Spot

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A small sink located at the corner of a bathroom decorated with picture frames and plants
Credit: Liz Calka

When I think about home decorating, I tend to focus on highly visible areas, like my living room, bedroom, open shelving, and countertops. But I recently spoke with home expert Rebecca Enberg, the writer behind the Substack Your House Machine, who encourages people to broaden their horizons by thinking small when it comes to styling. Her favorite example of an oft-overlooked area that’s ripe for a design moment? The medicine cabinet. 

Most people open their medicine cabinets multiple times per day, yet I’ve never heard of someone decorating theirs. To the contrary, nearly every medicine cabinet I’ve ever had or seen is chock-full of strictly utilitarian objects. And yes, you don’t want to fully lose that functionality in the name of a trend, but I still see some merit in it for the pure visual enjoyment it can bring. 

Credit: Courtesy of Rebecca Enberg

Enberg’s medicine cabinet is a tiny, minimalist wonderland. She has very few toiletry items in it, and she added some sage bundles, stones, and crystals as well as a few decorative jars to hold things like makeup brushes and personal care tools.

So how on earth do you clean out your medicine cabinet well enough to be able to add a few decorative items without making the whole piece look overcrowded? “It’s important to be ruthless about what goes in there,” Enberg advises. “We all get sucked into buying products that we don’t end up loving. If you look at something and realize you haven’t used it in a month, toss it immediately. Don’t ruminate on what you spent.” 

Then, Enberg says, “When you’ve pared your medicine cabinet down to only the items you use regularly and love, that alone will bring a sense of calm and peace every time you open it.”

Credit: Courtesy of Rebecca Enberg

Now for the fun part. “I like to amplify my enjoyment by adding crystals or natural artifacts,” Enberg says. “You open your medicine cabinet multiple times a day — generally at times when you’re alone and focused on caring for yourself. So try to add objects that ground you and bring you pleasure during this time.” This can include low-light plants, small picture frames, little trays or dishes, and any other items that make you feel good when you look at them.

The result? A miniature oasis where your eyes can enjoy something calming every time you open that door.