Overview: Three storage solutions
Most vanities are poor storage spaces because they're designed
for the convenience of plumbers, not for you. While that big,
open box is nice for installing pipes, it leaves you with jumbled
storage and wasted space.
But you can convert that box into useful space by installing any or all
of these three upgrades. You'll expand the real estate under your sink and
make it easy to find anything in seconds. Even a beginning DIYer can build
all three projects in a weekend, at a total cost of about $75.
Project 1: Swing-Out Shelf
Get everything within reach!
This spacious, double-level
shelving unit pivots in and
Project 2: Mini Rollout
No more tipping! This
rollout has taller sides for
taller products as well as
Project 3: Drawer Top Trays
Get organized! Make these
nifty sliding trays for all
your vanity drawers.
Project 1: Swing-out shelf
Here's the answer to all that inaccessible clutter
on the floor of your vanity. With one pull,
you can bring stored items out of the dark
recesses and into easy reach.
Chances are, the measurements
shown in Figure A
won't be best for your
vanity. The surest way
to determine the right
size for your shelf is to
cut a quarter circle from
cardboard and test the fit. If your
vanity has double doors, you can still build this shelf, but
you may need to open both doors to swing it out. Here are
some tips for building your swing-out shelf:
- To make the curved shelves, just mark a half circle and
then cut it into two equal quarter circles.
- A pneumatic brad nailer makes assembly a cinch. If
you don't have a brad nailer, use trim screws. The awkward shape
of the shelves makes hand nailing difficult. Whether you use nails
or screws, also use glue.
- We finished our shelf with a couple of coats of polyurethane. A
can of spray lacquer is also a good option.
- Piano hinges come in various lengths, but you probably won't find
exactly what you need for your shelf. That's OK; you can cut it to
length with a hacksaw.
Figure A: Swing-Out Shelf Details
Swing-out shelf parts:
Part A: 1/2” x 11-3/4” x 12”
Part B: 1/2” x 13” x 12”
Part C: 1/2” x 11-3/4” radius
Part D: 1/8” x 1-3/4” x 24”
1/2” plywood (A–C)
1/8” hardboard (D)
No. 6 screws and finish washers
Figure A is also available in pdf format in “Additional Information” below.
Trammel for Marking Curves
A homemade trammel
is perfect for marking
out the curved shelves.
Project 2: Mini rollout
This handy little rollout has tall sides, fronts
and backs to keep bottles and cleaners in
place as you open it. Our dimensions are
given in Figure B below, but you can alter the size to suit your
needs. Here are some building tips:
- Assemble the drawer boxes with glue plus trim screws,
finish nails or brad nails.
- We used a 14-in. “full-extension” drawer slide. This
type of slide is typically mounted on the side of a
drawer, but it works well as a light-duty undermount
slide. If your home center doesn't carry full-extension
slides in the length you need, go to any online cabinet
hardware supplier. You can use a standard undermount
slide, but your tray won't extend fully.
- Finish the rollout with two coats of polyurethane or
- If you add a cabinet pull as we did, be sure to set the
base back a bit so the vanity door can close.
Figure B: Mini Rollout Details
Mini rollout parts:
Part A: 1/2” x 3-1/2” x 16”
Part B: 1/2” x 3-1/2” x 16”
Part C: 1/2” x 3-1/2” x 3”
Part D: 1/2” x 3-1/2” x 16”
14” full-extension drawer slide
Figure B is also available in pdf format in “Additional Information” below.
Back to Top
Project 3: Drawer top trays
Drawers are often too deep for small bathroom
stuff like razors, medicine and cosmetics.
That means wasted space. These handy
sliding trays reduce that waste and increase drawer real
estate by 50 percent.
- To size the tray, measure the drawer: Subtract 1/16
in. from the width of the drawer space and divide the
length in half. Cut a piece of 1/8-in. hardboard this
- You can make the tray any depth you like. If the opening
in the vanity is taller than the height of the drawer,
your tray can protrude above the drawer sides.
- Finish the tray with a couple of coats of polyurethane
or spray lacquer.
- Stored items tend to slide around in the trays, so we
added shelf liner (available at home centers and discount
Figure C: Drawer Top Tray Details
Drawer top tray dimensions depend upon the sizes of your drawers.
Figure C is also available in pdf format in “Additional Information” below.