Matching towels and cute decorating schemes aside, there are certain bathroom essentials that everyone should have, no arguments allowed. And the only reason I say this is because certain basics are simply a huge contributor to your personal comfort and convenience — and what better reason to have them than that?
My first apartment post-college was a pretty ragtag affair, and one of the places it showed the most was in the bathroom. My roommates and I were lucky if we ever had extra toilet paper, used the old "adding water" trick to extend the life of our bottles of hand soap to the point of absurdity, and ended up relying solely on a night light during a particularly memorable week when the overhead light burned out.
Needless to say, we weren't big on luxuries — or even common sense — back then, and one of the places my home life has improved the most drastically over the course of my 20s has been in my bathroom setup. While I don't always love it (it is, after all, a tiny, windowless room in a small apartment) it never actively frustrates me and everything I need is always easily accessible.
If you're about to move into your own apartment for the first time, or are finally just ready to make the one you have just a little more grown up, here are nine things every bathroom should have. I promise you'll thank me.
Chrome 4-Tier Space Saver, $39.99, Overstock.com
Not all bathrooms come equipped with under-the-sink storage, or if they do, it's not always enough, and that's why it's super helpful to invest in an above-the-toilet shelf. The great thing about them is that they usually use up wall and floor space that would otherwise be unused, meaning you get extra storage without sacrificing any real estate.
2. A Super Absorbant Mat
Super Soft and Absorbent 16x24 Memory Foam Bath Mat White, $17.54, Overstock.com
There's nothing quite like stepping out of a nice hot shower on to a cold, hard floor and subsequently dripping water all over everything. And conversely, there's nothing like stepping onto a super soft and absorbent bath mat. Once you get one, this item will quickly move from luxury to necessity in your life.
3. A Nice-Smelling Scent
Poo-Pourri Before You Go Toilet Spray, $9.75, Amazon.com
Keeping a nice scent on hand seriously makes your bathroom SO much more pleasant — for everyone. One of my roommates once came home with the infamous Poo Pourri, and we've honestly never looked back. Plus, a nice scented candle or diffuser can make a bath or hot shower all the more relaxing. You'll wonder why you ever lived any other way.
4. A Toilet Paper Holder
Household Essentials Banana Leaf Oversized Toilet Tissue Holder, $25.10, Jet.com
Not only does a toilet paper holder often make for a nice decoration piece, but it means no one will ever have to be fumbling around in an under-the-sink cabinet ever again when the roll runs out. This is especially awesome for guests who may not know where to look for an extra supply or even feel comfortable asking.
5. Jars For Q-Tips And Cotton Balls
Glass Apothecary Jars, $15, Sundancecatalog.com
I've said it before — reaching into a pretty glass jar for a cotton ball is so much nicer than fishing for one out of a crumpled plastic bag. Plus, you'll always know when you need to buy more since they'll be so easy to see.
6. A Cute Container For Pads
Lidded Wicker Box, $34.99, Basketlady.com
An opaque container for things like pads and tampons is especially nice if you don't have a lot of under-sink storage but also don't like the look of bulky cardboard boxes on your shelves. And if you choose the right style the box doubles as a super cute decorative piece.
7. Good Lighting
Designers Fountain 4156-PW Pewter 6 Light Vanity Strip, $13, Lightingdirect.com
This is a tip I got from an Apartment Therapy bathroom basic roundup. They noted that if you can't control the actual lighting fixtures in your bathroom, you can always adjust the light bulbs themselves for higher or lower intensity light, depending on your specific needs.
8. Plunger And Plunger Case
Simple Human Black Toilet Plunger, $30, Simplehuman.com
A toilet plunger is one of those things you never want to realize you don't have until you need it. Seriously. If you don't have one, go out and buy one right now. And get a cute case while you're at it, because it just makes everything look so much better.
9. Disinfectant Wipes For Touch Ups
Lysol Dual Action Wipes, $5.99, Jet.com
This is another Apartment Therapy tip that will just make your life that much easier. I find that disinfectant wipes always come in handy for those times when I don't have time for a real intensive bathroom clean, but I want to be able to quickly wipe away surface dust or spills. It will definitely keep things looking nicer between cleaning sessions.
Your bathroom may never be a spa-like oasis, but it can definitely be super functional and at least not actively be a source of frustration. Just make sure it's equipped with a few basic luxuries and you'll seriously wonder how you ever lived without them.
Images: Dan Watson/Unsplash; Courtesy Brands