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Design inspiration can come when you least expect it. Sometimes you spot a game-changing hack on your TikTok feed. Other times you might become enamored of your grandma’s decor that was once outdated but is so in right now. For me, though? I recently found some serious small-space inspiration in — of all places — a restaurant’s bathroom stall.
My fiancé and I were grabbing dinner in San Francisco, when, you know, nature called. Like most people, I’ve been in a lot of teeny-tiny bathroom stalls over my 30-something years; however, this one was different. Where most small bathrooms affix a toilet paper holder to one of the adjacent walls, this restaurant had its toilet paper holder attached to the back of the door.
I know what you’re thinking: A toilet paper roll? On the back of a door? Groundbreaking. Well, actually, it kind of is. As someone who writes about home decor for a living, I thought I’d seen all the small bathroom hacks a truly tiny floor plan could offer: Install floating shelves, opt for over-the-toilet storage, add a rolling cart to a potentially awkward corner, etc. When it came to where to put your TP, the most innovative hack was to trade in that free-standing holder for a wall-mounted one that sat snugly next to your toilet — not in front of it.
That said, affixing a toilet paper holder to the back of your bathroom door (or even vanity cabinet, pictured above) offers the best of both worlds: You can free up precious floor space without having to contort your body just to grab a square. Another win? You won’t have to worry about your legs bumping into a sharp, metal toilet paper holder. As someone who’s working with a super-compact toilet room in a split bathroom, it’s a small frustration that I know all too well. This is an idea that feels so smart — and so obvious, quite frankly — that I’m still shocked I haven’t seen it around more often.
If your bathroom door falls within arm’s reach of your toilet, it’s easy to recreate this restaurant-worthy idea. To start, find a wall-mounted toilet paper holder that hits the sweet spot between form and function (check out a few hand-picked favorites to streamline your search). While most toilet paper holders will need to be drilled into your door, there are a few renter-friendly options that can be attached with just an adhesive strip, like this minimalist Command style from Amazon.
Opening up wall space and dedicating the back of your door to a toilet paper roll will work wonders in a small bathroom or pint-sized powder room. And honestly, why stop with your bathroom? Whether you’re working with a primary bedroom or a home office, every door in your home has plenty of creative design and storage potential! Go ahead, check out our favorite over-the-door organizers, plus what to do with that awkward space behind your door.