Organizing a Vanity for Small Spaces

This post is brought to you by Pottery Barn Dorm and Her Campus Media.

It finally happened! We moved in to our new apartment last weekend! I’ve had an itch to move for about a year now. I’m finishing up my last semester in school this fall, and wanted to have a fresh start some place new and really make it a home, as opposed to a thrown-together college pad.

I lived in the dorms during my freshman year of college. It was a great experience that I encourage everyone to try at least once, but after a year, I was ready for a more reserved living space. I moved to an off-campus apartment (hardly off campus… literally across the street from it!) and had been there since Sophomore year. A lot of people from my school commute, since it tends to be cheaper to live off campus than on. Plus, you get a little extra leeway in terms of furniture and decorating since you have more room to play.

It should be obvious that when I move into a new space, my beauty station is a priority. Even though we have more space, my vanity and desk area still have to fit in the living room since it’s only a one bedroom. That means I have to be crafty in terms of maximizing the space without sacrificing my style. Luckily, I’ve had experience in this area with both the dorms and my first apartment.

Organizing a Vanity for Small Spaces | Slashed Beauty

Tips on Organizing a Vanity for Small Spaces:

1. Choose a Simple Desk

Although it might be tempting to choose a large desk with a lot of built in storage, these can be hard to place– and can becoming overpowering– in small rooms. If you have the option, pick out a small, simple desk that you’ll be able to customize with tabletop accessories and storage to fit your needs.

2. Use the Wall

Because my vanity doubles as my desk, surface space is precious. Mounting things like cubbies, mirrors, and shelves to the wall can help declutter the area. If you’re afraid of nailing things into the wall, use strong command strips– they’re a renter’s best friend in decorating!

3. Roll In the Carts

I don’t know what I’d do without rolling carts. They’re an easy way to store makeup, beauty tools, or even office supplies when storage is limited. The wheels make them easy to move around your home if you need to change up your space, or move to another room to accommodate a roommate. Short sizes are great to roll right under your desk.

4. Compartmentalize

While lining up all your lipsticks and nail polishes in rows may look pretty, it can get cluttered quickly. Use trays, dishes, and organizers to store your beauty products so that they have a designated place to stay neat, but are never far from reach. Choose decorative storage that expresses your style, so that they also work as decoration!

5. Do Double Duty with Office Supplies

A lot of office supplies/accessories can double up to provide homes for your beauty products. A pen cup can be transformed into a brush holder, and a magazine rack can hold your favorite eyeshadow palettes. Just get a little creative and you’ll find a place for everything using things you may already have!

6. Lighted Mirror

Lastly, just a general vanity must-have in my opinion, is a lighted mirror. Whether you can’t turn on the light because your roommate is still sleeping, or you just need extra brightness when applying your makeup in the morning, lighted mirrors will illuminate your face so that you can see exactly what you’re doing. Choose one with LED lights, which look closest to natural light so that you know how your makeup will look once you step outside.

Like most college girls, I often look to Pottery Barn for decorating and storage inspiration. They’ve got so many cute home essentials to choose from, and it’s easy to put together a whole room from their collections. Besides vanity organization and decor, they have a lot of great picks for the rest of your space too– like colorful, printed bedding and pillows to closet storage. Check out more inspiration from their blog, The Stylehouse.

How do you organize your vanity when space is tight?



  1. I’m definitely a fan of rolling carts. We have some tight/awkward spaces in our place, so being able to wheel the bin-o-kitchen stuff away from the oven is useful, lol.

  2. I really need to take advantage of my walls more when it comes to my vanity/desk space! Great post!

  3. I don’t live in a college dorm, but I think some dorms have more vanity space than I do lmao – so I’m all about that small places grind. I love reusing items – doing diys and just trying to cram my big makeup collection in little spaces… it’s so important. πŸ˜€

    1. The one thing I really liked about my dorm was that it had a TON of counter space… but that didn’t matter too much when you were sharing with three other girls!

  4. I’m many years from living in a college dorm (but I stayed in the same room all 4 years. I loved that room!) but my house is still a version of what I call, “Post-College Contemporary Cardboard” tastefully accented with dog hair. Rolling carts and storage bins are my best friends when decorating!

    1. LOL Post-College Contemporary Cardboard, I’ve gotta steal that. That pretty much describes my furniture bahaha

    1. Now that I’m about 90% unpacked, I’m definitely settling into it and loving it!

    1. Thank you!!! Command strips are my best friend so I don’t ruin the walls πŸ™‚

    1. Yessss. I have a plain white dresser and I’m considering getting gold dot stickers for it! πŸ™‚ Thanks for visiting!

  5. OMG. Those polka-dot carts. Just. OMG. I need those in my life!! πŸ˜€ This is a fabulous organizing post! I just re-did our spare bedroom in my cozy makeup den πŸ˜€ This is perfect! I have yet to get my hands on a lighted mirror, but I want a good quality one that isn’t crazy expensive :s I love the wall shelves for the nail polishes.
    And congrats on getting your own place! yay! That’s always exciting and so nice. Enjoy!

    1. 90% of my beauty storage at home is rolling carts πŸ™‚ One day I’ll have a whole spare room to make into my beauty den!!! You know, Conair makes some really good and inexpensive lighted mirrors you should check out. I had one for about 5 years before I finally got a Simplehuman.

  6. Those are some great ideas! I have a fairly large apartment, but my bathroom is small, and it’s always a pain to figure out how to store all those beauty products.

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