How to Install an Over the Toilet Cabinet

Written by karie lapham fay
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How to Install an Over the Toilet Cabinet
A cabinet hung overtop your toilet optimises bathroom space. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

You can never have too much storage space, and let's face it, space for anything, much less storage, is often at a premium in a bathroom. People often think about space at floor level, but space higher up on the wall is often overlooked. The solution just might be an over-the-toilet cabinet; it provides room for linens, toiletries, or just decorative touches. You could get a free-standing cabinet that straddles the toilet. A more sophisticated and elegant touch, however, is to mount the cabinet on your wall. It's fairly easy to install and it will look great.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Cardboard or newspaper
  • Scotch or masking tape
  • Level
  • 1-by-2-inch board
  • 3-inch wood screws
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Stud finder (optional)
  • Nails (optional)
  • Shims or spacers (optional)
  • Spackling compound
  • Sandpaper
  • Touch-up paint

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  1. 1

    Clean the wall over the top of the toilet, removing any dirt or debris. Scrape away any bulging paint to ensure the wall is fairly smooth.

  2. 2

    Cut out a section of cardboard or newspaper, making it the same size as your cabinet. Tape it to the wall where you think you want your cabinet. Use scotch tape or masking tape -- this is temporary. Stand back and see how the cabinet will look, making any adjustments to height and placement until you are satisfied with the location.

  3. 3

    Hold a level up to the wall, lining it up with the bottom of where you want your over-the-toilet cabinet. Adjust until it shows level, then draw a line across the wall. Place a short, straight board (about 1 by 2 inches; you do not want a thick, heavy board) just beneath and lined up with your line. Use screws to attach the board to the wall. This will create a support for the cabinet installation.

  4. 4

    Locate the studs that will be behind your cabinet, then mark them on the wall, drawing a faint, straight line up and down to extend past where the cabinet will be mounted. Use an electronic stud finder, or tap on the wall to determine where it sounds hollow. You can also probe with a fine drill bit or nail. Studs are usually every 16 to 24 inches, so you can actually go from a known stud (such as at the wall end) and measure over to estimate location, then look from there.

  5. 5

    Place your cabinet into position, on top of the support board attached to the wall. Note where the cabinet does not rest flat against the wall, if applicable. Insert small shims or spacers at these places, tapping into place. Push against the cabinet to determine it now feels flat against the wall and stable.

  6. 6

    Using the stud location lines previously marked, drill holes through the back of your cabinet and into the wall studs. Place these mounting holes in the preinstalled support rail located on the top of the cabinet if there is one. Make the screw holes slightly smaller than the screws you will use.

  7. 7

    Drive 3-inch wood screws through the cabinet and into the wall studs behind it. Use your level to determine the cabinet is still properly positioned before tightening screws completely. Adjust as needed.

  8. 8

    Remove the support board previously installed. Carefully back the screws out and discard the board, taking care to avoid damaging the wall during the process.

  9. 9

    Cover the screw holes from the support board with Spackling compound, allow to dry a few hours and then sand smooth. Finish with touch-up paint.

Tips and warnings

  • Skip the support brace if you have a helper who can hold the cabinet in place while you install. However, you will want to constantly check to make sure the cabinet stays level until secure if you do not use the board.
  • Consider using anchors if you are unable to mount the cabinet into studs. Cabinets can prove heavy, so you want to use studs as much as possible.

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