What is An Etagere?

What is an Etagere?

So what is an etagere (aside from being an absolutely great Scrabble word to arm yourself with)?

The term “étagère” (with or without the accent marks) refers to an item that has multiple compartments or shelves to store things on. While the word is sometimes used to describe those dainty little vintage 3-tiered candy dishes, for our purposes on this site, we are, not surprisingly, limiting our use of the term to refer to the furniture piece, or more specifically the over the toilet étagère.

étagère is a stand

Brass Over The Toilet EtagereSpecifically, an étagère is a stand, wall unit, or other furniture piece that is designed to hold small objects. It can be used for storing or for displaying ornamental items. It may consist of all open shelving or a combination of open shelves plus an enclosed cabinet.

In today’s décor, common use of this type of piece is the over the toilet étagère. These are used to introduce a decorative touch to a bathroom, while also adding functional above the toilet storage space to a sometimes smaller area. By making use of that otherwise empty space above the toilet, these units allow you to maximize the versatility of your bathroom.

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Another common use in the bathroom is corner etageres, perfect for making the most of those otherwise unused corner niches.

Often the phrase over the toilet étagère is used interchangeably with over the toilet storage unit.

Where Did the Étagère Originate?

The first etageres were made in France in the latter 1700’s. During the era of Louis the XVI, France’s king from 1774-1791, French decorative styles were characterized by a use of metals or exotic wood ornamentation, curvatious designs, and detailed craftsmanship.

In modern times, this type of furnishing can convey an informal intimacy through light and delicate details, perfect for making the most of those smaller available spaces in the powder room.

Benefits of an Etargere

There are many reasons that interior designers, and you, will love these. Some reasons to consider adding one to your décor include:

  • Their open construction makes them appear to take up much less space and feel less overpowering than a chest of drawers or a bookcase
  • They are typically lightweight and easy to move or even disassemble for easy packing
  • There are a wide array of styles available that will fit most any décor
  • Price range is broad, with something to fit most any budget

Types of Over the Toilet Etagere

There are a great variety of designs and styles of over the toilet etagere available. Some of the features and characteristics to choose from include:

  • Material: Metals such as bronze, steel, chrome; or wood such as oak, bamboo, cherry, or wicker
  • Color: Metals are available in a variety of decorative finishes, and woods may be natural, stained, or painted white, black, or another color to suit your bathroom\
  • Shelving-Only or Enclosed Cabinet: Wide open shelves only, or combination of small cabinet(s) and shelves. The sides of the unit may be open or enclosed as well
  • Height: While most of the toilet storage units are high to take maximum advantage of available wall space, there are also short units available. These are useful for special situations, such as when your toilet is located under a window and a tall unit just won’t fit.

Some of these units come with additional matching pieces to easily decorate and coordinate the entire bathroom.

The Decorative Corner Etagere

As mentioned above, not all etageres are those long-legged types designed for over the toilet. Another popular use in the restroom is a corner etagere. These units make excellent use of the otherwise wasted corner space in a small room.

What To Display On Your Etagere

This is the fun part. Anything goes as far as what you may want to put in this above toilet storage location. Remember, this piece of furniture can serve to be both functional and decorative. And what you store on it, or in it, will depend on the type of unit you choose, and the décor of your bathroom.

Of course useful items you want to have at the ready such as towels, toiletries, facial tissue, and spare rolls of toilet paper can go here. And you can also add your own creative touch with carefully selected and displayed picture frames, vases, candles, jars of shells, and other ornaments and bathroom knick-knacks.

Find more informative articles and helpful reviews related to over the toilet storage options here at OverTheToilet.com.

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