I pondered this for a bit, because I thought something big and clunky on one side of the sink would make things look crowded.
Then the other night it popped into my head to see if I could find a glass shelf that would match the other bathroom accessories we'd picked out (as an aside, selecting things like towel bars, tp holders, and robe hooks may have been the ultimate "I have never given a single millisecond of thought as to what style of this item I would like in my house... and now I have to pick 'em out" moment in this whole process; see also: light switches, doorknobs).
Luckily for me, the bathroom stuff we ended up picking (the Gatco Jewel Collection for those who are curious or care more about tp holders than I do) has a matching glass shelf. Even more luckily, it fits perfectly on the wall by the sink! Sign me up.
The shelf arrived today, and I armed myself with a tape measure, level, and pencil to figure out where it should go. We just finished getting it installed, and I think it looks great! It is not too intrusive, matches everything else, and should make things a bit easier on guests.
Just for fun, here's the little nook you see as you enter the bathroom. Brandon's had this small wooden shelf his whole life, and it fits perfectly and is a great spot for guest towels, candles, and a few decorative items (the odd little bowl at right was a $5 treasure found on one of my Junk Hunts with Kit). Sorry for the odd angle - this nook is completely impossible to photograph without some kind of periscope camera attachment.
The second brilliant idea actually WAS mine, but someone beat me to it. I've posted previously about the fact that we're waiting for our new bed to arrive, and that it's a storage bed with drawers in the sides. It's going to be a great space-saver (not to mention that we won't have the dog-fur-tumbleweed problem going on underneath since it sits right on the floor). However, it means that we can't use regular bedside tables since they'd block the drawers. I'd considered using floating shelves (like these from IKEA) instead of tables, but thought they might be a bit crowded with lamps, cell phones, water, tissues, etc. Then I thought to myself, "self, wouldn't it be cool if there were such a thing as a combined wall-mounted swing-arm lamp plus shelf/table?" Well sad to say I am not the next Thomas Edison (although maybe I'm onto something with the periscope camera attachment??)... but happy to say that I found just thing thing I was looking for!
(image from Wayfair)
The ones I bought (with a gulp and a small apology to my credit card) have white lampshades instead of the dark color shown here, and were $107 a pop. They had great reviews though, and arrived today and seem very well made. They also look pretty cool! I'd love to get them up on the wall and share some photos, but we want to wait until the bed arrives so we can be sure to locate them in the right place for groggy snooze-button hitting. Once the bed comes (hopefully in the next week or so) I'll report back with photos!