Working with a small bathroom can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to feel cramped. Here are 5 clever tips for making the most of a 5-by-8-foot bathroom.

Choose the Right Layout

The layout of your 5-by-8-foot bathroom will directly impact how spacious and functional it feels. Here are some layouts to consider:

Corner Shower

Installing a corner shower utilizes the length of the walls and creates more open floor space. Choose a narrow shower base and glass shower doors to enhance the feeling of roominess. Include a recessed niche in the shower wall for shampoo and other shower necessities.

Pedestal Sink

A pedestal sink has a small footprint, allowing you to maximize floor space. Unlike a vanity, there are no cabinet doors below that impact mobility. Choose a wall-mount faucet to further reduce visual clutter.

Elongated Toilet

An elongated toilet may protrude a bit more than a round bowl, but the elongated shape feels less cramped for adult users. Be sure to measure carefully to ensure enough clearance.

Vertical Storage

Incorporate floor-to-ceiling shelving and narrow cabinets to store towels and toiletries. Vertical storage takes advantage of all available space without crowding the room.

Select Small Fixtures

Carefully choosing compact plumbing fixtures can help a 5-by-8-foot bathroom feel more expansive. Here are some small but perfectly functional options:

Narrow Tub

A 5-foot tub can fit against the wall, allowing ample room for moving around it. Look for tubs 60 inches or less in length.

Petite Sink

Specialty small bathroom sinks are available in sizes as narrow as 16 inches wide. This leaves more room for accessories.

Skinny Toilet

At just 15 inches wide, skinny toilets conserve precious space. Make sure to follow manufacturer’s toilet clearances.

Low-Profile Toilet

If floor space is limited, choose a toilet with a low-profile tank. Some are just over 2 feet high, several inches shorter than standard toilets.

Short Faucets

Faucets come in 4-inch models—much less protrusive than 8 to10-inch widespread faucets. Just ensure they reach over the sink bowl.

Use Mirrored Cabinets

In a small space, mirrored cabinets serve double duty by providing storage and visually enlarging the room. Look for:

  • Full-length mirrors that run from countertop to ceiling, making the bathroom appear taller.
  • Mirrored cabinet doors that reflect light and views of the room.
  • Mirrored sides and interior cabinet panels, which further maximize reflective light.
  • A recessed medicine cabinet with a mirrored door provides hidden storage without protruding into the room.

Install Proper Ventilation

With the shower and toilet in close proximity, proper ventilation is a must in a 5-by-8-foot bathroom. Consider the following air circulation solutions:

  • Operable window, if permitted by local bathroom building codes.
  • Quiet bathroom exhaust fan effective at removing humidity and odors.
  • Ceiling fan to promote air movement without excessive noise.
  • Latest code-compliant bathroom ventilation systems.

Choose Multi-Functional Fixtures

From faucets to lighting, selecting fixtures that serve multiple purposes helps maximize usefulness in a small bath. Some examples include:

Task Lighting Under Shelves

This provides focused illumination exactly where needed.

Fog-Free LED Mirrors

These illuminated mirrors have a hidden heating element to resist condensation.

Handheld Showerhead

Allows users to direct the water stream while seated or standing.

Nightlight Toilet Seat

Gently illuminates the bowl without turning on overhead lighting.

Mirrored Medicine Cabinets

In addition to storage, these provide light reflection and magnification for grooming.

Make it Feel Spacious

Beyond well-designed layouts and fixtures, there are decorative details that can help a 5-by-8-foot bathroom feel more spacious:

Woven Window Shades

Allow natural light in while obscuring views of nearby walls or buildings that emphasize the room’s compact size.

Wall-Mounted Fixtures

Removing freestanding furniture opens up floor space visually and physically.

Glass Shower Doors

Clear glass makes the shower feel less confining than shower curtains.

Vertical Tile Patterns

Highlight the ceiling height rather than floor dimensions.

Mirrored Wall Accents

Strategically placed mirrors reflect and enlarge views.

Pedestal Sink

One slim vertical column is less intrusive than a vanity base.

Natural Colors and Textures

Cool-toned hues with subtle graining help walls recede. Avoid bold paints and heavily veined stone.

Transitional Lighting

Spaces feel larger with ambient, reflected light instead of ceiling fixtures.

Minimal Accessories

Clutter makes any room feel smaller. Store necessities out of sight.

FAQs About Making a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger

Q: What paint color makes a small bathroom look bigger?

A: Cool paint colors like soft blues, greens, and grays make walls appear to recede in a small bathroom. Avoid warm hues like peach or yellow which emphasize enclosure.

Q: Should I put patterned tile on the floor in a small bathroom?

A: Small bathrooms look most spacious with plain, light-colored floors. Add pattern sparingly as an accent. Attractive solid tile options include porcelain, limestone, or mosaic styles.

Q: What flooring is best for small bathrooms?

A: Visually lightweight glass, stone, or porcelain tile make a bathroom feel enlarged. Avoid dark, heavily grained wood which highlights the room’s compact size.

Q: How do you arrange bathroom furniture?

A: Place fixtures and storage strategically to optimize traffic flow. Position the toilet with adequate clearance, allowing the door to fully open. Arrange furniture in a logical sequence supporting bathroom tasks.

Q: Should you use a curtain or glass in a small bathroom?

A: A glass shower enclosure maintains an airy, open look. Shower curtains, even clear vinyl, feel confining. For modesty, opt for frosted or patterned glass.

Q: How do you make a bathroom look expensive on a budget?

A: Use faux finishes like marble wallpaper, artisan tile backsplashes, or antiqued mirror frames. Add elegant accents like wall sconces, monogrammed towels, and fresh flowers. Focus on perfectly grouted, high-quality tile.

Q: What size mirror is best for a small bathroom?

A: Oversized mirrors visually expand a small bathroom. For a 5-by-8 room, choose a mirror at least 4 feet wide running vertically from countertop to ceiling. Avoid multiple disjointed mirrors which break up the space.


While a 5-by-8-foot bathroom may initially seem cramped, smart layout and design choices can make the space feel surprisingly open and inviting. Strategic fixtures, abundant storage, proper ventilation and ambient lighting transform tiny square footage into a comfortable bath. With clever solutions, you can create a small bathroom that lives big.