Downsizing to a small living space can seem daunting, especially when it comes to fitting in necessities like a bathroom and laundry. However, with some creative design and space-saving solutions, it’s possible to have a surprisingly functional bathroom and laundry in just 85 square feet.

In this article, we will explore how to make the most of a compact 85 square foot space to create a bathroom with a shower, toilet, sink, and stacked washer/dryer. We will provide tips on layout, storage, multi-purpose fixtures, and more to maximize every inch. You’ll see that an 85 square foot bathroom/laundry combo, while small, can still be comfortable and meet your needs.

Layout Considerations

The layout is key when designing an efficient small bathroom and laundry. Here are some top tips:

  • Use a narrow galley style layout. This elongates the space and allows for clear circulation.
  • Install pocket or barn style doors. They take up less space than traditional swing doors.
  • Stack functions/fixtures. For example, put the washer/dryer on top of each other and use a sink/vanity combo.
  • Allow for open shelves and floor-to-ceiling storage. This reduces visual clutter.
  • Include a fold-down table or Murphy bed if needed. Multi-purpose furniture saves space.
  • Use a corner shower with glass doors. It fits in an unused area and feels more open.
  • Place the toilet near the shower for easy plumbing.
  • Use a sink with a narrow profile to maximize counter space.

Choosing Fixtures and Appliances

The fixtures and appliances you choose for a small bathroom/laundry make a big difference. Look for the following space-saving options:


  • Compact/slimline model that’s less than 30 inches wide
  • Wall-hung toilet with concealed tank
  • Short projection from the wall
  • Round bowl takes up less space than elongated


  • Vessel or pedestal sink for a smaller footprint
  • Wall-mount faucet frees up counter space
  • Shallow basin optimizes room
  • Undermount square sink maximizes counter space


  • Stackable front-load washer and ventless condensing dryer
  • Combo unit with washer and dryer in one
  • Portable washing machines roll out when needed
  • Slim models less than 24 inches wide


  • Corner shower enclosure
  • Frameless glass doors
  • Shower heads with flexible mount
  • Short shower pan

Ideas for Storage

Incorporating storage is vital in a small bathroom/laundry. Consider these excellent options:

  • Open shelving instead of bulky cabinets
  • Wall-mounted shelves for toiletries
  • Narrow drawers under the sink
  • Space between wall studs for recessed shelves
  • Mirror cabinet for medicine and toiletries
  • Fold-down table or Murphy bed with storage inside
  • Slim rolling cart for laundry supplies
  • Floor-to-ceiling vertical storage beside shower
  • Niche in shower wall for shampoo, etc
  • Tension corner pole for washcloths, towels
  • Hanging organizer for cleaning tools
  • Washer/dryer atop storage cabinet base
  • Baskets under sink to corral items
  • Magnetic strips for razor, tweezers, etc

Ideal Floor Plans

To visualize how an 85 square foot bathroom and laundry can be laid out, here are two sample floor plans that make excellent use of the available space:

Layout Option 1:

  • Entrance at one end
  • Washer/dryer stacked along one wall
  • Pedestal sink across from appliances
  • Compact toilet beside sink
  • Glass enclosed shower in the corner
  • Open shelves for folded laundry above W/D
  • Narrow drawer under sink
  • Mirror cabinet for storage above sink

Layout Option 2:

  • Entrance in the middle
  • Shower in one corner
  • Toilet and wall-hung sink across from shower
  • Stacked washer/dryer along adjacent wall
  • Counter space above W/D for folding
  • Mirror cabinet, open shelving beside sink
  • Rolling cart tucked beside washer
  • Fold-down Murphy bed on wall opposite shower

As you can see, an efficient use of the available space makes fitting in all required bathroom and laundry functions plausible. Think narrow and vertical!

Helpful Tips and Tricks

To make the most of a tiny 85 square foot bathroom and laundry, incorporate these helpful tips:

  • Use a light, neutral color scheme to open up the space
  • Include zen-like spa features like a rainfall showerhead
  • Maximize natural light with a window, skylight or bright lighting
  • Install dimmable LED lights for ambiance
  • Choose easy-clean finishes like ceramic tile
  • Incorporate duel-purpose furniture such as a sink vanity with drawers
  • Use space-saving fixtures like a wand showerhead
  • Install a fold-down or wall-mounted table for laundry folding
  • Make use of rolling carts and freestanding shelving
  • Hang a full-length mirror inside the shower door
  • Use lidded bins and baskets to hide toiletries
  • Opt for low-maintenance live plants instead of artwork
  • Include a discreet ventilation fan to control moisture

A Bathroom and Laundry Room in 85 Square Feet

Even in a minuscule 85 square feet, you can create a practical bathroom and laundry area. The key is choosing compact fixtures, allowing for open shelving, utilizing dual-purpose furnishings, and installing space-saving design elements. With some creativity and careful planning, you can comfortably fit a toilet, shower, sink, washer and dryer into 85 square feet. Apply these tips and recommended layouts to maximize your tiny square footage when downsizing.

FAQs about Designing a Small Bathroom/Laundry Combo

Still have questions about creating an efficient bathroom and laundry in 85 square feet? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How can I make a small bathroom feel more spacious?

Use strategies like a wall-mount sink, glass shower doors, neutral colors, and open shelves. Also maximize natural light with a window or skylight. Install dimmable LED lighting.

What kind of washer/dryer works best in a tiny laundry?

Look for stackable front-load or combo washer/dryers under 24 inches wide. Top-load portables also conserve space. Avoid bulky side-by-side or over/under units.

Where should the toilet go in a compact bathroom layout?

Ideally, place the toilet beside the shower to simplify plumbing. Be sure to allow a clearance of 21 inches from the front and 12 inches from any perpendicular wall or fixture.

How do you maximize storage in a small bathroom?

Use space-savvy options like open shelving, wall-hung cabinets, built-in niches, under-sink drawers, over-toilet shelves, and multi-purpose sink vanities.

What design elements can make a small bathroom feel bigger?

Use glass partitions, wall-mount fixtures, accent lighting, mirrors, neutral tones, and no clutter. Include a window and skylight if possible. Avoid bulky cabinets and dark colors.

Can a full-size washer and dryer work in 85 square feet?

It’s very challenging. Look for compact stackable or portable models under 24 inches wide. Or consider ventless condensing dryers. Removing doors on cabinets below can help units fit.

How important is lighting in a small bathroom?

Proper lighting is extremely important for both function and ambiance. Use fixtures like recessed cans, LED strips, and sconces. Have different switches for task vs. accent lighting. Include natural light if possible.


While downsizing to live in just 85 square feet may seem impossible at first, we’ve shown that you can in fact fit in a comfortable bathroom and laundry. Select space-saving fixtures like a corner shower, vessel sink, and slim washer/dryer. Maximize every inch with smart storage solutions. And apply layout tips like a galley footprint, pocket doors, and multi-purpose furniture. With careful planning, you can create a bathroom and laundry area that meets all your needs, even in a tiny 85 square feet. The strategies provided give you the tools to design a small but well-functioning space.