Five Ways to Improve the Design of a Standard 8’x5′ Bathroom

The most common bathroom size measures 8 by 5 feet. This is enough room for a single sink, a toilet and a shower or shower-bathtub combination. You may think there is not a lot of options to improve upon this space, but you might be surprised at what you can accomplish with a unique bathroom remodel.

Ditch the Traditional Tub Surround – Install a Walk-in Shower

Installing a walk-in shower is a great way to open the space. Most people do not fully utilize a bathtub and are simply stuck with one, because that is what was originally installed. A more functional walk in shower may be just the thing you need. With a tiled pan and larger format tiles from floor to ceiling, this investment will not only create a more attractive space, but could be more user friendly, than stepping into and over a tub every morning.

Classy Glass

Invest in a custom glass door. Once you’ve spent the money on a beautiful tiled shower surround, you don’t want to hide it behind a shower curtain. Invest in a custom glass shower door/enclosure. There are a couple of options that work for the standard 8×5 bathroom. One being the by-pass sliding door. This can be fabricated by commercial contractors with a bottom rail or without. There are several options for top mounted hardware from traditional to industrial. You can also work a fixed panel and door scenario into the design. You may be limited by local safety codes on some swinging door scenarios. Either way, you want to have a clean, clear view of your new shower.


Most people tend to need as much storage as possible, so they opt for a vanity cabinet. But instead of a basic box, try asking your designers or commercial contractors to accommodate something a little different. Simple additions such as bottom valances and decorative feet, help make the vanity cabinet look like a piece of furniture. They provide a little character to a more traditional vanity. For a more contemporary approach, explore the options of a floating vanity which is suspended from the wall and has no bottom touching the floor. This is a classic modern look and some people may argue that it’s even easier for cleaning.

Open it Up

Every now and again, you may come across an 8×5 bathroom that has a patrician wall between the vanity and the toilet/bathtub. This makes an already small space feel even smaller. The idea of privacy in space like this, is humorous. There is no hiding in an 8×5 bathroom. Not only does the addition of extra doors cause potential clearance conflict, it will also make the washer room portion feel very dark. Remove any patrician wall immediately! This wall is most likely not load bearing, so it can go! Once this wall is removed, it will allow for the light supplied from the vanity area to flood the tub/shower area. Another benefit is added inches to the vanity and top!

Natural Light

If you are lucky enough to have an exterior wall as one of the four walls of your 8×5 bathroom, you may want to take the opportunity to exploit the possibility of adding a small, operating window. Natural light will create a comfortable feel to this enclosed space. Often, we place windows either in the center wall of the shower or above the toilet. You may need some light engineering for header sizing and codes, but it will be worth it! If you don’t have an exterior wall, look up. You may be able to add a skylight tube if you do not have a livable floor above you.