Walk-in showers are the perfect way to upgrade your bathroom from dull to lavish.
This guide will look at walk-in shower ideas for a much-needed upgrade, including the proper materials and inspiring designs.
The material you use is the most crucial part of your shower—both in design and performance. You’ll want to be sure the material you pick is durable enough to withstand heavy use while being waterproof, easy to clean, and safe.
The material’s appearance is also something to note.
While there are many different designs you can choose for your walk-in shower, some are more common.
Using subway tiles in your walk-in shower can match many different design themes, including modern, farmhouse, classic, and simplistic.
These tiles can run horizontally, vertically, or staggered, to give your walk-in shower more dimension and the appearance of more height or width.
While traditional subway tiles from the past were a white glossy color, which is still highly popular today, you can also find subway tiles in a wide range of colors to make your shower pop with personality.
The color of your grout will also matter, as often the color of the grout stands out more than the tile. Using a different colored grout is a great way to add contrast to your shower.
|Pro tip: The same pattern everywhere can look dull. If using subway tiles for your walls, consider a different material and design for your shower floor. Mosaic or honeycomb patterns complement subway tiles nicely.
Patterned tiles are a great way to add aesthetics to your walk-in shower.
Metro tiles laid in block or vertical brick patterns help elongate the shower, so it appears bigger. Choosing a large format style with a unique print allows you to easily decorate small showers without the stress of a lot of grout to clean.
Geometric prints laid along one wall and the floor paired with a subtle solid tile can give your shower a modern flair that looks fantastic with open showers.
Slate is a type of stone that’s the most popular option for walk-in showers. This material has excellent performance when properly installed and cleaned.
The biggest issue with using slate in your shower is picking the correct grade. Some types of slate will deteriorate and flake with repeated water exposure and use.
Because slate is a semi-porous surface, it can start to stain due to soap scum. You’ll have to reseal your slate surfaces regularly to keep them well protected.
Stone is a versatile material to use for the surround (walls) of a walk-in shower. Marble is one of the most popular types of stones to use in the shower due to its understated elegance. Be sure it’s high grade to prevent damage to the veining.
You can also use stone for the flooring, soap dish, or ceilings in your shower. However, stone materials can be challenging to clean, especially if there are broad grout lines or deep textures. And you have to seal the stone regularly to keep it from water damage.
When choosing a stone for your walk-in shower, stick with stone tiles or slabs that allow for small grout lines. For the floor, ensure that the surface is slip-resistant
Stones frequently used in showers include granite, travertine, limestone, marble, or other natural stones like pebbles or river rocks. Granite requires less maintenance than marble and looks excellent in lighter colors. Smooth tiles are easier to clean, and a small grout increases cleaning ease.
There are unlimited options for tiles that feature geometric and decorative prints that will give your shower a one-of-a-kind feel. You can choose abstract or unmatching tiles, a classic black and white checker, herringbone, metallic, floral, or custom prints.
Accent walls are a great way to give your walk-in shower an upgraded look without having to blow your budget. Rather than redoing your entire space with expensive materials, choose a budget-friendly, simple material for all of your walls except one. For this side, you can splurge and select a design that pops.
A herringbone pattern or small mosaic panels are spa-quality and create enough appeal to complement basic accents.
There are two primary types of walk-in showers. Which type you choose is a personal preference. Open showers allow for a more modern spa feel, but enclosed showers can be safer. The size of your space might also affect your decision.
Enclosed showers consist of glass panels (framed or unframed) on all sides, including a door for entry and exit.
Framed enclosed showers have an aluminum frame that keeps the panels in place; frameless panels stay in place through bolts and hinges.
This shower style is ideal for small bathrooms because there’s less risk of water splashing out of the shower and soaking the floor, which can cause slipping.
When trying to update this type of shower, you’re usually limited to only changing the floor if all four sides are glass. However, some enclosed showers have three walls and glass panels on the side with the door. With this type of enclosed shower, you can also remodel the walls with new tile.
An enclosed shower is more budget-friendly, but it requires a greater degree of maintenance to keep looking great. The biggest drawback is that you have to clean and thoroughly dry glass after each use to prevent soap scum and water residue buildup, making your glass scummy and streaked.
Open showers do not have doors that enclose you inside. As the name implies, the shower is an open space with tiled walls.
The biggest benefit of this shower type is that they’re easier to clean, and there’s less risk of broken components, like doors, hinges, or handles.
But there’s no way to keep the heat trapped inside the shower because there is no door. If you prefer to soak in the hot steam generated by a shower, you will do better with an enclosed shower. However, hanging a shower curtain over the opening can provide some barrier to trap the heat inside.
Allowing this humid moisture to steam up the whole bathroom may also pose problems. It’s crucial to have adequate ventilation in your bathroom to prevent mold and mildew growth.
Another downside of not having a door is that water can splash out of the shower and onto the main floor, producing a slipping hazard.
Just as walk-in showers can have different design elements on the walls, they can also have unique shapes that create a stylish showpiece.
Walk-in showers with an arched entryway give your room more grandeur, especially when paired with regal designs like floor-to-ceiling marble or mosaic tiles (or a combo).
If the space is big enough, adding a seat and soap dish can make your shower organized and functional. Pair this style with stainless steel or bronze hardware for a complete design. Single shower heads, wall jets, or rain heads can make the most of the space.
Rectangular shape showers are excellent for large bathrooms where there’s plenty of space. This shape gives you plenty of room to build a bench, shelves, soap dishes, or have more than one shower head.
You can use tile, stone, or other materials to showcase the space. Paired with proper lighting, exotic wood floors, and barn doors, you can create a tropical escape right at home.
Corner showers are perfect for small bathrooms where space is minimal. Alcoves, corners with low ceilings, or converted tub spaces make for ideal corner showers.
Enclosing the walls in glass is a great way to make space look bigger and brighter, as can light colors. You can also forgo doors altogether and use a partial wall to block water from escaping the area.
Curved glass panels are an excellent way to give a corner shower a unique look. Paired with granite or marble, you can recreate an ancient bathhouse fit for Zeus himself.
It’s crucial to pay attention to details when picking your shower floor. You’ll want to choose a material that’s easy to clean, durable against water and soap scum, and provides texture.
You’ll need a material that will prevent slipping when wet or when coated with soap. A fall in the shower can be painful and lead to severe injuries.
Some tiles can be tricky to use for flooring due to being a slick, slippery surface. While smooth surfaces are great for walls, you’ll want flooring that has a slight texture.
Many people who talk about “slick tiles” are referring to porcelain or ceramic. These tiles can be slippery due to their smooth surface. But when you pick smaller ceramic or mosaic tiles, you’ll get a better grip due to more grout, which provides a rough contrast to the tile’s slickness.
Stone is an excellent material for shower floors due to being rougher surface, reducing the risk of slips.
However, stone materials require proper sealing to ensure it doesn’t damage due to water exposure. And sealing has to be done repeatedly to keep the material protected.
The most common types of stone used for flooring are travertine, granite, marble, limestone, or slate. There aren’t many color variations for stone floors, but you can get them in unique patterns and textures that still give your walk-in shower a luxurious feel.
While stone provides better safety and aesthetics, that peace of mind comes at a higher price.
Many people don’t realize that there are plenty of designs that implement wood as part of your shower floors. Wood slats install over a shower drain. The water drains through the cracks, allowing your drain to stay hidden.
You have to use caution when choosing wood for your walk-in shower, as some species might not withstand water exposure.
Tropical woods work best. Consider ipe, teak, or massaranduba. These woods are naturally water-resistant and will provide a better grip, but they are much pricier than domestic woods.
|Pro tip: When comparing different materials for flooring, check the material’s DCOF (dynamic coefficient of friction measurement). This safety standard defines slip resistance as a score of 0.60 or higher. Anything lower than 0.60 is a slip hazard.
Light, bright colors can help make smaller bathrooms look more spacious. Adding a bunch of detail can make the space feel cramped and busy.
White is a standard color scheme for bathrooms to create a minimalistic, modern, or bright, airy space. Having a white palette also lets you use accessories to create pops of color and makes it easy for redecorating since white goes with most color schemes.
The use of dark, bold colors like mint, black, green, or blue can give your shower a trendy, modern flair. But dark colors aren’t suitable for compact showers. And break up the darkness with light-colored accessories.
Using the proper lighting is a great way to brighten walk-in showers where there’s no natural light. Options for shower lighting include sidelights, recessed ceiling lights, and colored bulbs.
Skylights, high windows, or one-sided glass wall panels are great ways to bring natural light while still retaining privacy.
When installing a walk-in shower, consider the design of your shower surround (walls) and floors when deciding on the color and configuration of your hardware.
You can find showerheads in round, square, oval, or other shapes, and many different finishes. Where you’ll place these are also crucial. Showerheads can mount to the ceiling, the wall, or work as a handheld.
Many people add additional features to their walk-in shower to get more comfort, storage, and design. Here are some other features you can add to your walk-in shower.
Building a bench or seat in your walk-in shower is a great way to have a place to rest and enjoy the hot water after a long day.
There are many ways to implement your shower’s materials into a bench that you can use for sitting, shaving, or storage if you don’t have a soap dish.
Having built-in storage in your walk-in shower can make it easier to keep all of your shower stuff nearby without having to leave everything on the floor.
Many people like to create a soap dish in the surround covered with the same tile as the walls. You can also add storage under a bench or build shelves into the wall (away from the water) for holding your towel, plants, soap, and other items.
Multiple Shower Heads
Having multiple shower heads installed is a great way to enjoy a hot shower to relax while feeling the water from various angles. Multiple heads are also ideal for sharing a shower, so there’s no fighting over the only source of water.
You can have a rain head built into the ceiling to pour water overhead while having shower jets built into the wall at different angles. Or install two staggering-level oversize showerheads. Or hang a shower head on each side of your shower.
Installing a towel rack or hooks in your walk-in shower ensures you always have a towel within reach for soapy eyes and easier drying off before getting out of the shower.
If you want the feeling of a spa, opt for installing a steam option. This feature is not standard in any shower install.
A barndoor is a great way to have privacy in your walk-in shower without having a swinging glass door. Barndoors operate by sliding open and closed, meaning you lose zero space when opening or shutting.
Add a Plant(s)
Adding a plant or two is a great way to give your shower a zen feel. If you have a shower that leads to the outdoors, plants are a great way to blend the outside with the indoors. And plants also help purify the air.
If you want the look without maintenance, consider artificial plants, which can add pops of color for a tropical oasis feel. Hanging a few strategically placed vines on stone walls can give you a forest feel. Complete the aesthetic with subtle lighting and a large rain head.
Tub in Shower
Some people prefer the luxury of soaking in a tub rather than standing up to shower. If you have space, you can build a walk-in shower that separates from your tub by a half partition wall.
Walk-In Shower Ideas FAQ
How much does it cost to put in a walk-in shower?
Installing a walk-in shower can range from $1,000 to $3,000 for a prefabricated insert up to $8 to $15,000 for a custom high-end walk-in shower.
What is the average cost to replace a bathtub with a walk-in shower?
It can cost between $5,997 and $11,950 to convert a bathtub into a walk-in shower. Multiple factors affect the project’s final cost, including size, materials, demolition, difficulty, and preparations (replumbing, relocating).
How much room do you need for a walk-in shower?
There are varying recommendations for the appropriate size for a walk-in shower. The International Residential Code requires at least 30″ by 30″ of walking space. Whereas The National Kitchen and Bath Association says you should have at least 36″ x 36″.
There are many ways to style your walk-in shower to meet any design aesthetic, from lavish marble, and traditional subway to bold prints and geometric patterns for the walls and floors. With accessories like benches, multiple shower fixtures, storage systems, and lighting, you can turn your walk-in shower into a private retreat you’ll never want to leave.