Walk-in showers are somewhat controversial. How so? Well, a ‘true walk-in shower’ doesn’t have a curb. It lets you walk right in, and feels far more open than traditional shower enclosures. But … for practical purposes (like avoiding leaks and bathroom floods), you need a curb.
So when you’re exploring walk-in shower ideas, don’t obsess over the presence and absence of a curb. Instead, think about creating a wide, seamless ambiance. You want a shower that makes your bathroom feel bigger. Most of all, you want good ventilation. Let’s look at some examples.
1. Oblong Obsession
If you’re a fan of the Netflix show Explained, you may have watched the recent episode about why humans love rectangles. That motif comes out clearly in this bathroom. It uses various oblong patterns to maximize this space. The shower is tucked into one corner of a half-bath.
Ordinarily, a bathroom this small would be a guest bathroom. But by carving out a walk-in shower, space is maximized. The upper half of the shower enclosure is glass while its lower half features narrow rectangular tiles to cut expenses. The top is left open for better ventilation.
2. Curvy Cubby
Ordinarily, curvy motifs are a no-go for small bathroom spaces. But this bathroom uses circular concepts without wasting spaces. To access the shower, you walk into a spiraling wall covered in tiny oceanic tile. Recessed ceiling lights are combined with downlights to enhance the tile.
The cubic tiles contrast the curvy structure, and the top of the shower remains open for improved circulation. A porthole on the side of the shower helps air circulate as well, reducing mildew and damp. The mixes seaside colors in your tile mosaic are coupled with beach pebbles.
3. Black, white, and brown
Visually, you can see this is a tight bathroom space. But the bold black-and-white print broadens and brightens your bathroom space. The white walls and shower curb recede, making the bathroom seem bigger. The black in the tile catches the accents in your light fixtures.
Enhance it by using glossy black bottles for the bath products in your recessed shower shelf. A large round mirror completes the look. Golden glints from your mirror frame, faucets, fixtures, and shower head add luxury. They catch the glorious sunshine pouring through your skylight.
4. Seating Showers
A shower chair doesn’t have to be boring, and it’s not just for seniors. This half-bath was converted into a walk-in by building a shower bench on one side. The shower walls are made of the same tile as the rest of the bathroom floor. The shower floor itself uses smaller tile though.
A gray curb keeps shower water contained, and gleaming door handles are a nice touch. They demarcate the frameless glass door, so you’re less likely to slam into it, no matter how clean it is. The glass stops about a foot from the ceiling, to allow the dissipation of steam.
5. Barely Brown
While it’s impractical to skip a shower curb, it may taint your vision of a flawless walk-in shower. This bathroom has a curb, but it’s cleverly camouflaged with color. The scattered brown shades in the shower wall draw your eyes upward. Then the horizontal striations on the other bathroom walls pull your eyes sideways. You barely notice the beige curb that matches the floor.
6. Whirling White
We assume walk-in showers are restricted to small spaces. But this massive bathroom combines snowy tones with gleaming glass to create even more space. The door is glass, but so are two of its external walls. White tile is set off by chrome faucets and a hand held shower head. Their metallic tone is mirrored through gray trim on the roof, walls, and framed glass edges.
7. Charming chocolate
Here’s another that uses color to camouflage its curb. In this case, a rounded stone mosaic covers part of the floor, both behind the glass door and in front of it. The stones snake up the curb as well, so there’s no break in your eye-line. Psychologically, that’s the perfect walk-in. The rest of the bathroom liberally uses dark browns, from wooden cabinets to oiled bronze faucets.
8. Multisided motifs
When bathroom space is limited, you have to get creative. This walk-in bathroom uses uniform hexagonal tiles on the floor. They’re smaller, so you use more of them, and as you unconsciously count these floor tiles, the bathroom seems larger. The walk-in shower enclosure has a trapezoid shape. The glass wall reaches the ceiling, but the doorway is left half-open for better ventilation.
9. Grand and Gray
When you want a quick installation, the simpler the better. This walk-in shower uses large gray tiles on the walls and floors, both inside the shower space and outside it. The design works equally well with or without a frameless glass door. To add a little flair, the tiles are grouted in white. Also, the floor and wall tiles are laid in opposite directions for aesthetic differentiation.
10. Subway in the Attic
Thanks to the clever design of this walk-in shower, you can’t tell it’s hidden in the attic. Only the vaulted ceiling gives it away. Attics are generally dark, so white subway tiles brighten the bathroom and open it up. Black flooring and trim add depth and interest, while gilded faucets catch any light that filters into the room. Glass doors and a glass lampshade add a touch of class.
11. Gilded Gray
Design basics imply that curvy concepts take up a lot of space. But the reverse is true as well. Inserting rounded shapes into your bathroom makes it look bigger. In this case, the gray and beige tile looks silver and gold from certain angles, especially in certain kinds of light.
This effect works beautifully in the daylight, thanks to that narrow elongated window. And their shape enlarges the appearance of your walk-in shower. Half-glass walls give the shower an open look, and the rain shower head and chrome faucets finish off your metallic bathroom theme.
12. Green Goodness
Green doesn’t seem like a natural color for a bathroom. But if your shower is a walk-in, this pastel shade makes the walls seem farther away, which makes the bathroom seem bigger. Close off one side with a glass wall. Its reflection visually doubles the length of your bathroom. This design works well if you have a large window or a backlit cabinet inside the shower enclosure.
13. Glossy Gray
Part of the reason walk-in showers seem bigger is their reflective glass walls. They have the same effect as lining your bathroom walls with large mirrors. But if you don’t want to go the glass route, you can fill your bathroom with a highly-reflective tile. The glimmering grays used in this walk-in shower are almost white, and they open up the bathroom. No glass required!
14. Slotted Shower
Light colors and reflective surfaces are a good combination in small bathrooms. In this case, the walls are painted white while the counter and floors are white marble. The mirror is wall-to-wall, and the extra-large showerhead, faucets, and drawer handles are all sparkling chrome. For ventilation, a slot is cut into the glass shower door let the steam circulate freely.
15. Golden Tint
Gold is generally used to show opulence and luxury. In this bathroom, it’s combined with a tinted glass door to add character. Your sinks are supported by gold-colored frames. The faucets, plumbing, showerhead, and mirror frames are gilded too. The light bulbs are enclosed in gold cages. The over-simplified white walls and glass floor guide your focus to the bathroom bling.
16. Grab on Tight
Walk-in showers are recommended for elderly family members because, in theory, there’s no curb to step over. This reduces their chances of tripping, falling, or hurting their knees trying to step over the curb. Meaning of all the showers we’ve looked at, this is first ‘true walk-in’.
It has no curb, and it has grab bars to help seniors with any mobility issues they may have. The shower as a storage niche on its rear wall, but you could replace this with a shower caddy if you prefer. There’s open space above the glass, to let all the shower steam out.
17. Mixed Print Perfection
Here’s another specimen of the ‘true walk-in shower.’ This curb-less bathroom has white tile inside the shower and bold blue tile outside it. To prevent flooding, curb-free walk-ins often have a tapered floor with a sunken drain. A shower bench and grab bar make this a good option for seniors. Aesthetically, the narrow window and perpendicular shower niche go well together.
18. Lines and Crosses
Horizontal lines have a way of widening any surface. This bathroom uses a narrow white rectangular tile to pull your eyes sideways. To avoid disrupting the linear effect, the shower enclosure has a single cross-shaped faucet on a circular base. The floor a black hexagonal tile mosaic, and if the walk-in shower feels too open, install shower curtain rods for privacy.
19. Perpendicular Perfection
Placing mirrors at right angles can double or even quadruple the visual dimensions of any room. It’s all about reflections of reflections, and the effect can be infinite. For this walk-in shower, the glass door 90° from the bathroom mirror, so the whole space seems enlarged. The white and green stripes brighten your vaulted bathroom and make it more inviting.
20. Antique Allure
Classic decorative elements can give your bathroom a haunting old-world feel. Even if your bathroom hosts a walk-in shower. In this case, matte floors, brick-patterned walls, and braided wooden closet pillars age the bathroom beautifully. The top half of the walls are tile and glass, and the shower door is glass as well. Black bras faucets complete the historic ambiance.
21. Curvy contemporary couture
Contrasting the old-school design we just looked at, here’s a distinctly modern bathroom. Round mirrors and bathroom bulb covers are set against a rectangular toilet and sink with rounded edges. The shower wall is black tile topped with a white wall, while the floors are gray. The curb-less shower floor has a glass wall over half its entryway. This keeps the wooden drawers dry.
22. Culture Clash
Mixed themes can confuse the eye, and this bathroom requires a strong constitution. Behind the glass partition, everything is modern, include two showerheads and four faucet options. A massive window lights up a pebbled floor. But outside the glass, a brick wall and granite countertops lead to corporate cabinets and a dull gray floor. The overall effect is … unsettling.
23. Embracing Understatement
This walk-in shower is deceptively simple, but its simple veneer belies hi-tech undertones. The recessed wall lights suggest a Bluetooth shower speaker is somewhere nearby. The frameless smoked glass doors match the grey curb-less floor. And there’s a bathtub too!
The ceiling-mounted shower and floating sink signal the contemporary. The large rear window provides ventilation, so the glass door can safely touch the ceiling. This massive bathroom isn’t shy about its size. Its minimalist décor leaves lots of free floor space, keeping it pleasantly airy.
24. Wide Open Wonder
We choose walk-in showers for two reasons: space and freedom. You want to enlarge small bathrooms and make them feel fresh and airy. This bathroom achieves both results in unexpected ways. Instead of glass partitions, the shower is wide open, with a waist-length wooden wall. The cabinets are made of the same wood, and the shower front is open too.
Above the wood, marble counters reflect the gray, brick-patterned tile. On the curbside, there’s no wall or enclosure at all. Two large windows rise from the waist up, filling the bathroom with light and air. The mirror frame is dark wood too, with an open shelf for bath products.
25. Surrounded by Sienna
Color choice is crucial for small bathrooms, and the palette in this walk-in shower isn’t ideal. The Siena shade on the two parallel bathroom walls shrinks your space. The back end of the bathroom is closed off behind a glass shower wall, though the sandy-colored tiles make the wall recede. That color selection is far smarter. The round glass vessel sink is nice too.
26. Bold and Blue
This bathroom only uses two colors – gleaming white and royal blue. The effect is striking, with the blue shower niche catching the blue mosaic floor, and accented by the vase and bathroom rug. Another arresting effect is the top-to-toe frameless glass that closes off two sides of the shower cubicle. It’s almost invisible and stops short of the vaulted ceiling for added ventilation.
27. Half ‘n Half
Outdoor showers are often installed outside their indoor counterparts. This lets them use the same heater, water source, and shower filter, especially for areas that use hard water. This walk-in bathroom combines the best of both. Instead of a curb, it has a sliding door.
The door separates the indoor shower from the outdoor one. They share a white tile wall and timber floorboards. Their showerheads are identical, but while there’s a shower niche indoors, there’s a shower caddy outdoors. The slatted outdoor roof ventilates both sides of the shower.
28. Gorgeous Graystone
A spacious walk-in shower offers a luxurious experience. This example is quite large, featuring a square-shaped rain shower head on one wall and a handheld showerhead on the other wall. The wall is tiled with large gray slabs, with a pebbled central panel. These pebbles match the bathroom’s flooring material. The front of the shower is half open and half glass.
29. Vaulted variety
You don’t have to close off your walk-in shower with glass doors. Some argue a door-less shower is the bona fide definition of a walk-in. This version uses its vaulted ceiling to great effect. There’s a half wall on one side and a diagonally-tipped wall on the other, both in gray tile.
The front of the shower stays open, and the walls are adorned with mixed print tiling. An open counter with sunken sinks finishes out the bathroom. Meanwhile, to avoid soaking your bath products, they’re stored in shower niches on the outer bathroom wall, safe from steam.
30. Stealthy Storage
With walk-in showers, you may not have a place to store your stuff. This bathroom offers storage cubbies both inside and outside the shower, making the most of your limited space. Linens stay outside the glass, to minimize their exposure to moisture. The rest of your stuff sits in shower niches inside the glass door of your shower. The whole room is tiled in striated gray.
31. Dark to Light
We close with an unusual model. It has no glass, but at the mouth, there’s a simple square sink. And instead of standard separation, this walk-in shower relies on visuals. A matte black wall and ceiling borders a white brick-tiled shower wall, clearly demarcating the walk-in boundary.
The horizontal brick-patterned tile extends the appearance of the walk-in, while the black portions recede and expand the entire bathroom space. The flooring – both inside and outside the walk-in section – is hexagonal cork divided by a white tile curb. The light bulb has minimalist white trim, and a black-and-white dachshund finishes off this surreal shower space.
Do the Water Walk!
If your bathroom is on the smaller side, walk-in showers are an effective way to expand it. You don’t have to move any walls or break floor tiles. Simply by converting your shower to a walk-in, you make the bathroom look more spacious. It also gives your home a contemporary touch.
Plus, it’s one of the quickest renovation options on the market. You could yank out your bathtub and replace it with waterproof floor panels. Or you could pull out the bathroom door and insert glass dividers. Are you considering a walk-in shower? Show us some pictures in the comments!