Dreaming of a spa-style en suite or family-friendly shower room ideas? There’s plenty to consider when it comes to designing these often small, hard-working spaces.
A shower room is a fantastic way to save space in a small bathroom. Removing the bath and building a large shower enclosure will give you plenty of room to move around, making the area look bigger than ever.
But first you need to decide what you want. ‘Think about whether you want a wet room, where the whole space or showering area is fully open and designed to get wet, or a shower room, where, quite simply, there’s a shower, which is either open or enclosed,’ says Richard Fox, Senior Designer at Ripples, Solihull.
Shower room ideas
Every bathroom idea, no matter how small, can be transformed into a beautiful shower room. Intelligent design will mean you can enjoy a comfortable space the whole family can use – plus, clever storage solutions will create a clutter-free haven, where everyone can move around freely.
Whether you’re converting an attic or are fed up with a tightly squeezed in bath, we have all the shower room ideas to help you plan your scheme.
‘Over the past few years, more and more people have asked to remove the bath and put in a walk-in shower instead’ explains Kerri Asker, Senior Designer at Ripples.
‘I think walk-in showers are still the preference over baths due to ease of use and cleaning. The majority of clients ask for walk in showers with fixed heads and level access.’
1. Opt for a walk-in
‘A walk-in shower increases the sense of space in a small room, but it does take some planning,’ says Jo Aynsley, Design Director at Jeffreys Interiors.
‘We’re often asked if clients should ditch the bath for a larger showering space,’ continues Jo. ‘It’s entirely down to personal preference- a bath can be integrated beautifully into a wet room and epitomises luxury; however there’s something fabulous about an expansive walk-in shower!’
2. Make a statement with tiles
‘Express yourself with decorative tiles,’ says Richard.
Although statement tiles can soon add up, if you choose to use them in just a small section of your shower, like the back section, and then pair with less expensive metro tiles, you’ll still get a stand-out look, but won’t be spending a fortune.
3. Welcome a wet room
‘Unlike a traditional shower toom, a wet room will forgo the shower tray (and sometimes the screen), in favour of an entirely waterproof space with flooring laid on a gradient to drain without spilling into the wider room,’ explains Jo. ‘Done well, a wet room is sleek and beautiful to look at and is also easy to keep clean too.’
Here the homeowner has chosen to tile floor to ceiling with long-width metro tiles which keeps to a neat, cohesive look. The wall hung basin also creates more floor space so that it’s easier to clean too.
4. Remember to build a handy nook
We all know that bathroom storage is a must-have in your bathroom and having a spot to keep your shampoo bottles is something that shouldn’t be forgotten. If you can, built a handy nook or shelf in your shower so you don’t have to keep toiletries on the floor, which not only looks messy, but can cause slipping too.
‘I love to see a niche in a shower; somewhere to pop things you need is a must,’ says Jo.
5. Choose tiles you love
‘We’re seeing lots of warmer shades,’ says Kamila Chalfin, Brand and Marketing Manager at Tile Giant, ‘including gold marble effect with matching mosiacs. Large-format tiles (90x90cm) are really on trend, with customers using them on walls and floors for a seamless transition.’
‘Marble tiles- real or porcelain- are timeless choices,’ Richard adds, ‘and we’ve noticed green gaining popularity, with spaces allowed to plants too.’
6. Make savvy design choices
‘In a small area, contain the water with a folding screen,’ says Richard. A wall hung loo is also a great option to create the illusion of more space. Building a false half-height wall is another clever trick to hide soil pipes and cisterns, all will also create a slim shelf to display accessories.
Think about pairing neutral tiles with something more statement, like the floor tiles seen here.
‘White and neutral tiles, step aside: colour , pattern and detail are on their way back’ claims Jo.
7. Forgo traditional chrome hardware
While chrome taps, showers and radiators were once en vogue, the biggest trend in bathrooms right now is to choose black hardware instead. And why stop there? Go the whole hog and opt for black bathroom furniture, sinks, mirrors and accessories to tie the whole room together.
These clever black matt shower doors not only look the part but slide open to save on space.
8. Ditch the bath
For easy access, swap the tub for a huge walk-in shower with folding doors. If you’re lucky enough to have more than one bathroom in your home, opt to remove the bath in one of them in favour of a large shower instead. While baths are good for very little ones, as soon as kids get older, a walk-in shower is a great option, suitable for elderly family members too.
Buy now: Cayonoplan floor-level shower surface, £340, Kaldewei
9. Don’t let an attic constrict your design
A loft conversion can be utilised to make extra space for an en-suite shower room. Look to have plumbing put in place to accommodate a shower, sink and toilet to eliminate having to navigate stairs every time you require the bathroom. The sloping ceiling layout lends itself perfectly for a small shower room, all you need is the full height at one end – unlike a bath where you require a full width measurement.
To ensure your wet room idea is water tight the floor needs to have proper measurements put in place, always be sure to seek advice from a professional bathroom fitter.
10. Maximise shower space
Not only shower rooms are a result of limited space, sometimes homeowners might just prefer to dedicate the space for a bigger shower. This room has more than enough space for a bathtub. But if you have a bath elsewhere in the house, sometimes you just want a shower room that’s stylish, practical and pretty. And this one definitely ticks all of those boxes.
Using the full width of the room means there’s plenty of space to walk into the shower without the need to move any doors or screens.
11. Tile the walls in full
Make a narrow shower room feel more streamlined by choosing to tile the walls from floor to ceiling. This idea is particularly practical in small and narrow shower rooms, with limited ventilation, to reduce the chance of humidity damage to painted walls. Tiled walls in a shower room allow for easier all-over cleaning too. Choose contrasting patterned tiles for the floor to create decorative interest.
12. Think outside the box
Tailor your shower room idea to suit your space. With a wet room floor in place you can break the mould by choosing a shower screen with a unique design, opting for an interesting shape to utilise a corner – rather than conforming to a standard cubed design.
13. Add another classic colour
We all know how popular white metro tiles are, but for those of you who want something a little warmer, grey could be the colour for you. Grey looks great with wood and also lends itself well to colourful accents, such as the yellow here.
In terms of the shower, the key to its success is its position. It’s a relatively narrow enclosure, but clever planning means there’s a roomy feel to the shower area and therefore also the entire room.
14. Reconfigure the layout
To completely dedicate your shower room to the shower, you almost don’t want to be aware of the other elements within the bathroom setting. Reconfiguring your layout by turning conventional design on its head gives you the freedom to place the loo and sink almost completely separate to the shower unit. Introduce a purpose built wall, one that can accommodate waste pipes, to create a zone dedicated entirely to the shower.
Build corner shelves for a smart bathroom storage idea to keep the compact space neat and tidy.
15. Open up the design
Attic bathrooms can be notoriously tricky to fit a shower into because of sloping ceilings and head heights. But there are ways to make it work. Just check out this stunning shower room with wood-effect tiling.
The shower has been mounted as high as possible, and the beam is a feature rather than a hindrance. A sleek screen keeps the space feeling as open as possible.
16. Recreate a spa interior with marble
The natural veining of marble makes for a stunning backdrop to a walk-in shower. Go for a large-scale tile for the best effect and choose varying colours to create a beautiful patchwork.
Using the same tiles from floor to ceiling makes the shower look almost seamless. Here, a small step has been added to accommodate practical drainage, but in fact it only adds to the luxurious feel.
17. Pick a patterned floor
This room shows just how significant an impact your flooring and bathroom tile ideas can have. The pattern adds loads of character to this space and helps to define the shower area, with its plain white shower tray.
Marble wall tiles pick out the grey tones of the flooring, too, and add a luxury feel to the scheme. A full-length mirror at one end is great for reflecting light and making the room feel larger than it is.
18. Sink storage into the walls for ease
Keep your shower room clutter-free with the help of recessed shelves built within the tiled walls. Using this smart storage solution means no need for unsightly storage racks or bottles left on the shower tray to attract a build up of mould. Building shelving under the shower head allows easy access to the products when you need them, without having to step away from the warming downpour.
19. Be in control
By installing the shower controls on the wall opposite the shower head you can make sure the water temperature is just right before you step under it. A wall nook is a far better idea than a shelf too as it doesn’t protrude.
20. Incorporate room to dry
The wooden stand in this enclosure provides a convenient space to dry off before stepping out of the shower and the curved glass panel keeps the water in the shower tray. This shower design is an ideal solution for small bathrooms, to ensure you don’t make the limited floor area any more slippery than needed.
21. Go for spa style
White metro tiles and fixed glass panels give a simple yet smart look to a shower area. Installing a huge rain shower head will bring a spa-like feel to your morning routine, to get your day off on the right foot.
22. Opt for country classics
Shower rooms are often seen as more modern than country. But this beautiful scheme manages to achieve a country-chic look without compromising on contemporary comforts.
Limestone tiling, plus plenty of wood finishes bring elements of the outdoors inside and create a relaxing space that has nature at its heart.
23. Use every inch of space
Want a cloakroom shower? Consider a wet room design that takes advantage of even the tiniest of spaces. Without any need for a shower screen or shower tray, you will easily be able to squeeze in a shower.
Other clever tricks include a space-saving basin and a recessed shelf that keeps all the potions you need easily to hand. Walnut-effect boarding also makes an interesting departure from ever-popular tiling.
24. Indulge your senses
If you like a steam room, you’ll love this gorgeous shower room idea. The built-in marble bench offers the perfect spot to sit and enjoy the benefits of all the steam accumulated after a long wash.
A combination of a rainwater head and handheld fittings mean you have all the showering options you need, plus it makes it easy to keep a large enclosure like this clean.
25. Create a stylish shower en suite
This en suite benefits from a generously proportioned shower. But that’s not a given in a compact space like this. With the door opening near to the enclosure, many people might assume it’s impossible to have a spacious shower.
So this is a great example of what you can do with a relatively small corner. If it won’t work facing one way, try pointing your shower in another direction until you get the spacious design you crave.
26. Go for dramatic black
Choose striking black tiles for the ultimate contrast to white bathroom fittings. Pick an assortment of sizes and styles, from high gloss to slate effect.
The shower area has been marked out with small rectangular tiles and these have been broken up with larger-format neutral tiles to lighten the space and avoid it looking too ‘heavy’.
27. Enhance a narrow room
This is another great example of the good use of a compact space. The shower, loo and basin are all right next to each other, yet this room doesn’t feel at all small.
A bath wouldn’t fit here, but because the shower enclosure runs from wall to wall, it is far larger than a standard cubicle. Mosaic tiling creates a hotel-style feel and recessed shelves mean there’s no need for unsightly storage racks.
28. Mix light and dark
Choose a combination of light and dark tiles for a balanced look in your bathroom. Using black marble tiles on the walls looks fantastic but also offers a happily practical benefit: water stains and limescale will be almost invisible.
If you want to cover a large space, marble-effect tiles made out of porcelain offer a budget-friendly option that looks really realistic.
29. Add a little bling to your shower room
Turn an all-white shower room in to something special with glamorous gold tiles and shower fittings. White is great in a compact room as it makes everything light and spacious, while gold adds an instant warming effect.
As you can see, shower rooms have the potential to be stylish and glamorous spaces. But we have one last piece of wisdom to share – buyers do like there to be at least one bath in a home. Making a shower room best for second bathrooms or en suites. Happy shower room planning!
How can I improve my shower room?
Be clever with your tiling. ‘Floor-to-ceiling tiling can make your room appear bigger, as long as you opt for the correct size, grout and laying pattern. Big-format tiles on both walls and floors with co-ordinating grout will make your space feel larger than it is. You could also choose a mosaic from the same collection to use on the wet room floor’.
When it comes to trends, black framed shower screens are hugely popular. ‘Try mixing with frosted or fluted glass,’ says Richard. ‘We’re also seeing more vintage-style brassware, such as bronze, nickel and brass.’
What can I do with a small shower room?
‘In a small bathroom, every centimetre counts; everything needs to fit in correctly, so use a bathroom designer. Go for a wall-hung basin and WC and, even in a small bathroom, you can still have a walk-in shower,’ says Richard, ‘but it is best to have glass panels. Fit the showerhead at the end of the showering space and make sure the floor has a suitable fall to allow water to drain away easily.’
Don’t overlook storage in a small bathroom. ‘An easy place to add storage is underneath the washbasin. Deep drawers are great for hiding away cleaning products and shampoo bottles,’ says Richard. ‘If you have internal stud walls, space can be maximised by installing a recessed mirror cabinet, which not only adds extra storage, but also lighting and a charging socket (some even have speakers!)
Are wet rooms a good idea?
‘While classic shower enclosures use doors, either sliding or standard opening and a shower tray on the floor, a wet room will forgo the tray and sometimes the screen,’ says Kamila. ‘Wet rooms continue to be desirable. They offer a more streamlined, spa-like experience, and are extremely practical, especially if you have small kids, pets or elderly family members. They are easy to access, and you can add a seat for ease.
However, Richard has noticed clients preferring to contain the water: ‘Some want to avoid getting the bathroom wet each time they have a shower so have glass panels installed.’
Additional words: Jennifer Morgan and Holly Walsh