In my last post, I talked about tubs. Now let’s turn our attention to showers. Wendy and I are seeing two big trends:

Trend #1: The Wet Room

With this concept, the tub and shower are placed together in one big space, usually at least partially glassed off but not necessarily enclosed. Here’s an example from a recent project we did with Irons Brothers Construction, Inc.:

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One partial glass wall blocks overspray from hitting cabinets, but otherwise the tub and shower are open to the bathroom.


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The hand shower can be used either in the shower area or in the tub, and additional showerheads mounted in the ceiling optimize the spray.


If you’ve got the space, a wet room is a great way to add visual drama to your master bath. And in many cases, you can actually create a larger shower area without enlarging your bathroom, by combining an existing shower and tub into one open space.

Here’s another example, from the Kohler Company:

Kohler wet room (2)

Here, the shower seems huge, but the space alongside the tub is actually minimal. Body sprays, two massive rain showers, and a hand shower (plus a separate shower wand for the tub) create a luxurious bathing experience.

Trend #2: Going Tubless

The second trend is the elimination of bathtubs altogether, to leave space for bigger, more elaborate showers. Tubs are space hogs. If you never use yours, it might make sense to take it out.

Here’s a recent project of ours that eliminates the tub to create a roomy shower in a fairly small master bathroom:

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Getting Practical

Of course, there are a few practical matters that you’ll need to consider before embarking on a major bathroom overhaul. For example:

Is bigger better? How big is too big when it comes to your shower? You want to have space to move around, but if you love a hot, steamy shower, a more compact space will hold in more warmth.

Should you ditch the door? You may love the look of an open shower, with little or no glass, but will it really work for you? Do you have enough space to allow for ample shower spray without splashing the rest of the bathroom? Warmth is a consideration in this case as well. You lose a lot of steam out of an open entry. Here’s an example from a recent project of ours that combines an open end with a partial wall of glass.

Scearce shower

Can you go curbless? Eliminating the raised curb around the shower is another beautiful look that may or may not be practical for you. Do you have the budget for trading a traditional raised shower pan for one that’s recessed into the floor? Can it even be done? In the project above, we wanted to go curbless, but didn’t have the space below the floor to recess the pan. Providing adequate drainage is also more challenging without the curb.

What about resale value? If you want to do away with your tub, you’ll want to think about the future resale value of your home. Or not. I always tell people to design their homes for the way they want to live, not for resale, unless they’re actively planning to put their home on the market. Why design your home for some unknown future owner with unpredictable style tastes? And bath aficionados tend to be a minority, so eliminating a tub in one bathroom might not even be an issue. On the other hand, there are some people (and I include myself in this category) who would absolutely eliminate a home from consideration if it doesn’t have a tub in the master bath – or, at the very least, enough of a reduction in the asking price to remodel the bathroom to add a tub. Just a little something to think about!

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