IS Shower Enclosure good idea for small bathroom?

A well-designed and properly sized shower enclosure or shower cabin can work very well even in tight spaces and even become the main focal point of the bathroom. It is important to pay attention to measurements and layout when choosing one to make sure it fits your small bathroom.

Here are a few things to consider about using a shower enclosure in a small bathroom:

  • A shower enclosure can help save space compared to a bathtub. They take up less floor space and many are corner units that fit nicely into small bathrooms.
  • Look for a narrow or “neo angle” shower enclosure that is specifically designed for small bathrooms. The angled shape fits well and doesn’t protrude out into the room.
  • Glass shower doors, as opposed to shower curtains, also give a roomier feel. Make sure to get doors that open outwards so they don’t hit the toilet or other fixtures when opening.
  • If floor space is extremely limited, you may want to consider just doing an open shower area using a preformed base and no doors at all. Add a small shower curtain or install a partial mini glass wall to help contain splashing.
  • Make sure the shower head is mounted high enough for the height of the tallest person. In small showers, mounting it too low can make the shower feel cramped.
  • Use reflective tiles or glass on the shower walls which will make the shower feel larger than it is. Also have proper overhead lighting.
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George Nicola

George is a seasoned interior designer and property marketing strategist with over 13 years of experience. He specializes in transforming properties into visually stunning spaces, helping clients recognize the potential and beauty in each property. With an impressive international client base of exciting projects throughout Europe and America.

TL;DR Shower Enclosure Design Features You Should Know

Investing in a new shower enclosure but have no idea what particular features to seek? 

A good walk-in shower is a focal point of any bathroom that decides your bathroom’s overall aesthetics. A functional shower enclosure design improves your bathroom aesthetics while offering more free space. 

Modern interior design focuses on combining the form and function! 

It is because the bathroom is a space that is not only for personal hygiene but also for relaxation and refreshment. So, selecting the right shower enclosure, for your bathroom remodel project, is of paramount importance. 

Come, let’s discuss how choosing a functional shower enclosure design makes a huge difference in your bathroom interiors. 

How to plan a small bathroom with walk-in shower?

A bathroom with a glass shower enclosure.
A bathroom with a glass shower enclosure.

The main element to be aware of when planning a walk-in shower for a small bathroom is proper waterproofing. A few key things to consider:

  1. Waterproof Membranes – Applying a complete moisture barrier that fully seals the stall at all corners, walls, ceiling, and floor joints is crucial. This prevents leaks and damage.
  2. Sloped Floors – The shower floor must have proper sloped gradient to ensure water flows towards the main drain. Any areas where puddles can collect is a risk for deterioration or mold growth.
  3. Multiple Drains – Strategic placement of multiple drains in larger showers enables faster drainage in the event of heavy water pour volumes. Prevents overflow.
  4. Frameless Glass – When using glass partitions, frameless glass panels with a clean, smooth trim edge is more hygienic with no cracks for mold.
  5. Positive Slope – The bathroom itself should pitch slightly towards the shower stall, with trim heights lower than bathroom floor height. This guides any stray splashes back into the shower pan.
  6. Solid Blocking – Shower niche framing and accessories like benches need extra support and reinforced anchoring to hold heavy weight.

Keeping water flowing continuously downward and completely sealing off moisture penetration into bathroom building materials is the number one challenge in a walk-in shower. Paying close attention to these details will prevent major headaches.

Small Bathroom Space planning

Space Optimization:

  • Measure meticulously: Take precise measurements of your entire bathroom, including all fixtures, doors, and windows. This will help you understand the available space and plan your layout efficiently.
  • Think vertically: Utilize wall space for storage with shelves, cabinets, and towel racks. Consider recessed niches for shampoo and soap.
  • Choose compact fixtures: Opt for smaller vanities, toilets, and sinks to maximize floor space. Wall-mounted fixtures can further free up floor area.
  • Corner walk-in shower: Utilize corner space for your walk-in shower to maximize square footage.
  • Shower door options: Sliding glass doors take up less space than hinged doors. Consider a fixed glass panel instead of a full door for an even more open feel.
Small bathroom designed with shower enclosure
Small bathroom designed with shower enclosure

Light and Airiness:

  • Mirrors: Strategically placed mirrors reflect light and create the illusion of more space. Install a large mirror above the vanity or behind the shower door.
  • Bright color scheme: Use light and airy colors on walls, floors, and fixtures to make the space feel bigger and brighter.
  • Good lighting: Incorporate multiple light sources, including overhead lighting, sconces, and vanity lights, to enhance brightness and create a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Window utilization: If you have a window, maximize natural light by keeping it unobstructed and incorporating translucent curtains.

Accessibility and Functionality:

  • Shower design: Ensure the shower floor is sloped properly for drainage and consider installing a built-in seat for added comfort and accessibility.
  • Grab bars: Strategically placed grab bars can enhance safety and accessibility for all ages and abilities.
  • Storage solutions: Utilize every nook and cranny for storage like under-sink drawers, corner shelves, and hanging organizers.
  • Multifunctional furniture: Opt for furniture that serves multiple purposes, like a vanity with storage drawers or a toilet with a built-in bidet.

Additional Tips:

  • Seek professional help: Consider consulting a bathroom designer or contractor for expert advice and detailed planning, especially if dealing with complex layouts or plumbing adjustments.
  • Research online: Look for inspiration and practical ideas from online resources and bathroom renovation websites.
  • Set a budget: Determine your budget upfront and stick to it. Consider cost-effective alternatives for materials and fixtures.
  • Prioritize needs and preferences: Decide on what features are most important to you and your family (accessibility, storage, aesthetics, etc.) and prioritize accordingly.

Shower enclosures can maximize bathroom space

One of the reasons that you should choose a functional shower cabin design is they maximise bathroom space, especially if you are re-designing a small bathroom or en-suite bedroom.

Here are some tips on how shower enclosures can help maximize space in a small bathroom:

  1. Corner Shower Enclosures – A corner shower unit utilizes wasted space and fits neatly into any corner of the bathroom. The triangular layout makes the most of the small footprint.
  2. Sliding Shower Doors – Shower doors that slide or fold in, rather than swinging outward, allow access without monopolizing space. Sliding doors tuck away neatly when not in use.
  3. Headroom – Floor-to-ceiling heights can visually create the illusion of more space. Extending the shower head and rod for the shower curtain or doors adds height and airflow.
  4. No Door/Open Shower – Eliminating doors entirely, or using only a partial small wall or divider, opens up floor area. Less obstruction makes the bathroom appear bigger.
  5. Glass Walls – Using glass rather than solid surfaces on walls or shower doors maintains an airy, open aesthetic. This allows light to permeate and make rooms appear larger.
  6. Mirrored Walls – Strategic placement of mirrors reflects light and gives the illusion of additional space. Mirrored shower walls can make a small enclosed shower appear roomier.
  7. Stacked Washer/Dryer – For very tight bathrooms, consider configurable units that allow for a washer and dryer to be stacked onto each other into existing shower space.
Master bedroom with en-suite with luxury walk-in shower
Master bedroom with en-suite with luxury walk-in shower

Incorporating some of these design elements can help transform even the most modest bathroom into a comfortable shower experience. Strategizing layout and sizing is key for optimal use of every inch.

Since most UK-based homeowners have small bathroom spaces in urban areas, a functional enclosure design offers space-saving capabilities. Royal Bathrooms, a trusted name in bathroom design, offers a curated selection of high-quality shower enclosures for discerning homeowners.

In other words, a well-designed shower enclosure is always the one that takes the space-saving aspect into account.
Alternatively, you may narrow down your selection to shower enclosures with sliding doors, corner units, and custom dimensions. These considerate features of a functional shower enclosure help you save space in a limited area.

Glass Types for Shower Enclosures

  1. Tempered Glass: This is the most common type used in shower enclosures due to its safety. It shatters into small, blunt pieces upon breakage, minimizing injury risk. While not inherently resistant to mold or scale, its smooth surface makes cleaning easier, reducing the chances of buildup.

  2. Low-Iron Glass: This type has very low iron content, resulting in a clearer and more neutral appearance compared to standard tempered glass. It’s not more resistant to mold or scale but offers an aesthetic advantage.

  3. Antifungal/Antiscale Glass: This type of glass has a special coating that inhibits the growth of mold and prevents water scale buildup. While effective, the coating requires reapplication over time and can increase the cost.

  4. Textured Glass: Textured glass offers privacy and reduces water spotting but requires more effort to clean due to its uneven surface. While not directly preventing mold or scale, it might hide their appearance initially.

Choosing the Right Glass:

The best glass type depends on your priorities and budget:

  • For general use: Tempered glass is a good choice.
  • For enhanced clarity: Low-iron glass is suitable.
  • For mold and scale resistance: Antifungal/Antiscale glass is effective but requires maintenance.
  • For privacy: Textured glass offers privacy but demands more cleaning.

Additional Tips:

  • Ventilation: Proper ventilation is crucial in preventing mold and mildew regardless of the glass type. Ensure adequate airflow in your bathroom.
  • Cleaning: Regularly clean your shower enclosure with a suitable cleaner to remove soap scum and mineral deposits that can encourage mold growth.
  • Water treatment: If your water is prone to hard water scale, consider a water softener or filtration system.

Shower enclosures are easy to install

A contractor working on changing the tiles in a small bathroom with walk-in tiled shower
A contractor working on changing the tiles in a small bathroom with walk-in tiled shower

Shower enclosure’s functionality doesn’t restrict it to only being space efficient, they should be easy to install, too. It means the perfect harmony of the enclosure with the overall bathroom layout. 

While you invest in a new shower enclosure, make sure that it offers you ease of installation. Whether you own an old, victorian style bathroom or a contemporary space, the shower enclosure should be cohesive enough to offer an appealing touch to the area. 

There are many types of enclosures such as framed and frameless enclosures to choose from. Some even come with more intricate details incorporating materials like stone and tile. Just make sure that your selection comes with easy installation structure. 

Here is a perspective on the pros and cons of installation ease for a shower enclosure in a small bathroom:

Pros – Seems Easy Enough:

  • The shower stall itself seems like it would be pretty straightforward to install. The preformed bases just need to be leveled and secured, then tile or walls built around them.
  • If going with a basic model, the shower doors or walls also look like simple assemblies that shouldn’t require much expertise. Just need some careful measuring.
  • Some of the modular stalls almost seem like just setting up pre-assembled Legos or puzzles pieces. The corners and sides click or slide together.
  • There are plenty of good YouTube videos showing step-by-step installs. If I get stuck, help is just a search away!

Cons – Potential Issues:

  • Making sure the stall is totally water-tight could get tricky, especially working around all the angles and corners in the small space. Don’t want leaks causing any water damage.
  • I’ll have to be very careful when measuring and cutting any glass panels or doors if going that route. No room for error sizing those to fit.
  • The plumbing connections for the shower floor and taps may be more than a beginner DIYer like me can handle alone.
  • I likely don’t have all the specialty tools needed either for cutting, drilling through tile, etc. That costs extra.
  • Removing any existing tub/shower components will be tedious and take time. Lots of chances in the demo process to cause unintended damage too.

Accessible & Multi-User Friendly

When considering the functionality of a shower enclosure, user comfort and accessibility take center stage. A truly functional shower space is one that accommodates users of all abilities with ease. Every person has his/her own certain needs when it comes to showering routine.

Here’s a closer look at the essential accessories that elevate a shower enclosure from good to great, ensuring it’s accessible and user-friendly:

  • Low Thresholds: A must-have for seamless entry and exit, reducing the risk of trips and falls, making the shower accessible to users with mobility challenges.
  • Strategically Placed Handrails: Offering support and stability, these are crucial for safety and confidence inside the shower, benefiting users across all age groups.
  • Easy-to-Operate Handles: Ensuring that doors and controls are effortless to use enhances the user experience, especially for those with limited hand strength or dexterity.
  • Anti-Slip Flooring: A key feature for preventing slips and falls, anti-slip flooring is essential for a safe showering environment.
  • Well-Installed Shelves: Positioned for convenience, these allow for easy access to shower essentials without the need to stretch or bend uncomfortably.
  • Shower Mixer: An additional accessory for controlling water temperature and flow with ease, a shower mixer can significantly enhance the shower routine, offering both comfort and convenience.

Incorporating these user-friendly accessories into your shower enclosure design not only makes it more accessible but also ensures a safer, more enjoyable experience for everyone.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being extremely user-friendly and accessible, I would rate various use cases of a shower enclosure in a small bathroom as:

Seniors/Limited Mobility – 5/10

  • Threshold for entering is low and allows wheelchair access
  • Foldable or detachable shower seat can be added
  • Grips and handrails provide extra stability and assistance
  • Showerhead can be slid up or down adjustable metal pole to appropriate height

Caregivers – 7/10

  • Doors/entries fit standard wheelchairs and walkers
  • Open floor space inside for caregiver to assist resident with showering
  • No obstructions to reaching shower head, taps, soap dish for helping bathe
  • Shower bench doubles as transfer seat to assist moving elderly or disabled in/out
  • Shower wand on stretchable hose makes washing wheelchair-bound residents simpler
  • Reversible fold-in/fold-out support arm attaches inside entrance to steady resident

Small Children – 8/10

  • Low shower head perfect for kids without need to bend down
  • Diverter valve with child-safe push lever controls temperature of water spray
  • Fun-shaped faucets appeal to children and make washing up enjoyable
  • Brightly colored fish decals along corner walls stimulate visual interest for kids
  • Easy for parent to reach in to bathe child from outside enclosure

Everyday Adult Use – 9/10

  • Clear glass gives sense of spaciousness
  • Simple to keep clean and hygienic
  • Modern look improves style of outdated bathroom
  • Convenient corner location keeps out of way when not showering

The well-designed shower enclosure maximizes the limited footprint, allowing comfortable access and easy use for everyone in the home. Strategic placement of fixtures and accessories caters to both young and old family members.

Is Wet room the same as shower cabin?

No, a wet room and a shower cabin are not the same thing, shower cabins are enclosed stand-alone shower units, whereas wet rooms have integrated, barrier-free open showers utilizing the full bathroom. The terms may sometimes get interchanged, but they have distinct differences.

The main differences are:

Shower Cabin:

  • A shower cabin is a standalone, self-contained unit with a base, walls, and doors/curtain enclosure.
  • The shower cabin controls water spray within its interior space, separating it from the rest of the bathroom.
  • Shower cabins may be a ready-to-install module or assembled on site from separate components.
  • Standard sizes range from 32″ x 32″ to 36″ x 36″ for a more spacious feel.

Wet Room:

  • A wet room has an open shower area with no doors or curtain, allowing the entire room to get wet.
  • The bathroom is designed with waterproof floors and walls so water flows into floor drains without damage.
  • The open layout and lack barriers provides ease for those with mobility issues.
  • Wet rooms require specialized waterproofing installation and well-planned sloped floors for proper drainage.
  • The whole bathroom essentially functions as one large open shower space.

What is Shower bath?

A shower bath is a combination bathing fixture that includes both a shower and a bathtub in one integrated unit, common for small to average sized bathrooms.

Some key features of a shower bath include:

  • Enclosed stall with doors that has a bathtub base as well as an overhead shower head
  • Allows the option to either take a bath by filling the tub, or take a shower standing up
  • Shower portion is elevated and raised above the lip of the bathtub
  • Features faucets, handles, and knobs to control both showerhead and tub faucet
  • Usually includes a small ledge or built-in seat as well for bathing items
  • Modern styles may also have special hydro massage jets, steam functions, etc.

The main advantage of a shower bath is flexibility and efficient use of space – having both bathing options combined allows users to choose whether they want to soak in a tub or simply rinse off.

This makes a shower bath well-suited to smaller bathrooms where a separate standalone shower stall and bathtub may be too large. The shower bath gives two functions within one compact footprint.

Draining and cleaning is also simplified with just one enclosed unit. Special waterproofing and good ventilation is still required during installation to prevent moisture damage when using the dual-purpose fixture.

is Shower cubicle and shower enclosure fully closed?

yes shower cubicles and enclosures are fully self-contained, closed off shower stalls, unlike an open shower which lacks barriers and allows water to access the whole room.

The barriers allow moisture, splashes and spray to be isolated within the interior space. This makes enclosures well-suited to small bathrooms and easy to install even in tight spaces.

The key features of a shower cubicle/enclosure that differentiate them from an open shower area include:

  • Pre-formed base pan or flooring with waterproof membrane and sloped drain
  • Completely surrounded on two, three or four sides by walls and partitions
  • Solid barrier door or full shower curtain containment in the front
  • Doors may slide, swing open outwards, fold in or be made of glass enclosure panels
  • Controls water spray and splashing, separating it from the rest of the bathroom
  • Available in wide variety of sizes, from compact 24″ models to more spacious 36″ and larger
  • Module units can be installed in a corner nook or against existing walls
  • Requires proper sealing around edges and connections to prevent any leakage

Can walk-in shower increase house value?

Yes, a well-designed walk-in shower installed in the right context can be a valuable addition to your home.

Here are some of the main ways a walk-in shower can add value:

  1. Universal Design – Walk-in showers with no barriers provide accessibility and ease of use for all ages, making the home usable to more buyers. This broadens the home’s appeal to families or aging buyers.
  2. Modernized Appearance – The sleek, contemporary look of frameless glass walk-in showers makes the bathrooms appear more high-end and updated. This can significantly boost perceived home value.
  3. Increased Space – Removing a bathtub in favor of an open shower layout increases functional floor area in bathrooms. More spacious and practical rooms add value.
  4. Custom Luxury – Custom built-in niches, designer finishes, and spa-like appointments in walk-in showers increase luxury perception and can command higher prices.
  5. Lower Maintenance – With no tracks or doors, frameless glass walk-in showers are easier to keep clean and reduce maintenance costs over time.

The increased value depends on the quality of materials and workmanship. A poorly constructed walk-in shower could actually detract value if there are flaws in waterproofing or leaks causing damage.

Proper design and installation is key. But overall, walk-in showers are an on-trend upgrade that improves aesthetics and functionality for most home buyers.

However, there are also some caveats:

  • Losing the bathtub: If you remove the only bathtub in the house, it could deter families with young children who value bathing options. In this case, adding a walk-in shower in addition to a bathtub might be a better choice.
  • Local market preferences: In some areas, bathtubs are still highly desired, while in others, walk-in showers are preferred. Consider local trends and consult a real estate agent for insights.
  • Quality and design: The quality of the materials and design of your walk-in shower significantly impact its value contribution. High-end finishes and features like rain showers and steam options can enhance appeal and value.
  • Cost vs. value: Installing a walk-in shower can be expensive. Ensure the increased value outweighs the investment cost. Consult a local contractor or appraiser for an accurate estimate.

Conclusion

To plan and design a small bathroom with a walk-in shower, achieving a harmonious blend of functionality, space efficiency, and aesthetics is crucial.

The main objectives to achieve when designing a small bathroom with a walk-in shower are:

Space Optimization Aim to maximize the usable footprint for a spacious feel. Measurements of strategic furnishings and entrance access paths are key.

Waterproof Durability Select water-resistant materials such as shower niches, floors, trim and fixtures that can withstand continuous moisture from an open layout. Prioritize multiple drains, proper slopes, and sealants.

Multi-User Accessible Accommodate family members of all ages and abilities with centrally located fixtures, grab bars, adjustable heads, and easy entry.

Light and Ventilation Allow ample natural and overhead lighting for a bright, airy aesthetic via reflective surfaces. Ensure efficient ventilation prevents mold or mildew.

Style and Storage Make even the most efficient walk-in glass shower space still feel luxurious with designer touches on customized benches or tile. Incorporate shelving and storage that fits the room’s dimensions.

By focusing on optimizing limited square footage, durable waterproofing, easy access, proper lighting, and personalized style choices, a small bathroom walk-in shower can provide an affordable spa-like oasis for the entire family to enjoy.