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Design dilemma: Is a walk-in shower right for your new bathroom?

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walk-in shower design

A walk-in shower is a no-brainer for people who want their bathrooms to have an open and airy feel. It doesn’t have a curtain or a door, so it creates the illusion of having more space. It’s also more visually appealing compared to an enclosed or curtained shower stall.

Still, there are pros and cons to having a walk-in shower. In this guide, we’ll help you understand if building one is right for you. We’ll also give you some clever tips on designing one.

Let’s begin!

spacious walk-in shower

Benefits of having a walk-in shower

1. They’re aesthetically pleasing

Walk-in showers can have glass panels on one or two sides, but they are never fully enclosed. They’re also completely free of doors and curtains.

That makes them ideal for small, narrow bathrooms since they create the illusion of a larger space. At the same time, a large bathroom with a walk-in shower has a seamless and modern feel.

Some walk-in showers come prefabricated, so you don’t have to worry too much about tile and fixture selection. Simply ask your builder to install them in your bathroom, and you’ll have an elegant, stylish shower in no time.

2. They provide excellent accessibility

Some prefabricated walk-in showers come with curbs to prevent water from flowing all over the bathroom. However, most standard ones simply slope towards the drain, giving people easier accessibility, especially if they have mobility issues.

3. They are easier to maintain

One of the biggest advantages of having a walk-in shower is that it’s fuss-free to clean. For one, it has fewer corners where dirt and grime can accumulate. Plus, there are fewer parts and tiles to maintain compared to a traditional shower or a tub.

Some drawbacks to consider

1. A walk-in shower offers less privacy

Naturally, a walk-in shower offers less privacy compared to a traditional shower stall with a door or a curtain. In most households, you can easily solve this by closing the bathroom’s main door. But if someone’s using the basin to brush their teeth in the morning while you’re taking a shower, this might be an issue.

2. They’re difficult to use for bathing toddlers

If you have kids or are planning to have children in the future, you might find it hard to use a basic shower to give them a bath. Generally, it’s easier to use a bathtub for bathing children since it restricts movement.

3. They may affect your home’s resale value

Before you convert your old bathtub into a shower, consider what it can do to your home’s resale value. For real estate agents and appraisers to list your bathroom as a “full bath,” it must have a bathtub, shower, basin, and toilet. Your bathroom will only be considered a three-quarter bath if you let go of the tub.

bright walk-in shower in marble bathroom

Tips for designing a walk-in shower

Designing a walk-in shower requires careful planning. Here are some expert tips:

1. Prevent water pooling

One of the most prevalent issues with walk-in showers is water pooling. Since they are fully open, you risk flooding your entire bathroom with water whenever you use them.

To avoid this issue, you can ask your builder to make the bathroom floor slope subtly towards the drain. That way, the water will flow to other parts of the bathroom.

Some styles also have curbs to contain water. To avoid ruining the bathroom’s seamless design, make sure to use the same floor tile for the curb as well as the rest of the floor.

Finally, be careful with the type and placement of the showerhead. Make sure that it isn’t jetting water towards the opening of the shower area. Ideally, the shower should be directed directly down your head.

2. Add safety features

As mentioned, walk-in showers are more convenient for people with less mobility. Still, if you want to make it even safer, it wouldn’t hurt to add the following features:

  • Textured tiles: Textured tiles have a solid grip that prevents people from slipping, even when the floor is wet.
  • Handrails: Handrails give people something to grasp while showering. It’s extremely useful if you live with the elderly or if you are renovating for retirement.
  • Shower seats: Shower seats give people the option to sit and rest while taking a bath. You can use the same tile material for the shower seat so that you can create a seamless look.
elegant white walk-in shower

3. Double up on ventilation near the walk-in shower

A walk-in shower can make bathrooms feel drafty. To avoid this, make sure your exhaust fan is turned on when you’re using the bathroom. You can also install bathroom windows so you can let moisture escape the room. 

In case your bathroom still feels humid after taking these steps, you can choose to have a mini dehumidifier in your bathroom. Displaying house plants that thrive in humid environments like snake plants or Chinese bamboo can also work.

open and airy modern bathroom

4. Invest in heating

Showering can cool your body off really quickly, which is awesome in the summer. However, using a walk-in shower can also feel too chilly in the winter. Consider investing in heated floors to prevent your shower from feeling too frigid.

small bathroom with open shower

5. Don’t forget waterproofing

If you’re installing a walk-in shower, bathroom waterproofing is something you should never skip. It prevents water from seeping into the gaps on the wall and floor and spreading throughout the house. Additionally, don’t forget to seal the grout lines every six months to prevent mould or mildew from forming.

How much does it cost to build a walk-in shower?

Generally, building a custom walk-in shower in Australia costs about $1,000 to $6,000.* The price varies depending on the size of the shower, fixtures chosen, and labour costs. 

To get a clear idea of how much your project will cost, ask us for a free quote. Superdraft can also match you with a building design or drafting expert who can help you plan your bathroom renovation project.

*Rates are only rough estimates.

7 cool walk-in shower ideas

1. Get creative with the walk-in shower's placement

Take advantage of a walk-in shower’s seamless interior design by placing them at the centre of the room. Not only will the shower be the star of your bathroom, but it will also create a unique design that’s hard to copy.

luxury bathroom with shower

2. Turn the backdrop into a feature wall

Don’t be shy to play around with the interior design of the tiles surrounding your shower. You can turn it into a feature wall and make your shower area pop.

walk-in shower with pink tiles

3. Be creative with the shape

Showers don’t always have to be square-shaped. Don’t be shy about experimenting with various shapes like hexagons and rectangles. You can even add a curved glass panel, depending on the available space.

bathroom with unique shape

4. Maintain the same wall tiles in the walk-in shower

If you’re aiming for a truly minimalist and open feel, use the same wall tiles throughout the bathroom, even the shower area. This creates the illusion that your shower area doesn’t take up any space at all.

5. Use unique floor-to-wall tiles for your walk-in shower

If you have a tiny bathroom, invest in statement tiles to make the interior design stand out. Even though these designer tiles may be more expensive than regular ones, you’ll need only need a few of them to cover the entirety of the space.

shower with unique wall tiles

6. Tie it up with industrial-style interiors

A walk-in shower works well with an industrial home design. Keep the brick exposed and use grey tiles to mimic the look of plain concrete.

industrial open shower

7. Install a ceiling shower

Take your bathroom’s minimalist style to the next level by choosing a ceiling shower fixture. This will make your shower seem invisible and open.

ceiling shower fixture

Start building a walk-in shower

Choosing a walk-in shower elevates and modernises your bathroom design. It creates an unobtrusive, seamless look that’s timeless and elegant. Moreover, it’s easier to clean and maintain compared to a traditional shower or a bathtub.

When you’re ready for a bathroom renovation, get in touch with Superdraft. We have a network of building design and drafting professionals who can create an efficient and stylish interior design for your new bathroom. We can also help you find experienced builders who can make your vision come to life. Sign up for our free platform today!

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