Benefits and Styles of Walk-In Showers

walk in shower modern bathroom

Martin Barraud / Getty Images

Walk-in showers are all the renovation rage these days, and for good reason: They're spacious (but still fit in a small space), elegant, and accessible. They're easy to keep clean, thanks to stain- and moisture-resistant tile. They offer a wide range of possibilities, from rainfall showerheads to steam baths. And, most of all, they're beautiful in any bathroom, no matter your style.

A true walk-in shower is defined as a fully open and tiled shower without any enclosing walls or doors and with a floor that is flush with the rest of the bathroom. A walk-in shower won't have a barrier or a threshold to step over.

However, there are many walk-in showers with subtle modifications to fit the needs of the space. Some styles will have lower lips and ledges to contain water. Though a walk-in shower may not have a sliding door on a track, there are some that are designed with stationary wall privacy panels or large expanses of glass to define the space with doors on hidden hinges that swing open and closed. Many walk-in showers have built-in spa seats, storage, and soap holders on the walls.

There are many benefits to a walk-in shower and many different ways to build one into your bathroom during your next renovation.

Walk-In Shower Benefits

Walk-in showers have several advantages over the regular shower or the "shower in the bath." These pros can help you decide whether to add one to your bathroom.

Cleaning

The first benefit is related to cleaning. Tile tends to be easier to clean than the typical porcelain surface of a bathtub-and-shower combination; it doesn't hold on to grime and dirt the same way. With a partial divider panel or no shower door at all, cleaning time will be slashed. You also won't have to deal with dirty, moldy shower curtains that need to be changed all the time on a traditional bathtub-and-shower combination.

Great for Small Bathrooms

Another advantage is that walk-in showers fit in any size bathroom. You design the shower to fit within your actual space, and you don't need to struggle to put typically sized showers into a room that might be small or an unusual shape. Many walk-in showers are unusually shaped yet still very attractive, so you can use the space you have. Some walk-in showers are the size of small closets to best fit the space.

Accessibility

One benefit that can't be forgotten is that walk-in showers are much more accessible than baths. If someone in your family has mobility challenges, walk-in showers are the perfect solution because they don't require stepping over a high ledge or threshold that can cause a trip. And it's an investment in your own future, as you may yourself grow into mobility issues as you age. For homeowners who envision living in the home for long-term, an accessible walk-in shower is ideal.

Easy Design

Walk-in showers also have an advantage when it comes to design. You don't need to "cut" the room up into different sections to fit the shower. Because you can use the same tile throughout the walls of the space, your bathroom will look more harmonious and continuous. When a room looks harmonious, it looks larger as well. You don't have to sacrifice style for practicality.

Styles

The walk-in shower is usually considered more of a modern style. Though the openness and thoughtful design makes it likely to be modern, a walk-in shower will look at home in a space that's modern, contemporary, or eclectic. It's all in the choice of tile, accessories, and furniture.​

Modern

A walk-in shower is an obvious choice for a modern home. Walk-in showers work so well with modern or contemporary styles because they are designed to be open and use straight geometric shapes, such as rectangles, or circles. The lack of elaborate or frilly decoration makes them appear more streamlined and minimal, as well.

Emphasize the modern style of your walk-in shower with geometric choices, such as a square showerhead. Straight lines and right angles look sharp and contemporary. Use a fairly neutral background tile in a large format to emphasize the size and openness of your walk-in shower. 

Modern, walk-in shower

Chelius House of Design

Traditional

Walk-in showers easily work with traditional-style bathrooms, as well. A traditional bathroom with a walk-in shower may have a plastic or porcelain tile floor to define the area that will also add a classic flair. A walk-in shower tiled in white subway tile looks completely at home in a traditional space.

A walk-in shower can also fit in with more timeless vintage looks, such as exposed pipes and classical hardware. Add elements of retro decor, like a clawfoot bathtub.

walk-in shower with tub beneath

Calimia Home

Industrial

Ah, but what about the industrial-style bathroom? A streamlined, minimalistic walk-in shower design with a clear glass enclosure or door is the perfect choice for the industrial-style home.

Industrial spaces are open and revealing. They thrive on the use of metal, concrete, and wood to support the architectural design. Industrial design also doesn't shy away from showing the plumbing that traditionally is hidden behind walls and structures.

Frame a glass dividing panel with aluminum piping for an industrial look. Use retro-inspired industrial hardware and decorative elements to emphasize the style. Remember that the industrial look is defined by a bit of roughness around the edges.

Walk-in shower in an industrial-inspired bathroom

The Home Consultant

Value

When a walk-in shower is placed in the appropriate bathroom, it can increase your home's value and make an otherwise smaller bathroom look larger.

In the world of real estate, a bathroom is only considered to be a full bath if it includes a sink, toilet, shower, and tub. Before removing a tub for a shower, remember that a bathroom with a shower and no tub is considered a three-quarter bath. Families usually prefer to have at least one bathtub in a home for relaxation or to bathe small children. But a walk-in shower in a primary bath suite might be especially attractive to buyers who look for homes designed with accessibility in mind.