Fitting a comfortable and usable shower into a small bathroom can be a challenge, but there are ways to optimize available space. Designers say a shower should measures at least 36 inches square. However, if your bath space is especially petite, 30 inches square is the absolute minimum space requirement for a shower.
To learn what minimum size of shower will fit you, step inside a few showers at a plumbing showroom or at a home improvement store. For a to-the-studs bathroom remodel or in new construction, map out a location and size for your shower on the floor and walls using duct tape or a marker. Then stand in the proposed shower space and move around to get a feel for what it would be like to use it. Will your elbows knock shower walls? Can you bend over without crashing into the shower door? Have you plotted out enough space to store necessities, such as shampoo, conditioner, and soap?
Here are some small-shower solutions to consider:
An entry door straddles a clipped corner to make the neoangle shower a popular choice for small bathrooms because it offers accessibility in tight spaces. Tuck it into a corner of the bath, between fixtures, so the angled door is easy to enter from the center of the room. Minimum design standards suggest at least 2 feet of clearance space in front of any shower door.
Learn how to buy a corner shower here.
A glass enclosure makes any shower feel roomier by opening up the view and allowing in sunlight. It can also make a small bath appear larger because the interior shower walls stay on view from anywhere in the bath. Select a frameless enclosure for a sleek, seamless look that also eases maintenance concerns because there are fewer places for soap and grime to collect.
Rather than add a space-gobbling storage tower or corner shelf to your small shower, transform the cavity between studs into a storage niche. Line the niche with waterproof materials that complement or match shower walls, such as ceramic tiles or solid-surfacing, or use a molded prefab shower niche to add recessed storage.
When there isn't space available for a separate tub and shower and you absolutely must have a tub, consider a tub-shower combination. Choose from molded models (that come in one piece or as two or more sections) or create your own combination by surrounding a tub with a waterproof surface, such as tile or solid-surfacing. Enclose the tub-shower combo with glass doors that slide or swing open, or add color and pattern with a fabric or vinyl shower curtain.
If you rarely take a bath and can live without a tub, replace it with a walk-in shower. While the space once occupied by a bathtub is narrow (about 30 inches in most cases), you could gain a shower that's about 5 feet long. That's plenty of room for a fixed showerhead at one end and a built-in bench at the other with a generous wall length between for multiple recessed storage niches.
For an attic or upper-level bathroom, investigate under the eaves to see if there's enough height to tuck in a shower. Position the showerhead at the highest point inside the shower. And, use the low-ceiling portion of the shower for a built-in bench if there's enough floor space remaining.