8 Small-Bathroom Shower Ideas That Bring Luxury to a Tight Space

Make the most of a shower in a small bathroom with these space-saving strategies and inspirational design ideas.

Fitting a comfortable and usable shower into a small bathroom can be a challenge, but there are ways to optimize available space. In general, a shower should measure at least 36 square inches. However, if your bath space is especially petite, 30 square inches is the absolute minimum space requirement for a shower.

To determine the minimum shower size you'll need, step inside a few showers at a plumbing showroom or 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? You should also check whether you have enough space to store necessities, such as shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Consider these small shower ideas to help you fit a functional and attractive shower unit into a tight space.

Bathroom with green subway tile
David Tsay

1. Small-Bathroom Shower Design

A small shower is an excellent opportunity to make a statement. Cover the shower with tile in a bold color or unique configuration for a striking focal point. The limited surface area allows for a small splurge that won't go over budget. To save space, forego shower doors in favor of a fun fabric curtain that adds pattern and color to your small bathroom design.

bathroom corner shower subway tile
James R Salomon

2. Small Bathroom Shower Layout

In rooms with an irregular layout, you might need to get creative to fit a shower into a small bathroom. Consider building the shower back into a wall to maximize floor space in the main area. If your shower is near the bathroom sink, opt for a partial wall that separates the shower from the vanity but still allows light in through the upper glass panel. Install an overhead fixture inside the shower to brighten the space when in use.

teal tiled small corner shower
Gordon Beall

3. Small-Bathroom Corner Shower

A type of corner shower in which an entry door straddles a clipped corner, the neo-angle shower is a popular choice for small bathrooms because it offers accessibility in tight spaces. Tuck it into a corner of a small bathroom, between fixtures, so the angled door is easy to enter from the center of the room. Minimum design standards suggest at least two feet of clearance space in front of any shower door.

angled glass shower in small bath with blue striped tile
Michael Partenio

4. Small Glass Shower

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 cleaning concerns, because there are fewer places for soap and grime to collect.

gray shower with bench and niche
Beth Singer

5. Shower Niche Storage

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 tile or solid-surfacing, or use a molded prefab shower niche to add recessed storage.

shower and tub with glass doors
Susan Gilmore

6. Small-Bathroom Shower/Tub Unit

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—which 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.

spacious walk-in shower with marble walls and warm tones
Michael Partenio

7. Small Walk-In Shower

If you rarely take a bath and can live without a tub, replace it with a small walk-in shower. Although the area once occupied by a bathtub might be narrow—about 30 inches in most cases—you could gain a shower that's about five 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.

teal bathroom with white tile shower
Anthony Masterson

8. Small-Bathroom Shower Under the Eaves

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. Then, use the low-ceiling portion of the shower for a built-in bench if there's enough floor space remaining.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the smallest recommended size for a shower?

    A shower should be 36 inches square (36 inches x 36 inches). For tiny spaces, 30 inches square (30 inches x 30 inches) is the smallest space that can be used for a shower.

  • Can you add shelves or storage to an existing shower?

    There are options for adding shelves to an existing shower. Installing a recessed unit is possible, but that usually involves removing tile and can be complicated. Instead, look for corner shelving that can be installed without taking space from the shower area, or opt for a hanging unit that fits over the showerhead.

  • How much does it cost to install a shower?

    The average cost of a shower installation is $6,800. The expense ranges from $3,300 to $10,500, depending on the installation's size, choice of materials, and labor involved.

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