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

By Jan Soults Walker and Jessica Bennett
Updated October 15, 2020
Advertisement

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 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 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
Credit: 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
Credit: 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
Credit: 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 2 feet of clearance space in front of any shower door.

angled glass shower in small bath with blue striped tile
Credit: 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
Credit: 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
Credit: 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
Credit: 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 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.

teal bathroom with white tile shower
Credit: 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.

Comments (1)

Anonymous
January 26, 2020
What is the name of the company? I've been taking in a lot of money to do a walk in shower.he got this guy and my husband found on Craigslist he never finished the job my husband he is in a wheelchair that's the reason why we did a walk-in shower.I need work another walk in shower. It doesn't have to be fancy just a walk in shower for another bathroom.