18 Inspiring Walk-In Showers for Small Bathrooms

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Image Credit: Hunker in Partnership With Acme Real Estate

If you have a tiny bathroom, it's hard to think about installing a walk-in shower. When looking at your layout, you have to consider whether you have room for both a tub ​and​ a shower, or if you need to pick one or the other. Also, the design has to offer a solution for keeping water in a designated area so the whole room doesn't end up soaked — which is where ideas like partition walls come into play. In addition, certain color schemes can be tricky to pull off when incorporating a walk-in shower in a modestly sized bathroom design. That chic black setup you've been dreaming about ​might​ make your tiny space feel a bit too cramped.

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Fortunately, with just a little bit of strategizing, your bathroom remodel can accommodate a luxurious shower. Get ready to be creative with your floor plan, and start thinking about how you can use glass, tile, hardware, and other design elements in innovative ways. And don't worry if you're not sure where to start — here are 18 walk-in shower ideas that'll point you in the right direction.

1. Do something different with glass.

Glass doors are a staple for walk-in showers, but forgoing a door and opening it up to the rest of the bathroom can make it feel larger. Additionally, the shower floor in this setup by General Assembly is able to continue without being interrupted by a shower lip, which is another clever trick of the trade. The simple design choice is a highly effective way to make your shower stall appear bigger than it really is. Plus, it reduces the likelihood of tripping when exiting.

2. Stick with white.

White is a timeless color in any room of the house, and the bathroom is no exception. Going all-white in your personal sanctuary will make your space feel brighter and roomier, not to mention it will also result in a soothing palette — which is precisely the atmosphere you want in a space that's intended for restoration and relaxation. A frameless glass panel protects the rest of the bathroom from puddles without interrupting the open and airy design.

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3. Try tinted glass.

When you barely have enough room for the shower, toilet, and sink, you need to consider creative ways to bring attention to the walk-in shower. Going with a tinted glass door is a perfect example. Here, in this colorful setup by Ma Allen Interiors, we see how a partially frosted glass shower door with a subtle blue tint ties the color scheme together and gives the space a fun, beachy vibe. We're fans of the yellow ceiling and floor tile, too.

4. Play with shower tiles.

Just because you don't have a lot of square footage that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of a high ceiling. For example, in this black and white bathroom by Beginning in the Middle the strategic (and stylish) tile arrangement in the walk-in shower demonstrates the benefits of playing with vertical space. Stacking subway tile toward the ceiling elongates the area and gives the illusion of increased height.

5. Mind the shower pan.

When you're researching walk-in shower details for your small bathroom design, look for a rectangular shower pan, like the one in this setup by Camille Hermand Architectures, instead of a large square one. This will offer you the luxury of a walk-in shower without having to give up surface area. Plus, shower pans are customizable so you can choose details such as drain placement to allow for easier cleaning and maintenance.

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6. Consider a non-glass partition.

A half-wall for a shower guard is a pretty brilliant idea for those who don't want to install a glass shower door or screen. This alternative still offers a bit of privacy, and on the decorative end of things, it gives you yet another place to beautify with plants. A half-wall also serves as a sufficient divider from the rest of the bathroom.

7. Get strategic about placement.

Since you're working with a scant amount of space, it's super important to keep the layout as a top design priority in order to maximize square footage for your walk-in shower installation. If your bathroom footprint has any kind of angle, consider a corner shower and line the sink and toilet up on the long wall.

8. Embrace marble.

Image Credit: Hunker in Partnership With Acme Real Estate

This particular tip seems like a no-brainer, but marble does come with its fair share of drawbacks — one of which is the cost. Natural stone, especially slabs of it, tends to be on the pricier side. Another consideration is maintenance. Marble requires more care than, say, ceramic tile, and it will also patina over time. So even though it's beautiful to look at, it might not be the best bathroom material for you.

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9. Pay more attention to the hardware.

Let's face it — you know that if you install an exceptionally gorgeous showerhead and coordinating hardware in your small shower, the focus won't be on the lack of square footage. We love the brass collection that Erin Gates from Elements of Style selected for her beautiful bathroom makeover — the lustrous finish dazzles in the all-white space. The herringbone tile pattern doesn't hurt either.

10. Let the outdoors in.

If you're lucky enough to have a bathroom with a large picture window (and the view is secluded or far away from nearby neighbors), don't let it go to waste — include it in your walk-in shower design. The steady stream of natural light will really brighten things up, making the outdoors feel like an extension of the overall design. Note the stunning mosaic wall tile.

11. Install a bench.

Placing a built-in bench inside the shower is a great functional choice. Plus, it presents you with an opportunity to introduce a new tile design, adding depth and visual interest. This particular setup by Regan Baker Design also serves as the perfect place for toiletries or home decor like plants or small (waterproof) sculptures.

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12. Skip a door altogether.

If privacy isn't an issue, go doorless with a completely open shower to maximize your space. You'll be surprised by how unbelievably liberating it is to just walk straight into the shower after a long day at work or a grueling workout sesh. Plus, it's one less thing you need to squeegee.

13. Include built-in storage options.

Maximizing storage space is king when it comes to a bathroom design lacking in square footage. Carve out space within your walk-in shower to accommodate your various toiletries, so you don't have to take up space under the sink or in the medicine cabinet. Think built-in niches or shelving, like the one in this gorgeous setup. The shower bench can also be used to stash your fancy shampoo and body wash.

14. Create contrast with tile.

This elegant black and white bathroom, complete with walk-in a shower, by Chango & Co. is a lovely example of how to use dark colors in a tiny space without overwhelming the design. The white walls keep the space feeling open and airy, while the black shower benchtop and the dark gray floor tile offer a welcome dose of contrast and sophistication.

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15. Let the shower and tub share space.

If you don't want to sacrifice your bathtub for a walk-in shower, this straightforward layout from Amy Sklar Design is proof that you don't have to. The bathtub sits comfortably in the middle of the walk-in shower behind a glass partition. To liven up the all-white tile walls and soaking tub, the designers added gray geometric shower floor tile along with a decorative green stool and a bunch of eucalyptus.

16. Conserve space with a compact vanity.

When installing a walk-in shower in your small bathroom, everything else in the room must be equally proportionate. So instead of a bulky, extended vanity that spans an entire wall, consider a pared-down alternative. Choose a smaller option that still serves its purpose but doesn't overwhelm the entire space.

17. Experiment with obscure glass.

We all know that the more natural light that's present in a space, the more open it feels, which makes windows a hot commodity in small bathrooms. However, if you have nosy neighbors and curious passersby, you might be tempted to cover the window so that you can have some privacy — which, of course, will make the room feel closed in. But don't panic. Believe it or not, you can have the best of both worlds in your walk-in shower — natural light and privacy — with the help of frosted glass.

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18. Keep it simple.

The enemy of any small space — bathroom or otherwise — is a cluttered design. This minimalist walk-in shower from Kate Marker Interiors is the epitome of simple and chic. The gray tile feels upscale and sophisticated, and the addition of subtle brass fixtures gives the shower stall a luxe and understated elegance. The bench and complementary vanity take care of both function and style.

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Kenya is a freelance writer from Dallas. She currently contributes to Apartment Therapy and has written for various online publications, including Playboy, Essence, Bustle and more.