Drowning in Shower and Bathtub Ideas? This Handy Guide Will Narrow Things Down

combined bathroom shower idea and bathtub idea with herringbone wall tile
credit: Georgia Ezra

We all long to showcase a touch of luxury in our bathroom: the gleaming marble countertop, the stylish vessel sink, the built-in shelving that provides plenty of space to stash those overpriced self-care essentials. But when you really think about it, is there anything more luxurious than the bathtub or shower? Or a spacious shower-tub combo (see the rosy sanctuary above designed by Georgia Ezra ... swoon!)? If you're stressed, you can soak or rinse the day away. Lather up with your favorite shower gels and bath bubbles. And you can sing to your heart's content — what else are those great acoustics for?

So, if you're in the process of gathering bathroom shower ideas or bathtub ideas to create your dream oasis, we're here with some helpful tips that will help you make a decision once and for all.

Overview of Bathroom Showers and Bathtubs

Whether you're shopping for showers or bathtubs, or designing one from scratch, there are a few things to consider. First of all, you'll need to take a good look at the size of your space. If you're working with a small bathroom, there are a handful of options that will work better than others. A shower-tub combo is an effective two-in-one space-saver. A drop-in tub can quite literally be dropped into a nook in your bathroom, even if it's a tight squeeze. And as its name suggests, a corner-shaped tub is a genius way to fill an awkward corner while saving precious real estate.

On the other hand, if you're renovating a large bathroom, the world is your oyster when it comes to ideas for your bathtub or shower. You can install a big walk-in situ surrounded by glass and outfitted with a shower seat. You can invest in a freestanding or clawfoot tub since you have space to spare. Or you can install a walk-in shower and a soaking tub, as seen in this spacious bathroom designed by Kresswell Interiors.

In both instances, thinking carefully about the layout is key. You'll need to consider where the plumbing is placed, of course, and you should ask yourself a few other questions: Where is the best spot for this bathtub so I can save space? If I place a tub here, will I still have room for an open shower? Where do the toilet and vanity come into play along with the shower and bathtub?

As for a budget, showers and bathtubs can have a wide range of prices. It's simple for showers: the larger the shower, the more it will cost. And if you're pining for floor-to-ceiling tile, a shower seat, or a hand shower and body sprays, that will impact the bottom line as well. Budgeting can be trickier for bathtubs. Those numbers come down to the material you've chosen for your soaker (ceramic, cultured marble, and cast iron are more expensive than common materials like fiberglass or acrylic) and the installation process. A drop-in or built-in bathtub is fairly easy to install, while a freestanding tub requires a bit more expertise and planning due to the fact that it usually involves running new pipes.

Lastly, choose a bathtub or shower that suits your needs best. For example, do you plan on bathing pets or children in your bathroom? Is a soaking tub more important than a shower since you take a bath every day? If you or someone in your household gets fatigued from standing, does a shower seat make sense?

Different Types of Showers and Bathtubs

There was a time in history when a shower was just a shower and a bathtub was just a bathtub. Things are a little different here in 2019. When setting out on your quest to find the perfect solution, you'll be met with a myriad of bathroom shower ideas.

A bathtub-shower combo (like this contemporary design by the team at Banner Day Interiors), can allow for a bathtub and is one of the most common types of showers. A corner shower can fit oh-so-easily into an awkward corner, which is ideal if you're short on space. If you have room, a walk-in shower, alcove shower, or open shower feels incredibly luxe. And, you can always add a bathtub to your walk-in shower if you want the best of both worlds.

To level up the look of your shower, you can add decorative tile. Ceramic or porcelain tend to be the standard, and you can add it to the floor, walls, or both. Certain types of tile, such as stone or glass, tend to be more expensive but can make a stylish statement, especially when installed in a mosaic pattern.

In the world of bathtubs, there are some standard styles available. A freestanding tub looks sleek and modern and stands alone, finished on all sides, and this can include vintage-chic clawfoot tubs. To use up pockets of space in a diminutive bath, a corner-shaped tub or a drop-in tub, which is literally dropped into a surround, can put those gaps to good use.

Bathroom Shower and Bathtub Fittings

For the finishing touch, you'll need to ponder the bathroom fittings. In a shower, you can choose a fixed showerhead that can be mounted to the wall, or for an extra dose of indulgence, it can be installed in the ceiling for a rain-shower effect. A shower kit can include the head along with a hand shower and other features. Fittings also include temperature valves and body sprays if you prefer a head-to-toe, full body experience. The shower in this space designed by Emily Henderson features a whole host of options.

In a bathtub, the fixtures are a little simpler. You'll naturally need a faucet, but you also may want to consider a hand shower to be placed alongside the faucet so you can have the option of rinsing off while you soak. Additionally, you can get a tub with jets for a relaxing massage experience.

Where to Shop for Showers and Bathtubs

Drop-in bathtub with white wall tile
credit: Brepurposed

When pulling together bathroom shower ideas and bathtub ideas, you can either peruse showrooms in person or discover options online. For instance, Bre of Brepurposed purchased her drop-in American Standard tub from the Lowe's website.

For industry standards and stylish choices alike, look no further than The Home Depot, a tried-and-true retailer for bathtubs. Choose from alcoves, freestanding tubs, drop-ins, and beyond.

Wayfair has several shower stalls and enclosures on its website, including on-trend versions like frameless glass enclosures or ones with framed detailing.

Looking for a bit more style and guaranteed durability? Here, we suggest American Standard for your bathtub ideas. Page through classic designs like freestanding tubs and alcove versions with simple aesthetics that will stand the test of time.


Shelby Deering

Shelby Deering

Shelby Deering is a lifestyle writer who contributes to national magazines and websites, including Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Well+Good, and more. When she's not writing, you'll find her shopping flea markets, hiking, and going for walks with her corgi.