12 small bathroom shower ideas – big designs for tiny spaces

These small bathroom shower ideas have small footprints but big impact

Green terrazzo tiles in a small bathroom shower idea
(Image credit: Walls And Floors)

These small bathroom shower ideas will help you achieve a modern, stylish bathroom look without a large footprint. 

Showers are now preferred by many homeowners to traditional bathrooms with tubs. Walk-in shower ideas for small bathrooms are appealing because you can create an open-plan, harmonious design while still being able to move about easily in even the tiniest of spaces.

So, if you are sure that you're ready to sacrifice that tub in favor of a stylish shower, these small bathroom ideas are for you.

Small bathroom shower ideas: first considerations

When exploring small bathroom shower ideas, you will have three main considerations: the space available to you, the style you want to achieve, and the costs of material, especially bathroom tile. 

Shower tile ideas come in all sorts of configurations, but they are likely to be one of the costliest elements of your shower. 

Having a small shower helps in the sense that you are using less tile, and, according to Sarah Sain, the designer for a South Carolina-based family-run renovation
company Sain Homes (opens in new tab), you can save a lot 'if you decide to use a shower pan vs. tile floors, and choose a more affordable wall tile.'

If you are set on walk-in shower ideas but only have a small shower to begin with, then Sarah recommends getting creative 'by borrowing some other space to allow for a larger walk-in shower.' Bear in mind that this will likely involve knocking through walls and will be a bigger job. 

Sarah's top design tip for making a small bathroom shower look luxurious is 'installing dual shower head when building a walk-in shower. Not only does this help to make your new shower feel more luxurious, but it also makes it much easier to clean.'

These are the basics; in practice, the style of shower you will choose will be dictated by what's possible in your particular space and by your preferences. 

1.  Add a window pane shower screen

Industrial luxe bathroom with crittall style panel

(Image credit: Dunelm)

Windowpane shower screens are a staple of modern bathroom ideas with an industrial twist. Contrary to popular belief, a frameless shower door does not always make a shower look bigger. 

Here, the graphic, Crittall-style shower door design paradoxically creates a feeling of spaciousness. Pair with statement lighting and wooden paneling for an even edgier look.

2. Zone the shower area with tiles

a small bathroom shower tiled in blue and white hexagonal tiles

(Image credit: CTD Tiles)

If you are going for a completely open-plan shower room or exploring wet room ideas, marking out the shower area with a striking, colorful tile is both attractive and hygienic. You don't have to tile the entire room, but tiling the shower area is a must for ease of cleaning, as well as for elevating the design. 

Take inspiration from this beautiful, asymmetric design using hexagonal tiles – the asymmetry diverts attention from the room's small size. 

3. Pick large tiles for a contemporary look

All grey tiled wet room

(Image credit: Tile Mountain)

Using large-scale tile in smaller spaces is one of the oldest tricks in the small-space design book, and it works every time, for any type of space, from garden patios to showers. And the smaller your shower, the bigger your tiles should be. 

Keeping the design monochrome, or at least sticking to one strong color rather than going for multi-colored tile, will help create a bold, contemporary look that will not go out of fashion any time soon.

4. Create a spa-like space for less

Wood and concrete spa bathroom style

(Image credit: Carpetright)

Natural materials elevate the look of any shower room, imparting a coveted spa-like look. However, natural stone is notoriously costly, so you may wish to use high-quality vinyl flooring instead. 

Modern designs are very convincing, reproducing not just the look but also the texture of real stone. Combine vinyl with natural wood accents for a stunning spa look that echoes Scandinavian sauna designs. 

5. Tap into the terrazzo trend

Modern green terrazzo tiled bathroom

(Image credit: Walls And Floors)

Terrazzo is one of the hottest tile trends at the moment, and we can see it getting even bigger. Terrazzo is a tile design invented in the fifteenth century that last had a surge in popularity in the 1970s, but current terrazzo designs have updated the style with softer color palettes to suit more contemporary bathroom styles.

The benefits of terrazzo in a small shower? It creates a beautiful, shimmering effect and is very forgiving if you don't like scrubbing your shower every day. 

6. Explore jewel green shades for an up-to-date look

Jade effect wall tiles walk in shower

(Image credit: Ca Pietra )

If there is one color to explore in small bathroom shower design right now, it's definitely green. 

Green bathroom ideas are everywhere, and they work especially well in smaller spaces. For that jewel-box small shower look, consider going for emerald- or jade-colored tiles rather than the dark forest green that was popular in bathroom design last year.

7. Squeeze in two showers

Wet room with two showers

(Image credit: Victoria & Albert)

The double shower head design tip from Sarah really shines in this example. The symmetrical design instantly gives the small space a grander, more polished look. 

Plus, you'll never have to fight over who's showering first with the other half. 

8. Use a recessed space as shelving

Shower with built in storage

(Image credit: Original Style)

Some shower spaces are so small that even small bathroom storage ideas involving additional cabinets may not be workable. If this is your case, consider adding unobtrusive shelving space by creating a recessed shower wall. 

It will take up much less room than having to incorporate bathroom furniture, and this type of shelving looks more streamlined.

9. Choose wood-effect flooring for a classic look

Wood effect chevron tiles in bathroom

(Image credit: Tile GIant)

Wood flooring as a bathroom flooring idea? Yes, it can be done, if you choose a clever water-resistant laminate imitation. 

Wood-effect flooring will instantly give your small shower a more characterful look; its warmth is the perfect antidote to bland, all-white shower areas. 

Pair with bold wallpaper and smart furniture for an overall smart look. 

10. Create a bijou shower with wall-to-wall patterned tile

Blue star tiled shower with shelving

(Image credit: Ca Pietra)

One of the best things about small shower spaces is that they can take a bold pattern, even if you decide to go all-out and tile both the walls and the floor of your shower. 

A small shower presents the perfect opportunity to experiment with a tile design that would be overwhelming in a large bathroom, so don't be afraid to go overboard if you love a pattern.

11. Embrace the Japandi look

Scandi Japanese grey bathroom

(Image credit: Roper Rhodes)

Japandi is exactly what you think it is: the marriage of Scandinavian and Japanese styles. It's a warmer, darker take on the familiar Scandi look. To achieve this look, combine modern, black sanitary ware with more rustic elements made from wood. 

And – reconsider your bathroom color ideas, swapping white for softer off-whites, greens, and creams.

12. Have a budget to play with? Consider real stone

Real stone walk in shower

(Image credit: Lundhs)

If cost is less of an issue, consider a real-stone walk-in shower. Real stone, such as the Lundhs real stone (opens in new tab) used in this bathroom, is incredibly long-lasting and will give your shower area a beautifully textured finish. 

Depending on type, it will also be less slippery than marble. Great for a contemporary, Scandi-inspired shower. Team it with a vibrant bathroom paint for a welcome pop of color.

How much does it cost to have a walk-in shower put in?

Shower remodel costs and the costs of a new shower can vary greatly. 

Ben Neely, interior design expert from Texas-based Riverbend Homes (opens in new tab) tells us that the costs of a walk-in shower in particular 'can vary greatly mostly from the level of tile you use, but for a 6’x4' walk-in shower I’d anticipate between $6800-$9000 for new construction including all tile material, labor, grout, pan, waterproofing, etc. Add another $1000-2000 for the tear-out and haul off for a re-model.'

Can I put a walk-in shower in a small bathroom?

Jake Romano Project Manager at California-based John The Plumber (opens in new tab) estimates that 'you can usually get a walk-in shower if you have at two feet by two feet or
more of available space in the bathroom. So, many small bathrooms can
accommodate a walk-in shower, but not all.'

Ben adds that 'what you’ll probably want to do is have a pony-wall (half-height wall) for 1/2-2/3rds of the overall entry to help with the splash, and we recommend moving the shower head higher up the wall or moving to a rain-water shower head to keep the splash to a minimum.'

Anna is Content Editor at Real Homes. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. At Real Homes, she covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design. 

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