Have you noticed that the traditional bathtub-shower combo has been disappearing from homes? Pinterest confirmed this fact recently when they announced “walk-in showers” are one of the most popular bathroom renovation search terms on their platform.
This isn’t to say bathtubs have fallen out of favour. On the contrary, deep freestanding soaker tubs are often included in a bathroom upgrade and, if space allows, are kept separate from the shower.
Bathrooms have undergone a dramatic transformation from being simply functional rooms for personal hygiene, to thoughtfully-designed relaxing sanctuaries for starting and ending hectic days. Walk-in showers, shower rooms, and wet rooms have become incredibly popular in recent years simply because they offer rewarding benefits along with a more elevated style.
Let’s take a closer look as to why they’re in demand.
1 / Aesthetics
Walk-in showers instantly create a more contemporary, streamlined bathroom look. By providing more design flexibility and space than traditional bathtub showers, they allow for greater creativity with tile and material choices. Stylish details such as beautiful wall niches, shower fittings, and accessories can be artfully displayed, and the glass enclosure (or no enclosure) keeps the decor in clear view.
2 / Spaciousness
While tub-showers tend to be a standard size, a walk-in shower is practically unlimited in its square footage and shape. The design always results in making a bathroom look larger and more open. Bigger areas can easily be converted into open wet room concepts. A roomier shower space also allows two people to shower at the same time—and depending on where you stand on this idea, when you share a shower you’ll save time, use less water, and potentially have more fun.
Without tub sides and a curtain in the way, even a smaller walk-in shower taking the same footprint as a standard bathtub looks spacious and more inviting.
3 / Luxuriousness
Walk-in showers are often designed to be a more luxurious experience than the traditional shower. Homeowners are seeking spa-like bathrooms that provide an escape from their busy lives, suggestive of a trip to a high-end wellness retreat. The walk-in shower carefully considers elements that deliver comfort, quality, and sophistication. The ensuite has become the room to ‘splurge’ on special fixtures and more lavish materials than in years past.
For some homeowners, the level of luxury is raised to feature extravagant wet room showers with high-end shower fixtures, elegant natural stone surfaces, gorgeous bathtubs, and chandeliers.
4 / Accessibility
For anyone with mobility issues, walk-in showers and shower rooms are ideal. Not only do they eliminate the need to step over the side of a bathtub, but they also can remove the curb, door, and allow for seating. As more people opt to age-in-place as a lifestyle choice, they are considering changes to their bathroom that allow for greater ease of movement and safety.
5 / Easy to Clean
Have you ever had to scrub a tub or tile grout while standing in the tub? Then you know what we’re talking about: walk-in showers are easier to clean and maintain than traditional showers with baths. Also, rinsing surfaces with a handheld shower is a piece of cake without the worry of soaking the rest of the bathroom. If you use oversized tiles or slabs there’ll be even less grout lines to clean. Our Port Moody client chose low maintenance large format porcelain tiles for the walls of their open shower (above), beautiful yet practical.
6 / Resale Value
At one point in time a bathtub was a must-have in every home. While they’re still popular, they’re now seen as more valuable when separate from the shower—as seen above in our Port Coquitlam clients’ ensuite renovation. Walk-in showers are now a very desirable feature, which can increase the resale value of a property.
Now that we’ve covered the basic reasons why these showers are so popular, let’s take a look at what’s trending in walk-in shower design.
This luxury statement shower look features stunning slabs of stone like marble, granite and onyx across all the shower’s surfaces. There’s also a shift away from the traditional-looking stone to more adventurous colour, pattern, and markings. If you read our Bold Bathrooms Trends piece, you may recall this beauty by Athena Calderone. Gold fixtures make stone showers look even more opulent.
Bold Pattern Play
Statements tile is still going strong on bathroom floors, especially in black and white. Stretching a patterned tile across the bathroom floor into the shower space creates a seamless transition and the feeling that it’s all one large space. We’re also seeing pattern on pattern, or the layering of patterns and textures.
New & Old
What’s old is new again in design. In bathrooms this translates to a juxtaposition of older fixtures with newer materials and designs. For example, a clawfoot tub placed beside a modern walk-in shower or incorporating vintage-looking faucets and lighting into a decidedly contemporary space.
Shifting away from brighter whites and neutral colour palettes are those daring to introduce drama in their bathrooms. We’ve seen a fair amount of black showers, as well as deep jewel tones like sapphire and emerald applied to beautiful effect.
The More, The Merrier
Dual shower heads and shower systems are popular requests for walk-in showers. Installing a shower system allows for a more luxurious, spa-like experience and provides flexibility for different needs. Having a hand-held shower head is great for accessibility, washing kids & pets and, of course, cleaning the shower. An oversized rain shower head is a deluxe sensory experience in itself, and digital systems take the luxury shower experience to the next level.
Frame or No Frame
While sleek, modern frameless glass enclosures are favoured for providing an unobstructed view of the shower and creating the illusion of a larger space, window frame or metal frame showers are also showing up in designs. Black steel is popular, and we’re seeing a lot of gold-toned finishes and some alternatives like white. We love frames for the definition and character they can bring to the bathroom.