Small bathroom shower ideas – clever ways to work in a shower when space is limited

There’s nothing like an invigorating shower to get the day off to a great start. But if bathroom space is tight, then coming up with clever and innovative small bathroom shower ideas is a must. And while fitting in a shower above a bath is the obvious solution in a small bathroom, that isn’t the only option available.

Space-saving shower cubicles, compact baths, sliding doors and invisible shower screens can all help to streamline the layout in a small bathroom to enable more to be squeezed in. While clever tricks with bright colours, wall tile treatments and seamless flooring ideas can all create the effect of opening up a bathroom and making a small space feel less crowded.

Small bathroom shower ideas

‘In a small bathroom, every centimetre counts; everything needs to fit in correctly, so use a bathroom designer,’ suggests Richard Fox, Senior Designer at Ripples. ‘Go for a wall-hung basin and WC and, even in a small bathroom, you can still have a walk-in shower,’ he adds, ‘but it is best to have glass panels. Fit the showerhead at the end of the showering space and make sure the floor has a suitable fall to allow water to drain away easily.’

1. Open up the space with a wet room

white tiled shower area with black floor tilesView colours

Forgo the traditional shower tray and bulky enclosure in a small bathroom and open the space up fully by creating a walk-in wet room idea. The flooring area needs to be fully waterproofed and should be laid on a gradient so that water drains away completely.

With any wet room, you’ll need to decide whether the showering space is to be fully open, where the whole of the bathroom is designed to get wet, or semi-open (like this one) with a half wall and screen so that water splashes are confined to the immediate shower area.

2. Go big with bright colours

blue tiled shower with terrazo panels and blue vanity unitView colours

Bright colours and light-reflective surfaces are a brilliant way of making small bathrooms feel more spacious and airy. But instead of matching tiles wall-to-wall, try using tiles in a combination of colours, shapes and patterns to break up the space and make it more visually appealing.

Using large format tiles and light-coloured grout lines is a great way of increasing the sense of space in a small bathroom or en-suite idea. Fewer lines creates less of a visual distraction and gives a clean, uninterrupted look that helps open up the space.

3. Opt for a shower over the bath

white and turquoise tiled bathroom with showerView colours

Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles

A refreshing shower makes a brilliant start to the morning, but if a long, leisurely soak is a must-have too, then try combining both and opt for an over-bath shower. Finding space for both a separate bath and shower cubicle can be a squeeze in a small bathroom, but using the same footprint for both is a much better use of space.

Make the bath and shower area the centrepiece of the bathroom by opting for a standout tile treatment. While white tiles can help increase the feeling of space in a small bathroom, adding a contrast panel of colour above the bath adds punch to the room and helps an all-white scheme feel less stark and clinical.

4. Save space with sliding doors

blue tiled shower room with black enclosure and vanity unitView colours

Outward-opening shower doors can eat into valuable floor space in a small bathroom, so opt for neat, space-saving sliding shower doors instead. These feature one fixed panel with a second panel that slides back behind it, so require no extra opening space and allow other fixtures and fittings to be positioned nearer to the shower area.

Alternatively, opt for bi-fold shower doors that fold back on themselves, with no extra room needed to allow the doors to open fully.

5. Make storage a priority

white bathroom with shower bath and wall hung storageView colours

Storage is key in a small bathroom and can be the difference between a comfortable bathroom space and one that feels cluttered and crowded. Factoring in shower storage at the build stage is a sensible idea. Recessed alcoves, niches and shelves can be built into a stud wall and then tiled to give a waterproof finish and will provide handy storage for shampoo and shower gel.

Wall-hung storage is another option that can help save space in a small bathroom. Off-the-floor storage frees up floor space and will make a small bathroom feel less crowded . A wall-hung vanity unit is neat and compact and will come in super-useful for storing towels, toiletries, loo rolls and cleaning kit.

6. Make use of corner space

with pink tiles and black corner shower enclosureView colours

Free up extra floor space by considering a corner-shaped shower in a small bathroom. Much neater than a standard square or rectangular design, the neat triangular-shaped tray will slot into a corner, while the curved sides are less obtrusive than harshly-angled corners.

Curved doors slide back across the side panels, rather than opening outwards, so that no extra opening space is needed.

7. Slot in a shower under the eaves

loft shower with neutral tiles and compact basinView colours

Be space-smart by turning an empty loft area into an extra shower room. Creating a second bathroom or small en-suite is a great way of utilising wasted loft space and installing a shower in the area underneath a pitched roof makes a clever use of this awkwardly-shaped space.

As long as there is enough upright space to stand comfortably beneath the shower head, then installing a shower under a sloping ceiling should be fairly simple. The shower screen or enclosure may need to be angled to suit the space, but there are plenty of companies that can create a bespoke design that’s tailored to fit. As with any loft conversion work, always check building regulations before proceeding.

8. Squeeze in a shower and a bath

compact shower bath with neutral terazzo tiles and green wallsView colours

Combine the luxury of a bath with the practicalities of a shower by opting for a combination shower/bath. A savvy option when bathroom space is tight, an L-shaped design like this offers a full-sized bath, plus a dedicated shower cubicle at one end, all in a single space-saving unit.

Rather than fussy shower curtains, an integrated shower screen gives a sleek, streamlined look and is super-easy to clean around. Taps can be positioned either at one end or centrally to give optimum comfort when enjoying a soak in the tub.

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