This Bathroom Trend Makes Spaces Feel More Open, Accessible, and Spa-Like — But Is It Practical?

Doorless showers can make the bathroom feel luxurious and expansive, but is it the right choice for every bathroom? Experts offer advice

A bathroom with a large, wooden bathtub, and a curbless shower
(Image credit: Barbara Kraft. Design: STUDIO PCH)

We all want our bathrooms to feel relaxing and indulgent, and doorless showers are a great way to do so. Unlike a classic shower, this style doesn't require a door or a partition and adds an aesthetic appeal, not to forget, an illusion of extended space. But when it comes to practicality, is this ideal for all types of bathrooms?

To answer this pertinent question, we asked designers to weigh in. Here's everything to know about this modern bathroom idea.

What bathroom layouts are best suited for doorless showers?

An all-white bathroom with a large bathtub and a curbless shower

(Image credit: Madeline Tolle. Design: Union of Art Interiors)

Whether you have a small bathroom shower or a large one, a doorless design definitely allows for easy mobility in the room and creates an airy and bright atmosphere.

'The suitability of bathroom layouts for this design style hinges on factors such as available space and desired aesthetics,' says Severine Tatangelo, founder of Studio PCH. 'In larger spaces, leveraging the expansive nature can create a luxurious spa-like retreat for bathing. Conversely, in smaller areas, doorless showers can augment the perception of openness and light.'

Are doorless showers practical?

A bathroom with a large, wooden bathtub, and a curbless shower

(Image credit: Barbara Kraft. Design: STUDIO PCH)

Apart from aesthetics, a wet room style bathroom needs to be practical, easy to use, and low maintenance. Do doorless showers make cleaning and maintenance easy or a big task?

'Doorless showers offer practicality across various settings, seamlessly integrating into diverse spaces ranging from compact studio apartments to expansive ensuite bathrooms,' says Severine. 'Embracing minimalism and a contemporary aesthetic with clean lines, they lend an air of modern sophistication. In this space, we enhanced the room by incorporating a teak tub alongside custom-colored concrete walls and floors, elevating the ambiance with refined elegance. Note: It's prudent to include a glass shower panel splash guard to uphold practicality.'

What should you keep in mind before installing a doorless shower?

A bathroom fully wallpapered with a small shower section, covered with a curtain

(Image credit: RailiCA Design)

'Just make sure you know how the water is going to behave in the shower room, and adjust your fixtures accordingly,' says Lisa Fine, co-founder of contemporary decor brand Quiet Town, which produces design-forward shower curtains. ' And, don’t forget! There’s always a shower curtain to keep the water inside if you need something but don’t want to interrupt the design. Seal or remove any wood trim in the bathroom to avoid mildew. Is your bathroom drafty? Try and identify and correct it if possible so you’re not letting the heat and steam out.'

In small bathrooms, you can also include a freestanding bathtub in the shower area, and add recessed lights to make it the center of focus. 'And remember, if you choose to go doorless but still need a shower curtain, just think about all the design iterations you can go through,' says Lisa. 'Shower curtains are the fastest way to reimagine your space and they don’t have to break the bank.'

This tiny alcove shower, pictured above, shows how it can be done. 'In this extra small bath space, we had to squeeze in a shower in the corner with absolutely no room for a door to swing in or out,' says Raili Clasen, founder of RailiCA Design. 'So we used shower curtains to the rescue. This white cotton one easily opens and closes and no extra room is needed.'

What else can I use for a doorless shower?

A bathroom with a blue built-in bathtub, and a small open shower

(Image credit: Quiet Town)

Since the doorless shower feels like part of the entire bathroom, you can consider giving it its unique look. Choose interesting shower wall materials and eye-catching hardware to create a modern look.

'I love the use of glass bricks or “jazz glass” in a doorless shower,' says Lisa. 'It lets the light in and looks incredible too. Get a great bath rug in there too. Maybe something with some good absorbency.'

'I also love the idea of a room where every fixture is placed to maximize functionality and every inch of your shower, walls, and the floors are covered in tile,' says Lisa. 'Consider a cloud-like plastered bathroom where every detail is rounded, smooth, and thoughtful. Both design scenarios are better off without a door.'

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Design Editor

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is the Design Editor at Livingetc. She is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.