Can Shower Enclosures be Glam?! 'Yes! They Create a Charming Jewel-Box Feel,' Say Experts

Shower enclosures are a practical, attractive choice for bathrooms of any size, and these examples by designers are here to prove it

A shower enclosure with ribbed glass
(Image credit: Donna Dufresne Interior Design)

Shower enclosures truly takes a bathroom from regular to designer. These create a jewel-box effect in the bathroom and delineate the space from the rest of the room. From glass, and tile, to pony walls, the partition can transform the shower into an impressive focal point, and create a steamy, spa-like experience.

If you want to give a special touch to your walk in shower and add more texture and a touch of luxe materiality to the room, then these ideas are worth considering.

1. Consider a metal and glass design

A shower enclosure made of glass and metal

(Image credit: Donna Dufresne Interior Design)

To give the bathroom a touch of luxe, consider a glass and metal design that commands the space. Choose a striking black trim to contrast with the glass, and add brass fixtures and neutral marble tiles for a striking look in your wet room.

'We used a clear glass for maximum light exposure,' says Donna Dufresne, founder of Donna Dufresne Interior Design. 'We prefer to use enclosures for bathrooms that are large enough to have both a shower area and a separate tub area, otherwise, it can make the space feel cramped.'

2. Use tinted glass

A bathroom with tinted glass shower enclosure

(Image credit: Makhno)

'The enclosure is made from a special type of glass known as 'float glass',' says Serhii Makhno, founder of MAKHNO. 'This material is known for its clarity and strength, making it ideal for shower enclosures. The unique color you see in the photo is achieved through the application of a tinted film, which gives it that beautiful and distinctive hue.'

To elevate the shower room more, choose tinted glass that is further enhanced with warm shower lighting. The lights allow a lovely, diffused glow to flow through the glass, and into the room. A good idea would be to use spotlights along the walls and ceiling.

3. Go for a sculptural door

A shower enclosure with designer doors

(Image credit: Emily Bartlett. Design Taouk Architects)

'For this shower, the client wanted to explore the more exuberant end of the spectrum in terms of design, blending form & materiality with detailed intricacies,' shares Youseph Taouk of Taouk Architects. Consider acrylic or fiberglass to create interesting partitions and doors.

Both these materials are lightweight and durable and can be molded into desired designs for a luxury bathroom look. Plus they are easy to clean and are less expensive than glass, so great for those on a budget.

4. Choose a frameless shower enclosure

A bathroom with a frameless shower enclosure

(Image credit: TAKK Studio)

For small bathroom showers, frameless and partial enclosures are perfect, as they make the room feel more spacious and airy, while also ensuring the rest of the room remains tidy and clean. Consider shower curtains too if want a partition that is non-permanent.

'The shower partition, a pivotal element in the bathroom's design, was envisioned to complement the open, airy feel of the dressing room,' shares Agnieszka Kuczyńska, founder of TAKK Studio. 'Opting for a minimalist yet elegant design, the partition allows for an unobstructed view from the dressing area, ensuring that the space remains connected and expansive. The choice of materials speaks to a commitment to quality and aesthetic finesse. Italian Cielo ceramics, clad the bathroom, offering a canvas of understated elegance. These ceramics were chosen for their ability to mirror the sophistication of the space, harmonizing with the hot chocolate hues of the bespoke furniture and the sunlight bathing the room through the strategically placed bathtub under the window. This design is a tribute to the owner's lifestyle, embodying a personal museum of fashion and elegance, illuminated by the vintage Poliedri chandelier—a nod to the timeless design of Carlo Scarpa.'

5. Combine glass with a pony wall

A shower enclosure with glass and pony wall

(Image credit: RailiCA Design)

Pony walls are a superb addition to a small bathroom layout. In fact these are a much-loved bathroom trend at the moment. They create a practical partition between the shower and the rest of the bathroom, yet allow light and airflow to circulate. Plus, with interesting tiles and colors, pony walls can serve as a decorative element.

'For this vintage cottage shower, we used the pony wall to add plumbing from what used to be a closet,' says Raili Clasen, founder of Raili CA Design. 'The glass above the wall makes the room feel a bit more open, which was needed in such a small space.'

6. Design a custom enclosure

A bathroom shower enclusre with custom design

(Image credit: Valerie Wilcox. Design: Sarah Richardson Design)

Not all bathrooms are made in perfect, straight lines. Some basement or loft bathrooms might have awkward ceilings and nooks, and creating custom solutions is the only way out. But this is a great way to give your space a unique look. Along with building a special enclosure, also consider luxe materials for the shower walls to truly give the bathroom a standout look.

'The design brief was to create a dramatic and luxurious space for a ski chalet located directly on the mountain with ski in/out access for winter enjoyment,' says Sarah Richardson, founder of Sarah Richardson Design. 'Our clients' wish list included both a tub and shower, but due to space constraints, the tub was eliminated in favor of a spacious and stunning steam shower (with the steam unit housed beneath the bench). The dramatic panda marble is both an eye-catching graphic element harnessing luxury materials and a nod to the mountain motif.'

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Aditi Sharma Maheshwari

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari 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.