Showers come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s possible to achieve a comfortable, attractive shower in any sized bathroom. If you’ve got a compact bathroom and you’re trying to find the best way to incorporate a small shower into the space, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this post we’ll answer some common questions about small showers, then give you 14 actionable tips to make the most of a small shower.
Here's what we'll cover:
There are two main use cases for small showers:
- To give you somewhere to wash in a bathroom that’s too small for a larger shower or a bath
- To give you a separate bath and shower in a bathroom with limited floor space
Number 1 is more likely to apply in small houses or flats, where the overall bathroom footprint may be fairly limited as a way to make the most of space elsewhere.
This may also apply if you’re doing a bathroom loft conversion or building an en suite into a bedroom, as the floor space available in such conversions is often fairly limited.
Similarly, if you’re splitting one building into multiple housing units, the requirement to build a bathroom in each will most likely necessitate a small shower.
Number 2 may apply if you’ve got a decent sized bathroom with a traditional shower over bath arrangement. If you’re not a fan of climbing in and out of the bath every time you want to shower, a separate shower enclosure is a great solution - but it does take up more space!
Once you’ve decided a small shower is right for your space, there are a few other things to bear in mind.
Not all small showers are created alike. They come in a range of shapes, sizes and types, and the best configuration for your bathroom will depend on a few factors. Familiarising yourself with the information below will help you in making the best choice.
What’s the Smallest Size For A Shower?
In our selection of small shower trays, the smallest square tray is approximately 700mm x 700mm and the smallest rectangular one is around 700mm x 900mm. Shower enclosures are generally in line with this size - any smaller and it may start to feel claustrophobic.
When choosing a small shower you need to make sure there’s space to stand inside, to move around while you wash, to get in and out when the doors are open, and to fully open and close the door.
What Types of Small Showers Are There?
There are a few types of small shower, including:
- A shower over a small bath - Here you combine the bath and shower into one space, giving you a practical if snug solution.
- A small rectangular shower enclosure - A rectangular shower is great for fitting into a space between two walls in a small bathroom.
- A small corner shower enclosure - A corner shower has the benefit of a smaller profile, opening up other walls for fixtures and fittings.
- A wet room - where the shower can either be integrated into the room or separate with a wet room screen. Wet rooms are a great way to open up small bathrooms, by designing the space around the idea that everything might get wet.
In this section you’ll find tips to help your small shower feel bigger, and to potentially free up more space in a small bathroom for a bigger shower.
1. Stick With A Shower Over Your Bath
If you currently have a shower over your bath and were considering separating them out, but you find yourself struggling to make the space, you may be better off keeping the current configuration and reallocating your budget to a new one.
There are some very attractive shower baths that can rejuvenate a small bathroom.
2. Use A Fixed Shower Head Above Your Enclosure
In a snug shower enclosure, there’s nothing worse than bumping yourself on the shower head or the controls. By choosing an overhead shower head you remove this possibility, freeing up extra space that might make your shower experience that little bit more pleasant.
3. Choose Small Shower Controls
Some shower controls extend a good few centimetres out from the wall, which can be an issue in a compact shower. Opting for sleek digital shower controls is another way to make incremental improvements to the space you have available.
4. Go For A Glass Screen
When it comes to making a small shower look good in your bathroom, it’s good to find ways to create the illusion of more space. Many modern showers feature glass or frameless shower screens: a great way to create this continuous space between your shower and the rest of the bathroom.
Opt for a glass screen if you’re working with a small bathroom and see the difference it makes.
5. Prioritise Bright Colours
In a similar vein, drawing the eye away from the size of the space is easier when you use bold, bright colours. Not so much that you dazzle the person using the bathroom, but just enough to make sure the lasting impression of the space isn’t its size!
The shower below, for instance: we’d describe this as a pink shower rather than a small shower, even though it’s fairly diminutive. How about you?
6. Get As Much Natural Light As Possible
Natural light is an incredible tool when it comes to making a space feel light and airy. Positioning a small shower in such a way that it’s illuminated by sunshine during the day will make it feel much more spacious - and there are ways to do this even if the shower isn’t near a window:
- Use a bathroom mirror to reflect sunlight from a window towards your shower
- Install a tunnel skylight to redirect sunlight from your roof to interior rooms
7. Use mirrors and reflective surfaces
As well as being good for redirecting light, mirrors are another great way to create that illusion of space we mentioned in 4. While one in your shower may feel too fruity for most of us, using a mirror elsewhere in the bathroom can make the overall space feel more spacious: something that contributes to feeling less crowded when you’re showering.
Choosing an LED mirror brings light as well.
8. Opt For A Wet Room
A wet room is a bathroom with a fully waterproofed floor, where the shower is at the same level as the floor as opposed to being raised above by a tray. In a small space, wet rooms are a great way to increase the footprint of your shower. See how the tiniest of bathrooms can be made to feel deceptively spacious?
9. Select Sliding Doors
If you’re keen to keep your shower in an enclosure, you’ve still got options. One of the best ways to reduce the profile is to choose a sliding door shower enclosure. These slide neatly aside to let you in and out, rather than opening outward and taking up another section of floor space.
Sliding doors work with square enclosures and curved ones.
10. Consider Bi-fold Doors
One of the most important things when designing your perfect bathroom is making sure everything is just right. With that in mind, there’s a middle ground between sliding doors and doors that open outward, in the form of bi-fold shower doors. This means that whatever your preferred door configuration, you’ll find something to suit your needs.
11. Or What About An Old Fashioned Shower Curtain?
So far we’ve just looked at glass shower screens - but what if you like the feeling of privacy while showering? In this case, a shower curtain might be the right choice for your small shower: you can pull it across while you’re in there, then slide it open once you’re.
A shower curtain left open contributes to an increased feeling of spaciousness: great for your small shower.
12. Smart Shower Storage!
One of the best ways to make a small shower feel even more cramped is to have lots of clutter around your feet while you shower - in the form of bottles, sponges, cleaning products and whatever else.
Utilising neat shower storage solutions, such as shower caddies, ideally off the ground, gives you more space to move around, and will make your small shower experience more comfortable.
13. Free Up Space Elsewhere
If you’re putting this much thought into optimising your small shower experience, it’s likely you’ll be interested in other bathroom space saving ideas, too. There are plenty of these, each of which will make the room that little bit bigger:
- Use underfloor heating instead of radiators
- Choose a short projection toilet, ideally with the cistern concealed behind the wall
- Use recessed ceiling lights: this is very subtle, but every little helps!
It may be the case that enough space saving tweaks elsewhere in your bathroom will give you the space for a slightly bigger shower!
14. Make the most of height
Our final tip is only really applicable in loft bathroom conversions, or other bathrooms with sloped ceilings. Installing the shower in the highest part of the room will give you the most comfortable experience.
You may even be able to squeeze some storage in next to the shower in the lower part of the ceiling, as shown in the compact bathroom below.
Small Showers Can Be Just As Luxurious As Big Ones
If you’re stuck with a small bathroom space you may be discouraged by the idea of being confined to a small shower, but you needn’t be. We hope this article has demonstrated just how many options you have to make your small shower feel bigger, or maybe even to free up space for a bigger shower in a small bathroom.
We’ve got plenty of experience helping customers to get the most out of their bathroom, whatever shape and size it is. To tap into our insights, why not book a 3D Bathroom Design Service appointment? We’ll show you the best way to get a stylish and comfortable small shower into your space.