Shower Room Ideas: Plan, Design & Transform Your Small Shower Room

When it comes to designing a stunning shower room, it doesn’t always have to come down to size. Yes, a palatial bathroom with oodles of room is what we all dream of, but small spaces can be equally as stylish with the right approach.

That’s why, in today’s post, we’ll be looking in-depth at the essential steps and considerations you need to take for remodelling a modestly sized shower room. From planning small shower room layouts to choosing tiles, colour schemes, furniture, accessories and more, we’ll be walking you through the process step-by-step – ensuring you have all the right ingredients to pull off a stylish yet practical shower room design, regardless of its modest dimensions.

What exactly is a shower room and what are the benefits?

Before we take a deep dive into the finer details of planning and designing a small shower room, we thought it was worth clarifying exactly what a shower room is and why you might want to consider it over a more traditional bathroom design.

If having a bathtub isn’t an essential feature for your home, designing a sleek and stylish shower room can offer the perfect space-saving solution in small bathrooms, as they take out the bulky bath and replace it with a walk-in shower. Not to be confused with wet rooms, these walk-in showers provide a dedicated space for bathing, featuring a low-level shower tray and glass screens that help to contain the water, preventing the water from drenching the entire area. 

Adding a shower room comes with a number of benefits, too. For one, they require less hassle and don’t demand as high a cost when compared with a wet room, which needs fully waterproofing, as well as requiring reinforced floors and specialist drainage in some cases – although the same design principles can be applied if you’re searching for small wet room ideas. Removing the bath also makes the space look far bigger, as the uninterrupted floor space creates a more open feel.

On top of that, walk-in showers are incredibly versatile as they can fit into corners or slot between two walls. You can even create a walk-in shower if you have enough room – bringing a luxury, designer finish to an ordinary bathroom. As if these benefits weren’t enough, with the right interior design choices, cleaning and maintenance of your swanky shower room can be much easier, too – with only practical tiles and glass panels to wipe down periodically.

Planning your layout

white bathroom tiles with wooden floor
Photo by Tiles Direct

Like most home renovation projects, the key to successfully pulling off small shower room designs that feel far from cramped is in the planning stage. Taking the time to carefully consider the large and smaller details involved in planning your small shower room layout will pay off in the long run – leaving you with a functional and stylish finish.

The first job is to measure the space accurately and draw up a rough floor plan that’s to scale. It doesn’t need to be on par with an architect’s drawing – it will simply give you a better gauge of the space you’re working with, and give you the chance to play around with different designs to find the right one. You can take it one step further here and cut out to-scale models for your bathroom suite that you can move around accordingly.

Top tip: When drawing up your layout, don’t forget to include the position of current water feeds, drainage systems, power sockets and light fixtures, door openings, windows and radiator positions, as these need to be accounted for in your design. The last thing you want is to finalise your dream layout only to find the door won’t open fully as it hits the sink!

The positioning of your bathroom suite will largely be determined by existing plumbing work, unless you have the budget to reposition them to suit your design. When configuring the best placement for the toilet, sink and shower, factor in any immovable fixtures in the room (like doors, plumbing,  windows or ceiling height, which could impact your design). From here, you can begin to calculate the size of the bathroom suite your room can comfortably accommodate.

Within your design, you should also consider the natural flow and navigation of the room, allowing enough space between suite fixtures, and ensure you’ll be able to manoeuvre around the room without bashing into items – as well as factoring in swinging space for doors. If door-opening space is eating into a lot of the room, you could consider sliding doors instead – freeing up more floor space all round.

As the largest and likely main feature of your room, you want to think carefully about the position and style of your shower cubicle. Ideally, you’ll want to position your shower on the opposite wall to the bathroom door, to ensure ample space for getting in and out of the shower. You can also look into tucking your shower into disused space, such as an old cupboard recess or the highest corner of a sloping ceiling, to free up more floor space.

Whatever design you decide on, be sure to always use accurate measurements and allow a little breathing room – as even installing aqua boarding and tiles on the walls will eat into the square footage of the room.

Find furniture to fit

With your basic layout decided, the next job is to find the right bathroom suite and other essential furniture to fit into your design. Making the wrong decisions here and purchasing furniture that’s too big for the space could have a devastating impact on your finished bathroom. Not least, it could mean your carefully planned layout no longer fits. Oversized furniture in a small space will also make it feel cramped and could potentially obstruct the natural path through the room.

Make doubly sure the area is easy to navigate and feels spacious. Consider opting for smaller designs and styles for toilets and sinks that won’t protrude too much into the rest of the room. This is particularly important in narrow bathrooms, where a shallow, trough-style sink could be the most effective solution.

Wall-mounted options also work well in smaller bathrooms, as the bulky pipework and cistern can be hidden away in the wall behind. This hidden wall can run from floor to ceiling for a clean look, or finish halfway up the wall to allow for some built-in shelving above.

For bathroom shower ideas in very tight spaces, installing a quadrant-shaped corner unit will guarantee you have enough room for showering without taking up needless floor space – plus, the curved edge can bring a soft feel to a functional space, too.

Of course, you aren’t limited to corner units – if space allows, you can create a sleek look with a low-level shower tray that’s finished with frameless glass screens, which lend a clean and transparent look to open up the whole room.

Get smart with storage

Storage is essential in any bathroom, but, in smaller areas where space is limited, you’ll need to get clever with your solutions for stowing away toiletries, bath linens and more. As with the bathroom suite, where possible, avoid having too many things on the floor – as this is likely to create an unnecessarily cramped look and close in the space visually.

Instead, look to the walls for inspiration on how you can make use of vertical space for keeping your bathroom necessities organised and out of sight. One option is a quintessential mirrored bathroom cabinet above the sink for keeping daily essentials neatly stored. Alternatively, consider a floating vanity unit with a drawer underneath the sink – the ideal home for toiletries and more.

If you need to find a dedicated space for your bath linens, too, why not consider a tall, thin shelving unit with some cupboards below? Taking up minimal floor space, the lower cupboards are primed for keeping things out of sight and dust-free, while the shelving helps to maintain a more open design.

Floating shelves can also be used effectively in small spaces to deliver a fuss-free finish. Teamed with baskets or attractive storage boxes, you can store more items and, with them tucked away neatly, there’ll be less clutter on show to distract the eye.

Create a cosy space with heating

Even small bathrooms need a good heat source to ensure that, even on the coldest winter mornings, you can get out of the shower and avoid running the risk of catching a chill. Naturally, space is always an issue with compact bathrooms – but one savvy solution is to heat the whole room without radiators using underfloor heating, if your budget allows.

Underfloor heating can be a highly efficient and cost-effective way to heat small rooms – the key is to keep them running on a low temperature at all times, rather than delivering high blasts of heat intermittently. The other benefit of underfloor heating is that it gives even the cosiest bathrooms an added sense of opulence with that warm feeling underfoot all day long.

If your budget won’t stretch to underfloor heating, swap out your standard radiator (which typically takes up a lot of space) for a heated towel rail. With a range of slim-line designs available that can fit into even the tightest corners, a heated towel rack will warm the room and dry your towels at the same time – all while using up minimal wall space, which is a win on all fronts.

Create the illusion of space with tiles

light grey bathroom tiles
Photo by Tiles Direct

Practical, easy to clean and available in a huge range of styles, colours and sizes, bathroom tiles offer you the chance to cover walls and floors to deliver a stylish aesthetic that will last for years.

With the right tiles, you can also make the whole room appear more spacious. To do this, steer clear of small tiles, as the myriad of grout lines can actually make the space feel more enclosed. Instead, cover walls and floors in large format tiles – fewer grout lines will expand the space, especially if you choose to use the same tiles on both the floors and walls

When it comes to choosing tile colours, a light and neutral palette – like that of the Artech White shower tiles pictured above – brings a clean and classy aesthetic that can be adapted to both contemporary and classic styles. This continuity created by using the same tile throughout also accentuates the feeling of spaciousness, with less distractions for the eye.

Of course, you don’t have to stick with all-white bathrooms in small spaces – other pale hues like our cool Shark Grey Matt tiles are primed for creating a chic and contemporary finish. Alternatively, you can evoke a more rustic vibe with the Pizarra Grey tile which lends a natural stone look with a mottled design and a tone that can work with almost any other colour, too.

Your neutral colour scheme provides the ideal blank canvas to build on if you want to inject some colour and character into the room. One idea is to highlight the beauty of your walk-in shower with a decorative feature like a colourful tiled mosaic or some playful patterned tiles. The pretty blue tones in the Mallorca collection could be the key to giving your shower a fun and vibrant edge.

Alternatively, use patterned tiles like the vintage-inspired Devonstone range to distinguish the shower from the rest of the room – or get creative with contrasting textures to convey a sense of depth and elegance, with options like our Nimes White wall tiles.

Beyond the aesthetics, you also need to make sure you prioritise safety when choosing your floor tiles, ensuring they have optimal grip to minimise the risks of slips and trips in the home. On top of that, always make sure you’re using the correct tile grout that’s designed to be mildew-resistant, as that will make your shower room tiles easier to clean while protecting their appearance for longer.

Make a statement with your shower

When it comes to mastering small shower room design, it’s often recommended to keep things simple and minimalistic – too much going on in the interior can leave the whole room feeling a tad claustrophobic. This doesn’t mean it has to be purely utilitarian, though – far from it, in fact.

Using your shower as the focal point for statement features is a great way to give the overall design some real wow factor without it feeling overcrowded – and it’s guaranteed to bring a smart and luxurious touch to every shower.

Whether you opt for a drench shower head or install a built-in sound system to blast out your favourite morning anthems, these finishing touches will make sure your shower takes centre stage every day of the week.

Add the finishing touches with accessories

Accessories are a must-have in any room if you want your interior to be packed full of personality, but be selective with the items you choose – too many trinkets in a confined space can detract from the finished look.

There are plenty of ways you can cleverly use accessories to complete your small shower room design effectively, such as using mirrors. Mirrors are a tried and tested interior design trick for adding light and depth to small spaces and every bathroom needs a mirror, so it’s a no-brainer. Whether you opt for one large bathroom cabinet mirror, an entire wall of mirror tiles or a collection of mirrors dotted around the room, these reflective surfaces will bounce light around the room beautifully, creating the illusion of a room with far more grand dimensions.

In addition to mirrors, think about using other practical items like bath towels, shower mats, laundry baskets, soap dispensers and toilet roll holders to deliver eye-catching accents in your small bathroom. You can even add a few bathroom plants to bring the area to life with the added benefit of purifying the air in the process.

When it comes to picking your accessories, less is more in cosy shower rooms, so be sure to keep decorative touches minimal for maximum impact.

Each part of planning your small shower room design plays a crucial role in the finished look, and we hope that, with the above small shower room ideas at the ready, you’ll find all the know-how and inspiration you need to achieve the perfect blend of aesthetic appeal and practicality.

Whether you’re ready to get started or you’re still in the shower room ideas phase, at Tiles Direct, we have an amazing selection of bathroom and shower tiles that will bring your modest space to life. From sleek and modern to homely and rustic, we’re sure you’ll find just the right tile to transform a small space into a lush bathing haven to enjoy every day.

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