Converting a Tub to a Shower? Here Are Some Ideas to Inspire You

Barbara Bellesi Zito
Updated January 28, 2022
A bright new bathroom interior with glass walk in shower
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

These spa-like shower designs will make you forget about bubble baths

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As much as you might relish the idea of starting or ending each day with a bubble bath, the reality is a shower likely fits better into your schedule. Plus, bathtubs take up precious bathroom space that you could allocate for storage. By removing the tub in favor of a shower, you’ll create a spacious bathroom oasis you’ll love.

Here are some shower design ideas that will prove to you just how little you’ll miss that tub when it’s gone.

1. Install a Larger Shower and Add Another Vanity

White bathroom with marble tile floors
Photo: Troy D.

A huge bathtub might be the star element of your dream bathroom, but how often will you use it? Even if you have room for one the size of a wading pool, you can better use the space by adding a larger shower and more bathroom storage.

Troy D., an Ohio homeowner, took on a DIY tub to shower conversion with breathtaking results. A discount on Turkish marble served as their initial inspiration for this bathroom that looks like it belongs in a five-star hotel. There was enough room in this space for a huge tub, but since no one used the previous one, he opted to get rid of it. In its place went dual vanities, which added utility and beauty to the space. 

2. Add Multiple Showerheads

Gray bathroom with wood floors
Photo: NOMI

A home shower can turn into a spa experience when the shower is large enough to fit two comfortably. Consider adding multiple showerheads to transform your new shower into an improved double shower if you have enough space. For a luxurious feel, add dual rain showerheads.

The bathroom remodelers converted the tub into a double shower with multiple showerheads. “This maximizes the space of the bathroom and transforms it into a spa-like experience,” says Joseph A. Tsedaka, Principal at NOMI, a Dallas-based bathroom remodeling firm.

3. Maximize Space and Natural Light

Window in Shower
Photo: Marco and Dorothy A.

Some experts will advise you not to convert a full bathroom into a three-quarter bath (with a shower and not a tub). But beauty—and function—is in the eye of the beholder, especially when space is at a premium. To make smaller bathrooms feel larger, get rid of the tub and add a spacious shower instead.

Marco and Dorothy A., homeowners from Staten Island, NY, did just this in one of their bathrooms. They love the results because it makes the space seem bigger, especially with the light gray subway tile and the sunlight streaming through the window. 

A local shower installer can advise you on shower options for your bathroom design and available space. The average cost to install a shower is around $5,600.

4. Streamline Elements to Create More Space

Shower with Seat
Photo: Mariah Shaw Design

A long and slim shower in this light-filled bathroom by Mariah Shaw of Mariah Shaw Design proves that you don’t need a large footprint for a spacious shower. Note the slim profile of the toilet and the floating vanity, which allows for more of the floor to be seen and makes the room feel more spacious.

5. Enhance Relaxation by Adding a Shower Bench

Grey bathroom with shower seat
Photo: Marian M.

There’s no doubt that a bathtub can feel like heaven for those who prefer to recline and relax while bathing. But a shower doesn’t have to eliminate that option when you install a bench.

Marian M., a North Carolina homeowner, didn’t miss her tub at all when she replaced it with a huge shower and a bench. She previously had a small shower and a bath, but she turned the shower into a linen closet to add further function to the completely renovated bathroom.

6. Make the Shower the Star

Small bathroom with glass shower
Photo: Lesli DeVito

The bathtub is often the crowning jewel of a large full bathroom. For some, a claw-foot soaking tub is a sight to behold, but so is a beautiful glass shower enclosure. In this bathroom design by Lesli DeVito of the blog My Old Country House, a three-sided shower in the corner manages to be both inconspicuous and eye-catching, thanks to the clear glass panels and minimal hardware. Some shower doors are translucent to offer more privacy but go with transparent glass to create the illusion of more space.

7. Skip a Full Shower Door for a Modern Look

Glass Wall Shower with black frame
Photo: Jonathan Spica

Showers don’t always have to hide away behind a curtain or a door that fully shuts. In this stunning bathroom design by Jonathan Spica of West Coast Design, a partial glass wall serves as the enclosure and makes the bathroom look even larger. The simple yet striking wall looks like a modern design element until you realize there’s a showerhead behind it.

8. Install a Walk-In Shower to Permit Aging in Place

A modern walk in shower
Photo: jodiejohnson / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Walk-in showers without doors or a high tub or “curb” to step over allow for safe access. This is an important bathroom design feature for those with limited mobility. Many people choose to remain in their homes as they live out their golden years, and may prefer a walk-in shower over a bathtub. 

As seen in this stunning gray tiled shower, bathroom safety and accessibility can be incorporated into a beautiful design. The shower floor is nearly flush to the ground, providing an easy entrance and exit. The partial glass door makes it even simpler to step in and step out without having to open a door or draw back a curtain. While this shower is ideal for homeowners needing safe access to bathing, many others can also appreciate the sleek look.

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