No room for a bath and a separate shower? No worries. A shower over the bath can be a stylish and practical option. Not convinced? Read on
Houzz UK editorial staff. I’m an interiors journalist and editor, previously for… More
In an ideal world or, rather, an ideal bathroom, many of us might hope for enough space to have a bath as well as a standalone shower. While the compromise of having just one or the other is one route to take, lots of us will opt instead for a combination of the two, and install an over-bath shower.
Don’t be fooled into thinking this has to be a compromise, though – just check out the many very different and beautiful bath/shower room options available. Here are 15 ideas to get you started.
Conceal your pipes…
Concealed pipework and wall-mounted controls make for a cleaner look than an exposed pipe. Neither one is superior, it simply depends on the effect you want to create (see the next photo for an example of how beautiful an exposed pipe can look).
As with any fixed showerhead, ensure you triple-check the measurements and positions to get the shower in exactly the right spot so it won’t splash over the edges of the bath.
This combination of bath and shower is one that lends itself to curtains rather than a glass screen: check with everyone in the household that this will work for them, as some people do passionately prefer the simplicity of a screen. For larger members of the family, an all-round curtain could also feel claustrophobic, and you’ll get more of a sense of space with glass. However, curtains do look beautiful if you’re keen to conjure up that classic look.
You may find you’ll need to put the shower curtains inside the tub to avoid drips running straight down them and onto the floor.
…or expose them
In this shabbily chic bathroom, the homeowners have chosen a shower with exposed pipework. Large, fixed showerheads like this one, and the concealed pipe version in the previous image, are a classic – but be aware that because there’s no slider rail, you won’t be able to adjust the height of the showerhead.
Some designs do come with a tilt option at the neck of the showerhead, but that’s pretty much it. Consider whether this will be practical for your needs (those with long hair, for example, may hanker for a shower that can easily be positioned to hit the shoulders rather than the head on between-hairwash days).
Give tradition a contemporary twist
Those classic, Victorian-style showers aren’t only for roll-top baths and floaty curtains. Though this space clearly has traditional influences (hello metro tiles, patterned floor and, of course, large, round, fixed showerhead), they have all been brought thoroughly up to date. And it’s not only the subversion of floor tiles into something fresh and graphic rather than Victorian that does it.
This version of the classic showerhead is defiantly clean and contemporary, as are its matching chrome controls, while glass instead of a curtain and, of course, the edgy chimp print, further boost the modern feel.
Add a Scandi mood
Here, a classic-style shower fixing, albeit one with a smaller head than in the previous bathrooms, works brilliantly in a Scandi-style, almost sauna-like space, kept company by a trad-style basin and loo with a wooden seat.
Get the best of both worlds
In this neutral, contemporary bathroom, the ceiling-mounted, fixed showerhead is complemented by a hand-held attachment.
If you or someone in your home is likely to want a shower they can aim below the face (again, those with long hair will understand), then consider mounting your hand-held attachment higher up, as this can be operated independently of the overhead shower.
To stop the end wall feeling cluttered up with controls for these two separate outlets, the shower taps have been mounted on the adjacent wall instead. And to maximise the sense of space generally, large tiles and matching grout give the appearance of a seamless surface. In this sleek bathroom, you’d barely notice the lack of a standalone shower, don’t you think?
Be within budget
Here, a pedestal-free basin, back-to-wall loo and ultra-contemporary neutral tiling create the feel of a classy, modern bathroom. With this backdrop, a standard, wall-mounted thermostatic valve, shower hose and slider rail look just as slick as their fixed-head and multi-functional relatives.
With no need to consider a separate hand-held head, nor to have extra pipes chased into your wall, you might save some money, too. Proof that it’s all about the styling.
Read expert advice on what you need to know before tiling your bathroom
This unusual bath is not only bucking the curved tradition, it’s also incredibly high-sided, which would give your showering experience quite a different feel.
To keep any shower curtain in tip-top condition, you need to stretch it out after each use so it can dry, and remember to wash it frequently to prevent it yellowing or developing mould.
Explore 9 naturally beautiful bathrooms
Keep your controls simple
The controls for this shower work well in a period house setting. Rather than having modern knobs built into the wall, as is the preferred option for many over-bath showers, or a separate valve that works independently from the bath taps, this design has everything controlled from the bath mixer.
Note, too, the oval, ceiling-mounted curtain rail, which provides a little more arm room than its circular cousin.
Choose statement shower curtains
Usually restricted to a supporting role, the shower curtains in this Edinburgh flat are the stars of the show. They’re backed with a plastic curtain, and the fabric itself is lined with pink ticking, making them feel as luxurious and heavy as any statement window drapes and giving this space the less ‘bathroom-y’ feel its owner was after.
Here, the fixed-head shower and hand-held extension are positioned on separate walls, so the latter, fussier part of the shower is tucked behind one of the curtains, leaving the prettier part on show.
Tuck it around a corner
Build in an extra sense of privacy by positioning your over-bath shower in an alcove. This will also better mimic the feel of a separate shower, should that happen to please you.
The wall that’s been built out in order to fit in the basin and the loo’s concealed cistern provides just enough room to tuck yourself away. And with the glass screen, the rest of the room is unlikely to get splashed as you shower.
For this arrangement to work in a family bathroom used for bathing small children (or, indeed, small dogs), you might want to put the bath taps, along with a hand-held shower extension, at the visible end of the bath, and move the niche shelving up or along, for easier access.
Go for gold
Don’t let anyone tell you an over-bath shower can’t be a showstopper. This marble and gold combination is just about as lavish as you could get – elegant, glamorous and eminently practical, with that lovely large shower rail providing plenty of splashing space.
The attention to detail is particularly pleasing; check out the brass window finger lifts and door hinges to match.
If you want to take things to an ultra-contemporary level, consider swapping a round showerhead for a square or rectangular one, as seen here. This works especially well in this bathroom, because the bath and its clever side storage panel are also square-edged.
To go the extra, angular mile, you might like to seek out rectangular controls, too. You can even find hand-held showers with sharp edges.
Try a touch of frost
Frosted glass, that is. This shower screen offers peepholes should they be required, but also a calming sense of enclosure and privacy (potentially a boon if you have a door-open bathroom policy in your home).
There are so many types of shower screen on the market, not only in terms of the type of glass, but also the fixing options and dimensions available – including curved, folding, sliding, hinged and fixed. Corner a knowledgeable salesperson in a shop that sells lots of these designs and find out which will work best with your space. The last thing you want is to discover your stunning new shower screen is too long, or doesn’t have room to open and so has to be clambered around in order for you to step into the bath.
Celebrate clean and crisp
This pristine, contemporary take on the over-bath shower shows just how modern and slick the combination can look.
Note that a shower curtain in this style of bathroom would soften the crisp, clinical effect – but might also spoil it.
Put up a print
Wallpapering around your bath may seem like a strange and impractical idea, but a decorator’s varnish can give your wall covering the waterproof finish you’ll need. It’s not something you’d perhaps be able to work around a more enclosed, standalone shower so easily, but this fun design shows what a great way it can be to make good use of those two, very visible walls.
Do you have an over-bath shower? If so, how have you styled yours and would you swap it if you could – or have these beauties persuaded you otherwise? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.