As you’re designing your new dream home, don’t overlook the main bathroom. Your bathroom has the potential to be a restorative and relaxing sanctuary. Two essential pieces to achieving that dream bath are the bathtub and the shower. Combining form and function, a great bathtub and shower allow you put your personal style on the space or create a specific mood or feel. But it’s important to choose fixtures and materials that are not only beautiful but durable — and easy to clean and maintain.
Whether you’re starting the design process or choosing the final pieces, let’s explore some popular tub and shower options for the master bathroom.
Before You Begin
There’s quite a bit to square away before you hop into a Jacuzzi tub with jets. Your first step is to confirm the bathroom’s size, shape and layout so you know what kind of tub and shower will fit and where they will go.
Next, make a mood board or highlight styles that are in line with your design vision. Keep cleaning and maintenance top of mind when thinking about which materials to use in order to keep wear-and-tear costs down over time.
Finally, make an itemized list of the materials and products for your budget and don’t forget labor and installation costs.
Tub and Shower Materials and Finishes
The materials you choose for your bathroom fixtures depends on several factors, with cost, functionality and aesthetics being the primary ones. Tubs can be made of cast iron, cast polymer, plastic, enameled steel, porcelain and resin, while shower material include fiberglass and glass, ceramic or stone tile, natural stone and acrylic.
Tub and Shower Options
Many homeowners opt for the standard tub and shower combination, but having a separate tub and shower can feel extra luxurious — and perhaps even practical.
- Alcove—A popular style, alcove tubs are installed in a three-wall nook. This tub is also known as a recessed tub and typically has wall-mounted faucets.
- Freestanding—Just like the name states, freestanding tubs stand all on their own in the bathroom. These tubs do not need to be installed in or next to a wall, but they must be near water lines to operate.
- Soaking—Varying by size and style, soaking tubs are deep enough to immerse oneself in from head to toe.
- Tub/Shower—One of the most common bathroom fixtures, the combined tub/shower unit features an installed shower head. The tub can be enclosed in fiberglass, glass or a curtain for showering.
- Walk-in—This tub comes with a hinge door for walk-in level entry and has a special sealant to prevent water from leaking during bathing.
- Whirlpool—The whirlpool tub can provide a luxury hotel or spa bathing experience.
- Body—This shower includes multiple shower heads or jets, often in a tower system, to spray the body on all sides with rainfall-style water drops. It can be designed in tandem with other shapes such as a rectangular or circular enclosure.
- Circular enclosure—Circular-shaped shower units are freestanding and can support a variety of materials and shower heads for unique or individualized use.
- Corner enclosure—Like a corner sink or alcove tub, this walk-in shower is built into two walls that connect in a corner.
- Curved enclosure—This shower is similar in function and materials to a rectangular or circular shower, but is curved in shape.
- Custom—This shower is completely and utterly you. A customized shower is crafted and installed to your specific needs and design.
- Neo-angle enclosure—Similar to the corner enclosure in build, scale and materials, this modern walk-in unit is built into a corner but with the front corner sliced off.
- Prefabricated—As the name indicates, this self-contained shower is already built and ready to install in the bathroom. The one-piece, simple structure includes a shower wall and pan. This option typically comes in only a few designs and sizes, so it can be limiting.
- Rectangular enclosure—The rectangular-shaped shower enclosure is typically made of fiberglass, glass or a mixture of tiled walls with a glass door for access.
- Waterfall—This shower enclosure includes a shower head placed on the ceiling or high on the wall to create a waterfall effect.
Stephanie Valente is a Content Director and Editor in Brooklyn, NY. She’s previously held writing and social media positions at Barkbox, Men’s Journal, and currently works at a full-service advertising agency. She’s a self-confessed home and design enthusiast. Stephanie is an award-winning poet and fiction writer. When she’s offline, you can find her taking a yoga class, running, hanging out with her rescue dog Pepper. Find her on stephanievalente.com.