Shower versus Bathroom – The Small Room Debate

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When you’re planning on remodeling your bathroom, one of the first questions that you often have to answer is: shower or bathroom? Ok, so the showdown isn’t quite Ali versus Frazier, Pepsi versus Coke or Squid versus Whale, but it’s an important everyday one that doesn’t have as clear an answer as you’d think. Well, except if you simply don’t like having a shower or a bath, in which case, you have your answer. But even then, what about bath/shower lovers that are looking to build something appropriate for a property to sell? Here’s what to consider

Shower versus Bathroom

Space… Space… Space!

Of course, in the smallest space, you really have no option but to go with a shower – and you’ll have to put up with a showering experience that resembles standing in a leaky phone booth until you can buy a bigger house (or perhaps, remodel your existing home to give yourself a little more space). In a slightly larger space, the main dilemma is that in the same dimensions that you could fit a small bath, you can fit a rather beautifully-sized shower. In the former, you’ll have to arch your back and tuck your feet in like you’re bathing in a bobsleigh. In the later, you can do soapy pirouettes and slip over painfully without ever hitting the wall.

The obvious answer then is to get a nice big shower. But there are reasons why baths are still popular…

Baths: Pros and Cons

  • Pro: A bath is the perfect venue for a relaxing, time consuming dip – bubble bath and scented candles;
  • Pro: A bath is a useful place for doing all kinds of household chores that simply aren’t viable in a shallow shower tray;
  • Pro: It’s easier to wash your kids, cat, dog or other pet in a bathtub without water going everywhere;
  • Pro: New buyers usually look for a bath rather than a shower. This will be especially true if you’re buying in an area with families;
  • Con: Small baths can be very uncomfortable for tall people;
  • Con: More difficult to get into – particularly at issue for people with disabilities, arthritis etc.
  • Con: The longer you spend in a bath, the longer you’re soaking in your own dirt (and you have to deal with )

Showers: Pros and Cons

  • Pro: It tends to be quicker to have showers than to run and go through the motions in a bath;
  • Pro: With a low-flowing showerhead, you should use less water than you need in a bath (though this varies on just how thorough a washer you are);
  • Pro: It’s very simple to get in and out of a shower (especially if you’ve purchased a larger enclosure);
  • Con: Standing up isn’t easy for everyone! Though it may be more difficult to get into a bath, elderly people may find it more strenuous to spend many minutes standing up (and it may be particularly difficult to pick up dropped flannels and other items);
  • Con: Whilst you’re more likely to hurt yourself getting into a bath, when you’re on your feet all the time you’re at the risk of a nasty fall in the shower;
  • Con: More difficult to de-limescale: though dirt tends to collect more in a bath, a greater amount of limescale buildup becomes an issue in a shower, particularly in a hard-water area: on the shower head and up the enclosure walls (because water splashes further and higher);
  • Con: Water goes everywhere, and in smaller cubicles, it can even vault out and get on the floor.

Why Choose? Baths with Showers and Shower Baths

Of course, we’re presenting an either / or alternative when that’s not entirely the case. Putting a shower-nozzle over a bath is hardly a new practice, though the expanding number of specific ‘shower baths’ (featuring a large, curved area to catch more water) have only become fashionable slightly more recently. Still, this is a compromise that comes with its own pros and cons.

  • Pro: The best of both worlds: the luxury of having a good soak when you want one, and a shower when you just need to be quick;
  • Pro: Far more space efficient than having a separate shower and a bath;
  • Con: If accessibility is one of the main reasons you want to buy a shower, a shower–bath combo is off the list. Steep sides ensure that climbing in and out is difficult;
  • Con: Swinging shower bath screens can also create accessibility problems;
  • Con: More powerful showers tend to spray water too far to be practical in most baths.