Shower design for a small bathroom – 6 space-boosting tricks

Planning shower design for a small bathroom? Even a bathroom with a low ceiling won't feel cramped with these space-boosting design tricks and expert tips

Shower design for a small bathroom in a white marble scheme with black metal work.
(Image credit: Future)

Shower design for a small bathroom need not compromise on style and comfort.

A small shower room or bathroom can feel cramped and unwelcoming, particularly if it has low ceilings. But there are many ways to make it feel more spacious, according to Yousef Mansuri, head of design at bathroom experts CP Hart.

So, if you are considering walk-in shower ideas that take over the whole space or simply a cubicle you want to feel spacious, this is what to consider.

Shower design for a small bathroom

These clever tricks will help with shower design for a small bathroom, particularly if you are in the planning stages and looking for small bathroom ideas.

1. Fit a flush shower head and tray to boost headroom

Shower design for a small bathroom illustrated by square chrome shower fittings in a marble shower room.

(Image credit: C. P. Hart/ Paul Craig)

'A low ceiling requires careful showerhead positioning,' Yousef Mansuri explains. 'A flush-to-ceiling shower can help gain extra headroom, as will a low-level shower tray.'

A ceiling-mounted shower head – also known as a rain shower – is the perfect shower design for a small bathroom or walk-in shower and very desirable because it gives the bather a more immersive and often more luxurious experience. 

While it may need more extensive plumbing work compared to standard shower head, it is a great solution for low ceilings and comes in a range of models, including ones with adjustable nozzles and changeable colored lighting.

2. Enhance space with a glass shower screen

Shower design for a small bathroom featuring glass screen and chandelier.

(Image credit: C. P. Hart)

Another trick to help maximize space in a small shower room is using a glass screen. This will help trick the eye into thinking the room is bigger, and also creates a smart, streamlined look. 

3. Pick wall-hung fittings to make a small space look bigger

Blue shower design for a small bathroom with wall hung brass fittings.

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

Choosing the right sanitaryware is key in any shower design, but in a small bathroom you need to think particularly carefully about how to choose a shower.

Wall-hung fittings allow you to see right to the walls beneath them, giving a better sense of space, adds Yousef. 

'A stud wall is built out by at least 12-20cm to hide cistern and pipes, but if you have a partition wall already, for example it’s a newly created en-suite, you can utilise the interior voids.'

4. Create more wall space with niches

Alcove shelving shower design for a small bathroom in gray mosaic tiles.

(Image credit: Future / Jonathan Gooch)

Floating shelves are great for having essentials to hand without taking too much space. Other clever small bathroom storage ideas include creating a niche or ledge above the sink if you don’t have room for a vanity. 

Building large niches into the shower walls also means you have an easy and clever spot to hold all your bathing needs.

5. Swap a shower room for a wet room for tiny spaces

Shower design for a small bathroom featuring a pink and green floral wall design and curved stone floor.

(Image credit: West One)

If you are short of space, wet room ideas can be a game-changer, although there has to be consideration given to ensuring the room is completely waterproof. 

'Wet room floors give the illusion of extra space, as there is no break in the floor type. Underfloor heating can free up wall space for other fittings,' says Yousef.

6. Hang a large mirror

Large mirror in a shower design for a small bathroom.

(Image credit: Future / Jonathan Gooch)

Hanging a large mirror is another way to get the illusion of space. Clever mirror ideas can bounce light around in a room, making it look brighter and larger. 

With clever tricks like these, any shower design for a small bathroom can be as stylish as one that is twice the size.

Contributing Editor

As the Deputy Editor of Livingetc's print version, Busola Evans works across both the physical magazine and digital and specializes in kitchens, bathrooms and projects. She is an expert at explaining how to improve, extend and convert your home. Prior to her current role, she was Associate Editor on both Livingetc and Homes & Gardens, where she authored kitchen and bathroom articles. Busola has also written for The Guardian, The Sunday Times Magazine and Grazia, and was an interiors columnist for the London Evening Standard's ES Magazine.