The Pros and Cons of Open and Closed Showers

The Pros and Cons of Open and Closed Showers

Showers in the past used to be comprised of just a shower head inside of an existing bath tub enclosure and that was it.  Today, showers have come a long way, and they are separated from the bathtub to give more space, versatility and visual aesthetics for your bathroom. Enclosed showers are enjoyed by many for the added benefit of having more privacy and still looking stylish. Open showers are becoming more popular in bathrooms that need to be accessible for all and they open up a small space to appear larger. Here are the pros and cons of open and closed showers.

  • Visually opening up your bathroom: While the shower curtain is still a viable option for many, glass door enclosures or no enclosure have become more upscale and enjoyed by many home owners. Here are the pros of cons:
  1. Enclosed shower: PROS: Home owners that prefer a more private bathing experience may opt for the enclosed shower. Shower walls can be fully transparent, semi-transparent, or etched glass can provide more privacy. CONS: Some home owners do not like the glass getting wet and splattered with water droplets after every shower usage. The glass either needs to be cleaned after every use, or wiped dry to avoid build up of water droplets. This can be time consuming, and if you have hard water – more laborious than worth it.
  2. Open shower: PROS: The no barrier appeal of open showers opens up your bathroom and can give visual views of expansive vistas and views outside of a window beyond. This modern touch gives the feel of a luxury spa or high end hotel that home owners enjoy. CONS: Many home owners don’t enjoy the open and unprotected feel of open showers. While visually appealing, some home owners still prefer to have a visual and physical barrier between the shower and the rest of the bathroom.
  • Functionality for your showering needs: In many homes there is a case to be made for both types of showers. Many outdoor showers for swimming pools and beach goers warrant having an open shower and many guest bathrooms warrant closed showers. Here are the benefits of each:

o   Enclosed shower: Especially in guest baths and master bathrooms, the ability for guests and/or multiple people to use the bathroom at one time is a must. Enclosed showers give this versatility without users feeling imposed on. Enclosed showers also offer the user more space to store toiletries, and often sit down with enclosed benches, etc…

o   Open shower: In outdoor applications, open showers offer the benefit of running in and out without doors and the ease of quick access. Many outdoor pools as well as cabana baths that are designed for access to the pool benefit from the open features. Another added benefit of open showers inside the home is for those who need “zero entry” in and out of the shower. Also referred to as a “curbless shower”, open showers enable a wheel chair, an elderly person, or a person needing easier access in and out the ability. (For accessibility curbless entry showers are also available with glass enclosures, but must be built larger for adequate clearances and mobility.)

Open and closed showers are increasing in popularity from the all-in-one showers and bath tubs from years ago. There are pros and cons of each type of shower, but depending on your lifestyle, and usage will help you determine which is right for your family. Before opting for either style, consider visiting a bathroom showroom where you can feel examples of each before they are incorporated into your home. Whichever you choose, it should give you years of satisfaction and enjoyment.

Freshome reader’s, which do you prefer, open or closed showers?


  • RocketGirl February 18, 2011 at 16:23 PMLogin to Reply →

    If I had an option, I’d love the open shower indoors, and the enclosed shower outside. Showering outside is such a lovely luxury, but as long as it’s open to the sky, I’d like a little privacy there. Indoors, though? I spent two years showering in a box in my NYC kitchen, so gimme glass walls and open space!

  • Jon Rendell February 18, 2011 at 20:50 PMLogin to Reply →

    ha ha, I thought this was going to be an article on attractive nude folks and unattractive nude people.

  • Patricia L. February 19, 2011 at 01:28 AMLogin to Reply →

    I like the idea of an open shower – no need to clean glass, etc. But I wonder how well they would work in a northern climate, where in the mornings the bathrooms can be quite chilly. An enclosed shower might keep the heat from the warm shower in better – more like a sauna effect.

    Also, open showers might spray more water over nearby objects – that limits the choice of materials used to decorate the room (i.e requires tile walls, thoughtful positioning of mirrors, towel storage, and tp location). Unfortunately, considering these two points I would have to pick an enclosed shower if I was remodeling my home.

  • Ryan February 19, 2011 at 18:28 PMLogin to Reply →

    Open showers are great, but in a small space where the bathroom is shared it isn’t very practical. One person might be dressing and clothed while the other is taking a shower. A glass partition is better in this situation to keep one person from getting wet.

  • RoniqueGibson February 21, 2011 at 02:36 AMLogin to Reply →

    Thank you all for your great comments! I personally love the look of an open shower- but have to agree with you all that the practicality isn’t always realistic for ‘real world’ living. I absolutely love the idea of the first photo with just the minimalistic glass — ahhhh.. heaven!

  • Dave Thompson April 7, 2015 at 18:15 PMLogin to Reply →

    Never seen anything like these showers before. Now I really want to try out a open shower, because it seems kind of cool. I think at first it would feel weird to me, but I’d get used to it being that open. Thank you for the great post.