One of the key questions during a bathroom remodel is whether to go with a shower curtain or glass enclosure?
The choice depends largely on the layout of your bathroom and the style of your home. For a stand-alone, walk-in shower, the answer is simple, says Jessica Helgerson, an interior designer in Portland, Ore.
“Glass doors are almost always preferable,” she says, noting that companies like Century Bathworks and American Shower Door make some appealing options.
For a combination tub and shower, the answer isn’t as clear cut. In that situation, she says, you could go either way. Glass panels provide a clean, modern appearance, but shower curtains also have advantages.
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A shower curtain made from a textural material like linen in a solid color, she says, offers a simple, appealing look. And if it gets dirty, it’s easy to take down and wash. In a tight space, a shower curtain also “provides better accessibility,” she says, because it can be pulled all the way to one side.
“With small kids, it’s easier to lean into the tub,” she says.
For a custom look, Helgerson recommends installing a shower-curtain rod in a finish that matches the bathroom fixtures, whether they are brass, chrome, nickel or oil-rubbed bronze.
Charles Homet, an associate real-estate broker at Halstead Property, agreed that one type of shower enclosure doesn’t necessarily look more high-end than the other. Either can be luxurious, he says, depending on the products you choose.
“A shower curtain doesn’t have to have that standard blah look,” he says, like vinyl or polyester panels suspended from cheap tension rods. “I’ve seen a shower where the curtain was mounted floor-to-ceiling on a track, and it was really elegant.”
For a more traditional look, he suggests a shower curtain with tiebacks.
Glass panels can look beautiful and modern, he says, but they’re not ideal for every bathroom.
“With glass enclosures, you have to be very careful with the clearance next to the vanity, because you may end up with issues related to cleaning,” he says, particularly if it’s difficult to reach into the gap between the glass panel and the vanity. “You have to make sure you have access, because you do get mildew and things building up along the bottom.”
If you decide to use a shower curtain, but you don’t plan to put your home on the market right away, Helgerson offers one final piece of advice.
Before you show your home, she says, “You absolutely want to throw away whatever shower curtain you have and get a brand-new one.” That way, at least, you can be sure “there’s no hint of grossness about it.”