Design Thinking
Ideas and Inspiration

The Case for Taking Away the Tub

Most people don't use their tubs. Even if the existing bathroom’s dimensions are modest, eliminating that big tub could free-up an area for a generous shower. Remodeling trends like large walk-in showers without shower doors, boutique tiles, multi-purpose shower sprays and wet rooms define “luxury” in new ways.

Here are the Top Ten reasons why taking away the tub makes sense:

1. Trends: Showers are in.

With the great tsunami of Baby Boomers influencing market trends, the shower has hit its heyday. A soothing steam shower with body sprays for aching muscles promotes relaxation and well being. Wasting water and negotiating a slippery tub has lost much of its appeal.

2. You can't live without a rain shower head and music while you bathe.

Advances in plumbing fixtures are focusing more and more toward the luxurious and beneficial, from body sprays to rain shower heads, to interesting shower heads (see Super Showers). There's one that plays your music via Bluetooth, and another that allows you to turn on the water so it can warm up and then shuts off when it’s up to temperature. We have mounted water volume controls outside showers, so that they can be turned on without the future bather getting wet.


People don't like showering in a tub/shower combo. It's crowded and the shower curtain is slimy. Who likes to bump into that?

In a smaller bathroom, a tub does little more than make the bathroom feel cramped and pokey. Removing the tub dudring your bathroom renovations allows you to turn that hard to access, under-used or out-of-date bathtub into a fully functional, easy to access shower.

Not only will a spa-like shower add a touch of luxury to your bathroom, it won’t feel like it’s taking up all of your space. Showers, after all, feel much more open and less constricting than bathtubs. And if it’s a cramped and dark room, reshuffling can do a remarkable job of opening up the space.

4. Size matters, there's room for two

frameless-shower-enclosure.jpgUtility-size showers are going the way of the dinosaur. With so many great shower features available, big, beautiful showers allow you to soak in comfort and style.

In a bigger shower, you can open your arms and move around easily and even share the space comfortably. Showering with your partner can be an efficient use of time in the morning, plus there's someone to wash your back... and as a bonus you get a few extra minutes together!

Dimensions for a multi-functional shower should be at least three feet square and have a wide access. There should be ample space to get in and move around. If you opt for no door, 42 by 60 inches is a better minimum size, as the larger area helps keep the water from straying out.

5. Wet rooms and showers without doors

Showers these days and can easily be designed without doors.

Shower walls that are angled or curved can also keep water inside and provide privacy even when there’s no door. Instead of a solid rim at the threshold to contain the shower water, make the shower access barrier-free and level with the bathroom floor as this allows disabled users to maneuver with ease. It's more pleasant for the rest of us too.

With these open showers, the water is deliberately oriented to avoid spraying any of the surrounding area.

And what if space doesn’t allow for a big shower stall? What about another hot trend? Turn the entire bathroom into a "wet room," where the shower and bathroom share one big, open space. Be sure your remodeler uses Schluter System products to ensure a waterproof space.wash-your-dog.jpg

6. It's a great place to wash the dog.

Today’s showers typically have multiple shower heads and sprayers.

A popular combination providing maximum flexibility is a rain shower head plus an adjustable handheld shower. The handheld slides on a wall-mounted rod, and can be locked into place or pulled out on a retractable hose making the spray available anywhere it may be needed. It's great for hosing off Bowser, or even muddy kids. And it makes cleaning the shower a far easier task.

7. There's a better spot for the cat litter

Many master bath whirlpools are the home for house plants or are the place where the wet towels go. Certainly the space allotted for such a tub in the master bath can be better utilized for your enjoyment. One of my friends, while building a new house, announced that the big soaking tub seemed like something she should get, and that is where the cat litter would go. I convinced her to scrap the tub, freeing up space for an extra large two person shower, a wall of full height cabinetry storage, a bench and some robe hooks. They love it.

8. Easier access and safety

A shower is easier to get in and out of than a bathtub. Showers, with some strategically placed grab bars, can even be used easily by those who require a wheelchair. Gone are the days of institutional looking grab bars; nowadays they’re available in wonderful colors, chic shapes and elegant finishes.

Plan ahead to make the dream shower work for everyone, regardless of age, size and ability, guaranteeing that it will serve you faithfully for years to come.

9. What's in the shower: Cool tile, seats, shelves, and niches.

You can create a spa-like effect in your new shower by using wood, stone, tile, or glass. Be artistic and try some exterior stone, or unusual tiles to create a distinctive feature. It doesn’t take much to make a great statement.

There are ample opportunities for storage, and to easily organize your stuff; from corner well shelves to multiple wall niches for soap and shampoo. We often put one lower and one higher or include one tall one with multiple shelves.

Most showers include a bench or corner seat, but will you use it to sit on, or just to rest your foot on when you shave your legs. For smaller showers, a fold-down seat gives you the option for having a seat when you need one, and keeps it out of the way when you don't; this makes everyone happy.

10. Less maintenance

Cleaning a bathtub, especially one that’s hardly ever used, is a disagreeable task. By removing the tub entirely, you will be freed from needless scrubbing.

Secondly, when you replace your bathtub with a shower, not only will your family enjoy an easier, safer bathing experience, but you’ll potentially have less repairs to worry about. Boys in particular are not that great about ensuring the shower curtain in the tub is in exactly the right place. This often results in water coming through the ceiling below. You'll eliminate this issue with a proper shower stall.

Two Possible Counterpoints: You Love to Soak and The Resale Factor

There are those of us who treasure nothing more than a good bubble soak with a book. Even for us, nothing beats a quick, invigorating shower before work or a soak in the steam shower after a long run.

Conventional thinking for resale has been that every home must have one bathroom with a shower and one with a tub. Many parents of young children still engage in the nightly ritual of bath time, although there is movement towards the grand shower as the location for this care. So tub or not is your choice and no longer a mandate for resale!

Many of our clients are opting for larger more luxurious showers and eliminating the tubs in all their bathrooms as they remodel and upgrade their homes. So the real question owners must ask is whether to have any tubs at all, or whether to keep one for soaking and rubber ducky bath time.

Once you have a custom shower built, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. While your home is your haven, your biggest asset and the heart of your family life, the custom shower becomes the inner sanctum, a sanctuary that you enjoy spending time in, personalized just for you.

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