Solstice Kitchen & Bath

Shower, Tub, or Both: What Do You Need for Your Bath Design?

July 21, 2022

When planning a new bathroom design, there are many factors to consider. It helps to start by examining what your family needs, which bathroom you are remodeling, the size (or whether you can expand the footprint), your style preferences, and your budget.

large shower and freestanding tub

One of the key decisions you must make when embarking on a bathroom remodel is whether to include a shower, a bathtub/shower combination, or both. For some people, a soak in the tub is the ultimate in relaxation, and they couldn’t imagine living without a bath. For others, a large shower design with added features like a built-in bench and multiple showerheads is the top priority. In a very large master bath design, you might even have room to include both to give you a choice depending on your mood.

Which option is right for your home and family? Start by considering these 5 factors to help you make the ideal decision for your bathroom design.

Which bathroom are you remodeling?

If your home has multiple full bathrooms, then your choice of bathtub or shower may vary depending on which bathroom you are remodeling.

In a master bath design that you will use every day, consider your own personal preferences first. If you are not a “soak in the tub” type of person and you know you will not use a tub, leave it out! Instead, go for a super-sized shower enclosure, complete with a shower seat, recessed storage, handheld and rainfall showerheads, massaging shower panel, and more. 

large shower design

If you can’t live without a relaxing bath, then look at the available space in your master bath. If you have room for both, include a bathtub and a shower so you have options. Freestanding tubs are very popular since they are as beautiful as they are practical. If you do not have room for both, then create the perfect alcove bathtub/shower combination with custom tile walls, showerheads, and enclosure that fit your style and functionality needs.

freestanding tub

For a hall, guest, or children’s bathroom design, particularly if size is limited, stick to a bathtub/shower combination. Having at least one bathtub in the house can be important for bathing children, either for your own or anyone visiting with kids.

How big is your bathroom?

Size matters when it comes to choosing fixtures for your bathroom remodel, as a smaller bathroom footprint will be more limited in what you can include. A large bath design can easily incorporate both a freestanding, alcove, or corner bathtub and a well-proportioned shower enclosure. In a smaller bath design, you may have to choose one or the other. If in doubt stick to a bathtub/shower combination or a shower enclosure with no tub, as you don’t want to overwhelm your available space. Your bath remodeling expert will work with you to find the perfect size fixtures for your space and to make sure you have accounted for all the necessary space requirements.

alcove bathtub and shower

Who will use the bathroom?

This is really key in determining which is the right choice for your bath design. Are you a young, growing family remodeling a hall bathroom? Or are you “empty nesters”, perhaps even updating the master bath design for aging in place? While a young family will almost certainly want to keep a bathtub in place, anyone designing for limited mobility should include a larger, curbless shower. Make sure you include a handheld showerhead and a shower seat in case someone needs assistance when showering. If you are designing a spare bath strictly for occasional use by guests then go by the size of the bathroom, your own preferences, and your budget.

How long do you plan to stay in your home?

If you are remodeling with the intention of selling your home in the near term, then you should ideally leave at least one tub in the house. If you have more than one full bathroom, a bathtub/shower combination in the hall bathroom will do the job, and then choose whatever you feel best suits your master bathroom design. Keeping a bathtub expands your list of potential home buyers, as any families with young children will look for this amenity. Luxury showers are also a top feature for potential home buyers, so upgrading your master bath to a large, fully equipped shower will help any future sale of your home. If you are remodeling with the intention of staying long-term in your home, then choose whichever option meets your own requirements.

large shower and freestanding tub

How much can you spend?

Lastly, look at your available budget and how much of it you can commit to the bathtub or shower. If you really want to include both but your existing bathroom footprint is not big enough, it may be an option to expand by moving a wall. Keep in mind that any structural changes or any change to your layout that involves moving plumbing will increase the cost of your bath remodel.

Ready to start creating your ideal bathroom? Get inspired in our bathroom design gallery, and then contact our team to discuss your bathroom remodeling plans.