What Is a European-style Shower Enclosure?

Gone are the days when bathroom design was an afterthought. No more dated laminate countertops. No more sad vinyl tile. No more dingy, plastic tub enclosures. Instead, European-style shower enclosures promise a space you’ll actually enjoy spending time in.

Today, we’re discussing European-style showers, including what they are and why you might consider this modern and luxurious style for your bathroom remodel.

What is a European-style shower enclosure?

European-style shower enclosures are currently all the rage among designers and homeowners.

European-style showers are a type of walk-in shower, designed most often with frameless doors, wall to floor tile, and a minimal curb (or no curb at all). (You can see an example in the photo above).

In our opinion, it’s easy to see why this style of shower has become so popular. It’s a style that fits seamlessly into any home design—from contemporary to traditional—while bringing a modern sensibility to the home. The glass-forward design is both practical (since glass is durable and easy to clean) and beautiful. The glass enclosure allows the eye to travel uninterrupted through the bathroom and allows for maximum light—making the room look bigger and brighter. (Because bathrooms are often on the smaller side, this is a great benefit.)

Frameless, walk-in showers become popular in Europe mainly for reasons of space constraint: this kind of walk-in shower can be made smaller than your typical plastic tub. However, this style has come a long way from its humble origins.

Today’s European-style showers can boast extra space, bench seating, multiple shower heads, and other luxuries.

Should you opt for a European-style shower?

European-style shower enclosures are gorgeous, but they may not be for everyone. Whether this style of shower is right for your bathroom will depend on your space, needs, and priorities.

This shower might be ideal for you if you prioritize:

  • Beauty and versatility in design: In addition to making your bathroom look brighter and more open, European showers are incredibly versatile. Depending on the tile and fixtures you choose, this shower enclosure can work in ultra-modern bathrooms or traditional, Old World ones. Also, because you can use the same tile throughout, it makes the bathroom look more harmonious.
  • Ease of cleaning: With this style of shower, you don’t have to worry about washing a moldy shower curtain. Even better, the glass enclosure is incredibly easy to clean: simply use a squeegee at the end of your shower to wipe off water and suds.
  • Ease of access: European-style showers are much easier for anyone with mobility issues to access. Instead of stepping over the side of a tub, you can walk right in.

However, if you prioritize bubble baths, the European-style shower enclosure may not be for you. (That is, unless you also want and have the space for a free-standing tub.)

It’s also important to consider the practical constraints of your redesign, including the space and budget you have to work with. European shower enclosures require either a minimal curb to keep water inside the shower, or a sloped floor inside to direct water toward the drain. Frameless glass walls and doors are more expensive than plastic tub enclosures and framed shower doors: because there are no frames, the glass has to be thicker and heavier, with polished edges. (We think it’s worth it, but it’s important to know going in.)

Your bathroom doesn’t have to be a boring, utilitarian afterthought in your home: a European-style shower enclosure can transform your bathroom into an oasis.

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Our local, family-owned and -operated business has been helping Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky homeowners with their commercial glass, auto glass, glass shower and window needs for more than 70 years. Contact us today.