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Are shower curtains out of style?

Jul 01, 2023Jul 01, 2023

More homes are incorporating walk-in showers and glass showers

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Is it curtains for the shower curtain? If design trends hold true, then yes — the benign stretch of material shrouding you as you shower is indeed on its way out. In its place, curtainless showers are taking hold.

“We’re talking walk-in showers, doorless showers, and glass shower enclosures — anything that negates the need for a hanging shower curtain,” says the Better Homes & Gardens website. “These curtainless showers are everywhere right now, with interior designers and homeowners alike favouring this sleek and elegant trend above traditional shower curtains.”

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The shift toward curtainless showers was gradual. Sixty years ago, bathrooms comprised little more than a tub, toilet and vanity, says the Bob Vila website. But as higher-end houses entered the market, and 1980s renovations focused on a luxury-at-home feel, bedrooms expanded to include walk-in closets and large bathrooms with doorless showers.

Their benefits are mainly esthetic — curtainless showers make a space seem bigger and brighter, and more like a spa. But they can also be practical.

“While glass or tile enclosures inevitably still need to be cleaned, particularly to prevent water stains and soap scum buildup, they are less likely to develop mould and mildew, making them the preferential choice for some homeowners,” says Better Homes & Gardens.

Still, showers that require curtains do have their place. Most homes still come with a tub-and-shower combination that needs a curtain. And buying a curtain — whether it be from West Elm, Amazon or the dollar store — is certainly more cost-effective than a bathroom renovation.

Plus, homeowners with children or pets may prefer to use a standard bathtub to bathe them and a shower curtain is easy enough to throw in the laundry if mildew accumulates.

If you decide to stick with a shower curtain, a few smart design decisions can make it a chic choice. If it’s a water-resistant material like plastic or vinyl, you don’t need a shower liner but try to find thicker versions that won’t blow around when you’re showering and are more durable.

With more luxe-looking fabric curtains — think polyester, hemp, linen or cotton — liners are a must. “Shower curtain liners need to be cleaned or replaced about every six months since they’re directly exposed to water and can get mouldy or accumulate mildew if not properly cared for,” says the NBC News Select website.

In terms of style, a ceiling-to-floor shower curtain can make the bathroom look more posh. Make the space look larger by choosing small patterns or a solid colour that blends in with the walls. Lighter colours will also visually expand things. Alternatively, large patterns and statement colours can make shower curtains a focal point.

Finally, if you’re struggling to find a curtain with a certain je ne sais quoi, take a cue from the pros. Some wallpaper prints also come in fabric versions, interior designer Beth Brown told NBC News Select. Matching the wallpaper to the shower curtain can feel neat and sophisticated.

Or, you can have a custom curtain made. “It might cost considerably more, but it will be a perfect fit and can match your decor beautifully,” interior designer Pamela O’Brien told the outlet.

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