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Design & Inspiration

9 Wet Room Bathroom Design Tips

By Ted Ryan

9 Wet Room Bathroom Design Tips

All bathrooms get wet, but some more than others. Wet room bathrooms are the latest trend in the interior design world as homeowners seek to bring a spa-like atmosphere home. Perfect for small bathrooms or large bathrooms looking to make a luxurious statement, a wet room bathroom's open concept opens up a world of design possibilities.

Spa-Green Wet Room Shower
Wet Room with Shower Bench

Tile Shown: Salton Sea 3x9 and 3x3 // Design: Amy Alper // Imagery: Adam Potts

If you're curious about doing away with the confides of a contained shower in your bathroom, this article will get you started with things to think about and plenty of inspiration from 9 of our top wet room bathrooms tips.

Not sure where to start with your bathroom design? Start here, with our guide to Bathroom Tile.

What is a Wet Room Bathroom?

Simply put, a wet room bathroom is a bathroom that gets wet, specifically from an exposed shower. Compared to a traditional bathroom where water from the shower is contained with tubs, doors, shower pans, and tall curbs, wet room bathrooms have a more open concept design that allows water to splash and spread more freely.

Because of the nature of this design, wet room bathrooms require surfaces that can tolerate moisture and repeated soakings. Ceramic, glass, porcelain, sealed concrete, natural stone, and metal are all water-resistant options to protect your bathroom walls and floor.

Planning a Wet Room Bathroom

Whether you’re remodeling your existing bathroom or installing a wet room bathroom from scratch, there are a few important things to consider before breaking ground.

Draining Water in a Wet Room Bathroom

Water drainage is going to be paramount to your design. In a standard shower, the shower pan is sloped in either one direction leading to a line drain or on four sides leading to a center shower drain. In a Wet Bathroom, with water collecting in a much larger space, this becomes even more important–and difficult.

Green Tile Wet Room

Tile Shown: Tidewater 3x6 and Calcite Star and Cross // Designer & Imagery: Rejuvenation

A wet room bathroom floor must slope a minimum of 12mm from the highest point to where the drain is located and unlike in a shower where a stock sloping pan can be purchased and installed, a wet room bathroom slope must be built into the subfloor itself. Your best bet is to work with a bathroom designer and installer who is familiar with wet room bathrooms.

Learn more about shower floors here.

Underfloor Heating in a Wet Room Bathroom

Another tool for keeping your wet room bathroom dry when not in use is the installation of underfloor heating. Not only will underfloor heating help evaporate water left on your tiled floor, they also create a more comfortable environment for you and your guests.

Since wet room bathrooms don’t feature shower enclosures, steam won’t concentrate as densely as in a standard bathroom and therefore the temperature in the shower area will remain cooler. In a colder climate, this could mean chilly showers even when the water is hot. Underfloor heating can help

What is the Best Tile for a Wet Room Bathroom?

Ceramic, glass, porcelain, and natural stone tile are all great choices for a wet room bathroom. At Fireclay, we offer glass tile, ceramic tile, and non-vitreous brick tile. Glass is impervious to water making it our most waterproof product, though ceramic is perfectly acceptable for bathroom use, including any surface in a wet bathroom. Due to its non-vitreous nature, absorbing 7% or more moisture, we don’t recommend brick for a wet room bathroom.

What’s the Difference Between a Wet Room Bathroom and a Walk-in Shower

While interior design trends have seen the size of walk-in showers grow to the size of some small bathrooms, there are differences between a wet room bathroom and a bathroom with a walk-in shower. The major difference between a wet room bathroom and a walk-in shower is the shower enclosure. Walk-in showers will typically be enclosed on at least three sides, with the opening covered by a full or partial glass door or partition.

A walk-in shower will also feature a pronounced curb separating the shower floor from the rest of the bathroom.

While some wet room designs contain curbs and glass partitions, they are designed to be more open to the rest of the bathroom allowing you (and water) to move more freely around the space without feeling like you’re getting in and out of the shower.

9 Wet Room Bathroom Ideas

1. Full Coverage

Full waterproof coverage is the most effective way to protect your home with a wet room bathroom. To enhance the seamlessness from your shower space through the rest of the bathroom, consider continuing an accent wall in the shower across the floor throughout the bathroom.

This example takes the sense of flow to the next level with Roundabout Tile from our Block Shop x Fireclay Tile Handpainted collection featuring a continuous stream of narrow parallel lines.

wet room bathroom with green and white tile

Tile Shown: Roundabout 2 + 4 in Fresco, Jade in 4 x 4, and Oyster Shell in 4 x 4

2. Keep the Curb

A patchwork of random color helps disguise a short curb on this spacious open shower, which in turn helps contain some of the water.

wet room bathroom with colorful tile floor

Tile Shown: Desert Bloom, Mandarin, Ember, Mustard Seed, Aegean Sea, Magnolia w/ Black Patine, Lake Tahoe, Spruce Gloss, and Lichen in 2x8 // Design + Image: Banyan Bridges

3. Maximize Your Space

A wet bathroom is a perfect way to make a small bathroom appear larger. Instead of trying to crowd a tub or stand-up shower into a tiny space, a wet room bathroom’s footprint does double duty, as a shower space when you’re showering and everything else when you’re not.

wet room bathroom with green tile wall

Tile Shown: Evergreen and Tusk in 6 x 6 // Design: Alicia Davenport // Image: Besea Photography

A curbless bathroom like this is also important if you or your loved ones are aging in place or living with mobility issues that prevent one from stepping into a tub or curbed shower.

4. L-Shaped Layouts

A wet room bathroom doesn’t have to all get wet. An L-shaped footprint allows you to keep the shower and bath area separate from the vanity and toilet so you still capture the spa-like feeling of a wet bathroom without having to waterproof the entire room.

l shaped wet room bathroom with glass block window

Tile Shown: Salton Sea in Ogee // Design: Harper Design Projects, Janie Clark // Blake Verdoorn

wet room L shaped bathroom with white and blue tile

Tile Shown: Daisy in 4 x 4 and White Wash 3 x 6 // Design: Kate Lester Interior // Image: Grey Malin

5. Add Glass

A glass partition is another handy way to keep water contained while still capturing the open look of a wet bathroom. This petite spa bathroom looks much larger thanks to a seamless floor and the barely-there glass barrier.

wet room bathroom with tan tile and green tile walls

Tile Shown: Sand Dune in 6" Hexagon and Rosemary in 3x9 // Design + Image: Elana Jadallah

The same goes for this covetable cottage bathroom by Claire Thomas. Since Thomas chose wallpaper for part of the bathroom, the glass screen keeps splashing in check.

wet room bathroom with claw foot tub and white and yellow mosaic tile

Tile Shown: Haystack and Calcite in 3x3 // Design+ Image: Claire Thomas

A partition doesn’t have to be invisible to give a wet bathroom its distinct look. Vanessa Carlton’s custom wet room bathroom includes this glass screen with black framed panes to add depth and dimension between the wet and dry elements of the room.

wet room bathroom with white tile and marble

Brick Shown: Lewis Range // Design: Sarah Sherman Samuel // Image: Nicole Franzen

This wet bathroom gets a little separation thanks to a plinth of raised tile topped by a narrow glass partition, keeping the wall tile (and most of the water from the shower) confined to the back half of the bathroom.

wet room bathroom with green vertical offset tile

Tile Shown: Seedling in 2 x 8 // Design: Terapan Lilittham // Image: Rachel Lo

6. Pony Wall Partitions

A pony wall is another great way of enclosing a shower area in a wet bathroom without completely walling it off. In this hotel’s guest room bathroom, a half wall separates the open shower and a sunken tub, both tiled with matching mosaic tiles.

wet room bathroom with pony wall and sunken tub

Tile Shown: Ivory in Ogee // Image: Margaret Austin Photography, Sara Combs + Rich Combs

7. Fit in a Freestanding Tub

A freestanding tub is a common feature in a wet bathroom. Since square footage is freed up by doing away with a separate shower, a luxurious soaking tub fits in even small bathrooms with ease.

wet room bathroom with freestanding tub

Tile Shown: Daisy and Sea Glass in 3 x 9 // Design: Claire Thomas // Image: Stephanie Todaro Photography

8. Break the Fourth Wall

Freeing yourself from the confines of common bathroom layouts opens up a whole world of possibilities. This wet room bathroom takes open concept to the next level with direct access to a private patio, itself a kind of wet room bathroom with the exposed outdoor shower so you can choose to soak in the tub or soak in the natural light instead.

wet room bathroom with patio access

Tile Shown: Seedling Picket // Design: Paul Dyer // Image: Arcsine

9. Elevate Your Design

Pro Tip. Keeping as much as you can off the ground will help keep hidden water from collecting under wood or other objects. Floating shelves in this Jungalow™ wet room bathroom are a perfect choice from both an aesthetic and practical sense.

Wall hung toilets are also a common choice for wet room bathrooms for the same reason.

Justina Blakeney Wet Shower Room

Tile Shown: Adriatic Sea in 8" Hexagon and Mini Star & Cross // Design + Image: Justina Blakeny

Want to design your own wet room bathroom? Reach out to our Design Consultants for free personalized design assistance including design help, sample selection, estimating renderings, and ordering.

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