Shower curtain ideas – the styles that will make you ditch your glass screen

Shower curtain ideas fell out of favor years ago after being dismissed as a cheap and old-fashioned aspect of bathroom design. But that was then. Today’s shower curtains have been reinvented – they are now at the forefront of design and are perfect for softening space and adding personality to a bathroom, thanks to an exciting range of colors and styles .

“After flying under the radar, being ignored and unloved, shower curtains are coming back into the limelight,” acknowledges interior stylist Jane Lee, founder of Jane Lee Interiors. “The new generation is sexier and more luxurious than previous generations and gives its more expensive and labor-intensive cousin, the glass shower enclosure, a run for its money.”

The benefits of a shower curtain are pretty clear, it’s an affordable way to brighten up your bathroom and a quick and easy update if you’re renting out your home. A touch of print and pattern can be transformative and it’s easy to clean too. Unlike a glass shower screen, you don’t have to worry about constant friction – all you have to do is throw it in the washing machine. And you don’t have to stop at just one shower curtain – its cost-effective appeal means you can have several.

“Like bedding, you can even keep a selection to rotate to ring the changes,” adds Jane. “It’s a place to splash around, let loose and have fun.”

Here are some stylish ways to incorporate shower curtains into your bathroom ideas.

Clever shower curtain ideas you’ll want to steal

1. Stick to a simple all-white scheme

White shower curtain in a white bathroom

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

While a shower curtain is an easy way to add color to a white bathroom – it helps enhance the typically white fixtures – another option is to lean into that neutral look by choosing a white curtain. An all-white layout is a powerful design tool, it offers a natural lightness and an instant feeling of serenity that is very welcome, especially after a busy day at work.

“A long, flowing curtain creates a relaxing spa-hotel-bathroom vibe,” says interior stylist Jane Lee of Jane Lee Interiors. “Make sure it just touches the floor, otherwise it will be ineffective and won’t look quite right, like pants that are a bit too short!”. Another way to add interest to solid fabrics is to use textures like waffle or slub, or a pretty tasselled border in a coordinating color.

2. Add a patterned curtain to create a color scheme

Patterned shower curtain above the bath

(Image credit: Divine Savages)

If you have multiple colors that seem to be fighting for attention in your bathroom, a shower curtain that incorporates all or most of those bathroom colors will make the space cohesive. This shower curtain from Divine Savages marries the black and white shades of the floor and bath with the pink of the chair to create a refined bathroom decor.

“We want to turn every piece into a living masterpiece,” says Jamie Watkins, co-founder of Divine Savages. ‘Our playful shower curtains are perfect for injecting bold patterns and brave colors into an otherwise practical space. Zsa Zsa, our glorious print of dancing ostrich showgirls, adds instant decadence to this traditional cast iron tub while beautifully complementing the colors of the room, making for an unexpected luxurious design moment.

3. Choose a shiny or dip-dye ombré effect

Frilly ombre shower curtain in shades of orange and pink above the tub

(Image credit: Anthropology)

An ombre effect isn’t just for trendy hair – it can also be a trendy look for a shower curtain and a great idea for a colorful bathroom. The gradual color transition from tangerine to eggplant is a smart way to introduce a combination of shades in a way that’s impactful yet easy on the eyes.

Ruffles add an extra layer of drama and provide a certain decorative softness that keeps the space from looking utilitarian.

“An on-trend shower curtain is a simple, transformative, and economical way to play with color and pattern,” says interior stylist Jane Lee. And it also brings a sense of joy that gets lost in a sleeker bathroom design.

“These flamenco-style ruffles would definitely brighten up gray Monday mornings,” she adds.

4. Choose a shower curtain with a dramatic drape

Patterned shower curtain that piles up on the floor above a bathtub

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

As difficult as it may be, think of a shower curtain as a wedding dress – a solid drape can provide the perfect finishing touch and add a touch of opulence. A bundled shower curtain used to be frowned upon because the excess material made it harder to clean, but with more innovative fabrics these days, most shower curtains are now easy to wash in a washing machine.

And of course, you don’t need to stick to white, for full-scale drama, try a darker print to enhance a neutral setting and be the standout element in the bathroom. And it works just as well for small bathrooms.

“Consider your shower curtain a work of art, the focal point of your bathroom, adding affordable luxury, style and an instant upgrade,” says Jamie Watkins, co-founder of Divine Savages. “It offers a less permanent solution and is the perfect investment for landlords and renters.”

5. Add a luxurious frill for a sense of playfulness

Pink shower curtain with lower ruffle on freestanding tub and checkerboard floor

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

For a long time bathroom design has focused on elegance and minimalism, but in recent years interior design trends have shifted towards personality and fun. A frilly edge on a plain shower curtain, like this one in this scheme by color and paint expert Annie Sloan, not only introduces interest, but softens the whole look.

“Minimalism is useful in bathrooms to keep the space fresh, clean and tidy,” says Annie. “As we focus on self-care, mindfulness and being kinder to ourselves, incorporating a bit of luxury and indulgence into this domestic epicenter is way overdue. Adding a luxurious ruffle, plush fabric of beautiful fabric will bring joy and color and make the space feel more indulgent, secluded and spiritually restorative – without the need for builders!

6. Play in a striking monochromatic look

black and white patterned shower curtain in monochrome bathroom

(Image credit: John Lewis)

A black and white bathroom design is a look that will never get old. It’s a surprisingly restful palette, perfect for a bathroom where you want to relax and unwind. A common misconception is that you can’t create much interest with such a simple design, but that’s exactly where the right shower curtain comes in. Stick to the monochromatic scheme, but bring the design alive to bring the whole scheme to life.

‘Complement the curtain by choosing key colors in the design and choosing accessories in the same hue or pattern, such as towels, soap dispensers and toothbrush holders; it will bring your entire bathroom aesthetic together in a fun and cohesive way. says Mark Fullilove of Sanctuary Bathrooms.

7. Introduce vertical stripes to add height to the room

Red and white striped shower curtain over a red tub

(Image credit: future)

A shower curtain should not be purely decorative. It can be used as a clever device to highlight or distract from some other bathroom elements. This fiery red and white striped shower curtain certainly has a theatrical effect, but the vertical lines also do the extra job of tricking the eye into thinking the ceilings are higher. Maintaining two key shades has a harmonious effect, the powder blue wall is the perfect backdrop for the vibrancy of red.

“A shower curtain can be a fun way to add a splash of color to your bathroom,” says Mark Fullilove. “Inject your personality into your bathroom design by selecting a shower curtain that reflects you. Keep it chic with simple styling and subtle patterns – like monochromatic dashes or vertical lines.

‘Alternatively, show your artistic side with a word graphic or nautical illustration. Or go big and bold with bold colors and geometric shapes to really make a statement in your bathroom and draw attention to your shower space…perfect for shower singers!

8. Add a vintage touch to modern design

Vintage Style Shower Curtain Over Round Shower

(Image credit: future)

Use your shower curtain to create a vintage inspired bathroom that adds character and gives it an elegant yet lively feel, a great shower room design idea. A circular shower curtain is great for creating an authentic period look, but using it in a wet room gives it a modern interpretation. Keep the curtain fabric off-white for a timeless appeal.

“Think of this large expanse as a canvas to show off your design style rather than something purely functional.” says interior stylist Jane Lee.

What type of shower curtain is the best?

The best type of shower curtain is made from a natural material like cotton and linen. it is better not to be used alone, so a curtain liner is advised. A cotton shower curtain would require washing at least once a month to prevent mildew.

Is a fabric or plastic shower curtain better?

A fabric shower curtain is generally considered better than a plastic curtain. A fabric version seems more expensive and comes in a range of patterns and colors. Lighter fabrics like cotton and linen can be machine washed but if you choose a heavier fabric like velvet or brocade it is important that it is dry cleaned at least once a month.

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