Shower doors are a staple thing to have in your bathroom and shower, but actual doors may not always be necessary. Maybe you want something more unique or you’re pressed for space. Whatever the reason, there are several alternatives to glass shower doors available to consider. What works for your design style may not work well for someone else’s, so it’s a good idea to weigh your options.
Shower screen panels, curtains, doorless showers, or even shower enclosures are some of the most popular alternatives to glass shower doors available. Partial glass walls, bifold doors, shower frames, block enclosures, and hinged doors are also alternatives to glass shower doors to consider. The curtain is a very low-maintenance and convenient choice because you can pop it into your washing machine to clean it.
We’ve picked out several alternatives for glass shower doors that offer aesthetic, practical, and functional purposes. You can take a look and see which option is going to be best for your wants and needs.
If you’re after a private, simple, and affordable alternative to glass shower doors, consider a shower curtain. This was the standard for your shower for a long time, and they’re very convenient to use. You also get a large amount of freedom when it comes to fabrics, colors, and designs, and this allows you to match your design aesthetic. You may not be able to do this with glass doors. Shower curtains are also easy to install because all you need is a plastic sheet, rod, and curtain.
There are a huge range of shower curtains available to match any color scheme, paint job, or wallpaper. You can also find them as low as $15.00 each, or high-end models rarely go beyond $60.00. Also, these curtains are usually machine washable, so you don’t have to worry about having a dirty curtain hanging up.
Having a doorless shower is one of the most unique and modern alternatives to glass shower doors available, and it’s very popular. Open designs are in right now, and this includes both showers and bathrooms as a whole. A doorless shower gives your room a very open feel, and it can trick your mind into thinking that it’s way bigger than it is. You will sacrifice some privacy with this choice, but the unique style is usually worth it.
You won’t have to worry about constantly washing doors or curtains, and this reduces your overall maintenance needs. You do have a higher chance of creating a mess by spraying water around. However, if you have a bigger shower with a stable shower head, there is a lower mess risk. As a bonus, going doorless and leaving the shower open allows you to show off the tilework in the shower.
3. Screen Panels
Screen panels are very similar to traditional shower doors, but they’re just unique enough to be an alternative to glass shower doors. You can choose from a range of sizes and shapes, and they typically have a wooden or metal design. A lot of the screen panels leave one side open, but you still get the privacy you want if you pick out an opaque panel with this design.
Wooden screen panels are popular with anyone who wants to create a nice rustic look to help your pallet projects blend in better. A high-quality screen panel can be over $500, and most of them start right around $200. If your bathroom gets a lot of natural light, this can be a good alternative to glass shower doors. Depending on your shower’s size, you can get between one and three panels. You should consider this option if you want a modern look and feel in the bathroom.
The shower frame is a nice middle-ground between screen panels and traditional shower doors. You can pick between steel or aluminum for the frame, and they come in a huge range of finishes to help match your style or your bathroom’s design. The most popular frame design is a grid design that uses steel or aluminum with glass inserts. This is a great choice if you want something that adds character to the room while standing out.
Generally speaking, you wouldn’t even need to put glass in the frame if you want to avoid the cleaning needs that come with glass. A frame without any glass inserts is just as unique, but it does leave room to make a mess. However, shower frames can be expensive, especially if you want several panels and have a bigger shower. A single panel frame costs around $300, but larger frames can go up to $800 or more.
A framed shower enclosure will give you comfort, privacy, and a low-maintenance alternative to glass shower doors. The door on this type of shower usually has hinges to swing open instead of sliding side to side. They come designed to be like closets, and this helps stop you from accidentally making a wet mess by flinging water all over the bathroom as you shower.
A lot of people choose frosted glass with this enclosure to help increase the privacy levels. You’ll have to maintain it to help prevent issues with mold, so it requires regular cleaning sessions. This enclosure comes in a range of sizes and shapes that can accommodate virtually any dimensions in your bathroom. You can also get enclosures that have a panel at the top that you can open to allow trapped heat or steam out as you shower to keep you comfortable.
If you don’t mind very tight corners, an enclosure-style shower design can be a nice way to save space and make your bathroom look much bigger than it actually is. Corner of the Shower 2 by Daniel Milner / CC BY 2.0
Partial walls are one of the most visually striking and elaborate alternatives to glass shower doors available. To picture it, consider looking at a glass partition with a frosted or clear finish. Showers that have partial doors or walls leave one side open to give you the perfect medium between an enclosed and doorless shower design. Depending on where you decide to put your partial wall, it’s easy to avoid making messes.
You won’t get the full privacy that you’ll get with a curtain or a complete enclosure, but it offers a very modern and distinct look. However, they are on the expensive end of the spectrum, and you’ll pay between $700 and $2,000 for the parts and the labor to install them in your bathroom. The pricing will vary depending on which materials you want, the labor rate, and how large or small your shower is.
A bifold door is a shower door that differs from your standard shower door, and this makes them a much more convenient option. When you open them, these doors fold so that the door itself isn’t working on a standard hinge and taking up a lot of space. It’s a great choice if you have a larger shower, and it can add a sense of elegance to your bathroom.
You can also choose from tri-fold alternatives to glass shower doors that work on the same principle as this door. However, bifold and trifold doors are more expensive to install unless you want to DIY. You’ll pay $600 or more to install this door, and this doesn’t include the cost of the door itself.
8. Glass Block
This is one of the most elegant, elaborate, and eye-catching alternatives to glass shower doors available. The glass block has a thicker design that usually features tiny squares that create an enclosure around your shower. It’s great for walk-in showers or tub showers, but it has a more expensive price tag attached for the materials and installation process. You’ll pay $30.00 and up per glass block, and your shower can easily have dozens of them. This quickly adds up to thousands of dollars in labor and material costs, but you can customize it to suit your bathroom. They also add value to your home by boosting the overall appeal.
A glass block wall is a very expensive but gorgeous alternative to traditional glass shower doors. It works better in smaller showers due to needing fewer blocks. Glass Block Wall by House Buy Fast / CC BY 2.0
A hinged shower door is a simple and straightforward alternative to glass shower doors. It’s a solid pick if you’re someone who has a shower that i slevel to the ground that you can walk into without having to step over anything. They can still work if you have a bathtub, but they really shine on walk-in showers. It can feel much more natural to use a hinged door over a sliding one, and you get a host of choices when it comes to the door’s design, material, and style to help match your current decor.
You can pick from a large range of finishes too, including faux stained or frosted glass. Also, the top of this door is usually left open to allow heat and steam to escape as you shower. If you’re after a more practical and comfortable alternative, this is something you really want to consider.
This is a sliding-style door that is very similar to a sliding patio door. Generally, you usually get two faux glass panels that get put into a track. This track guides the doors as they slide or roll open and closed. You can also get certain alternatives to glass shower doors that have mechanical build-in rollers to make it easier to open and close the doors. In turn, this makes them a lot more user-friendly.
They’re very functional, and you can use them in a large range of bathrooms. They even work for stand-alone showers, and you can mount them on the side of your bathtub. The purpose of this door will depend completely on your bathroom’s configuration, but it works better for smaller rooms that don’t have the room available for traditional doors that swing in and out when you open and close them.
11. Steel and Aluminum
This is a more unconventional alternative to glass shower doors, but an aluminum or steel grid or frame can make your bathroom look more elegant. Most people who pick out this option put glass or faux glass inside the panels, but you can easily skip this step and leave them open with the framework intact. Depending on the privacy level you want, you can get one with finer filigree designs or larger square designs.
You could also choose to have a sliding frame that is very similar to the Japanese shoji screens without the glass. However, it’s important to note that these screens aren’t ones that are readily available. So, you’ll have to pay more for a custom order if you want them. You’ll also have to clean it almost daily to keep it looking nice, so there is more maintenance attached to it. If you don’t, you could end up with water stains or damage that can make it look dingy.
If you have a smaller bathroom and you want a shower door, this alternative to glass shower doors could be a fantastic fit. They take up an extremely small amount of space, but you do have to keep some space in front of it to ensure that the door can swing and open properly when you use it. However, it comes with a design that is supposed to be limited and closed, so it’s not a good idea if you have claustrophobic tendencies.
It’s also not as luxurious or as free of a design as you’d get with some of the other alternatives to glass shower doors on the list, but it’s one of the most space and cost-effective choices. Also, they can easily help give your smaller bathroom a facelift and a much more open look and feel.
Shower Door Style Considerations
You also have to consider the door style when you look at alternatives to glass shower doors. Ideally, you want something that is going to flow nicely with your current decor and design aesthetic to enhance the look and feel of the space.
Settling on a style right away can help you easily narrow down which door style is going to work best for your space to help you pick out something that will seamlessly blend in. Cruise ship shower bath by Andy Blackledge / CC BY 2.0
Every home comes with a unique design in their bathroom. Some people like to go with one certain theme, and others like to have a very classic and contemporary look that emphasizes minimalism and practicality over everything else. If your bathroom comes with a very utilitarian and clean look to it, it would make sense that you pick out a contemporary-style alternative to glass shower doors. So, instead of going for a thicker or bulkier design that takes up a decent amount of additional space, you would want to choose something that is much lighter and thinner.
In turn, this can work to make your bathroom look a lot more spacious. They usually have little or no metal accents on them with this style, and it’s common to find frameless options. A frame can make it look heavy and bulky.
An industrial design style is a great way to turn a boring door into a great bathroom accessory that can breathe a little elegance into more subdued decor styles. So, if you want to get this look in your shower door, you’ll want to pick out panels that have dark metal surrounding it and that are frameless in the design. This allows your bathroom to look a lot more modern, and it’ll help it seamlessly blend in like it was meant to be there all along.
However, one thing that you want to remember when you’re picking out the materials for your new doors is that you have to pay attention to the patterns or opacity. A clear material will make the frame stand out much more, and this gives you a gorgeous contrast that mixes with your bathroom’s darker features.
If you take the industrial design one step further and give it a minimalist twist, you end up with a modern-looking alternative to glass shower doors. Any panels you have in this design will give almost no additional framing or lines, and it comes designed in a way that it doesn’t draw or take attention away from the rest of the decor. It’s meant to be a piece that survives in the background.
If you manage to capture this design essence, you’ll get something that lends the bathroom a subtle elegance. It can also help prevent you from overcrowding your bathroom with different design elements. They fit in almost any bathroom decor, so it’s easy to design your whole bathroom’s theme or look around them.
Finally, if you have a more traditional look and feel for your bathroom, you want to go with an alternative to glass shower doors that matches this design. Traditional doors will stick out a lot if you were to put them in modern bathrooms, so make sure that your design elements tie together nicely before you buy anything. The traditional-style doors put more of a focus on function over looks, and it works very well when you install them in an older bathroom as part of a remodel project.
Shower Door Additional Features
There are a few minor considerations you should remember when you start shopping for your new shower door. Above all, you want to get something that is going to be very safe for your entire family. Shower by pelennor / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
There are a few things you should consider when you start shopping for your alternatives to glass shower doors. After all, this can be a more expensive purchase. So, you want to ensure that you get the best fit for your wants, needs, and style.
Shower curtains are a much more familiar bathroom accessory when you think about your bathing area, installing and using actual doors has seen a huge popularity surge. These types of doors come specifically designed to fit on top of your bathtub’s side, and they’re an excellent alternative to the simple bathroom curtain in terms of trapping the water in and increasing your privacy levels.
Additionally, doors can make the bathtub look a lot more compact than a shower curtain will, and they’re a lot easier to clean when you compare them to shower curtains. They’ll also last much longer. They can make your tub look very classy and expensive if you get the design right, and they give you an elegant touch that can fit seamlessly into a host of bathroom designs.
Safety and Tempered Glass
If you’re someone who has kids at home and are afraid of them breaking something, going for faux or tempered glass is a great idea. However, tempered glass still doesn’t have a totally shatterproof design to it. If you repeatedly slam the door, you can easily break it. However, it’ll crack instead of shattering into a million sharp pieces.
Additionally, many of the alternatives to glass shower doors don’t even have any glass in the design. Instead, they feature metal with open panels that are very durable. Screens are another option that are relatively easy to care for and won’t break with heavier usage. So, this can keep everyone safe while allowing you to get the look you want in your bathroom.
Why Choose Alternatives for Glass Shower Doors?
As we touched on earlier, alternatives to glass shower doors are exploding in popularity all across the world. Even though glass is a great medium with a host of benefits, it also has downsides that can throw people off. To start, glass is a magnet for mineral deposits or water stains that can be difficult to remove once they appear. The longer you allow them to stay, the more challenging they will be to remove when you go to clean them.
Also, as anyone who has had glass doors or windows will tell you, every fingerprint, smudge, or touch will cause visible dirty spots on the glass. This can be an endless source of annoyance for anyone who notices these smaller things. Glass can also be unsafe, and this is especially true if you don’t secure it correctly when you install it. When you add in the wet surface and slippery conditions, you have a very unsafe or risky situation on your hands.
This is even more of a danger if you have little kids in your home. All it takes is one good, hard slam for the glass to shatter. This is especially true if you don’t have a stopping mechanism or swing-reducing mechanism in place. If your glass isn’t thick enough and you slip and fall into it, it can break around you and cut you deeply. This is another reason to look into alternatives to glass shower doors.
Glass doors usually have a higher price tag attached to them too when you compare them to other materials. This includes both maintaining and installing them. If you do break the door, replacing it can easily cost hundreds of dollars in materials and labor. What’s even more expensive, if you even cause a hairline crack, you will have to replace the whole door instead of fixing it. If you don’t fix it, the cracks can lead to fluctuating temperatures in the room.
Also, glass doesn’t give you a lot of privacy. This can be a challenge if you’re going to share space with other people or there are several people in the bathroom at the same time. Textured glass can help here, but it doesn’t take away the disadvantages we outlined earlier.
Alternatives to glass shower doors are safer, more practical, and most cost-effective to purchase and install. Shower curtains are very cheap, safe, practical, and easy to replace as an example. There are also more trendy designs on the market that allow you to match your chosen design aesthetic.
We’ve outlined 12 alternatives to glass shower doors and given you plenty of tips and reasons why you may want to go with one of them instead of traditional glass on your next bathroom remodel. If you get it right, you could increase your overall home’s valve and boost how your bathroom looks and feels.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.