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Bathroom Showdown: Glass Screens vs. Shower Curtains

When it comes to waterproofing a shower, what do interior designers prefer?

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By House & Garden | June 19, 2024 | Bathroom

Every so often, a debate sparks up in the House & Garden offices that creates a distinct divide in the team over a (not very) contentious decorating point. The latest thing to come under fire? Whether a shower curtain or a glass screen is better in a shower bath situation.

The former conjures – for some – images of mouldy fabric, endless drips and the horror of a cold, clammy curtain sticking to your wet body as you try to get out the shower. The glass screen, on the other hand, is all limescale, drip marks and endless cleaning – not to mention they are more practical than they are pretty. With that in mind, we canvassed a few interior designers to see what team they land on.

Team shower curtain

The overwhelming support from interior designers did lean in favour of a shower curtain. Not your bog standard IKEA number though, but something much prettier and much more bespoke. Lonika Chande has always done very covetable curtains and says “personally, I’m team shower curtain and most of our clients prefer the softness that a shower curtain brings. It’s an opportunity to add fabric and potentially colour too to what typically can be a more utilitarian space in the home. You can have a lot of fun with a shower curtain, using contrast trims or backing fabrics. It has a theatrical feel which I love.” Emma Ainscough agrees, adding “you can play on the design to be more decorative”.

They do this by “fitting a shower curtain liner – which is water repellent – behind a cotton fabric curtain of your choice, making the curtain long lasting and easy to maintain,” explains Lonika. Kate Guinness, who is in fact mostly on team shower screen, details that “the liner goes inside the bath, and the fabric outside,” which skirts around the ugly issue of your shower curtain sitting tucked inside the bath. All you then need to do is replace the inner liner when it gets a little shabby or the first flares of mould appear, and your bathroom will be as pretty as can be. For those who want a one-and-done approach, Kate advise that “Balineum has lovely shower curtains”.

As for Pernille Lind, a staunch screen supporter, she does concede “I would be swayed to have a shower curtain around a freestanding bath tub, on an oval pole suspended from the ceiling – that's a great look! Catchpole & Rye have a nice one!”

Team glass screen

Those in favour of a glass screen count Kate Guinness and Pernille in their number, the latter stating “I think this is a cleaner look, and gives visibility to any tiles or colours we want to bring through into the space.” In order to keep things looking tip top, Pernille tends to design bespoke screens for each bathroom, “using brass or a complimentary powder coat colour”.

For Emma Ainscough, who is against them, she explains that “screens are sometimes tricky in a small space due to door swings, and sliding or bifold designs are never as slick – they often have bulky frames”.

What does all this go to show? Within the House & Garden stable, shower curtains reign supreme when interior designers are faced with designing a shower over a bath. What's more, they can be as pretty as a picture so now all you need to do is pick your favourite fabric.