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Shower or Bathtub? What’s right for you?

If you are planning on building or redesigning a bathroom, one of the most important decisions will be whether to put in a bathtub or a shower. It only makes sense to have exactly what you need since a significant amount of time is spent in the bathroom. Do you need a large tub or is a simple shower enclosure the way to go? It really all depends on the amount of space available, how the bathroom is being used, and what it is being used for. For instance, if the bathroom is for guests that will not likely be spending much time in the bathroom, a shower might be all that you need. If the bathroom is for the family, it might be nice to have the option of taking a relaxing bath after a long day.

The perks of having a full bathtub are many. A bathtub gives a luxurious experience and is a more spacious area that gives you the ability to take long baths. Soaking in a warm bath soothes your aching muscles while making you feel like royalty. A bath has many health benefits as well. They are known to reduce stress and aid sleep, even for people with insomnia, by reducing blood pressure, relaxing your body, and easing the mind. In addition to making you smell good, the process of bathing really opens up your pores and helps remove toxins from the body. If sick, the steam from a bath can help with your symptoms, especially a runny nose, by opening up your nasal passages.

Bathtubs are actually safer than showers due to their design and structure. Water stays inside the tub as opposed to showers which can spray and make for a slippery floor. Depending on the design, bathtubs can also be fitted with special equipment such as handlebars or seats to accommodate the elderly or people with disabilities.

Most bathrooms are around 5 feet by 8 feet so the downside to a bathtub is that they can take up a lot of space. If you have your heart set on a bathtub, when planning out your bathroom layout it would do well to find a bathtub that will not only meet your needs, but also actually fit in your bathroom. There are many designs you can choose from if you are setting your sights on a bathtub. A clawfoot tub can give your bathroom that 19th century look while wood accents will have a more modern and natural appearance. You can even get something unique. A bathroom featuring granite countertops could be matched by a bathtub carved completely out of granite in addition to those with a beautiful granite tile surround. A bathtub set on a platform would do well in a bathroom with a window and a view.

While the gym locker rooms may come to mind when thinking of shower enclosures, they definitely should not have to remind you of such small, dirty places. Showers typically have a smaller footprint than a bathtub which can be beneficial in a small bathroom. Even with a large bathroom, if only a shower is desired you can get an above-average sized shower and it would likely still take up less space than the average bathtub. Another advantage to a shower is that they can actually make your bathroom appear larger than it really is. Think, for example, about how big a bathroom looks when a shower curtain is open as opposed to closed; it should look bigger when the curtain is open.

Showers have a number of health benefits associated with them. Even though you have to stand while taking a shower, the heat and water beating against your body makes for a great massage which relaxes your neck and shoulders. A hot morning shower before a workout loosens up tight overnight muscles and gets your blood flowing before heading out. The constant water movement during a shower easily whisks away grime and hot water opens the pores. You will feel extra refreshed if the hot water is followed by cool water which will close the clean pores. But of course one of the greatest advantages to a shower is that it is a much quicker alternative to a bath.

Like the bathtub, showers can be much more than just a cube with opaque sliding glass doors. A very simple option would be a bathroom with a set “wet space” with a shower head and a drain in the center set away from the “dry area”. A frameless glass enclosure with a surround or a shower area enclosed by glass blocks are both elegant choices.

One last thing to help make a decision between a shower and a bathtub is energy efficiency and water use. With all of the recent political issues regarding water and energy, opting for the most efficient choice can help you save money and the environment. Baths are luxurious but certainly use more water, 40 to 50 gallons each bath, while the average shower uses 2.5 to 5 gallons per minute depending on the flow of the showerhead. The water used during a long shower could equal the amount of water in a full bath. In summary, deciding between a shower and a bathtub will end up as a compromise between you and your family’s bathroom usage, wants, and needs.