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The Best Shower Wall Material Ideas

It is no secret that I love tackling our own DIYs.  We have been at it, renovating our 150 year old home for almost 2 years now – and bathrooms have been included.  There are some projects, however, that are worth investing in having a professional installation (trust me – we have learned the hard way!)  Today I am going to share the best shower wall material ideas so whether you are ready for a DIY or plan on hiring out a renovation you are ready to go. 

shower wall material ideas

Calacatta gold marble warms up this neutral bath more than a cool toned Carrara marble.

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The Best Shower Wall Material Ideas

Bathroom renovations are a project that I prefer to have a professional help navigate due to potential plumbing challenges.  That’s not to say that you can’t do some of the projects yourself, but it is always a good idea to have help in areas that are needed. 

While I’m comfortable deciding on a bathroom design, I prefer to have help when it comes to installing a new shower. If you are in the process of renovating your bathroom and are looking for the best material for your shower walls, then you are in the right place.  I’ll go over some popular materials for your shower area that are both functional and will give you a fresh look. 

Half of the bathrooms in our historic home have been completed.  The other half are still in rough, but working, shape. They are in need of a complete overhaul and I could not be more excited.  The remaining small bathrooms need to have materials used that are durable and can hold up to my four kids. At the same time, I love a seamless look that will withstand the test of time.  

Shower wall material ideas

Tips To Design Your Shower

I’ve been taking the time to plan out the perfect bathroom for my kids.  Since our bathrooms are on the smaller end, I need to be extremely intentional in how this space functions.  Designing your bathroom is key to getting a space that not only fits your home’s aesthetic, but also fits your family’s needs. 

Size and Layout

You’ll want to decide on the layout of the bathroom based on your bathroom’s size and the needs of your family.  If you already have the plumbing in your existing bathroom, you may want to consider keeping the layout the same to avoid further headache and costs associated with moving plumbing behind the walls. 

However, if you need a complete overhaul and prefer to change the layout, then do what works for your space. You’ll need to consider the size of the shower with the size and layout of the entire bathroom. 

 Additionally, the shower stall needs to fit in the space, along with your vanity and toilet.  If you get a shower that is too big, the shower doors may make it difficult to open without running into walls or doors.  You can, however, get creative in smaller spaces to still make it functional.  

Shower wall material ideas

This beautiful shower room is complete with a tub.

There are several different shower sizes, and you can decide whether you want a shower that has a door or no door.  For an elegant look, glass shower enclosures bring in lots of natural light. If you are cramped for space, having no doors can be an easy solution. 

Perhaps you prefer a shower that is open and the shower floor is flush with the bathroom floor. Showers that are open and level provide a seamless look from the bathroom to your shower space and are more easily accessible. You could prefer to have a shower floor that has a lip or curve to it so you have to take a small step up. 

 These showers are much easier to contain your water and limit accidental falls. If you have kids or are considering the appeal to future homebuyers, you may want a shower tub combination.  My kids will be on the older side when we perform this renovation, so a tub is not necessarily a must have in our bathroom.  This will save us room that we can use for a bigger shower space or double vanity.  

Subway tile shower wall in black and white bathroom

Gorgeous black and white small bathroom makeover.

Materials Matter

You do want to be intentional in the materials that you use in your bathroom.  Kids can be hard on their spaces, and you’ll want to pick something that can hold up to their antics. 

Ideally, materials that are low maintenance, durable, and functional are the best option when it comes to picking out bathroom materials.  Your shower walls will especially benefit from durable materials as they take on soap scum and hard water build-up. 

bold shower tile in crisp white bathroom

What a super fun tiled wall that serves as a great focal point for this master bathroom.

At the same time, you’ll need to pair the functionality of the materials you pick with your desired aesthetic and budget.  Expensive materials may look incredible, but they are often met with high maintenance and that hefty price tag. 

A low-cost option may be more budget friendly, but may not give you the look you want.  The best solution is to find a material that works with your budget, theme, and family’s lifestyle.

Marble bathroom

This vintage inspired bathroom has gorgeous details. 

Best Shower Wall Material Ideas

There are tons of shower wall options when it comes to picking out your preferred materials. Let’s go over a few of my favorite shower wall ideas and the pros and cons associated with each of these materials.

Fiberglass

If you are looking for a material that is low maintenance and low budget, then fiberglass is a great option. Fiberglass panels are a one-piece unit that typically don’t require any cutting or grout lines. 

 It is common to only see these enclosures in whites or creams and they come with a glossy finish.  Fiberglass walls are commonly seen in model home sites as the cost of installation is low and labor is easy.  

While the cost is low, fiberglass is not the most durable material.  With proper maintenance your fiberglass shower can last, but it can be damaged by improper maintenance.  

Overall, it doesn’t last as long as other materials and in the end can result in a complete replacement.  Fiberglass is difficult to repair if it is chipped or cracked, and the cost may end up being just as much as a more durable material once all is said and done.

painter fiberglass tile using stencil

If you want the look of tile with a fiberglass shower, this DIY can give you all the details.

Acrylic

Like fiberglass, acrylic walls are extremely budget friendly and easy to install. Acrylic shower panels are a popular choice when it comes to picking out shower materials.  Unlike fiberglass, acrylic panels can come in different colors and styles and are often made to look like natural stone or traditional tiles.  Maintenance is easy and because the material is non-porous, you’re unlikely to see any mold or mildew.  

One downside of the acrylic look is that in terms of durability, it is similar to fiberglass.  Should it be scratched or damaged, it is not easy to repair and will result in a replacement.  

Acrylic shower wall panel in bold pattern

If you are interested in this modern acrylic shower, this UK based company sells shower wall panels.

Glass

Glass tiles are a great option for an aesthetically pleasing shower.  The glass reflects light which makes your bathroom brighter and can give the appearance of a larger space. Additionally, you aren’t limited on colors or designs. 

 You can create some beautiful mosaic glass designs for an accent wall which will add texture and a focal point for your bathroom walls.  For a more modern and unique look, choose a matte glass tile that will still reflect light but add a more dramatic feel to your space. 

Glass is extremely durable and is not prone to staining. It can be chipped or cracked, but the good news is that you can generally replace each individual tile fairly easily.  Maintenance is also fairly easy as you just need to use proper glass cleaner to wipe away any soapy water build up. 

While it is durable, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to maintain, it is not cheap.  Glass is a more expensive option.  Depending on the design and ideal look you want, you’ll be paying a hefty price tag for those bathroom tiles.  

It is also labor intensive in terms of installation.  If you don’t have the proper tools or a skilled hand at cutting and installing tile, I’d highly recommend a professional. 

This shouldn’t need to be said, but I feel the need to warn you that glass tile is only intended as bathroom wall tiles. You should never use glass tiles as floor tiles.  They aren’t intended to be walked upon and think about how your feet would feel stepping on a broken glass tile.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen many home DIYers make this mistake.  

Green Glass Tile Shower

Who wouldn’t love this green tiled shower?

Ceramic Tiles

If you love the look of glass tiles but aren’t able to afford the price tag, then ceramic tiles are a good alternative. 

Ceramic tiles come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, and still have the same reflective properties as glass.  Your bathroom space and shower can appear larger with all of the light reflected from the tiles.

  I love how you can create a different look by simply changing out the shape, color, size, and arrangement of these bathroom tiles. For a classic look, subway tile is always a great option, but if you want a more contemporary design, opt for a bold color or pattern. 

ceramic tile in black and white bathroom

A modern and dark moody bathroom reveal.

Ceramic tile is also extremely durable and can last for years with the proper maintenance.  The only downside is that you will need to make sure your tiles have been properly sealed and that you take care of the grout.  

However, like glass tiles, ceramic tiles can be easily replaced should any damage occur.  Unlike glass, ceramic tile can be used on your floors, walls, and showers.  If you have a lot of square feet to cover, then ceramic tile would be a good option to keep costs manageable, while still getting the same aesthetic you would get with glass tile. 

Shower wall material ideas

A traditional yet modern bathroom reveal.

Marble

Who doesn’t love the look of marble tiles? It seems that white marble has been having its moment in the home decor scene and for good reason. It is sleek yet the veining you see throughout is unique and individualized.  I’ve recently seen many bathrooms being completed in marble. From marble tile floors to marble shower slabs, this stone is having its time to shine.  For those who love the look, they are able to see past the disadvantages of marble in a bathroom.  

Marble is more expensive and is definitely not kid friendly.  It is a porous material, so you’ll need to reseal it often.  It is also extremely soft and can be damaged easily.  Kids love to bang toys on the floor and walls, and not to mention they aren’t the neatest when it comes to using the bathroom.  Marble does not mix well with acids and a potty training toddler could do some serious damage to marble floors.  

Marble shower wall in neutral bathroom

This bathroom is full of white marble between the floors, vanities, and shower.

I have seen marble shower walls, however, because it is in the shower, you risk your marble turning different colors due to its reaction with water and minerals.  The minerals react with the water on the marble and can turn rust colored, green, brown, or yellow.

 If you are set on a certain marble, you’ll want to test its reaction with your water to see how it reacts.  You can buy a sample of the marble and immerse it in water for a few days.  Let it dry naturally to see if your marble is prone to color changes. This is another reason why properly sealing your marble is so important.

pink marble shower in feminine bathroom

An old world charm bathroom complete with a pink marble shower.

Other Natural Materials

Marble isn’t the only natural material that is commonly used in bathrooms.  Natural stone tiles ranging from granite, to limestone, and to slate can also be used in bathrooms.  Stone tiles and stone slabs provide an elegant and sophisticated look, however, many people tend to shy away from these materials as they require a lot of maintenance. 

black slate shower wall

This slate shower wall makes a dramatic statement.

Limestone and slate provide a dramatic contemporary look to your bathroom.  It  is not uncommon to see these types of stones on shower wall panels or used in shower flooring.  Keep in mind that you will be paying more for these materials.  In larger bathrooms, the price tag will be steep.  

Granite is another option that is not limited to kitchens.  Granite is more forgiving than marble and is less high maintenance when it comes to cleaning and sealing. 

With proper maintenance and sealing, your stone can last for a long time.  You’ll need to check that you are using proper cleaning materials as certain ingredients can affect the durability of natural stone.  

Natural Stone shower wall in rustic bathroom

This cabin’s rustic bathroom uses natural stone to complement the home’s aesthetics.

I hope this post gave you some helpful ideas on how to pick out the best materials for your shower wall.  Keep in mind your family’s needs and what you want in your bathroom.  You may want a material that is maintenance free but has more options for different colors and styles.  

Or, perhaps you love the look of stone, and don’t mind the required sealing.  Whatever you decide you can have the bathroom of your dreams and know that you made the best choice for your family.

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Pin This Photo Below For Later

 Hopefully this helped you find the best shower wall material ideas. Be sure to pin the photo below for later, and if you don’t already – follow me on Instagram (@arinsolange) and Tik Tok (@arinsolange) for more helpful hints, and if you have any questions leave them in the comments below and I will get back to you!

Shower wall material ideas

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