Interested in a Wet Room? Learn More About This Hot Bathroom Style
Wet rooms are gaining in popularity, especially in high-end bathrooms, thanks to their sleek use of materials and ease of use. But they're not a good fit for every home or every person. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of this bathroom trend.
Freestanding Bathtub with a View
A stylish freestanding bathtub is strategically placed under an oversized picture window offering spectacular views from this chic, contemporary bathroom. Floors made of limestone create a spa-like atmosphere. The shower, with mosaic multi-toned marble, is designed to be romantic and occupied by two.
Windermere Real Estate Southern California, a member of Luxury Portfolio International
What is a Wet Room?
A wet room is a space fully constructed with materials designed to get wet. Sometimes this means outfitting an entire bathroom in water-friendly materials. Many new wet rooms include a shower space and freestanding tub in their own glass enclosure separate from the sink and toilet areas.
Why Are They Popular?
Master Bathroom and Master Bedroom
The wet room creates a spa like feel to the master bath. Carrera Marble in varying sizes and formats create continuity and interest. The Bain Ultra tub and multiple showerheads add to the message of pure relaxation.
Susan Schwab, Design by company kd
Kristi Dinner, a principal designer at Company KD in Denver, designed her first wet room 10 years ago when working on a bathroom space with size constraints in a 1960s home. Combining the tub and shower into one area allowed Dinner to include all desired amenities in the snug space.
Wet rooms continue to be a smart solution for small spaces, but they're also turning up in luxury bathrooms. It's a natural step from the freestanding tub trend which gained momentum a few years ago, Dinner says.
"It's both a function of how the water from the tubs is affecting these spaces but also the aesthetic of these tubs," she says. "We’re able to highlight a lot of sculptural tubs (with wet rooms)."
What Are the Benefits?
Sculpted Limestone Bathtub in White Modern Spa Bathroom
Lauren Levant Bland
Many luxury freestanding tubs are paired with floor-mounted tub fillers, an elegant feature that may invite some extra splashes and spillage. These beautiful tubs and fillers aren't meant to be hidden, though, so a compromise is to include them in a wet room defined by simple, clean glass walls.
"It gives you a really stunning visual behind the glass," Dinner says. "You can make the most of the materials."
What's the Catch?
Transitional Spa Bathroom Features Freestanding Bathtub
A walk-in shower and freestanding bathtub side-by-side create a spa-like oasis in this bathroom. A brown mosaic tile accent wall with a gray marble trim adds to the soothing color palette.
Chipper Hatter, Design by Inspired Interiors
Layout, size and plumbing setup may make a wet room a tough fit in some bathrooms. Including a shower and tub in a single space is also a highly personal preference and could affect resale value if that is a concern you have for your home.
For those who are interested in adding a wet room, Dinner stresses that it's important to work with professional designers and architects on the project. A designer can both help you determine if a wet room is a good fit for the space and ensure that the correct materials are used for the project.
In a room where everything can be wet, you really have to know what you're doing," Dinner says. "You need to work with people who can make sure you're using the right products."
Centered in a bay window, the freestanding tub in this beautiful master bath is as sculptural as it is inviting. Designer Liz Williams chose this symmetrical arrangement to play up the classic architecture of the space, and to create a focal point in the large bath.
With a guiding principal of tranquility for this master bathroom design, designer Catherine Frank recommended an open layout to create a flexible, curated quality for the space. "The focal point of this linear, rectangular room is a freestanding acrylic bathtub by WetStyle; its sleek curvature and monolithic form create a sculptural vista seen immediately upon entering the room," she says. "We specified a neutral palette to further simplify the environment, using only three materials: rift-sawn white oak, striped marble slabs and textured white marble tiles on the accent wall behind bathtub."
A wall of onyx is undeniably the star of the show in this spectacular walk-in master shower, so lighting designer Gregg Mackell took care to illuminate the natural artwork (as well as the entire space) well. He says, "Square aperture shower lights provide a strong downlighting component, while hidden LED strips in the niche and under the bench provide a soft indirect floating effect. By using metallic trim finishes, the shower downlights visually become just another piece of shower hardware."
In this contemporary master bath, the warmth of natural wood balances the stark elegance of the freestanding tub, for a look that's sleek and sophisticated. "The simplicity of the materials and layout gives the occupant a calming sense when in the space," says architect Steve Besch. "The clean cedar wall is a relaxing backdrop to the freestanding tub and decorative light fixture."
All the Amenities
The renovation of a 10,000 square-foot Colorado home included a complete revamp of the master bath. The new space includes a huge walk-in shower outfitted with all the bells and whistles — a rainshower-style shower head, a hand-shower, steam function — and is fitted with gorgeous blue Moroccan tile. Favorite feature: "The built-in cabinetry beside the shower not only houses the bath linens, it has a warming drawer to keep them toasty," says designer Andrea Schumacher.
Even the most well-appointed, high-end bath must offer practical features. To help this one serve the dual masters of style and substance, designer Wendy Ann Miller created dual vanities with a mix of closed and open storage, topped with sculptural vessel-style lavatories. The result, says the designer, is "a sophisticated space with timeless appeal, that suits the homeowners' needs for both function and luxury."
To give this remodeled master bath its look of soothing sophistication, designer Liz Williams played cool tones of taupe and blue against the rich textures of the antique ceiling beams and doors. "To lend some unexpected edge to the design we laid Helsinki marble from Walker Zanger in a chevron pattern on the floor," says Williams. The cabinets were custom finished by artist Judy Neukrug in a striated look that mimics wood grain.
"This bath is part of one of my all time favorite projects," says designer Jamie Herzlinger. "I designed it to be a true spa — an oasis in the home." The feature-filled shower boasts steam, two shower heads, a hand-held sprayer, a bench and even a stereo system. Cove lighting in the ceiling is "the perfect way to set the mood for a relaxing steam while listening to music," says the designer.
Not every house has room for a sprawling master bath, but luxury comes in small packages, too. Case in point: this compact master bath, which boasts a light-as-air look and pampering shower accessories. "The space had good bones to start with, but I wanted to give it a dose of personality and a larger appearance," says designer Yanic Simard. "The clear glass fixed shower panel, frosted inset cabinet door, floating vanity and airy porcelain tiles visually open up the space, while the mosaic-tiled shower niche adds pleasing variety without appearing busy. The deep toned vanity adds a rich counterpoint without adding too much weight, for a perfect balance of materials."
In a personal steam room, designer and architect Peter Rose created sculpted body recliners to provide a truly relaxing experience. "The undulating forms of the recliners are tied to the rectilinear forms of the wall through the integration of mosaic tile on both. Glazed porcelain wall tiles provide an elegant and immaculate spa counterpoint," says Rose.
For a beach house with spectacular ocean views, designer Molly Frey created a master bath oasis influenced by the watery tones of its setting. Spa-like amenities include a large shower with a combination of marble and glass tile, multiple shower heads and body sprays, a large soaking tub, radiant heated marble floors and custom-built vanities with frosted-glass detailing. "We even added a shelf to hold an iPad at the vanity, a heated towel rack and linen storage built into the eave," says Frey.
Old World Elegance
In some projects, the bath is the last space to get the designer's magic touch. But in this renovation, the master bathroom was the first priority. Designer Andrea Schumacher created a rich, classic look by pairing khaki-colored grasscloth wallcoverings with blue-and-white Suzani-style draperies that perfectly frame the piece-de-resistance: The freestanding cast iron tub. "The mother-of-pearl fireplace surround lends a hint of glam to the room," says Schumacher.
Green and Gorgeous
Not only overflowing with pampering amenities — multiple shower heads, a built-in bench, integrated storage niches — this walk-in spa shower boasts green cred, to boot: "The luxe-looking limestone wall tile is actually Lithoverde, the only natural stone comprised of 99-percent post-industrial recycled and reclaimed material," says architect Kevin Yoder. A skylight floods the shower with sunshine, a feature the owners cite as one of their favorites.
A mix of gleaming glass and warm natural materials give this enormous master bath a look that is at once airy and grounded. Designer Magued Barsoum created a focal point in the large space by nestling the freestanding tub in the semi-surround of the bay window; a large walk-in shower features Rainforest Green granite trim and a heated towel rack.
Fit for Two
Designed with the needs of a couple in mind, this master bath features dual vanities joined by a show-stopping two-person whirlpool tub. The tub's square shape plays up the room's linear theme: Designer Carla Aston chose to repeat rectangular elements throughout the space to create a clean, modern look.