A Winning Combination

Wet rooms allow homeowners to combine their walk-in shower and bathtub into a smaller space. But do the pros outweigh the cons? Local design professionals give their opinions on whether the wet room is here to stay or if its popularity will dry up.

Edited by Moe Godat

Design by Anne Marie Design Studio 



The wet bath is an important design development, and I think it will become a classic. This approach is a great solution for clients with physical limitations and smaller spaces that can benefit from continuous flooring material, helping enlarge the feel of the space. The Japanese have embraced this concept for years. As the American population ages, this is a great solution to eliminate trip hazards and open bathing spaces for when assistance is necessary. For the design savvy, the wet bath allows a blending between bathing and showering spaces and sleek materials, and often the elimination of glass panels, reducing daily maintenance. Robert Idol, Idol Design.

Wet rooms are appealing because you can include both a walk-in shower and a freestanding tub in a much smaller space by enclosing them together behind glass. No longer do you have to decide between a tub/shower combo or a shower alone. It adds flexibility, luxury and style. It’s a design feature that can easily land anywhere on the spectrum between traditional and contemporary, and I think it will quickly become a new classic. Allison Dozier, Allison Dozier Interiors.

Wet rooms are by far getting more popular in the United States! In 2012, they became all the rage in Europe, making a single-use space to include a shower, toilet and sink. Thus, there was no need for a shower door, so they could spray it all clean at one time. In the United States, our wet rooms are a little more about fashion than function, so the cabinetry will not typically not be included in this room. Ours have a bathtub, shower and sometimes toilet included in the “wet room.”  Homeowners seem to love them! We are currently designing our fourth one this year. This is something more and more homeowners will be trying to achieve if the space allows. Anne Marie Boedges, Anne Marie Design Studio.

I think that wet rooms are here to stay! Ultimately, they provide a better use of space and create a feeling of openness, which is especially important when space is limited. The convenience of cleaning a wet room is also a big bonus since it’s one large space that surfaces can be openly sprayed and wiped down. Another great factor is that they are a more sophisticated way to provide barrier-free accessibility as people are wanting to stay in their current homes as they age. They can be more expensive than a traditional bathroom, but ultimately, they add value to your home. When done correctly, wet rooms can be a spa-worthy, functional upgrade to any home! Leah Jarrell, LJ Interior Designs.



Although I admire the space saving advantages of a wet room design, I personally feel it is a craze, only because all I can think of is the long-term clean-ability. I already loathe cleaning a standard bathroom, especially the wetness and humidity left over from a hot shower. The overall feeling, while beautiful to look at, gives me the same feeling as an indoor pool or locker room would: wet and grimy! I would only specify this design for a hotel room or lightly used space with excellent ventilation capabilities. I could not imagine dealing with this for everyday showering and use. Chelsea Smith, Chelsea Design Company.

Bathrooms tend to get bigger and better every year: more high-tech, more luxurious and upgraded fixtures and features. The wet room trend is no exception. Wet rooms tend to be very costly due to the amount of tile and water proofing materials that are needed to construct the space.  Wet rooms require a sloping floor with the proper drainage and the professional expertise needed to construct the wet room. I must also mention the safety factor of being in an enclosed tiled area where soaps and suds could make for a slippery floor especially when a tub and shower are in the same enclosed area. Wet rooms are open bathroom spaces where privacy is minimal. I feel like wet rooms are a trend that will not gain momentum due to the added expense of the construction of a wet room, the safety factor of potentially being slippery and unsafe and minimal bathroom privacy. Barbara Collins, Barbara Collins Interior Design.



Installing a wet room is not for the faint of heart! The concept sounds wonderful, a space without clutter or mess, easy accessibility and practical for all. However, it doesn't offer the same creative freedom a bathroom offers. Not to mention that water covering parts of the wet room is inevitable. They can also be expensive because everything needs to be tiled and waterproofed. I see the wet room becoming a classic for hotels, but I think most homeowners aren't ready to jump on this concept without being able to have the best of both worlds! Gigi Lombrano, Gigi Lombrano Interiors.