shower with curtain vs shower with glass door

Shower Curtain vs Shower Door: What You Should Know

Choosing the right option for your bathroom, whether it’s a shower curtain or a shower door, can significantly impact the functionality and aesthetics of your space. This comprehensive comparison aims to provide you with a detailed overview of both options, helping you make an informed decision based on your individual needs, budget, and aesthetic preferences.

Shower Curtains


Shower curtains are a cost-effective choice, offering a cheaper upfront cost compared to shower doors. Their versatility is another advantage, as they are available in a wide variety of patterns, colors, and textures, allowing you to easily match them with your bathroom decor.

One of the key benefits of shower curtains is their ease of change. You can replace them whenever you want a new look for your bathroom, making them a great option for those who enjoy frequently updating their decor.

When it comes to bathing small children, shower curtains offer more convenience. It’s easier to push the curtain aside to help bathe small children, making them a practical choice for families.


Despite their advantages, shower curtains also have some drawbacks. One of the main issues is maintenance. Shower curtains need to be replaced periodically due to mold or mildew build-up, which can be a hassle for some. I include myself in that statement. I have a nice fabric shower curtain, but am going to have to replace in the next few weeks for the same reason. No matter how many times I wash it I just can’t seem to get the hint of mildew out of it.

In terms of functionality, shower curtains may not block all the water, leading to a wet bathroom floor. This can be inconvenient and potentially cause slip hazards.

Lastly, most shower curtains are made with PVC, a potentially toxic substance. This raises health concerns, as exposure to PVC has been linked to headaches, respiratory issues, and even cancer.

Mildew on shower curtain

Shower Doors


Shower doors offer a modern, sleek look to the bathroom, enhancing its aesthetics. They can make the bathroom appear bigger and brighter, creating an illusion of space. This is particularly beneficial for smaller bathrooms where space is at a premium.

Shower doors are more durable and last longer than shower curtains, making them a worthwhile investment in the long run. They are also better at preventing water from splashing onto the bathroom floor, reducing the risk of slips and falls.

Another advantage of shower doors is that they can add value to your home. If you’re planning to sell your home in the future, a bathroom with a shower door can be a selling point.

modern bathroom with shower glass door


Despite their advantages, shower doors come with a higher upfront cost compared to shower curtains. This can be a disadvantage for those on a tight budget.

Shower doors require significant space for opening and closing, making them unsuitable for smaller bathrooms. However, sliding shower doors can be an option for those with limited space.

Maintenance can also be an issue with shower doors. They require daily cleaning to prevent grime build-up, which can be time-consuming for some homeowners.

Lastly, there have been rare instances of spontaneous glass breakage. While this is highly unlikely, it’s something to be aware of when considering a shower door.

Special Considerations

When bathing small children, shower curtains may be more convenient as they can be easily pushed aside. Similarly, taking a relaxing bath with candles and wine wouldn’t be possible without a bathtub/curtain setup. I don’t know about you, but this alone would be a dealbreaker for me, as I take multiple baths per week!

In a rental situation, the cost of installing a shower door will likely fall to the landlord, depending on the terms of the lease agreement. Remodeling from a shower curtain to a shower door can be a simple or complex process, depending on the existing bathroom layout and plumbing. It’s recommended to consult with a professional to understand the scope and cost of the project.

technician installing a new glass shower door

Cost Comparison

The upfront and long-term costs of both options can vary significantly. Shower curtains are cheaper upfront but may require frequent replacements due to wear and tear or mold build-up. On the other hand, shower doors have a higher upfront cost but can last for many years with proper maintenance.

Factors such as quality, size, installation costs, maintenance costs, and replacement frequency for shower curtains can all influence the overall cost. It’s important to consider these factors when making your decision.

Choose Based on Your Situation

Choosing between shower curtains and shower doors depends on your individual needs, budget, and aesthetic preferences. Both options have their pros and cons, and understanding these can help you make an informed decision. Whether you value cost-effectiveness, versatility, aesthetics, or durability, there’s an option that’s right for you.

colby armstrong headshot
Colby Armstrong
Interior Designer | + posts

Colby Armstrong, born and raised in Vermont, is an inventive designer who developed a fascination for interior design and color coordination from a young age, influenced by his home decorator parents. An ardent hiker and nature enthusiast, Armstrong draws inspiration from natural elements and colors, incorporating them into his unique shower curtain designs.

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