Skip to content

"Wet Room" Bathrooms are Trending — Here's How to Get the Look

wet room bathroom with standalone tub and shower

Design: Cathie Hong Interiors, Photo: Margaret Austin Photo

When renovating a bathroom, you want to choose trends with some staying power. Those rooms can be a headache to redo, plus the expense alone is enough to make you think twice. Whether it's retiling your shower or swapping in a new vanity, bathroom overhauls are important to get right. As inspiration for your next renovation, let us introduce you to a new trend that's only gaining popularity: the "wet room" bathroom.

What is a "Wet Room" Bathroom?

A "wet room" bathroom is a bathroom that includes an open or partially enclosed shower. Typically, there's also a free-standing tub inside, especially in the more modern iterations of the trend.

If you're unfamiliar with the term, a "wet room" is a shower in an open or partially enclosed area of the bathroom. In many wet rooms, you might also find a free-standing tub in the shower area. The result is an airy, easy-to-clean space meant to make a statement.

Designer Cathie Hong of Cathie Hong Interiors has used this trend in a few projects, and even has plans to renovate her own bathroom in this style when she renovates next.

"Much like the open concept great room, I think the wet room provides an illusion of a larger and more luxurious bathroom with its long sight lines and seamless floor transitions," Hong tells MyDomaine. "If space allows, it's an elegant way to keep both a shower and bathtub without compromising on openness and airiness."

wet room bathroom with vertical tile, terrazzo and freestanding tub

Design: Cathie Hong Interiors, Photo: Margaret Austin Photo

In one of Hong's recent projects in Willow Glen, California, a primary bathroom felt dark and cramped, a perfect time to try out a "wet room" to make the room feel larger and more open.

"We loved the wet room idea and were able to achieve that by borrowing a little bit of space from a dead corner in the [primary] bedroom, giving us enough square footage to squeeze both a shower space and freestanding tub into the wet room," Hong explains. "As far as materials go, we wanted it to have a Japandi aesthetic, so we selected neutral and simple finishes like reeded white oak, silky white tadelakt plaster, kit kat tiles, and a light grey terrazzo."

If space allows, it's an elegant way to keep both a shower and bathtub without compromising on openness and airiness.

The result is a stunning, spa-like atmosphere with plenty of room to bathe, shower, and enjoy the space. To nail this trend in your own bathroom, working with a good contractor is key.

curbless wet room bathroom with freestanding tub and bench

Design: Cathie Hong Interiors, Photo: Margaret Austin Photo

"When possible, we like to do a curbless wet room to make that transition as seamless as possible," Hong says. "This requires the use of a linear drain and adequate slope in the shower floor for proper drainage. We make sure we consult with architects on code requirements and contractors on building feasibility before we finalize the design."

When it's time to design, layout is the most important thing to consider, Hong shares.

"There needs to be a rather large square or rectangle of space to allow room for both a tub and a shower, while still providing easy access to the rest of the bathroom," Hong explains.

wet room bathroom with large windows and two showers and a tub

Design: Cathie Hong Interiors, Photo: Margaret Austin Photo

After deciding how the space will be set up, choosing tiles, fixtures, and color scheme is next on the list.

"Once layout is confirmed, I think about how to blend materials so it's not boring but not overly busy either. We've been doing a lot of dual-material wet rooms where the floor tile wraps up the shampoo ledge or onto the shower bench." 

Whether you're renovating your bathroom or just looking for inspiration, Hong tells us a wet room will be around for awhile.