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How We Designed Our Small Wet Room Shower

We recently completed the renovation of our latest short-term rental cottage (you can see it here), and although I say this every time, this cottage is my favorite! The final space we completed is the small wet room we added off the primary bedroom. It was such a tight space that we weren’t sure it would work, but we pulled it off! I am excited to share it with you, so let’s take a look at how we designed our small wet room shower.

The Little Green Cottage in Pentwater, MI.

What is a wet room?

Wet rooms are essentially bathrooms with an open shower area and integrated into the rest of the room without a shower tray. The entire room is waterproofed, and the floor slopes gently towards a drain to allow water to flow freely. This can make a small bathroom feel more spacious and airy and create a seamless, minimalist look. In our case, we will have one open space in our wet room bathroom.

Why we chose a wet room:

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SPACE! When we bought the cottage, we had this tiny space that held the washer and dryer right off the primary bedroom (which also was the back door entrance). It’s roughly 34 square feet, which isn’t enough space for a conventional shower tray with a comfortable showering area. The room also has lower ceilings. We needed to create a functional space and squeeze in an extra shower space. A wet room shower design would help make the most of our planned bathroom and help give it the illusion of a larger space.
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Wet room shower prep.

We started by removing the door and framing it. Next up, we replaced the window with a vinyl version. After that was completed, the waterproofing was the most important thing we had to consider when planning our wet room. The entire room must be tanked with a waterproof membrane to prevent water from leaking into the walls and floorboards. We used three thin coats of Red Guard to waterproof the entire space. We also needed to ensure that the floor slopes gently towards the shower ingdrain to allow the excess water to drain away properly.
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How we designed our small wet room shower:

When designing a wet room, we had to keep in mind that everything is in the splash zone, so any items you bring into your bathroom should be water-resistant. We are skipping the shower doors due to space considerations.

Choosing Tile:

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Keep in mind that the floors will be very wet, so we chose a natural stone river rock tile (here) for the flooring. It’s a good idea to choose floor tiles that are slip-resistant, and the extra grout the river rock tile requires makes it a great choice for a wet area. This post contains affiliate links. For the walls, we used 3 x 12 porcelain tiles in a bordered stack pattern for visual interest.
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Sink:

We opted for a wall-mounted sink to help save space on the floor. We had to go with the smallest sink we could find in order to have enough clearance to get into the bathroom comfortably. It’s the perfect choice and actually adorable!

Toilet:

We needed a macerating toilet or upflush toilet as the floor is a step down from the drain line. It takes up some additional space, but we were working with such low ceilings that we couldn’t raise the floor. We will need to keep an eye on some of the metal pieces on the toilet so there are no rust issues.

Shower Kit:

We chose a modified rain shower head that will provide a decent showering experience while minimizing water splattering throughout the rest of the space.

Ceiling:

We installed a wood plank ceiling in the bathroom. We sealed it with two coats of polyurethane to keep it as water-resistant as possible.

Extra Ventilation:

We installed a ceiling fan/light combo and an additional fan in the wall under the window to help prevent mold issues and provide adequate ventilation. We complied with our local building regulations.

Heating/Cooling consideration:

We had to move the vent to the wall from the floor. This was not a big deal for us as we were installing new HVAC at the same time, but it is a consideration.

Finishing touches:

We added a small mirror with a shelf to hold hand soap and some rock hooks to hold towels. We intend to add additional shelving so our guests have room for their toiletries.

The Reveal:

Here she is!
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We added a shaving niche to the shower wall for convenience, and it became a focal point.
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The small space is flooded with natural light.
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Beach Stone Wall Hooks for towels.
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Pros and cons of a wet room:

Pros:

  • Wet rooms can make a small bathroom feel more spacious and airy.
  • They are easy to clean and maintain.
  • You can fit them into a smaller footprint.

Cons:

  • Wet rooms can be more expensive to install than a conventional shower tray.
  • You must carefully plan the waterproofing.
  • Finding room for ample waterproof storage can be a problem.
  • It can be trickier to ensure proper ventilation to prevent mold growth.
Are we happy with our wet room shower? YES! Overall, we are very happy about installing a wet room shower in our small bathroom. Not only will our guests enjoy a more spacious showering area, but it will also add value to our sweet little cottage. Even though it took a lot of planning on our part, we love how it turned out. Do you love the idea of a wet room? Would you put one in your home? Let me know in the comments. That’s it for today. Until next time, -Libbie
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You may also enjoy:
The Main Bath in the Little Green Cottage.
The mood board and plan for our Wet Room space.
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