By Lydia Geisel

Published on October 15, 2018

From the rise and fall of the built-in bench to the birth of the rainfall head, we’ve seen walk-in showers mature from simple washrooms to self-care havens. One particular evolution we’ve enjoyed watching is the transformation of the shower-bathtub combo. While this marriage is one that has long taken the form of gaudy acrylic cesspools that were seemingly made for slipping and sliding more so than actually getting clean, a number of design-forward solutions have since come onto the scene. Among the many sophisticated trends taking walk-in showers by storm, one rising bath movement is putting a fresh spin on this classic concept.

For the indecisive, having a stand-alone tub in a walk-in shower is a convenient way to enjoy the best of both worlds—especially when you’re tight on space or designing around a quirky layout. From a design standpoint, this consolidation of space lets you have the tub you want and the shower you want without having to settle for the aforementioned plastic-y shower-tub enclosure. Instead of an eyesore, you’re left with a luxurious, spa-like retreat that meets all your pampering needs. Ahead, we share the stunning shower-tub combinations that are reinventing the standard bathroom setup.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY AARON BENGOCHEA

A space clearly crafted with function and visual allure in mind, the luxe shower situation in this sustainably-built home in Blue Diamond, NV incorporates the tub and shower in the most zen-like manner. Here, the addition of a cherry red stool fulfills the purpose of both a bonus seat as well as a spot to stash clean towels during an impromptu soak.

Get the look: Boyce Acrylic Freestanding Tub, Signature Hardware, $1,099; Milk Stool by Loll Designs, Lumens, $266

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photography by COLIN PRICE

Never has a tiny shower felt so full of hope and possibility. Making the best of what little square footage exists, the bathtub in this charming San Francisco abode is discreetly snuggled within the safety of the shower enclave. Although one is still required to crawl into the tub in order to sink down or remain standing, we can’t turn down an efficient use of space when we see one. The graphic contrast created by the surrounding cement floor tile makes this resort-worthy nook an even dreamier place to escape to.

Get the look: Kelly Tile by Popham Design; Classical Brass Vintage Cross Handle Shower Faucet, Faucets In-Home, $211.99

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photography by JASON FRANK ROTHENBERG

LA-based singer Lourdes Hernandez’s rose-tinted bathroom makes a powerful case for going monochrome. Perhaps more intriguing than the spa-like room’s blush pink palette is its geometric backdrop. Tired of subway tile? Consider this a spectacular reason to embrace hexagons instead.

Get the look: Hex Tiles by Cle Tile; The Infinity Towel, Mr. Merz, $179

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photo courtesy of stiltapeten

Taking a turn for the industrial, this moody, minimal shower backdrop designed by Riccardo Zulato is a lesson in compromise. Opting for paired-down fixtures and simple glass partitions in exchange for a bold wall moment, the shiny white tub naturally glistens in the darkness created by the surrounding colorscape of moody blues, deep greens, and charcoal grays.

Get the look: Brizo Matte Black Odin Shower Head, Build.com, $286.56

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photo courtesy of no glitter no glory

In a space as narrow as this, sneaking a full-size bathtub may feel like a stretch. But when designed with flexibility in mind (peep the streamlined storage ledge and handheld hose in this elegant bathroom by Patricia Goijens), any shower zone—no matter the size—can reach its full potential. Tip: When working within tight quarters, don’t be afraid to play up the drama. Stark black fixtures and veiny white marble result in a high-impact design moment that’s near incomparable. 

Get the look: Delta In2ition Hand and Shower Head Combo, Home Depot, $212.28; Statuarietto marble by Marmi Bruno Zanet

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photo courtesy of ace hotel

Building upon its Art Deco roots, the Ace Hotel New Orleans brings refined ornamentation and vintage design to every suite in their newly-debuted stay down south. Boasting a rich combination of glossy green tiling, antique brass hardware, and purple-gray siding, this masculine bathroom is the perfect merger of old and new.

Get the look: Evergreen 6×6 Tile, Fireclay Tile, $28 per square foot

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photo courtesy of architects eat

Between the paned glass window wall, exposed bulb light fixtures, and sloping wood ceiling, this slender, industrial bathroom checks off just about every detail on our design wish-list. Although the two-person shower station (cleverly situated locker room-style against the wall) feels decidedly separate from the bathtub, their uninterrupted proximity makes it easy to move freely between the two wash areas without worry.

Get the look: Plug-In Pendant Light Cord, Color Cord Company, $40; Euphoria Cube and Stick Hand Shower, Grohe, $124

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photo courtesy of carter williamson

Only making a functional appearance where needed, the focus of this serene bathroom isn’t the traditional shower fixtures or hardware, but rather the sink-worthy tub and celestial wave of light streaming from above. Whether you wish to plunge into your own personal pool of paradise or bask beneath a rainfall of water, everything else in the room takes a backseat to your bathtime bliss.

Get the look: Polished Brass Floating Shelf by Mio Metals, Wayfair, $407; Sunstruck Freestanding Bath, Kohler, begins at $2,855

See more bathroom inspiration: 

This ’80s Bathroom Trend is Making a Comeback

How to Upgrade Your Bathroom Without Spending a Fortune

Two-Tone Bathrooms Are Having a Moment – Here Are Our Favorites

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