9 Best Shower Door Alternatives (Cheapest & Design-Friendly)

Shower doors serve both aesthetic and practical purposes, but many homeowners want a unique alternative. There are 9 alternatives to shower doors include curtains, frames, and screen panels. Whether it be a partial glass wall or a doorless shower, let’s take a look at the 9 alternatives to shower doors.

Shower Door Alternatives

Shower doors are a staple of bathrooms and showers, of course, but they aren’t always necessary. They can be a hassle, and some homeowners simply want a more unique alternative for their showers. With that said, what are the best shower door alternatives that are available right now?

Curtains, shower screen panels, doorless showers, and shower enclosures are the best shower door alternatives. Shower frames, bifold doors, partial glass walls, hinged doors, and glass block enclosures are also great substitutes for shower doors. The most convenient shower door alternative is a curtain because it is low maintenance and machine washable.

Each of these shower door alternatives is great for practical, aesthetic, and functional purposes. Let’s take a closer look at the best shower door alternatives that will work with your style and budget.

Alternatives To Shower Doors

Not everyone prefers shower doors, so here is a list of some shower door alternatives that would fit your preferences.

1. Curtain

If you want a simple, private, and affordable shower door alternative, look no further than curtains. Shower curtains were the standard for a long time, and they’re a convenient alternative to shower doors. You have more freedom with curtains than doors because you can choose from countless designs, colors, and fabrics.

It’s easy to install a shower curtain on your own as it simply involves a rod, plastic sheet, and curtain. There are shower curtains to match any paint job, color scheme, or wallpaper for all homeowners. You can buy shower curtains for as low as $15, and high-end options rarely exceed $60.

Shower curtains are generally machine washable, so you won’t have to worry about them becoming dirt. Consider shower curtains if you want a simpler, cheaper, and more convenient shower door alternative.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Many fabric/design options
  • Durable

Cons

  • Possible risk for mold

2. Screen Panel

Screen panels are similar to shower doors but unique enough to be a perfect alternative. Shower screens come in all shapes and sizes, and they are often made of metal and wood. Many screen panels leave one side open, but they still provide privacy if you choose an opaque material.

Wooden shower screen panels are popular for homeowners looking to create a rustic aesthetic. High-quality shower screen panels start at $200, but they can exceed $500 or more.

You can benefit from shower screen panels if you have a bathroom that gets a lot of natural light, as it will spill into the shower.

Depending on the size of your shower, you can get 1-3 screen panels. Look into shower screen panels if you want a modern and unique alternative to traditional shower doors.

Pros

  • Lets natural light in
  • Unique/modern
  • Variety of options
  • Sturdy

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Less privacy

3. Doorless Shower

The doorless shower is possibly the most modern and unique alternative to shower doors that’s currently popular. Open designs are highly sought after, and that includes bathrooms and showers as well. Doorless showers give your bathroom a more open feel, and it makes the bathroom look bigger in general.

You do sacrifice some privacy with doorless showers, but the tradeoff for a unique style is worth it. There’s no element of cleaning a door or washing a curtain, and that makes doorless showers low maintenance. The one problem with doorless showers is that you risk creating a mess of water that sprays around.

With that said, you won’t have to worry about a wet mess if you have a large shower and stable shower head. Show off the tile in your bathroom by foregoing a shower door, curtain, or screen and leave it open.

Pros

  • Low maintenance
  • Modern look
  • Makes the shower stand out

Cons

  • Potential water mess

4. Enclosure

Framed shower enclosures offer privacy, comfort, and a low-maintenance alternative to traditional shower doors for homeowners.

The doors on shower enclosures generally open on a hinge instead of sliding like typical shower doors. They are designed like closets and that helps prevent the wet mess of water from spilling everywhere.

Many homeowners choose frosted glass on their shower enclosures for ultimate privacy. You will need to maintain your shower enclosure to keep it clean and prevent mold. Shower enclosures come in all shapes and sizes and can generally accommodate any bathroom’s dimensions.

Look out for shower enclosures that include a panel at the top to let steam and trapped heat out. Shower enclosures are unique, eye-catching, easy to maintain, comfortable, and worth checking out.

Pros

  • Privacy
  • Variety of options
  • Unique design

Cons

  • Requires regular cleaning
  • Expensive installation

5. Frame

Shower frames are a perfect medium between traditional doors and screen panels that meet you halfway. You can choose between aluminum and steel and a variety of finishes that suit the bathroom and your style. The most popular shower frame is the grid design which combines aluminum or steel with glass.

This is the best option if you want a shower door alternative that stands out and adds character to the room. You don’t even need to put glass in the frame if you want to avoid maintenance and regular cleaning altogether. The frame without glass is just as visually unique, but you run the risk of creating a wet mess.

With that said, shower frames are expensive, especially if you have a large shower or want multiple panels. Shower frames with a single panel start at $315, but you can expect to pay over $900 for large frames. Get a shower frame if you want a visually striking and inviting alternative to the traditional shower door.

Pros

  • Sturdy material
  • Variety of options
  • Adds character to the room

Cons

  • Expensive installation
  • Can be messy/high maintenance

6. Bifold Doors

Bifold doors are shower doors, of course, but they are different than standard doors and are much more convenient. These doors fold when you open them so that the door isn’t bulking or working from a standard hinge. This is the best option for large showers, and it helps to add a sense of grand elegance to the bathroom.

There are also tri-fold shower doors that are available that work on the same principle as bifold doors. Granted, bifold and trifold shower doors are quite expensive to install unless you do it on your own. You can expect to pay up to $600 or more to install bifold shower doors.

Pros

  • Smooth and quiet
  • Elegant
  • Unique

Cons

  • Hard to install on your own
  • Professional installation is expensive

7. Partial Glass Wall

Partial glass walls are one of the most elaborate and visually striking shower door alternatives money can buy.

Picture a glass partition with a clear or frosted finish, and you know what a partial glass wall looks like. Showers with partial glass walls leave one side open giving the happy medium between a doorless shower and an enclosed shower.

Depending on where you put the partial glass wall, you can avoid wet messes with this alternative. You lack the full privacy of an enclosure or curtain, but partial glass walls create a distinct, modern look. With that said, they are pricey, and you can expect to spend between $700 and $2,000 to have a partial glass wall installed.

Pricing is determined by the materials you choose, the size of the shower, and the professional’s labor rate. Consider partial glass walls as your shower door alternative if you want a substitute that brightens up the room.

Pros

  • Elegant
  • Open design
  • Accommodates any shower size

Cons

  • Potential to be messy
  • Expensive materials and installation

8. Hinged Door

We all know that there are many types of sliding doors, but you can break tradition and get a hinged shower door. Hinged doors are a great option if you have a shower that is level to the ground that you can walk right into. You can still get hinged doors if you have a tub, but they are best for walk-in showers.

It feels more natural to use a hinged door than a sliding glass door, and that applies to the shower. Hinged doors are different from traditional shower doors in that there are many options when it comes to style, material, and design.

You can choose from a variety of finishes, such as frosted or even faux stained glass for your hinged shower door.

Hinged shower doors are also great because the top is generally left open so that hot air and steam can escape. Look into hinged doors if you want a more comfortable and practical substitute for standard sliding shower doors.

Pros

  • Variety of options
  • Allows hot air/steam to escape
  • Easier to use than sliding door

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Elaborate installation

9. Glass Block

Finally, glass block enclosures are the most elaborate, elegant, and eye-catching shower door alternatives. Glass block is thick and often consists of tiny squares that form an enclosure around the shower.

This option is perfect for both tub showers and walk-in showers, but it comes at a high cost for materials and installation.

You can expect to spend $30 or more per block, and block enclosures consist of dozens or even hundreds of them.

This all adds up to thousands of dollars in labor and materials, but many homeowners consider it worth it. Glass block enclosures work with many designs, and they can be customized to suit your bathroom.

Pros

  • Customizable
  • Gorgeous
  • Great for privacy

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Long installation process

Shower Doors vs. Shower Curtain

It can be hard to decide between shower doors and shower curtains for many homeowners. Both options have practical uses, of course, but the decision often comes down to style. Shower doors are considered more modern and visually appealing than curtains, but that’s not always the case.

For example, shower curtains allow for more variation and customization when it comes to style. You generally have to choose between clear and frosted shower doors, and that is limiting for many homeowners. Shower curtains and shower doors both have to be cleaned regularly, but curtains are easier because they can be machine washed.

Curtains win when it comes to cost as they can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars less than doors. Shower doors are difficult and expensive to install, so they don’t fit in with everyone’s budget. Choose a shower door if you have the money to spare, and a curtain if you want a low maintenance option.

Related Questions

Should I get clear or frosted shower doors?

Choose frosted shower doors if you want to minimize visible water spots on the door. The water spots will still be there, you just won’t be able to see them as easily. This makes frosted shower doors easier to maintain, and much more private than clear doors.

How long do shower enclosures last?

Shower enclosures can last between 20 and 50 years, and that’s why they’re of great value. Make sure to clean them regularly and apply rust repellant to the hinges and any metal as needed throughout the years.

Summing It Up

Shower curtains, screen panels, enclosures, and open showers are the best shower door alternatives. Partial glass walls are a great option because they have an open vibe feel but they still retain privacy. There are also frames with grid designs that work well with or without glass, and they’re a great alternative to doors.

If you still want a door, consider going with a hinged door instead of a sliding door. The most expensive shower door alternative is a glass block enclosure that features up to hundreds of glass blocks. Any alternative that features glass requires you to clean it and treat the glass for water spots.

Shower curtains are the best option if you want a cheap, convenient, and low-maintenance shower door alternative. Only consider a doorless shower if you won’t mind cleaning up the occasional water mess. Any one of the aforementioned alternatives is a great substitute for shower doors.

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Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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