The Importance of the Shower Curtain

The Importance of the Shower Curtain

  • Pat McDonald
  • The first thing you see when you enter your bathroom is probably the shower curtain, so why not buy a good one that complements your bathroom's design? 

Your shower curtain may seem like a thoughtless purchase, but it’s actually something that deserves some consideration. Your bathroom is one of the most intimate places in your home and the shower curtain tends to be the highlight of it.

The two main purposes of shower curtains are to keep water off the bathroom floor and to instill a sense of privacy, but they also set the tone for the style of your bathroom. Having a shower curtain that goes well with the rest of your bathroom aesthetics while still giving you privacy while you shower.

The basic components of your shower curtain system are comprised of the shower curtain (which is primarily decorative), an optional curtain liner (which is primarily functional), the shower curtain rod, and the shower curtain rings. The liner is unseen by most visitors, and you can pick rods and rings that based on the design of your bathroom or curtain, so at the end of the day, the most important part of your shower curtain system is the curtain itself.

And for the record, no, a liner on its own is not a suitable curtain despite how little you care about your bathroom style. That is, unless it specifically says that the liner can double as a curtain on the packaging.

Good shower curtains typically cost anywhere from $20 to $100. What makes a "good" curtain is dependent upon how your shower is structured along with the materials and the design of the curtain. Before we dive into design, there are some things to keep in mind when searching for any shower curtain:

Shower curtain sizes and how to measure

A standard shower curtain runs 72-by-72-inches, but not all showers are the same. If you have a standing stall shower, free standing or “clawfoot” bathtub shower, or any other kind of custom-made or unique sized shower you may need to purchase either a stall curtain (usually 54-by-78-inches), an extra-long curtain (72-by-84-inches or 72-by-96-inches) for bathrooms with high ceilings or, an extra wide curtain (108-by-72-inches), which is usually for those with a clawfoot bathtub shower.

To measure out the best curtain size, first, determine the width and height. To get the curtain width, measure the entire length of the curtain rod and add 12 inches. Height depends on if you have a built-in tub, a clawfoot tub, or no tub at all.

If you have a built in tub, measure from the bottom of the curtain rod (or curtain rings if you are using them) to the top of the tub, and add up an inch or two to account for the tub, which is usually about 10 inches in height at the most. Unless you have a clawfoot bathtub with a shower, you want the shower curtain to fall an inch or two inside the tub to prevent water leakage. 

If you have a clawfoot bathtub shower, you’ll have to be a little more crafty. Shower curtain measurements for these oval-shaped bathtub shower combos can vary greatly, but the main thing you want to focus on is getting a curtain that does not gather too much, which is an awkward look, but instead appears to be resting comfortably. You’ll also need a track (if you don’t have one already) that goes completely around the tub.

In this case, it’s best to prioritize getting the correct track size by measuring the width and length of the tub and purchasing a track that fits these dimensions. From there purchase an extra wide shower curtain (so it wraps all the way around the tub) and adjust the track height to accommodate the height of your curtain.