Do You Have the Right Shower Curtain?


Bathrooms are often one of the smallest rooms in your home, but that doesn’t mean they are easy to decorate. If you have a shower that requires a curtain - or you have a shower bath - there are many options available to you on the market.

Shower curtains are extremely practical. They’re mainly used for preventing water and moisture from leaving the bath or shower area and adding privacy while showering. But, they are also handy at keeping your bathroom looking pretty.

Choosing the right shower curtain for your bathroom requires quite a few decisions than just ‘that looks nice’. These include:

  • Shower curtain material
  • The curtain’s size
  • The style of curtain
  • Whether or not to have curtain hooks

Read on below for our guide to choosing the perfect shower curtain for your bathroom…

How should I choose a shower curtain?

A shower curtain is an essential shower accessory to every bathroom, that’s why choosing the right curtain can make such a big difference when decorating this space. Buying a new shower curtain is, perhaps, the easiest and simplest way to update your bathroom.

Before you go out and buy a shower curtain, there are, however, several things to consider. These include the materials of the curtain itself and whether they’re waterproof, the size you need for your shower area, as well as the style you’re after. You may also need to bear in mind how easy it is to clean the shower curtain and whether you want hooks on a curtain rail.

If you haven’t already installed one, you will probably need to fit a curtain rail first. For this, you’ll need to measure your bath or shower space before buying anything else.

What materials are shower curtains made from?

Shower curtains are available in a variety of materials, including cotton, vinyl and polyester or microfibre. The material you choose for your curtain will have an impact on the design of your bathroom.

Shower curtains can be made from various materials

So, what different types of shower curtain materials are available? Which one is best to use? Take a look below…

Vinyl shower curtains

Vinyl shower curtains are a universally popular option for being cheap and low-maintenance compared to cloth alternatives. These curtains can be cleaned easily and are available in a variety of colours and patterns, making them simple to coordinate with bathroom decor.

Vinyl naturally repels water, so a build-up of harmful mould and mildew are less of an issue. Also, if you plan on regularly decorating or updating your bathroom style on a budget, vinyl curtains are perfect for its low cost.

An alternative to vinyl is polyester shower curtains…

Are polyester shower curtains waterproof?

Yes, like vinyl, polyester shower curtains are waterproof. While the majority of curtains repel water, it’s always best to check the label. Polyester, or microfibre, is particularly durable, lasts longer and is easily washed, either by hand or in a machine.

Unlike vinyl curtains, polyester shower dividers will have a fabric-look while being heavier, which will work best if well if your shower has higher water pressure. Due to their weight, be sure your rail is sturdy enough to support them.

Are cotton shower curtains good?

While they can be more expensive, cotton is generally a good choice for your shower curtain. Cotton curtains can be the most durable and are also the easiest to wash, but must be done each month. Due to their fabric and look, cotton shower curtains can a more luxurious feel to your bathroom.

Cotton absorbs moisture easily, so, if you do buy a cotton curtain, remember to get a quality liner to go with it.

When buying a shower curtain, consider looking for products that have an anti-bacterial and anti-mildew coating. This will protect your shower curtain from mould, which is very common in the humid, damp environment of a bathroom.

Read more: how to remove and prevent bathroom mould

Will I need a liner for my shower curtain?

You will, most likely, only need a liner if you have a cotton shower curtain, as cotton absorbs moisture more than the other materials mentioned. Most liners are made out of vinyl which naturally repels water. Weighted liners are also good to have, as they stay in place more easily.

Shower curtain featuring a liner

Remember to look for mould-resistant liners. Although they can be more pricey, you won't have to replace them as often.

Are shower curtains a standard size?

The standard size for a shower is 72 inches by 72 inches - a perfect square. If your curtain rail measurements, length-wise, are shorter than this, no need to worry - it’s unlikely many shower curtains are completely unfurled or drawn.

Before you head to the shops for your new shower curtain, it’s important that you measure the width and height of your bathtub and shower area. This may sound obvious, but a lot of people overlook this vital step.

Are shower curtains supposed to touch the floor?

No, your shower curtain is not supposed to touch the floor. The simple reason for this is it will help prevent the bottom of the curtain from collecting too much moisture and dirt. Therefore, leave at least two inches of space between the curtain hem and the bathroom floor. Ideally, three to five inches of space is best.

However, not all shower curtains are designed to sit outside or your bath, some are designed to sit within your bath. Therefore, when choosing a shower curtain you should always measure up before purchasing.

Standard shower curtain size is 72x72 inches

How long is an extra-long shower curtain?

If you have a large shower space or wet room, you’ll want to prevent water from your shower escaping and soaking the bathroom floor. An extra-long shower curtain can range from 78 inches in length, to more than 90 inches. It is important to remember that the height of the curtain will usually remain the same as standard sized dividers.

Which style should I choose for my curtain?

This really comes down to your bathroom and its decor. Shower curtains are usually available as a solid or a pattern. For more of a subtle look, a solid shower curtain is best. However, if you want the divider to be your bathroom’s focal point, go with a patterned design, but one that works well with the rest of the space.

When buying a shower curtain, consider lighting. Whether you have a large or small bathroom, natural light is important and you don’t want to block it out with a shower curtain. Therefore, you should keep lighter colours in mind.

Patterned shower curtains


Decorative curtains often have a pattern or texture which helps them spruce up a room and may be made out of higher-quality fabrics. If you are going with a cotton shower curtain, you can fit a patterned divider in any bathroom. They can be a good choice for a guest room if you want to make more of a statement.

Solid colour shower curtains

For a minimalist, simple look, a solid colour shower curtain will work in almost every bathroom when it falls into line with your existing colour scheme or when you redecorate. A solid colour can be much more subtle, and if you decide to paint a bathroom, it can work just as well - depending on the colour you choose.

Do all shower curtains need hooks?

No, not all shower curtains require hooks when they’re attached to a shower curtain rail. There are alternatives to the traditional curtain hook which are hookless curtains. These can be grommet-holed or buttoned shower curtains.


Hookless shower curtains which have grommet holes simply require the rail to be slipped through. This creates a seamless, contemporary look that can cut down on price due to the lack of curtain hooks or rings. Perfect for modern-styled bathrooms, these curtains come in a variety of patterns and colours, some including a built-in lining.

Watch the video to learn more about hookless shower curtains

Though they’re commonplace and often overlooked, curtain hooks are little extras you can use to make a statement look. Shower curtain hooks and rings can add a lovely finishing touch to your bathroom. Available in plastic or metal, remember the weight of your shower curtain when buying hooks to see if they can take it.

If you follow these steps, you’ll find the perfect shower curtain for your bathroom.

If you've decided a shower curtain isn't for you, take a look at the following posts on shower enclosures and shower screens - Bath Shower Screen Buying Guide - Shower Enclosures Buying Guide - Wet Room and Walk-in Shower Enclosure Ideas.

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