How a Shower Window Can Open Up Your Bathroom

Jun 18, 2024
Shower windows, MILGARD

While you may not often think about it, the shower is one of the most important parts of your home. It’s not just for showering – it’s for relaxing, thinking, and preparing yourself for the next item on your agenda. One of the ways to transform this space into a serene, spa-like retreat is with shower windows. 


What Is a Shower Window?

A shower window is an exterior window designed to maintain privacy while providing natural light within a bathroom's shower area. Shower windows are often made with frosted or obscure glass to ensure privacy, but if that isn’t a concern, they can offer relaxing views. In addition to natural light, a window in the shower provides ventilation that can help reduce humidity and prevent mold. 

Shower windows must be well-sealed, made from moisture-resistant materials, and properly installed to prevent water damage. It’s especially important to consult with a professional to design and install these windows. 


How Can a Shower Window Open Up Your Bathroom?

Most homeowners choose to install a window in the shower whenever possible, because they can open up the room in so many ways:


  • Natural light: One of the biggest reasons for installing a shower window is to bring in natural light, making a typically small, enclosed space feel brighter and more open. 
  • Ventilation: Shower windows can improve air circulation within the bathroom, reducing moisture and condensation levels and helping prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Aesthetic appeal: A well-designed shower window can enhance the visual appeal of a bathroom, adding a touch of elegance or a modern vibe depending on the style.
  • Connection with the outdoors: In bathrooms that face private gardens or scenic views, shower window ideas like round or oval windows or even large picture windows can create a relaxing atmosphere.


What’s the Best Type of Window for a Shower?

When choosing the best type of window for a shower, consider factors like privacy, ventilation, and ease of maintenance. Here are some of the most popular shower window styles to get you started. 


Awning Windows

Awning windows are ideal for showers because they can be opened slightly to allow for ventilation while still maintaining privacy. They hinge at the top and open outward, which also prevents direct water exposure from the shower to the operable parts of the window and protects the interior of the room if it’s raining.


Sliding Windows

Sliding windows are another good option for showers, especially in smaller bathrooms where space is limited. They don’t require any clearance, and the ability to open them partially allows you to adjust ventilation and light as much as you’d like. Just remember that the tracks will need regular cleaning to prevent mold and mildew buildup.


Picture Windows

While picture windows don’t open and therefore don’t provide ventilation, they can be effective in larger showers or in combination with other operable windows. As shower windows, they offer expansive views and can bring in a lot of natural light, although you may need to add obscure glass or place them out of direct sight lines to ensure privacy.


Transom Windows

Transom windows are small, narrow windows that are set horizontally high up on a wall. They’re typically installed above a door or another window, but can be used on their own to add natural light to a shower without compromising privacy. Because of their placement, they’re also less likely to be exposed to direct water spray, which can help them last longer.


Rounded Windows

If you want a small bathroom window in the shower, round, oval, or radius windows can add a unique architectural element. Like picture windows, they often do not open, but they can allow for natural light that makes your shower more relaxing. They’re most effective when positioned higher on the wall or made with obscure glass.

shower windows, MILGARD

What’s the Best Type of Glass for a Shower Window?

When selecting the best type of glass for a shower window, the key considerations are safety, privacy, and durability. Here's how different types of glass stack up for use in a shower environment.


Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is heat-treated to be much stronger than standard glass, and if it does break, it shatters into small, blunt pieces that are less likely to cause injury. Its strength and safety features make it a must-have for any location that may experience direct impact or where safety is a concern, especially in walk-in showers with windows.


Obscure Glass

Obscure glass is made by texturing the glass during production to create a translucent or semi-opaque finish. This type of glass is perfect for windows in a shower because it provides privacy while still allowing light to enter the bathroom. There are various glass options available, including standard and rainfall patterns. 


Frosted Glass

Frosted glass is often considered a type of obscure glass, but it doesn’t allow for any view to the outdoors. It’s treated to create a smooth, satin-like finish that blocks the view while still letting light in. This glass type is excellent for providing privacy in a shower window, ensuring that someone can’t see through the window from the outside. 


Shower Window Ideas and Design Inspiration

When it comes to putting a window in a shower, ideas range from large, clear options that provide a view to round portholes set high up on a wall. Whether you want a small bathroom window in your shower or a scenic view, here are some ideas to get you started.


Ceiling Skylights Above the Shower

Incorporate a skylight window directly above the shower area to flood the space with natural light and create an illusion of height and openness. A skylight can transform an ordinary shower into a bright and airy retreat, making it feel more luxurious. This design is particularly effective in smaller bathrooms where side space for windows might be limited and is also an ideal choice for urban areas or homes close to neighbors.


Corner Shower Windows

If your home’s location permits, consider installing corner windows that wrap around the outside corner of the shower. This design offers expansive views and a unique, modern look, perfect for master bathrooms in secluded areas. With strategic placement and the use of obscure or tinted glass, you can enjoy panoramic views without compromising on privacy. 


Clerestory Shower Windows

If you're looking to pull in sunlight while keeping your private moments out of sight, clerestory windows are an excellent choice. These are essentially transom windows that are positioned high up on the wall, close to the ceiling. They’re ideal for shower windows adjacent to neighbors or near public spaces. This design is also a great option for renovation and replacement projects where you don’t want to significantly alter the existing layout of the walls.


Glass Block Window in the Shower

A glass block window in your shower functions like obscure glass, diffusing light while preventing a clear view into your space. This shower window idea adds both privacy and flair to your bathroom, elevating its design. Enhance it even more by integrating LED lights within or around the glass blocks to add ambient lighting that can be color-changed according to mood or time of day.


Charming Shower Window Grids

Window grids are an easy way to add style to your home, and your bathroom is no exception. For a large window in the shower, opt for a grid that forms a distinctive pattern, such as a diamond or sunburst pattern, which becomes the focal point of the bathroom. If your home has traditional decor, a grid pattern that mimics the era or style can add its authenticity. For a more modern look, a geometric grid pattern with clean lines and minimal design makes a powerful statement.


Getting Started with Shower Window Installation

If you’re thinking about installing a shower window, you’ll need to consider the placement, shape, operating style, frame material, cost, and more. For example, vinyl frames are a cost-effective option, while fiberglass windows provide the best protection against warping and deterioration due to moisture. 

Consulting with a professional is a must when it comes to installing windows in your shower. They can help you plan your project, choose your materials, and properly install the window to prevent water damage and ensure long-term durability. 

MILGARD Certified Dealers can do all that and more. Plus, our products are the highest quality, backed by an industry-leading warranty and excellent customer service. Connect with a MILGARD Certified Dealer near you to get started on your shower window project. 

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