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Are Black Shower Doors the Best Choice For Your New Bathroom?

By 03/08/2019December 11th, 202038 Comments

Black shower doors are a huge trend but not as easy to incorporate into your new bathroom as frameless glass shower doors. Don’t make these mistakes!

Roost Interiors

Every room needs a little black, right?

How many times have you heard this statement?

I want you to notice something else about this expression.

The word little.

That’s because black is the strongest and darkest colour which means that a little goes a looooooong way.

I have said this in many posts, and I predict I’ll keep saying it because the black trend is just getting started (well not to those in the know like YOU, but it is for the general public).

Add Black Fixed Elements with Caution

Black can look chic, elegant, strong and dramatic, but it can also quickly look overly masculine, harsh, heavy, flat, and predictable.

The black shower doors in this white bathroom (above) are perfect. If the hardware in the shower was high contrast black too, your eyes would be jumping around to take it all in.

Because the shower hardware is not black, it doesn’t interfere with the great statement that the doors alone provide.

Black was repeated only once here, in the sconce lighting and that’s enough.

So if you need a rule for black to help you when making colour choices for your bathroom, I would say repeat it once and at the most twice, and THAT’S IT.

Read more: How to Decorate with Black in a Bathroom (Don’t overdo it)

Let’s look at some more bathrooms shall we?

One Kings Lane

Too much black is not a good thing.

Compare this bathroom (above) to the first one.

The grout on the subway tile should have been white because now we have three busy patterns with the trendy encaustic tile PLUS the grid shower doors. Also the black shower hardware should have been chrome. The eye really doesn’t know where to land in this bathroom.

There are just too many demanding black lines.

There’s nothing wrong with black contrasting grout, but it should not have been specified in this bathroom because of the shower doors.

Bathroom Design | White Bathroom | Bathroom Cabinets | Decorating with Colour | Classic and Timeless | Black and White Bathroom

Maria’s Classic Black and White Bathroom

This is my bathroom (above). I technically repeated the black once after I installed the black and white classic floor tile.

In the countertop. The black picture frames and candle holders are accessories so they can be switched out anytime.

Had I kept going with the lighting, hardware or shower doors, it would have ended up looking boring and predictable.

Consider colour flow

Also, if you tour my entire house, you’ll see how my black and white bathroom (above)  fits into my home.

The worst thing you can do, especially if your renovations happen over a period of a few years, is incorporate each new trend into each new bathroom. It’ll look like “Oh you did the master in the brown trend, the main bathroom in the grey trend and the powder room in the black trend”.

The obligatory accent tile strip does NOT belong with these doors

Okay, you know the strip of glass or geometric accent tile you might be considering? It does not belong with these doors. That’s why you don’t see it any of these photos. I wouldn’t do it in ANY bathroom, but certainly not with black shower doors.

Related post: A New Way to Design Accent Tile: Ceramic Architecture 

Inspired Detail

In this bathroom (above) the black plumbing fixtures work because the glass is simply framed in black, it’s not a busy grid.

Basically, if you are installing the black grid shower doors I would choose chrome (or brass) plumbing fixtures (below) so you end up with a clean and uninterrupted look.

Mix it up anyway, so your bathroom doesn’t scream “We renovated in the black trend”.

Living etc

I would also choose a thinner grid or frame overall. The thicker frames get heavy looking very quickly. Then if you add a few more black elements along with the thicker frame, well you might not love your brand new bathroom as much as you should.


In this modern bathroom (above) the grid is achieved through black grout. I think there should have been more of a mix in the mirror, lighting or cabinet colour, black in every element looks a bit predictable. But this bathroom did not hit the tipping point of TOO MUCH BLACK because the all the tile in this bathroom is white. Also, had the floor been grouted in black, the overall look would not have been as balanced.

Are Black Shower Doors the Best Choice For Your New Bathroom?

Bottom line, if you choose wisely, black accents in a white bathroom can still look classic and timeless. Because one of the primary definitions of classic and timeless for me is that you end up with the flexibility of switching the colours whenever you want. The right amount of black with white can work and give you the option of incorporating other colours in the future.

So that’s the lesson of the day my lovelies! Who is loving the black shower door trend?

Post your questions below.

If you are thinking about attending my Toronto Specify Colour with Confidence workshop April 1-3, we have 2 seats left! Register here.

Then I’m in Atlanta, San Francisco, Houston and New Jersey, see the dates and information here.

Related posts:

Do’s and Dont’s for Decorating with Black Tile

Turquoise Kids Bathroom; Before and After

Are Black Windows the Best Choice for Your New Build?

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  • Amy says:

    Not the most timeless choice.
    I like the first bathroom, and yours. The others are too modern and cold for my taste.

  • Henriette says:

    Not a fan of black for my own personal taste. I’d change it to… every room needs a touch of dark (whether black or very dark brown, blue, green, etc).

  • Kay Rodine says:

    I think that black shower door trim can be a sharp look when used in a very well thought out design as you’ve suggested Maria. Not timeless, but certainly on trend and maybe with some legs at that. And as long as one is aware of the maintenance issues that go with black anything where water is going to be and there is flow with the rest of the house (use of black), the high contrast is exciting.

    • Yes, my comment was going to be on the water spots with black. People get annoyed with them on stainless steel sinks in my neck of the woods. I have used a black gridded shower door in a downstairs bath that never gets used for a client, and the repeated black was in the adorable wallpaper and the sconces. Such a radical change from the bathroom which was the first thing the husband wanted fixed when they bought the house and the last thing that was actually done, 20 years later. LOL poor guy!

  • Susan Hubele says:

    I can’t help but thinking this black look may have a short shelf date.

  • Gloria says:

    Interesting post. Thank you. Black grid shower doors not for me…. high maintenance and not my favorite look. Being on trend not a priority for me.

    • mrsben says:

      @Gloria: DITTO as I agree. Currently have black kitchen appliances and never again due to high maintenance and can’t imagine having black grid shower doors and battling soap scum.
      @Maria: Excellent tips but still would avoid such in my bathroom but might be tempted if were building a home to have black window frames depending upon the style it was …. ☺. -Brenda-

      • Frank says:

        How much black would you add to a bathroom with black floors, white walls, and black grout? What about a think black frame for the shower glass?

  • jess says:

    I appreciate your sharing your wisdom here, Maria. I remember you talking about how black window frames were very bossy, and on a recent walk around my neighborhood, I noticed a couple of houses that had used black window frames, and thought of your post. The black frames were dominating the small houses, especially when window glass itself can sometimes read as black and look like a black hole. while black frames can sometimes look stunning in the right structure, that wasn’t the case with how they were used in my neighborhood.
    and Love your bathroom here!

  • Jane says:

    GREAT post!!

  • Adelaide says:

    Can’t say I’m a fan of any of the black shower screens or hardware. I am also not a fan of black/grey grouting. Your bathroom is an absolute standout here Maria.

  • Lynne says:

    I can’t help but feel that the black framed shower doors are a look which will date a bathroom in a few years.

  • Barbara says:

    Black is not a good colour for bathrooms, as white spots appear everywhere from water and soap deposits. My house came with black grout in the bathroom and it has been a nightmare. I so wish I could remove it, but do not know if it is possible.

    • Loribeth says:

      Grout can be removed from tile and then regrouted. It is a LOT of work though.

      • Brenda says:

        I have also heard that you can dye grout. Not sure how it works if your starting point is black though. Grout is so tricky!!! I have white grout in my kitchen and it is starting to discolour. I hate it! I’m in the process of deciding on a renovation to my mudroom/laundry room that includes a dog bath. I am using white subway tiles and am in a real quandary about the grout colour. I was leaning towards black, but after reading this, I am not so sure!! So what is the right answer…?

        • Ruby says:

          Hi Brenda~I also have white grout and white tile in my home that was discolored so I used OxiClean with a stiff scrub brush and it came up good as new. I just mixed it into a paste with hot water and applied it to the grout. Let it sit for a bit then scrubbed it. You can’t see how clean it comes up while still wet but when it dried I was amazed. Gives me a few years until I have to renovate.

    • Ann says:

      Both HD and Lowe’s have products called something like grout refresh. It’s to refresh dirty grout. Works great. In my master bath room, I used a much lighter color because I hated the dark grout. It just gave a checker board effect. And that product has held up very well.

  • Barbara says:

    I spend a lot of time in Mexico and there are so many black windows and of course iron railings in black. The houses look fabulous and I photograph so many of them. They do not worry about trends here, just beauty.

  • Kelly says:

    Yes, a little black goes a long way. What about interior doors painted black? Is that classic or trendy?

    • Molly says:

      I’m interested in knowing this too. Doors are a pain to paint properly, and I’ve scoured Maria’s site to see if she’s posted on the trend of painting interior doors and the rules about continuity. Would love to hear her opinion on the trend of painting interior doors darker colors (or anything other than the trim color)

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Hi Maria,
    The first time I saw a black gridded shower door I thought it was cool & looked very industrial. My next thought was how it would never look appropriate in my typical suburban townhouse. I also thought it would be a nightmare to keep it looking new with all the minerals we have in our water.
    I love a classic black & white bathroom (like yours) but I’m not on board with a black gridded shower door. #curmudgeon

  • Lucy says:

    Black and white always looks stunning but I would rather use it in wallpaper, tile like yours or anything that could be changed when the style goes out. To me using accessories in black would do the trick and easy to change. To each his own but the maintenance on black shower doors would be a chore!

  • Kim says:

    I love this post. Your visuals and information are excellent for teaching us what to SEE. Thank you, Maria!

  • Marianne in Vancouver says:

    We are travelling and staying in an Airbnb. The first thing I noticed was the black plumbing hardware in the new studio bathroom. The black on some was already wearing off, even peeling, with the chrome shining through. Water and soap drops were also very noticeable. Not something I’d choose.

  • Kay says:

    Your bathroom is lovely, but it’s the only one I like. I hate the heaviness of the black grid shower doors and think they will eventually look dated. I think encaustic tile floors work well in a period house, but if they are black and white, I really don’t want to see black repeated anywhere else except in the shower floor.

    My sister and her husband, who live in an arts and crafts house, have been updating their bathrooms, and what they have done looks, to my eye, utterly classic and beautiful. I can see people who appreciate older things finding them beautiful 50 years from now, just as I find some original bathrooms from early in the last century to still be attractive enough that I wouldn’t change them. I wish I had pictures to share.

  • Sharlene says:

    I think you meant to say “The obligatory accent tile strip does NOT belong with these doors” in that heading (you forgot “not”).

  • Robin says:

    Does the color of grout grout with subway tile make a difference in whether it is timeless or not?

  • Lisa P says:

    I love this kind of post that uses words and images so effectively to show us what works and doesn’t work–and why. You have helped me train my eye in so many areas of design. Thank you! You are a great teacher!

  • fiona says:

    We recently replaced our bathroom, which had looked like a cheap motel – not chic! It was a big job and a lot of money and I wanted to be as happy with it ten years down the track as I was when it was brand new. We chose a black framed shower, not a grid, more akin to image 4. In the planning we spent much time on that porn site, Pinterest, and my husband was seduced by those images with black grout. I didn’t have your clear and concise explanation of why this was wrong, so just kept saying “it’s too busy, too busy!!” We went with white grout – and it looks fabulous, clean and sharp, warmed up by a beautiful American oak counter top. I am very happy. And being not the world’s greatest housekeeper, I do not find it hard to keep clean.

  • Loren says:

    A great post on the use, or overuse, of black. Sadly I’ve been guilty of the latter when I succumbed to the design sensibilities of a male client. What IS it with guys and black leather?!

  • Michelle says:

    I get that black can get heavy and be too much quickly. I like it in little bits. I liked the first image much more than the black and white encaustic tile bathroom. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on micro-cement in the bathroom? Our architect has recommended it in our bathrooms because there is no grout to clean and it is very easy to clean. But what color to choose? It could be any color . . . . how do you keep it timeless?

  • Holly says:

    Black is so heavy. I feel you need a lot of natural light or good interior lighting to go along with it.

  • Tam says:

    While I love a ‘little’ touch of black, I agree that the strong shower door statements really cry out for a simpler faucet or hardware choice. Personally, I feel the black grid shower doors look like a jail cell, so I’m not a fan. Love your pretty bathroom Maria!

  • CR says:

    I think it looks awesome. I also think there is an misunderstanding by some of the posters about soap scum on the grids. The grids are on the outside so the inner wall is just flat glass. Soap scum doesn’t come into play on that. If you don’t like it that’s another issue.

  • sdo says:

    I am starting to plan a bathroom reno. Leaning towards marble porcelain tiles in the shower, simple black framed glass, black faucets and towel bars.
    Probably carry the porcelain tile through the floor as well.
    Grey oak vanity with white quartz top
    Long vanity mirror with simple sleek black lighting and pot lights

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