Use curtain panels instead of a shower curtain when you have a window in a tub

pink bathroom with maroon trimHere’s an idea that I love: When you have a window in a bathtub or shower, and the window is your main source of natural light in the bathroom, consider using curtain panels that hang to the right and left instead of a shower curtain that when open hangs to just one side. This idea came to me from Clive — who did this in his bathroom. It looks so good in this room — the classic 5′ x 8′-ish bathroom with the tub at the end.

As you can see, splitting the panels allows for more of the window to show and to let natural light in. I’m guessing his “shower curtain” panels are made from barkcloth. These look so nice framing that tub and that window. And in the case of this bathroom and its layout, when you need to keep the curtain open to see the window, the symmetry is so much more pleasing than having a single panel pushed against the wall one side or another. Pinch pleat them or french pleat them at the top maybe even?

A universe of fabric choices if you split your shower curtain into two panels

Using this idea of two panels opens up an enormous world of fabric choices, as well. Easy to purchase fabric  does not come in the 72″ width necessary to make a single shower curtain panel sans inside seams. But, you can get 45″ fabric and 54″ fabric — easy to make two coordinating shower curtain panels with these. I guess you’d need to “worry” about moisture — but you’re not going to tuck these inside the shower. I guess I’d just clean them as required when necessary.

One “new” requirement to this idea, though: I’m guessing there is a second rod that holds a single fabric liner panel, which you would need to tuck inside the tub when you take a shower.

Keeping tile clean

One final note: My tile installer told me to always leave my shower curtain open after I shower, to let the tile dry well. I am still doing the research, but ever since I discovered ROG1 and ROG3, I am more interested in the chemistry of how dirt sticks to tile. Because I was told that these two cleaning products (the ROGs) feature a “calcium reducer”… and triangulating to what my tile installer told me… and also remembering companies also tell you to “wipe dry” your fixtures and tile after using the shower or bath as part of the maintenance routine: I am surmising that the reason that tile gets so “dirty” isn’t fundamentally because of the dirt, it’s because of the water trapping the dirt and calcifying it into place.

I think we will have more photos coming of Clive’s house, we’re chasing after him for the story. He initially wrote:

Dear Pam,

Here are some pics of my home built in 1952 Hollywood, Fl
I have all the original tiles in bathrooms and pink terrazzo floors.
I also have original frosted and clear jalousie windows. The house has a sloped angled roof with exposed wood beam ceilings, with clear story frosted jalousie windows.

Thanks for your site,

Thank YOU, Clive — what a terrific idea and what a lovely bathroom!

  1. Lydia says:

    I’ve also used twin sheets for shower curtains so that they separate like regular curtains. They can be really inexpensive and there are lots of patterns and colors to choose from.

  2. Bill Yockey says:

    A 1938 Minimal Traditional cottage here, have an almost authentic bathroom with two side of the tub open (has an L-Shape shower rod), so it seemed that the best choice was to used two shower curtains.
    Ironically enough bought shower curtains from Target and ended up using them as curtains in the breakfast nook.

  3. Sandra says:

    I always leave my shower curtains “closed” that is, unfolded or open to the air, because if you don’t, they’ll mildew. The less time they spend damp, the less chance of mildew and mold.

    Air circulation is key for drying both the curtains and the tiles, so having a fan on a timer is useful, too. In reasonable weather, leave the window open.

  4. Lynn-O-Matic says:

    This does look SO fabulous! I love this bathroom.

    You don’t have to have a second rod for this. The vinyl liner and fabric curtains can go on the same set of hooks. But if you did have a second rod I guess you could have one continuous liner if you don’t trust people to pull it shut in the middle. (I can’t even get my people to put the curtain INSIDE the tub and pull it shut at both ends, so maybe the single liner is a pretty good idea after all!)

  5. Janet in Ct says:

    Beautiful bathroom! I love the colors and the pattern on the curtains is really great! This is a color combo that I can picture all different fabric patterns with! Great job!

  6. Jim in Seattle says:

    My housecleaners told me that to reduce spotting and “film” on my shiny black shower tiles, I should stop using bar soap and switch to a liquid, like Dr. Bronner’s. Apparently, there is a mineral that is added to bar soap in the production process that helps it stay solid, and this is the culprit when it comes to spots and residue. I followed their advice, and it really works!

  7. Diane in CO says:

    We love Dr. Bronner’s — but that is a relic from our ’70’s past….. time to look up Dr. Bronner’s current address it seems 🙂 Good tip!

  8. Diane in CO says:

    This look in the bathroom is inspired and lovely! Cool fabric and just by dividing it on either side, it lends an entirely different feel. Great idea!

  9. Lauryn says:

    I love this bathroom … the colors and tile are so beautiful and I love how the tub/window are framed with the curtains. We have an almost identically shaped bathroom, but I fear how moldy the shower curtain would get if it weren’t closed to allow it to dry. (I also must confess that I like to be able to hide the tub/shower when I haven’t had time to clean!) I love having light in the bathroom, though, so we use a clear liner and a very sheer white curtain. Allows the light AND lets me hide my less-than-spotless housekeeping skills!

  10. Marta says:

    As Jim said, do not use any opaque soaps in your bath/shower. It acts like glue to stick everything to the surfaces. What he didn’t say is that it’s doing the same thing to your drain pipes.

    I’ve found that clear hard soaps like Neutrogena don’t cause the same problem. Hair conditioner, however, is another ‘let’s glue stuff to the tub and tile’ problem.

  11. MB from CT says:

    It never occurred to me to try two curtain panels in a bathtub and I think it is a great idea, whether you have a window or not. Clive, the panels you have were a great choice. And I love the contrast of the pink and maroon tiles.

  12. Peggi says:

    I’ve been doing this for years – recently – changed to using a double hook curtain hook with one liner – prisim clear to allow light but privacy if someone accidently walks in and the short panels at either end with the clearish showing thru in the middle to allow light. I still get the light but I also can close the curtain for drying AND cover a dirty tub if need be – best of all worlds 🙂

Leave a Reply

Commenting: Information

All comments are moderated, generally within 24 hours. By using this website you are agreeing to the site's >> Terms of Service, << which include commenting policies, and our >> Privacy Notice. << Before participating, read them in full.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.