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Shower curtains are handy for keeping the water in and the cold air out. In fact, a shower curtain serves all kinds of purposes. From being a decorative accent or statement piece in your bathroom, it protects your floors from excess moisture and keeps you warm while you scrub, so you can enjoy a relaxing experience.

However, there's more to choosing shower curtains than just hanging some fabric from a rod. The size, material, and liner all make a difference in managing moisture and heat so you can cut down on cleaning and maintenance of your entire bathroom.

What Is the Best Shower Curtain Material?

You can't use a regular curtain as a shower curtain. It gets too wet, which makes it heavy. This could cause it to fall. It also means it will take a long time to dry, so you'll be dealing with other unsanitary issues like mold and mildew in your bathroom.

Instead, opt for cotton. They last a long time and they're easy to clean in the washer. While it absorbs moisture easily, you can use a liner behind it to protect it from getting too wet.

If you don't want to foot the bill for cotton, you can choose vinyl. It's an easy, low-maintenance option that doesn't cost a lot of money.

Vinyl shower curtains are not very strong though, so be careful hanging them, because they can rip. They also won't last long and don't handle wear and tear very well, but they're cheap and easy to replace.

Vinyl and plastic can wick away moisture and they dry quickly, so you don't need a liner and you won't have to worry about mold and mildew growth. However, there's no denying that cotton gives your bathroom a more elegant look than vinyl or plastic.

Gray Polyester Single Shower Curtain
White Modern Cotton Shower Curtain
White Stylish Vinyl Single Shower Curtain
White Elegant Cotton Blend Shower Curtain
White Elegant Linen Single Shower Curtain
Black Classic Vinyl Shower Curatin

What Are the Best Shower Curtain Colors and Patterns?

White is always a great color for bathrooms because it's clean and crisp. However, you can pick a solid color that pops for a great accent piece in a neutral bathroom. Choose whatever catches your eye, but remember that a shower curtain that's white and airy will make a small bathroom look bigger while a busy, dark, or complicated curtain could visually take up a lot of extra room.

White Elegant Polyester Shower Curtain
White Traditional Polyester Single Shower Curtain
White Elegant Cotton Shower Curtain
White Modern Polyester Single Shower Curtain
Blue Classic Polyester Shower Curtain
Red Simple Polyester Single Shower Curtain
Purple Classic Polyester Shower Curtain

Block color curtains are very popular too. To keep things traditional and harmonious, two neutrals - white and beige or two shades of gray - are a classic choice. Vibrant combinations such as pink and orange are not uncommon either and will make a fabulous addition to guest bathrooms.

If you'd rather make a statement, you can also choose a unique pattern or design that you like. Just make sure it compliments the rest of the bathroom rather than distracting from your decor. Leaf patterns and Ikat prints will greatly complement a boho-style bathroom, gold elements lend a touch of glam, polka dots bring in a playful character, while geometric shapes and cityscapes look great in contemporary bathrooms.

In addition to color, you may also want to consider that design has a big impact on the way your bathroom looks. Some shower curtains hang straight to the floor while others have ruffles, lace, or other bits of flair perfect for feminine spaces.

Gray Modern Cotton Shower Curtain
Blue Classic Cotton Shower Curtain
Modern Polyester Abstract Shower Curtain
White Modern Polyester Dots Shower Curtain
Blue Classic Polyester Single Shower Curtain
Gray Elegant Cotton Shower Curtain

What Styles of Shower Curtain Are There?

There are a lot of different styles of shower curtains to choose from. Most shower curtains have button holes at the top and you'll need to choose rings to hang them from your curtain rod.

However, there are some shower curtains that have larger holes at the top, meant to function as built-in rings. These don't need extra rings to hang because they hang on their own. They are slightly easier to move from side to side on the curtain rod.

Most shower curtains are meant to hang on the outside of the shower while a liner hangs on the inside to protect the curtain and keep water from escaping onto the floor.

You can also get shower curtains with built-in liners so you don't need to buy both. These are more convenient, but if something rips, you have to replace the whole curtain. If you have a separate curtain and liner, you can simply replace the liner every so often and keep the curtain.

White Blue Cotton Shower Curtain
White Modern Polyester Geometric Lines Shower Curtain
Gray Classic Polyester Single Shower Curtain
Gray Modern Polyester Hookless Shower Curtain
White Stylish Polyester Flower Shower Curtain
Gray Modern Polyester Hookless Shower Curtain

How Long Should My Shower Curtain Be?

Your shower curtain should hang about an inch off of the floor. It's important that it hangs close enough to the floor to keep water in the shower. However, it shouldn't drag the floor. If it drags the floor, it will get dirty easier and moisture will pool at the bottom and cause damage to your flooring.

Measure the height from your curtain rod to your floor to ensure you purchase the correct length. Most shower curtains come in a variety of lengths, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find one that works for you.

Extra long curtains can offer a dramatic effect in any bathroom, so you may also consider intentionally raising your curtain rod closer to the ceiling and buying a longer curtain to fit.

Should You Leave Your Shower Curtain Open or Closed?

The entire bathroom looks more elegant and put together when the shower curtain is closed. It hides clutter like your soap, shampoo, and conditioner. Not only that, but it's generally healthier for your bathroom and your air.

Keeping your shower curtain closed allows for your materials to dry quickly and prevents build up of mold, mildew, and bacteria.

What's the best type of shower curtain? This is a question only you can answer. However, with the right combination of style, color, length, and material, you'll have a shower curtain that looks and works great.