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Shower Liners vs Shower Curtains: What’s the Difference?


Many of us remember that special occasion of moving into our very first apartment or home. While the memories may be overwhelmingly positive, if you think harder, you’ll remember all the items you neglected to get before moving in, such as a shower curtain.

When you got to the store to pick one out, you were greeted with a wall full of options when you expected a simple choice. Like many before you, you probably reached for the lowest-priced option you could find. But then you noticed that it’s actually a shower liner and not a curtain. So, you pick up a shower curtain instead, but it’s much more expensive and you aren’t quite sure what the difference is. Should you spend the extra money? It does seem more attractive, but are they the same thing? Do you need both?

This article is going to break down the differences between shower curtains and shower liners to answer all of these questions.

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Shower LinersN&Y HOME Fabric Shower Curtain Liner

Generally cheaper than shower curtains, liners are meant to hang to the inside of the tub. They prevent water from splashing out of the tub and getting the surrounding area wet. The cheapest ones are completely plain and very thin, like the N&Y HOME Fabric shower curtain liner, and are usually made from plastic. They may need regular cleaning to avoid mold and mildew from growing. More expensive liners are often made out of mildew-resistant materials instead, so they don’t require the same upkeep. These are often made of vinyl, but they can be made of certain fabrics as well. You’ll often see these in hotels and public bathrooms. Liners will usually have magnets or weights sewn into the bottom. These will adhere to the inside of the tub and make sure there’s no space for water to splash through. Since they prevent water from escaping, shower liners can be used on their own without a shower curtain. The only drawback to doing so would be that they aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as shower curtains, which are designed to improve the décor of the bathroom.

  • Affordable
  • Stops water from escaping the shower
  • Magnets hold the liner to the inside of the tub
  • Can be used by itself without a shower curtain
  • Not as attractive as shower curtains

Shower CurtainsAmazerBath Plastic Shower Curtain

Unlike a shower liner, shower curtains (like the AmazerBath Plastic shower curtain), are meant to hang to the outside of the tub so that it doesn’t get wet. Whereas a shower liner is meant to stop water from getting out of the tub, a shower curtain is meant to stop anyone from being able to look inside. They’re usually made from thick fabric to provide you with privacy while you shower. It’s also a decorative piece made to enhance the look of your bathroom. To that end, many colors, designs, and patterns are available that will match any color scheme or décor.

If you prefer something plain, you can easily find any color you desire, even just plain white or black. On the other hand, if you want to express yourself with your shower curtain, you can find them in every type of design imaginable, some of them going as far as being actual works of art. These can drastically enhance the overall feel of your bathroom in a way that a shower liner never could. For those people who get festive and excited around the holidays, you can even find holiday-themed curtains to match the decorations around the rest of the home, whether it’s for Christmas, Halloween, or even Easter.

  • Decorative
  • Gives you privacy while you shower
  • More expensive than liners
  • Doesn’t stop water from splashing out

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Which One Should You Buy?

Shower curtains and liners both hang from the shower rod down to the tub, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. So, which one is best for your situation, or should you get both? The first thing to consider is your budget. No matter what, you need a liner. But that’s all you need for the most cost-effective solution. Since the liner blocks the water from escaping the shower enclosure, it will keep your bathroom dry and free of sopping messes for you to clean up. A shower curtain on its own will not stop the water from getting out, so you’ll have a big puddle on your hands after each shower. If you feel that you still need more privacy after using the liner, then a curtain can be added. Likewise, if you think the liner is just too plain and you want to spice up the look of your bathroom, a shower curtain is a great way to do so.

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They both seem similar upon first inspection, but the roles performed by shower curtains and liners are very different. A shower liner will hang to the inside of your shower or tub and prevent any water from splashing out onto your bathroom floor. On the other hand, a shower curtain hangs to the outside of the tub and provides privacy but doesn’t stop water from getting out. It does provide aesthetic appeal to the room though, which may be desirable for many people. You only need a shower liner. You can get by without a shower curtain. For the best looks and performance in your bathroom though, you’ll probably want to use both. Just make sure the curtain you pick matches the other colors in your bathroom!

Featured image credit: nolinebrain, Pixabay


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