Creating a Custom Glass Shower

Reference Number: KB-00886 Last Updated: 05-27-2014 02:02 PM

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Interiors or Home Designer Essentials


I would like to create a custom glass shower enclosure, but am not really sure where to start.  What are some ideas for creating my design?


Several already existing shower and bathtub combinations, as well as enclosures, can be located in the Library Browser  under Fixtures.

However, if you cannot find what you need within the program, we will discuss some of the different ways to customize your bathroom with a custom shower enclosure.  Since there are such a variety of different ways to create a custom glass shower enclosure, we have compiled a list of articles and references to help aid you in your design process.



  • Glass Materials - Glass materials can be located within your Library Browser under the Materials> Glass category. 

    You can also make copies of materials and change their transparency or texture to create new glass materials, or import materials from an outside source.

    Helpful Articles:  Online Help Database Article Number 164 goes over changing the transparency of a material, and information on creating an etched glass material is in Article Number 438 which also includes general steps for creating a new material.

  • Shower Doors* - To create the open glass shower doorway such as the seen above, you can browse within your Library Browser  to Architectural> Fixtures> Enclosures.

    *Home Designer Architectural and Home Designer Pro users only.

    Simply select the enclosure that you want, and click in your plan to place it.

    It can be further adjusted using its edit handles in both 2D and 3D views.

  • Tile Materials - In our first example, we can see that the while the same type of tile is used, it differs in size and orientation.

    We created this effect by creating a copies of the original material from the Library Browser, pasting the copy into our User Catalog folder, and then changing the x and y scale values, in addition to the rotation angle, in the Define Material dialog.

    To learn more about creating copies of materials so that you can edit the scale and size, please see online Help Database Article 863.

  • Half Height Wall - To create a half wall, or partial wall, as shown to the left of the shower enclosure:
  1. Select Build> Wall> Straight Half Wall .

    In versions of the software that do not have a Half Wall tool, instead select the Straight Railing  tool.

  2. In plan view, click and drag out your half wall.

  3. Once placed, use the Select Objects  tool to select the railing and choose the Open Object  edit button to display the Railing Specification dialog.

  4. Select the Railing tab, and set the Railing Height.  (In Home Designer Pro, this setting is located on the Newels/Balusters tab.)

    If you used the Railing tool, go to the Railing tab to change the Railing Type to Solid.

  5. Select the Materials tab and set the Materials for this railing.

  6. Once you have finished making changes, click the OK button to apply them and close the Railing Specification dialog.

    For more information on half, or partial height walls, please see online Help Database Article Number 317.



  • Glass Block Room - In the example above, we used two Straight Half Wall  sections joined by a Curved Half Wall   at the corner to create a shower Room, which is separate from the rest of the bathroom area.

    Once the Half Walls were placed, we raised each one's Railing Height in their specification dialogs, then applied the Glass-Block material located in Materials> Glass.

    Finally, the Floor value for the shower room was raised to 6" on the Structure tab of the Room Specification dialog, so that the base molding applied to the bathroom would wrap around it.

  • Grab Bars - To create the grab bars in the shower in the example above, we used a resized empty towel bar from the Library Browser under the Bathroom Hardware folder.

  • Wall Coverings* - If your version of the software has the Wall Covering tool in either your Room or Wall Specification dialogs, you can apply a wall covering that does not reach all of the way to the ceiling.  Notice that in the image above, neither the tile in the shower "room" nor the tile in the bathroom itself reaches all of the way up to the wall.

    *Wall Coverings are available in Home Designer Interiors, Home Designer Architectural and Home Designer Pro versions of the software.

    If your version has this feature, to learn how to place a Wall Covering, with your program open, select the Help menu and click on Contents and Index.  In the space provided, type in the keywords of Wall Coverings.

    Once this option is highlighted, click on the Display button to learn how to use this tool.

    Helpful Hint: If your version of Home Designer does not have the Wall Covering tool, you can achieve a similar effect by placing thin, resized Partitions  against the walls. 


  • Placing a Door in a Half Wall - If you try to place a door in a railing wall, by default it will first place an open doorway.

    To change this doorway in to a door:
  1. Select the doorway using the Select Objects  tool and click on the Open Object edit button.

  2. On the General tab, change the Door Type from Doorway to Hinged.

  3. For a shower, you will want to change the Door Style to either Slab or Glass.

    If you choose Glass, you will want to also to go to the Frame & Trim tab and set the Frame Bottom and set both the Frame Width and the Frame Bottom to the same value.

  4. While in the Door Specification dialog, you can add a handle to the door and choose whether or not you want to see its hinges on the Hardware tab.

  5. Go to the Materials tab and select on each option to change the material for that component of the door.

  6. To display this door as open in your 3D camera views, return to the General (Options tab in Pro) tab and uncheck the option for Draw Closed.

  7. Once you have completed your changes, click OK to apply them to the door and close the Door Specification dialog.

    Change the swing in floor plan view if you do not want it to display as wide open.



  • Irregular shaped shower - In this case, because of the irregular shape of the shower near the seat, instead of using thin solid railings for this section, we resized partitions and applied a glass material to them so that they would not reach the floor.

  • Changing the material of a wall segment - Unlike the prior example, this shower has tile all of the way up to the ceiling.  Instead of using a wall covering here, we changed the material of the entire Interior Wall Surface of the wall in the Wall Specification dialog.  So that it wouldn't change the entire wall, we placed a break in the walls on either side of the shower using the Break Wall  tool.

    If you are unfamiliar with placing wall breaks to apply a unique material to an individual section of a wall, please see online Help Database article on Changing the Color or Material of a Single Wall 

  • Shower seat - We used a resized cabinet with the doors/drawers removed and applied a tile material to the cabinet and countertop to create the seat in this custom shower.

    To learn more about customizing cabinets for seating, see online Help Database Article Number 856.

  • Shower Niche - To place a niche in a wall, you will want to place a Doorway, resize it in a 3D view, and suppress its casing elements.  You can fill in the back with a thin Soffit .

    To create a wall niche, cubby, or alcove: 
  1. Select Build> Window> Pass-Thru  from the menu, and click on the wall at the location where you would like to create a wall niche.

    In versions of the software without the Pass-Thru tool, instead select Build> Door> Doorway .

  2. Select 3D> Create Camera View> Cross Section/Elevation  from the menu, then click a drag a camera arrow directly at the doorway.

    In versions of the software without the Cross Section/Elevation tool, instead select 3D> Create Camera View> Full Camera .

  3. In the view, use the Select Objects  button to click on the Pass-Thru or Doorway casing to select it.  Using the edit handles, resize until it is the desired size and height above the floor.

    You may want to make a note of the height of the bottom edge of the doorway.

  4. With the Pass-Thru or Doorway still selected, click on the Open Object  edit button to display the Specification dialog and select the Casing tab.

  5.  With the radio button on Interior, change the Casing Width to 0", uncheck Sill, and place a checkmark in Suppress Casing.

    Move the radio button to Exterior and follow the same steps, and click OK once you have finished making these changes to apply them and close the Specification dialog.

  6. Now you are ready to fill in the back of the wall niche.

    In most situations, using a thin Partition  resized slightly larger than the doorway hole and moved to align with the back of the wall works well.

      Note: If this niche is placed in an exterior wall, you may want to place two of the same sized thin soffits or partitions, one to match the exterior material, and one just on the interior side of the first to match the material of the bathroom.

    Remember to hold down the Control key on your keyboard while moving the Partition into place to allow for unrestricted movement.

For more information on creating a wall niche with shelves in it, follow the instructions located in partway down the page in online Help Database Article Number 778, which also explains how to place objects within the niche by setting their Floor to Bottom Height appropriately and using the Control key to move them into place.



  • Curved Shower Walls - For the example above, we used a Curved Half Wall  , and decreased its Thickness to 1/2".  On the Materials tab of the Railing Specification dialog, the Tempered Glass material was applied to the Baluster, and we used Brushed Aluminum for the Rail material to get the metal following along the top of the enclosure.

  • Shower Fixtures - Shower fixtures that are not already attached to a tub or shower combination can be located in the Library Browser under the Fixtures(Interior)> Plumbing Fixtures> Shower Fixtures> Combinations section.

    Importing Shower Fixtures* - You can also import these types of symbols in .obj, .3ds, or .skp formats from an outside source such as Google's 3D SketchUp Warehouse.

    *Home Designer Suite, Home Designer Architectural and Home Designer Pro only

    To learn more about importing outside symbols in to your design, see Article Number 888 of this online Help Database.

  • Changing material colors - If you have found a material in the Library Browser, such as a tile that you like the pattern of, but would prefer in a different color, Home Designer version 8.0 and newer users should consider using the Blend Colors with Materials  tool to combine the color you want with the Material.

    To learn more about how to use this tool, see online Help Database Article Number 131.

  • Decorative items - Decorative items can be arranged inside of cabinetry and shelving.

    To accurately place objects onto shelves, you may find that a combination of moving them in your 2D floor plan view as well as in a 3D Camera  view, or Cross Section/Elevation  view will best achieve the results that you want.
  1. Begin by placing some accessories, such as bottles and a soap dish, in floor plan view.

    You may find it easiest to choose an empty space near the shelves that these items will ultimately be placed on.

  2. Click on an object to select it, and then release the mouse, leaving the select item highlighted. 

    Helpful Hint - You can also Shift + select a group of objects.

  3. Hold down the Control key down on your keyboard, and place your cursor over the Move   edit handle at the center of the selected object.

  4. Click and drag the object into the same space as the shelves.

  5. Create a Cross Section/Elevation  or Full Camera view that shows you accessories and the furniture that they will be placed on.

  6. In the camera view, move each object to the desired height, using the same steps described above.

    The positions of these items can also be adjusted left to right in this view.

    Depending on the type of furniture that the objects are placed in or on, you may find it necessary to raise the heights above the floor of some objects -- either in a Cross Section/Elevation  view or in the objects' specification dialogs -- before moving them into the furniture's space.

    To learn more accurately placing objects, please see Online Help Database Article Number 739.