7 Steps to an Outstanding Shower Design
Before jumping headfirst into a shower remodel, it’s important to know what to consider. Here are seven things to focus on when planning your new shower space.
1. Shower Size
While those remodeling an existing shower area might be dealing with a predetermined shower size, homeowners building a completely new bathroom or taking their bathroom down to the studs will have to figure out the best size shower for their space.
A typical shower, which a large number of homeowners find suits their needs, measures 3 feet by 5 feet. This size is generally big enough to move around in, and is sufficient for fitting a bench and a few niches for shampoo and other necessities.
That being said, some homeowners will prefer something larger than the standard 15-square-foot shower. Oversized showers never feel confined, and are capable of fitting more than one bench and showerhead. They typically measure anywhere from 6 to 10 feet long and 4 to 5 feet deep.
If planning a new home, consider including an oversized shower into your bathroom — you won’t regret it. If renovating, it may be possible to pull out an unused bathtub and refashion that space into a large shower.
2. Glass Placement
Because most showers feature at least two full walls, one of which is used for plumbing, homeowners usually have the choice of whether or not to include glass walls in their shower design.
What do glass walls add to a bathroom? They can instantly make the room feel bigger and more airy, especially in tighter spaces. Just keep in mind that glass will require more upkeep than a tiled wall — it must be kept clean to avoid streaks. Depending on your shower design, glass can also cost more. On average, glass shower enclosures total a few thousand dollars. This might be less than constructing a wall and adding tile, however.
Enclosed shower designs tend to be better for privacy issues. They usually have three solid walls and an opening for a shower curtain or glass door. If you prefer an open shower design but aren’t a fan of all-glass doors, half walls make a good compromise.
3. Shower Wall Tile Design
There are countless tile design options available, including ceramic and porcelain, natural stones like marble or travertine, or even glass tiles. Porcelain typically surpasses natural stone and ceramic since it’s low maintenance and does so well at resisting water. Natural stones require sealing.
The large amount of tile options may overwhelm you when trying to develop the look of your shower. Here are a few ideas that might help:
If you find yourself unable to choose between two different tiles or shapes of tiles, consider using them both by employing a wainscot-like design. For example, two types of tile that work well together are classic subway tiles and a herringbone pattern. Another way to use a second tile is as an accent inside your shower niches or as a mosaic border through your shower, either vertically or horizontally.
Natural stone is another popular tile option. To showcase the natural beauty and variety of the stone, mix shapes or colors. As mentioned before, natural stone must always be sealed.
For a clean, streamlined design, simply use the same type of tiles on your entire shower.
4. Bench or No Bench?
Shower benches bring comfort to your shower design while also adding convenience. In addition, they’re an important safety feature for the elderly or disabled, reducing slipping hazards by allowing them to sit. Showers larger than 3 by 3 feet are able to fit long benches with lots of space for seating.
For smaller showers, the best option might be a corner bench. Corner benches can be either portable or built into the shower. While portable benches may cost less, they aren’t as stable as built-in benches. One smart option for older homeowners is to install a shower bench beneath a handheld shower head, which allows for an easier and safer bathing experience.
5. The Shower Floor
Having a slip-resistant surface and being low maintenance are two of the top priorities for homeowners when it comes to shower floor materials. Pebbles, textured porcelain and tumbled travertine all provide grip to lessen incidences of slipping and falling. However, they may need more maintenance than other options because they require grout. Conversely, other shower floor types, like acrylic shower bases or wood, require less maintenance but may not provide adequate slip resistance. You’ll have to evaluate the pros and cons of each option to find the best solution for your specific situation.
6. Type of Fixtures
Although the style and finish of your fixtures definitely matters, they aren’t all there is to think about. In fact, one of the biggest decisions you’ll make regarding fixtures is what type of showerhead you want in your shower, and how many. Most showers only have a single showerhead, but some contain two or even three. Rain heads are quite popular for those who are looking for a spa-like experience. Handheld shower heads are another popular choice because of the convenience they provide. Ultimately, your specific needs and lifestyle will dictate the best choice for your household.
Getting back to finish and style, either of these two have the power to make or break your design. Generally, sleek fixtures complement contemporary and modern showers while more ornate fixtures are a good fit for rustic, traditional or farmhouse-style designs. Brushed nickel, stainless steel and chrome are thought of as contemporary styles, but can also work with rustic and traditional spaces. Oil-rubbed bronze fits best with traditional spaces.
7. Soap and Shampoo Storage
When it comes to storing your soap and shampoo in the shower, there are basically two choices: built-in niches or wall-mounted corners. Niches generally provide more storage space and are a more seamless fit within your shower design. However, they tend to be more costly and require more planning details, like knowing ahead of time which wall they will be placed on. Wall-mounted corners are smaller and more low-profile, and can save you hundreds of dollars.