Tips for Designing Your Ideal Shower
Getting the design of your shower right isn’t always easy. Use these tips to develop an efficient layout and style plan that can’t go wrong.
Size and Location
Depending on your bathroom layout or lifestyle, where you choose to put your shower can vary. The most common spot is in a corner, but it can also be placed in the middle of a room, or a separate enclosed space, like a water closet.
When planning, be mindful that moving plumbing or incorporating additional plumbing will cost money. If your budget doesn’t allow for that, you might want to keep your current location for your updated shower.
As far as size goes, while shower lengths will vary, the most popular shower types require a width of 32, 36 or 60 inches. For really compact spaces, shower dimensions can be reduced as small as 32 by 32 inches, but most homeowners prefer at least 36-by-48-inch showers. Shower ceiling heights run between 84 and 120 inches, depending on the situation.
To nail down shower dimensions, you’ll want to take other bathroom elements into consideration. For instance, how big is your proposed vanity? A bigger vanity may reduce shower space, so if a larger shower is what you really want, a small vanity might be necessary.
Another way to incorporate a bigger shower is to increase the size of your bathroom space by stealing space from an abutting room or closet. You’ll have to consult your design pro to see if that’s a possibility. You may even be able to relocate the bathroom completely to see your vision realized.
Curbed or Curbless?
Shower curbs are the threshold between the bathroom floor and the shower floor. They basically keep water in the shower and serve as a foundation for shower panels and doors.
Conversely, curbless showers provide an uninterrupted transition between the bathroom floor and the shower floor. This not only makes them safer (no stepping over a curb), but also makes them accessible for wheelchair users. In addition, curbless showers feature a more elegant and minimalist look that promotes a bright and open feel — especially in smaller spaces.
When installing a curbless shower, the shower floor will need to be lowered below the bathroom floor in order for there to be a slope to drain the water. That means converting to a curbless version can sometimes prove difficult in existing bathrooms. Be sure to consult a professional about the possibilities in your bathroom space.
Shower-tub combos are a space-saving option that permits quick showers or relaxing baths. They’re also a smart choice when it comes to adding resale value to your home.
Enhancing the aesthetics of a shower-tub combo is as easy as incorporating high-end materials and fixtures, like tiling the walls or adding a high-impact material to the apron front.
If you want the best of both worlds, consider making your tub a walk-in model. The door closes with a watertight seal so that the tub can fill, and the low-curb entrance allows for easy accessibility.
When choosing shower doors, you’ll want to think about whether the door swing infringes on floor space and other bathroom elements, like towel bars, the vanity, toilet and shelving. Shower doors typically run from 22 inches wide to 36 inches wide.
Glass shower doors help make your bathroom feel open and airy, but also let any accent tiles used in the shower be seen. Hinged swinging doors are generally the most popular shower door option. They open out to a 90-degree angle, which gives a large entryway.
If a swing door doesn’t work with the other elements in your space, go with a sliding door instead. Just know that sliding doors can be hard to keep clean. You can also choose to have no shower door at all — a fixed glass panel is not only easy to clean but creates a distinct modern aesthetic. They can be frameless or framed in metal.
The metal finish you choose for your shower door hardware is another thing to consider. You can either have the finish match other finishes in the space, like light fixtures and faucets, or contrast them.
Functional and visually pleasing, a shower bench is a great addition for a shower. It is helpful for people from all walks of life — including those with strength, balance or endurance issues. A bench also supplies a flat surface to place needed products, or can simply serve as a relaxation spot to let the soothing water wash over you.
Bench seats should generally be 17 to 19 inches tall and about 15 inches deep. They should in no way diminish the interior dimensions of the shower. In other words, if your shower is 32 by 32 inches, the bench infringe on those dimensions.
When it comes to bench materials, a slab finish is a great choice for the top of the bench — marble or quartz, for example. To maintain design continuity, try to match the bench top to your vanity countertop. Avoid using tile for the bench top as the grout lines can prove uncomfortable to sit on.
A built-in niche to house shower products is always a smart idea. The question is where to place it, and what size and shape to make it. Step one is to evaluate your most-used products to see what basic size you need. Lighting
As far as placement goes, the most common location is between chest and eye level when standing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you must position it there. Your niche can serve as a visual element in addition to storing products, so can be placed wherever you think looks best.
Keep in mind that the height you place the niche is not the most important aspect, but the actual proportions of the niche. There are no boundaries or standards when it comes to shower niches. You can customize yours into anything you want. The only limitations you have are that it must fit between the wall studs.
If a niche doesn’t fit in your budget, a shower ledge is an alternative that is less expensive. Not only are they more flexible — there are no height restrictions for products placed on a ledge — they can be made to span the length or width of your shower space.
There are many options to consider when it comes to shower fixtures. Style, finish and functionality are three things you want to focus on. A design professional can help you pinpoint the choices that best suit your space and lifestyle.
There are two basic showerhead options: wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted. Wall-mounted showerheads are usually installed 80 inches above the floor. Ceiling-mounted showerheads (also called rain-style) tend to be more expensive and will need additional plumbing.
While showerhead preference varies, most people agree that having a handheld sprayer in the shower is a must-have. They are convenient for simple tasks like rinsing hair, but also make cleaning the shower and washing pets a snap.
There are also other interesting specialty shower options available, including body jets for a massage effect and a steam generator to turn your shower into a personal spa-like steam room.
Since the shower is often a separate area of the bathroom, in most cases it’s safe for it to have its own light. The most popular choice is recessed lighting, since it’s easily sealed from moisture. Just make sure the lighting you choose is appropriately rated for damp areas. This basically means it has a special type of trim to stop the penetration of water.