Design Your Perfect Shower

A spacious, spa-like shower is at the top of many people’s bathroom wish lists. But getting the design of your shower right isn’t always easy. For help designing your ideal space, here are some tips to create an efficient layout and bring in stylish details.

Start With Location And Size

Where would you like your shower to stand? A corner is the most common spot, but the center of a room or a separate enclosed area like a water closet might be best for your layout or lifestyle.

Keep in mind that moving or adding plumbing costs money, sometimes a lot of money. So if that’s not in your budget, try to keep your updated shower in the same location as your previous one.

If you’re wondering how much space you’ll need, consider that the most popular shower widths are 32, 36 and 60 inches. Shower dimensions can be as small as 32 by 32 inches, but most people prefer a shower that’s at least 36 by 48 inches. Shower ceiling heights typically fall between 84 and 120 inches, depending on the space and the design.

You’ll also want to consider the dimensions of other elements in your bathroom before deciding on your shower size. For example, the size of your planned vanity might require a reduced shower space, so you might want to consider going for a smaller vanity to get a larger shower.

Another thing to consider is increasing the size of your bathroom to get the shower size you want. Talk with a design pro about opportunities to steal space from an adjacent closet or bedroom or even whether relocating the bathroom to another room in the house is the best move.

If you have the room, consider placing a freestanding tub within your shower. This wet-room concept creates a beautiful spa-like environment and an attractive visual statement.

Layout, size and plumbing conditions make a wet room difficult to create in some bathrooms, so working with a professional maybe crucial to getting it right.

There can be some drawbacks to a wet-room arrangement. A freestanding bathtub will probably get splashed whenever you use the shower, so you may need to do a quick wipe-down of the tub. Plus, freestanding tubs often cost more than alcove tubs because they’re more complex and have additional design features.

Curbed Or Curbless

Shower curbs serve as the threshold between the floor of the shower and the bathroom floor. They keep water in the shower, and they sometimes serve as a base for mounting shower doors and panels.

Curbless showers, on the other hand, feature a continuous transition between the bathroom floor and the shower floor, making them safer to use — no potentially hazardous step over a curb. This also makes them wheelchair-accessible.

Curbless showers offer a minimalist, elegant aesthetic and can help create a bright and airy feel, which is especially appealing in a small room.

To achieve proper drainage in a curbless shower, you’ll need to lower the shower floor below the bathroom floor to create a slope to the drain. That means that switching to curbless can sometimes be tricky in an existing bathroom if you’re not raising the level of the flooring in the entire space. Again, talking to a professional about what’s possible — and practical — in your space maybe something you want to look into.

The recommended minimum slope for a curbless shower is about 4%, or a half-inch drop per every 12 inches from the shower walls to the drain.


Consider A Shower-Tub Combo

A space-saving shower-tub combo allows for the option of a quick shower or a relaxing soak. It’s also a good choice for resale value if you don’t have a tub elsewhere in your home, as a future buyer might want one.

You can upgrade the visual aesthetic of a shower-tub combo by incorporating higher-end fixtures and materials, such as adding tile to the walls or a stylish material to the apron front. 

Showcase Shower Doors

A glass enclosure will make your bathroom feel light and airy and will allow accent tile in the shower to become a focal point. Hinged shower swing doors are the most popular option. They can open outward to a 90-degree angle, providing a safe, wide and open entry, or they can swing inward, or both.

You’ll want to consider how the door swing affects available floor space and other elements, such as the toilet, towel bars etcetera. Shower doors are typically made at a minimum of 22 inches wide and a maximum of 36 inches wide.

Also think about the metal finish of your shower door hinges and hardware. This finish can match other finishes in the room, such as faucets and light fixtures, or contrast with them for a mixed-metals look.

If you know a swing door won’t work, go for a sliding door. But keep in mind that sliding doors are known to be difficult to clean because the track and components can accumulate buildup.

You can also opt for no door at all. A fixed panel of glass creates a modern look that’s easy to clean. These panels can be framed in metal or frameless.

Most shower glass is fabricated at ⅜ inch or 10mm thick so it’s durable, safe and long-lasting. Standard openings range from 22 to 26 inches depending on the shower size. 

Set Up Seating

A shower bench is a functional addition. Not only is it a place to sit and shave legs, but it can also help people with balance, strength or endurance difficulties. It also provides a surface to place products on. Or it can just be a spot to take a moment and let the hot water wash over you.

A shower bench seat should be 17 to 19 inches high and 15 inches deep and must not infringe on the interior size of the shower. That means that if your shower size is the minimum 32 by 32 inches, the bench should not take away from those dimensions.

In terms of materials, a slab finish, at least for the top of the bench is the best. This could be marble or quartz, for example. Usually, match the bench slab top to your vanity countertop for design continuity. Tiling the top of your bench, isn’t the beat because the grout lines can be uncomfortable to sit on.

Include A Niche

A niche to store shower products is always a good idea. Consider placement, orientation and size. Take inventory of your most-used products to ensure your niche is the right size.

The most common shower niche placement is at chest to eye level when standing. But that doesn’t always have to be the case. You can use wall tiles as a guide, so the niche can fit in nicely without disturbing the pattern.

Remember, it’s not really the height at which you position the shower niche that’s most important but the proportions of the niche itself. There’s no standard shape or size for a shower niche, which means you can customize it in any way you see fit. Just keep in mind that the niche will have to sit between the wall studs, or the wall studs will need to be customized to accommodate the niche, both of which will add costs to your shower.

An affordable alternative to the wall niche is a shower ledge. These provide flexibility for what you place on top because there aren’t any height restrictions, and you can specify the length to span the width or length of your shower.

Choose The Right Fixtures

What would your shower be without the plumbing parts? As you probably know, there’s a vast array of options to consider when it comes to shower heads and controls. You’ll want to look at the style, functionality and finish. 

There are two options for shower heads: ceiling-mounted or wall-mounted. Wall-mounted shower heads are typically installed at 80 inches above the finished floor. Ceiling-mounted, or rain-style, shower heads are generally more expensive and require additional plumbing. Some people love rain-style shower heads for the soothing patter of water; others feel the pressure isn’t always strong enough to wash hair products out. Some people like having both options.

What most people agree on is that a handheld sprayer is vital. These are great for rinsing shaved legs, spraying down the shower enclosure or washing pets.

Body jets are another option. These sprayers can be installed on one or multiple walls and at various heights for a crisscross water massage.

For the ultimate indulgence, go for a steam generator. This allows you to seal off your shower and fill it with steam to create your own spa-like steam room.

You’ll need a way to circulate the air in the shower after you use the steam function to dry the space out. Powerful vent fans and pivoting panels will get the job done.

The placement of your fixtures is another important consideration. An ideal location is at the entrance to the shower, opposite the shower head, so you don’t get a blast of cold water when reaching in to turn on the water. This arrangement can cost more because of the labor involved and the extra lengths of plumbing pieces needed.

Add Technology

High-tech upgrades to your shower can let you use a phone app or other control hub to set and control the water temperature, pressure, spray and options for heated floors or lighting. There are voice-activated options so you can sync your shower experience with your Alexa or other device. There are shower heads with waterproof speakers. Ionized shower heads. Essential-oil-infused shower heads, and so much more. If you’re a tech-y person, this is an area you’ll want to spend a lot of time looking into.

That being said, the technology and software changes so rapidly that many homeowners are concerned about the tech becoming obsolete in a few years and the bathrooms becoming dated and therefore not very appealing to a future buyer. Instead, spend your money on nicer materials or fixtures.

Let In The Light

The shower is often designed to be a separate area of your bathroom. In that sense, the shower is its own zone and therefore, in most cases, should have its own dedicated light.

Recessed lighting is the most popular because it can be easily sealed from moisture. Just be sure the fixture you choose is rated for damp locations, meaning it has specialized trim to prevent water from getting inside.

Access Accessories

They might seem like small details, but accessories such as towel hooks, rings and bars can make a world of difference in how your bathroom functions. Install a hook or bar right by the shower entrance — or even better, inside the shower.

Tile grout is the safest spot to anchor these fixtures, but you can also secure hooks and bars through tile. Just be sure you have a skilled professional who uses the right drill bit and pressure so your tile doesn’t crack.

The shower drain is often overlooked as a design accessory. You have two basic options: a standard drain cover or a linear one.

Standard center drain covers are the most common and cost-effective options. There’s plenty of variety in terms of finish, shape and hole pattern, so spend a little time going through what’s available in your price range. You’ll also want to consider how the manufacturer’s finish coordinates with other finishes in your shower and bathroom.

A linear drain, offers a bit more design impact and is especially effective in curbless shower setups.

Tile insert drains can hold a custom piece of cut tile that matches your shower floor, creating a blended look.


Shower Features Pros Love

Here are some must have features you can used to boost your shower’s functionality, versatility and style.

Handheld Shower Head

The most recommended shower feature is a handheld shower head. A combination of a shower head and a handheld sprayer, not only is it great for normal bathing but it makes cleaning a breeze. 

The versatility of a hand shower is hard to beat. Besides the obvious ease of use for rinsing off in the shower, it’s also great for cleaning pets, kids or the shower itself. It’s a useful feature that enhances the function of any type of shower, from a simple shower-tub combo to a large spa-style shower.

To increase the utility of a handheld shower, add one that attaches to a slide bar. Doing so allows you to raise or lower the handheld sprayer, a helpful option for young kids or tall adults.

Handheld sprayers are versatile enough to be utilized as the primary shower head or as an additional feature in larger showers.

Shower Niche

A shower niche makes storing bath products in an easy-to-reach location. Shower niches have been around for quite some time, and if you can put one in they are a necessity. When possible, try to tuck them away so you don’t see all your random shampoo and soap containers.

Make a shower niche as large as possible for maximum impact. A lot of times a niche is only as wide as the space between two studs. An infinity niche, if possible, will go wall to wall and offer a ton of space for products. 

Shower Shelving

For an existing shower that doesn’t have a shower niche, adding a shower shelf is a budget-friendly option that will look better than a wire basket over a shower head or a storage basket on a shower floor.

Instead of adding a built-in niche, simply add a mounted shelf that matches the plumbing. It saves on labor and tile costs and will make a big impact.

Shower Bench

Many design and remodeling pros are creating bathrooms with aging-in-place considerations in mind. As a result, shower benches are a recommended feature.

Adding a bench to showers is becoming a standard practice. Homeowners lifestyles are such that they plan to live in their home for many years; therefore designing spaces that adapt and function for the various stages and phases of life is important.

For showers that are on the smaller side, you can add a floating shower bench. That way you get more floor space to stand and your toes aren’t hitting the front edge of the bench.

Shaving Niche And Ledge

Another shower feature is a built-in shaving niche. Incorporating a shaving niche, for those who don’t want a built-in bench, allows a spot to rest your foot when shaving your legs to reduce the potential for fall and slips.

Adding a small foot ledge for shaving is another option that works well, and it can be installed in an existing shower at a lower cost than a built-in shaving niche. They take up minimal space and use corners wisely. 

Linear Drain

Another shower feature ideal for aging-in-place is a linear drain. Using a linear drain can avoid a shower curb, making it easy to walk straight into a shower without obstruction. It’s perfect for those who are aging in place or thinking about that in the future. It’s also a cleaner look because they help create a more unified look and open up tile options.

When using a linear drain, bigger tiles can be used for the shower pan. This means that the same tile can be used for the bathroom floor and inside the shower. Doing this makes the room look more uniform and cohesive.

Steam Shower

Looking for a luxurious, spa-like experience? Add a steam shower; this can boost a shower’s appeal and potentially add some health benefits.

Steam showers help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, help with allergy relief and improve sleep.

Statement Tile

Covering shower walls and floors in statement-making tile is a great way to enhance the appearance of a shower. 

Consider using statement tile to follow the angles and architecture of a shower. Don’t be afraid to make it a focal point. Play with large- and small-scale tile in the same colorway and things will always work well together.


2023 Design Trends

Find inspiration — and optimism — in styles, materials, colors and features expected to be on trend this year. A lot of homeowners are emerging from the last couple of years with renewed vigor for creating lively homes full of color, pattern, texture and optimism.

Here are some home design and remodeling trends that homeowners and pros are excited about. 


Modern Rustic Style

A few themes weave throughout 2023 design trends. Among them are the use of natural materials and a general feeling of warmth. You’ll find both in a modern rustic style that is showing up in kitchens.

Think natural wood cabinets and other wood details paired with natural stone countertops and backsplashes, with a few modern elements thrown in.

Elegant Farmhouse Style

Another style showing up in kitchens is a more elegant take on the modern-farmhouse style that’s been popular in recent years. Shaker-style cabinets, apron-front sinks and furniture-style islands and cabinets are the elements being seen. But you’ll also notice the use of dramatic cabinet colors, oversize range hoods and slab stone backsplashes.

Modern Spanish Style

Meanwhile, an updated approach to Spanish style is also taking hold. Terra-cotta floor tile, an arched range hood with hand-painted terra cotta tile backsplash, a custom island with an end-grain walnut butcher block counter or spindle leg details update old-world style with a contemporary twist.

Warm and Soft Palettes

While some homeowners are desiring more bold color in their kitchens, many are looking for warm and soft styles that elicit a restful, relaxing atmosphere. To do that, embrace greige or off-white cabinets, light woods, subtle patterns and warm bronze and brass finishes.

Natural Materials

Natural materials are always in style. Homeowners are installing quartzite and other natural stone countertops, as well as marble tile and wood cabinets and vanities, especially white oak. Homeowners are also gravitating to natural materials that add character, uniqueness and authenticity to a space.

Blue Features

White and gray are by far the most popular colors used in kitchens. But when homeowners stray from that palette, they often choose blue. In fact, when a homeowner chooses to go with an island color that contrasts with the surrounding cabinets, more than a quarter will select blue.

Green Cabinets

In addition to blue, green is quickly gaining favor in kitchens, especially for cabinets. Both light and dark greens work well with wood details and brass finishes, creating a warm, rich look.

Wood Cabinets

Wood cabinets are trending along with the surge in natural materials. White oak seems to be dominating the choices, but walnut is also popular.

Creative Island Seating

Casual seating is just one of many appeals of a kitchen island. While the traditional seating arrangement has typically been a row of stools on one side facing the cooking area, some homeowners are seeking alternative setups to accommodate a variety of needs, such as the ability to sit face to face with guests or sit at a standard dining table height. As a result, we’re seeing a lot of islands with creative seating arrangements, such as two-tiered designs with seating for 10 and dropped-down or raised-up areas for various needs.

Commercial-Style Faucets

Many home chefs are gravitating to commercial-style kitchen features to better tackle cooking tasks. In response, many faucet brands have launched new commercial-style faucet lines that blend industrial and modern looks.

Workstation Sinks

Workstation sinks are also part of the drift toward commercial-style features. These have been around for many years now, but manufacturers have caught up to the demand and now offer all kinds of sizes, styles and accessories for things like chopping, straining, drying and other functions.

Induction Cooktops

It seems these days many people are jumping on the induction cooktop bandwagon. For the uninitiated, this method uses electricity to heat pots and pans directly through magnetic induction. These cooktops work with many types of pots and pans — such as stainless steel, cast iron and porcelain enamel on metal — but they don’t work on all, so you might have to replace some of your cookware. If a magnet sticks firmly on the bottom of a pot or pan, the piece will work with induction.

The benefit is that those pots and pans heat much quicker and cook more evenly than with gas or electric cooktops.


Natural Materials

As mentioned, natural materials are experiencing a surge in interest. In bathrooms, that means natural wood vanities, stone countertops especially marble and stone tile flooring and walls.

Curbless Shower With Continuous Flooring

Curbless showers have been a popular bathroom feature for a while. Often the shower flooring is tile in a smaller size or different material than the main flooring, to provide a nonslip surface in the wet area. But more recently, many designers are running that mosaic tile continuously through the entire bathroom, including the curbless shower area. This approach further enhances the sleek, streamlined effect of a curbless shower design, extends the nonslip surface and helps a small space appear larger than it is.

White-and-Blue Palettes

Similar to blue accents in kitchens, this color is becoming a go-to in many bathrooms to perk up popular all-white palettes without veering too bold.

Bathing Experiences

Many homeowners are looking to create bathrooms that function for more than just bathing. They want relaxing experiences.

To create that, many are embracing pamper-me features like multiple shower heads with various spray settings, such as deep massage or warm mist.

Bold-Contrast Bathrooms

All-white bathroom finishes continue to dominate homeowners’ choices. But in recent years some people have been inching toward hits of dark contrasting colors. Navy blue vanities and accent tile have gained popularity, and some homeowners are taking a step further to the dark side with jet-black vanities and other black details set against crisp white backdrops. The white finishes keep things light and airy, while the black creates a touch of drama. Brass details and wood-look tile flooring help add warmth to the classic palette.

Living Rooms

Modern Rustic Living Rooms

In living rooms, demand for natural materials is leading to a modern rustic style that’s both rugged and cozy. Natural stone fireplaces and surrounds, wood beams and off-white walls mix with comfortable furnishings in organic whites, browns and beiges to create an updated look that feels anchored to a rural past.

Color, Color, Color

A renewed interest in bright and bold color is one of the trends design and remodeling professionals are talking about. The shift away from mostly neutrals and whites is something many pros attribute to the pandemic. These days, homeowners seem more adventurous and willing to take a chance on creating brighter, more vibrant spaces. Wallpaper is helping fuel the rush to color, with many homeowners using wild patterns and colors to add pop and personality.

Warmed-Up Gray Palettes

Despite the resurgence of interest in bold color, neutral palettes still dominate many homeowners’ preferences. White and wood remains popular, but warmed-up gray and greige palettes are on the rise.

Layers of Textures

One phrase that is coming up again and again is “layered texture” in decor, wallpaper, materials and accessories. We’re seeing a lot of designers layer wood, rattan, stone, metal finishes, concrete and various textural fabrics in a room to create a dynamic style full of visual and tactile interest.

Connections to the Outdoors

Homeowners have long craved deep connections to outdoor spaces. Sliding glass doors that completely open interior spaces to the outside are at the top of many dream features lists. But many pros are helping homeowners find more affordable ways to bring the outdoors in. Adding large windows can maximize views and bring in tons of natural light in a less expensive way than fully glazed walls. Meanwhile, a focus on natural materials and colors, as well as wallpaper prints that recall nature, are also helping homeowners feel connected to the outside.


Custom built-in cabinets give homeowners storage and display space as well as a finished look, which is why they’re one of the top design features professionals recommend in a living room.

Multiple Seating Options

If you want to create a living room that can handle intimate occasions and lively parties, pros recommend integrating various seating options that can accommodate multiple family members and guests.

Consider combinations of sofas, love seats, ottomans, armchairs, swivel chairs and even window benches and fireplace hearths. 

Large Area Rugs

Another living room feature pros often recommend is a large area rug that anchors the room and provides a jumping-off point for building a cohesive color palette and adding texture and softness.

Other Interior Trends


Wallpaper is contributing to an expansion of bold color and pattern being used in the home. 

Playful Traditional Style

In light of homeowners embracing bright color, wild wallpaper and layered looks, many pros are seeing a maximalist decor style take hold, specifically a perked-up traditional look that combines vintage pieces with lots of upbeat pattern and wall coverings. Think of it as a traditional style returning in a fun way. Some pros say supply chain issues during the pandemic helped spawn the trend by forcing homeowners to look locally for antiques and recycled, repurposed or reupholstered pieces with whimsical details and a pretty patina.

Home Offices


When storage and organization are a top priority, going the custom built-in route is what pros recommend. Similar to what we’re seeing in living rooms, built-ins are showing up in many home offices to tackle storage and display space.

Laundry Rooms

Moody Cabinet Colors

Moody cabinet colors are an ongoing trend in kitchen-inspired looks showing up in laundry rooms. 

Mesh Cabinet Fronts

One interesting feature showing up in laundry rooms is mesh-front cabinet doors. These allow users to air-dry delicates inside without leaving them on display to visually clutter up the room.


Dark Millwork Accent Walls

Speaking of moody colors, the approach is also making its way into bedrooms as a dark accent wall behind the headboard, most often accompanied by millwork. The approach helps add depth to a room, allows the bed to stand out as a focal feature and creates dramatic style.


Beige Is Back

As mentioned, greens and blues remain popular with homeowners, especially in kitchens and bathrooms, but warmer colors seem to be dominating many interiors. 

The big news is that beige is back, but it has different undertones than those from ’90s beige. It’s less yellow and instead has pink or green undertones.

Dramatic Exterior Palettes

When it comes to exteriors, white board-and-batten or vertical siding continues to be popular. Lately, these bright whites are being contrasted with black details such as window and trim to create graphic curb appeal.

On the other hand, there is a shift to less contrasting colors. Darker siding colors in muted shades of blue, green, warm gray or tan are complemented by trim and accent colors that are just a few shades lighter or darker than the siding. Depending on the architectural style of the home, a fun accent color for the front door also remains popular.



Outdoor Lounges

Over the last couple of years, homeowners are looking to their outdoor spaces to accommodate a variety of activities, including cooking, dining and exercising. But few things trump lounging, and increasingly these areas is garnering a lot of attention.

Durable, comfortable furnishings, stylish shade structures and pampering features like outdoor heaters, fire pits, chandeliers and water elements can create an enviable lounge area. 


A desire for sustainable materials and features has been common for a number of years now. But it seems an intense shift is on the horizon. Many homeowners, manufacturers and design and remodeling professionals appear to be converging with a shared interest in using long-lasting materials, water-saving features, both inside and out, energy-efficient appliances and windows, and products sourced and made in environmentally friendly ways.


Bathroom Upgrades

If you’re redoing your bathroom, chances are your budget isn’t endless and you need to think carefully about where to spend and where to save. So which upgrades are worth the extra expense and will make a significant difference to the look and functionality of the space? 


Adding a skylight is one of the most effective upgrades you can make to a bathroom. Having natural light streaming in from overhead creates a serene, spa-like atmosphere. It also means you can do away with having a window, which gives you more scope with shower placement.

There are many options available, from solar-powered and electrically operable skylights to ones with tinted glass in various sizes and finishes. What you choose will depend on your roof type and budget.

For a new build, plan the skylight early so it’s factored into the roof shape and orientation. If you’re renovating, you’ll need a builder to assess for obstructions in the roof space.

Also be aware that having constant sun streaming into a bathroom can make it uncomfortably hot, depending on the room’s size and orientation. If this is the case in your bathroom, be sure to invest in some motorized blinds to cut the glare.


Integrated Electrical Outlets

If you have chargeable shavers or electrical toothbrushes or if you plan on using or charging any electrical devices in the bathroom, consider installing electrical outlets inside cabinets or drawers to avoid countertop clutter and messy, dangling power cords.

Power docks aren’t just for custom vanities — you’ll find them in some off-the-shelf vanities too. Just be sure to tell your electrician early on that you want outlets integrated into your vanity or drawers so he or she can plan for them.


Mirrored Cabinet

Upgrading from a regular mirror to a mirrored cabinet will help keep your countertop clear. It’s the perfect spot to house all those small creams, tubes and bottles at a convenient eye level.

Mirrored cabinets do not need to be expensive and can either be partially recessed into the wall or surface-mounted. Just be aware that your choice of installation will affect your lighting options for around the mirror.

Exhaust Fan

Problems with air circulation will bring down even the loveliest of bathrooms. Ensure that you specify an exhaust fan within the design to remove excess moisture and odors, and help prohibit the formation of mold in your bathroom. If you’re concerned about noise, check the labelling and choose an exhaust fan with a lower decibel rating.

Underfloor Heating

Stepping onto a warm bathroom floor is a joy on those cold winter mornings. Be aware that you’ll need to specify it right at the start of the build or remodeling process.


Custom Cabinetry

Custom cabinetry adds so much to a bathroom. Buying something off the shelf means, you can never achieve the perfect fit, look and functionality. Spending a little more for custom cabinetry allows you to achieve a completely tailored look to their bathroom and their individual needs. And again, it needs to be decided upon in the planning stage of your build or renovation to allow for space planning.


Drawer Storage

Upgrading your vanity from a style with doors to one with drawers is worth the extra outlay as it gives you far more functional storage. Drawers are also easier to clean as you don’t have to reach awkwardly into the back of cupboards.


Shower Niche

Dispense with the shower shelf and opt for a niche instead. It provides a neat, practical spot to store shampoos and soap, and it won’t encroach on your standing space in the shower. Plus, a niche creates a far more sophisticated and streamlined look.

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