For many, the shower is a sacred place. It is where people start their mornings, where they wash off the day’s stresses at night, and is the source of endless relaxation. Given its impact on their daily routines, people are investing in their showers—and in themselves—now more than ever.
But before the clothes come off and the water gets hot, we have to uncover all the elements involved in a shower upgrade.
A new shower can be influenced by many things, but some of the biggest inspirations are relaxation and functionality. “Today’s homeowners have a major desire to transform their bathrooms into a total spa experience that lets them relax and rejuvenate,” says Meagan Nettling, group channel marketing manager with Moen. “The showering experience can be very therapeutic and offers people a moment of solitude in a fully customizable way.”
Homeowners also want their space to work hard for them. Some just want a shower that complements their busy morning routines, while others want to build a space they can use even as they age.
And, since many people are now focused on building multi-generational homes, they are also keeping every family member top-of-mind for shower design. “Parents, grandparents, and children are all living under the same roof now, which means major design implications when it comes to building a shower that caters to every age group,” says Moen’s senior creative style manager, Danielle DeBoe Harper.
Soaking or standing?
There’s a long-standing debate on which is better: soaking tubs or standing showers? The answer is simple: there is no wrong answer! It all depends on your needs, your personal style, and how much space your bathroom allows.
Shower and tub combos are a versatile classic that maximizes space. “This design can be helpful with smaller children or pets that need to be bathed in a tub,” says Kiersten Jung, director of marketing with Basco Shower Enclosures. Since not everyone has room for a freestanding tub, this type of shower is a great solution to give people tub access without taking up valuable space.
On the other hand, standing showers “can feel more high-end and make the entire bathroom feel more open,” says Nettling. “Especially if glass doors are used, these showers can highlight interesting designs and elevate the space.” Standing showers make aging-in-place easier too, as people can walk straight into their shower without having to worry about stepping over the curb and into a slippery tub.
Behind the curtain
As with any room in your home, your shower needs to start with a solid foundation. Once you’ve decided to install a shower, one of the first things you need to do is determine what is happening behind your bathroom wall.
Today, most homes are equipped with a ‘wet wall’, which is a bathroom wall that’s thicker than the others in order to support water lines and the main stack. The location of this wall will largely dictate where your shower is able to go and will serve as the base of your bathroom layout.
Let it rain
Once you have your base, you can move forward with other functional decisions that makes your space customized to your every need and preference.
Moen lists the most popular types of showerheads as rainshowers, which provide a water stream from straight overhead, body sprays, which function similarly to hot tub jets as they spray water from the side, and hand showers, which can be removed from their mount for hard-to-reach places. Some homeowners are even installing his-and-her showerheads, ensuring that no morning is stalled by conflicting shower schedules.
Shower doors are equally essential as the sole barrier between the water and your floor. “One of the biggest decisions when it comes to shower doors is how they open,” says Jung. “There are sliding doors and swing doors, which cater to a homeowner’s personal preference, as well as the bathroom’s layout.”
There are other amenities to consider too, like in-shower seating, shelving for easy bottle storage, and grab bars for even more stability.
Time to tile
After all the tactical decisions have been made, your personality can really shine through. Homeowners want to create a shower full of elevated design elements that reduce stress. “A simple change in your shower head and trim has a massive impact on the overall vibe of the bathroom,” says DeBoe Harper.
Brushed gold and matte black inherently have a lux vibe, so incorporating those elements with something standard, like subway tile, immediately takes things to the next level. Simple personal touches can also make a shower feel elevated, like hanging eucalyptus to release essential oils.
Showering is a personal experience, so it only makes sense that all your personal preferences are catered to. Now that you understand all the components involved, you can create your perfect shower, and let the stress of planning rinse off of you.
GO WITH THE FLOW
Even though they are hidden, valves are key to the shower experience, controlling flow, temperature and performance.
The two most common are:
• Pressure balancing valve: maintains temperature when there is a water pressure change
• Thermostatic valve: maintains precise temperature by adjusting the mix of hot and cold water
These valves help customize the experience:
• Mixing valve: blends hot and cold water to deliver specific temperature
• Transfer valve: allows you to operate multiple showers individually or simultaneously
• Volume control valve: adjusts the amount of water going to an individual spray outlet
By pairing some of these valves you can create a shower experience tailored to your preferences.
Article by Sydne Santo
Article originally appeared in September 2023