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Shower Design 101 & Top 10 Ideas

Shower Design 101 & Top 10 Ideas

When building or remodeling a bathroom, one of the most important design decisions is what type of shower design you will incorporate. The shower is often the focal point of a bathroom design, making its importance pronounced and vital to the overall aesthetic of the space. However, deciding on a shower design can be a difficult and arduous process. There are a myriad of possibilities for the configuration, functionality, and finishes of the space, all of which will combine to give you the shower of your dreams. We spend many hours throughout our lifetime in the shower and choosing the right design can make that time more relaxing and rejuvenating. Here’s our guide of important factors to keep in mind when designing a shower, as well as ten beautiful shower design ideas to inspire you.

The Basics of Shower Design

Choosing the right shower design ultimately involves much more consideration than just picking a style that works for you. Is the design functional? Does it meet your needs? Will it meet your needs in 5 years? Will it meet your needs in 10 years? Does it fall within your budget? Is it easy to maintain? Is it easy to clean? These are just a few of the questions you should ask when choosing the right shower design for your space. In order to help you best prepare yourself to make an educated decision about shower design, we have put together some handy tips and tricks to integrate into your design process and help ensure you are happy with the final product.

Get Inspired
Before you can do anything else, you need to find shower designs that you are inspired by and that appeal to you. Make sure to look at different shower designs to help you discern which accents you like, what color scheme you are drawn to, and which configuration you think looks best. As you find designs that appeal to you, this will enable you to hone your search further down. From there, you will begin to establish which exact design elements are right for you. Keep in mind that it is unlikely you will find the perfect design for you right down to the hardware in one image or display. Many designs draw their inspiration from multiple varied sources. You may love the tile in one shower, and prefer the hardware in another. Be picky about what you want, because the clearer the idea when you enter the bathroom design process with, the more likely you will be thrilled with your shower design at the conclusion of the remodel. This is your chance to create the shower of your dreams, so make sure it counts. In addition, knowing your design preferences down to the details helps keep any budget surprises at a minimum during your bathroom remodel. For more tips on budget and designing your bathroom space check out our bathroom remodel checklist.

Consider Your Space
One of the biggest mistakes newcomers to shower design make is not using their space effectively. Each space demands a unique design tailored specifically to its distinguishing factors. Keep this in mind as you find inspiration. You’ll want to make sure that the design you choose will work well in the space and maximize every square inch you have. If the design is forced upon the space without being thought through, it may not look quite right when completed and will always feel slightly off. Use your space and make sure it is working towards accomplishing the aims you set out for it.

Be Functional
One of the worst things you can do when selecting a shower design is pick something that is visually appealing, but presents problems when used. It is not uncommon for details to be forgotten and for functionality to be sacrificed at the altar of attractiveness. However, you do not need to choose between having a beautiful shower and one that is functional.  When determining the functionality elements required in your space, take the time to think through your shower habits and make sure the design will meet any needs you may have. For example, if you love relaxing in the bathtub, choosing a shower/tub combo may be the right choice. Or, do you shave your legs in the shower? You may need a ledge or a bathtub to make it easy to complete your shower routine. Make sure you choose a design that will accommodate your lifestyle.

  • Pro-tip: Don’t forget about the opening/closing of bathroom and shower doors. Some basic measurements to always keep in mind are shower doors must be able to open outward and have a clearance of at least 30 inches. In addition, you typically want to ensure there is at least 36×36 inches of space per person in the shower.

Always Consider Entry and Accessibility
Entry and accessibility into the shower may seem trivial, but in practice, they can be the difference between loving and hating a shower. High threshold showers, such as a bathtub, can be more difficult to enter and may inadvertently lead to bruising from running into the top edge as you step in. What kind of door do you want into the shower? Do you want to have a shower curtain or a glass door? Do you want the door to be hinged or track-style? Do you want an open concept shower without a door? Each of these entries requires different infrastructure and variables to be considered, so make sure you invest the time initially so that your shower is easily accessible.

Plan for the Long-Term
When investing time, energy, and resources into designing your shower, it is important to make sure it will meet your needs not only in the immediate future but for years to come. Whether you’re a new, young homeowner or aging-in-place, long-term planning will help alleviate any major remodel changes down the line.

Aging-in-place shower designwalk in shower with bench
Keep in mind that your shower space will need to adapt with you, so that may mean adding a low entry threshold, a bench, grab bars, or  a handheld shower spray. Aging in place doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice design – we love this beautiful walk-in shower design.

Long-term design
It is important to choose a design that will stand the test of time. When choosing a shower design, make sure it is a design that you will like for many years to come. This may mean avoiding fads or overly trendy accents, because in the long-term you may want a design that can adapt as you change without going out of style.

Finishes Can Transform Your Design
Picking finishes is one of the most important steps in any design process, as this is what truly brings the design together and makes it work as a cohesive unit. Finishes have the ability to make a space look unique and high-end, without always having the high price tag associated. With that being said, there are some finishes you may want to invest in. And don’t forget those extra luxuries like adding LED colored lights for a tranquil experience or water-resistant speakers for a fun shower environment. Shower technology has advanced tremendously in recent years, and incorporating a few key high-end finishes will elevate your space.


  • Rain Shower Head: A popular trend in showers is the rain shower head. This extra design element not only makes an excellent style statement in your bathroom, but also gives you more water coverage than a regular shower head. Enhancing your shower experience, the rain shower will provide a soothing and spa-like component to your new bathroom. Remodeled Shower & Tub
  • Skylight: Opting to include a skylight in your shower will flood your space with the bright light of the outdoors. Skylights offer a beautiful, functional opening into the outside world to give your bathroom the perfect natural light it needs. And as a bonus, at night you can gaze upon the stars!
  • Dual Shower Heads: Dual shower heads are an increasingly popular design in modern showers. Dual heads allow two people to comfortably shower without impeding one another, making it possible for you and your loved one to both enjoy your shower space together. In additional to being inherently practical, dual shower heads are luxurious looking and will immediately elevate your bathroom space.
  • Body Jets: Body jets are a quick way to make your shower feel like something truly special. Body jets are not a standard shower feature, which will make it a unique design element to integrate into your space and set your design apart. You will be able to have the benefits typically associated with a jacuzzi right within your shower. Body jets are known for reducing muscular tension, thereby reducing the risk of injury to the muscle. Body jets will bring the relaxation to your shower and can bring your shower design to an entirely new level.
  • Shower Steam Room: Who needs to go to the spa or a gym, when your shower can double as your private steam room? While it may be an investment up front, a shower steam room allows you to have the luxury of a spa in your home.
  • Teak Floor: If you want to immediately upgrade your space and make it unique, teak flooring may be the right choice for you. Not only is it extremely visually appealing, it is also functional. Teak floors offer the elegance of a spa and will make your space look high-end and inviting.
  • Sunken Bathtub Shower Combo: Having trouble deciding between a walk-in shower and a shower/tub combo? Look no further. The perfect solution for you may be a shower room with a sunken tub. By integrating a sunken tub into your shower design, you get the ease and appeal of a walk-in shower, while also having the functionality and benefits that a tub offers.
  • Unique Tiling: A simple way to personalize your shower design is to incorporate a unique tile pattern, shape, or texture within your space. Tile is beautiful and comes in an endless amount of colors, shapes, sizes, and textures. From pebble floors to mosaic shower walls you can create a shower design specific to your unique style. When selecting the right tile style and pattern for your space, make sure that it fits with the overall aesthetic of your bathroom and that it will be a design you will be happy with for years to come.
  • Open Shower Design: When many people consider a shower design, they automatically assume that there must be some kind of door or shower curtain. However, this is not the case. In recent years, as open concept spaces have become steadily more popular, it has become more common to see open shower designs that feature no door or a curtain enclosing the space. This can make your bathroom feel larger and more inviting as a result of its open concept style.
  • Walk-in Shower with ShelfBuilt-In Shelving:Functionality will govern how much you truly enjoy your space on a day-to-day basis. One way you can improve the functionality of your space is by incorporating built-in shelving. You do not want to design a high-end, luxury shower only to offset its beauty with shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bottles strewn about. Built-in shelving is a great way to keep bottles off of bathtub edges and floors and hidden away in a place that is less obvious. The last thing you want to do is detract from the design you invested time and money into, so think through your shelving and make sure it will be both practical and beautiful for you on a day-to-day basis.
  • Outdoor Shower: Just because your shower is enclosed, doesn’t mean it needs to be cut off from the outside. If you love feeling close to nature and observing the natural beauty of the world around you, an outdoor shower may be the right choice for you. This design allows you to integrate natural elements into your space in an intrinsic, unique manner. An outdoor shower is especially suited for beach environments as it helps keep your house and indoor shower drain clean.

From beach house to rustic farm house, regardless of which shower design you choose, Remodel Works is here to help turn your dreams into a reality. As San Diego’s premiere design build firm, Remodel Works is with you at every step of the way and makes sure you are included in the entire process. Give us a call today and receive a free quote from us to start designing your new bathroom!



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