Tips for a Shower Remodel
Are you planning to remodel your shower? There are lots of decisions to be made throughout the process of a shower remodel – from the fixtures to the showerhead, to the tile… it can be a lot to decide on! But the value of remodeling a shower is undeniable: according to Home Advisor, a “full bathroom remodel can boost your home’s resale price by 20%,” and a shower remodel is an important element of that equation. Here’s a guide to help you understand common do’s and don’ts for how to remodel a shower.
Tips for a Shower Remodel
If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of how to do a shower remodel or are wondering where to start, this guide has you covered. Here is the top “do’s” for your shower renovation.
DO prioritize what’s important to you
As with any remodel, costs add up quickly, and a $1,000 project can easily spiral to the $5,000 range and beyond if you’re not careful. To keep your expenses under control, decide early on in the process what’s important to you. Do you want to invest in some beautiful custom shower tile? Do you want to splurge on the massaging shower-head? What are your priorities? If you can decide on a few items of the remodel that you know you want to prioritize early on, it will help you make realistic, budget-friendly choices on the other components of your shower remodel.
DO have a clear sense of your desired aesthetic going in
Not saying that you need to have every single detail of your new shower decided before you begin your renovation, but you should at least have a sense of the style and aesthetic you want. For example, do you want a classic, clean look? Do you want something more striking? Do you want a variety of colors (if so, what colors?)
A great way to decide on aesthetics that you like (and rule out ones that you don’t) is by spending some time on visual inspiration sites like Pinterest or Houzz. You may not be able to envision your perfect bathroom on your own (don’t worry – most people can’t!). However, looking at pins and images of shower designs will help you get a sense of what you like, research popular bathroom and shower remodel trends, and decide what you can imagine going into your new shower.
DO consider working with a professional
You will definitely need to hire some contractors and specialists to help you execute your shower remodel project, but if you’re really not sure what aesthetic would work best in your existing bathroom space, even after looking at some visual inspiration sites, you can always work with a consultant or a bathroom remodel specialist to help give you some direction. They do this type of work for a living and will be able to give you a professional opinion on what will work best in your space.
In addition, when you’re scouting for contractors and other professionals to help you with your renovation, don’t be afraid to ask around and get quotes from a variety of candidates. This is an easy way to make sure you’re getting the quality of work that you want and not over-paying for remodeling services.
DO pick a shower style you like
In addition to having a sense of your general aesthetic for your shower, you should have a specific style decided upon for when you start selecting materials.
“Farmhouse” is a style that has definitely grown in popularity amongst homeowners in recent years. This style can be applied to your bathroom or shower remodel with a few simple touches. For example, combining wood (usually a distressed looking wood – luxury vinyl plank flooring, a popular bathroom floor type – would be a great option here) and rustic metal fixtures are classic farmhouse elements. For tile in the farmhouse style, you can use hexagonal tile in black or white, subway tile in black or white, or tile that looks like concrete or wood (Cherished Bliss). You can also add charming touches – like a unique sign or rustic lighting fixture to complete the look of your farmhouse shower remodel.
“Modern” showers are always popular, and there are so many different ways to go about them. For example, a seamless shower (where doors extend seamlessly up to the ceiling and provide complete visibility through the absence of any sort of hanging rod or shower curtain) is a strikingly modern approach to shower remodeling. Sticking to a neutral color palette is the easiest way to help you achieve a modern, clean look in your shower remodel.
A fun twist on the modern style is “industrial.” To embrace the industrial style in your bathroom, lean on metals and an unfinished/exposed look to anchor the aesthetic. You can also do something more drastic with your shower, like this black steel-framed floor-to-ceiling shower enclosure.
If you want to create a truly luxurious looking setup for your shower remodel, that makes you feel like you’re in your own personal spa, then opt for marble or porcelain tile, which immediately creates a luxurious vibe. Or, use elements of nature to create a natural-inspired spa setting in your dream shower renovation. One of the best ways to do this is by using tile that resembles natural materials – like tile that looks like natural stone – to create a relaxing setting every time you step into your new shower.
DO think outside the box with fixtures
It used to be that when it came to bathroom and shower fixtures, you had very limited options: some form of metal or brushed metal, and little design variation. Today, there are so many different types of fun fixtures you can install in your bathroom! You can choose a showerhead with a funky shape, or even upgrade your shower or sink faucet handles to a fun shade of rose gold.
Just remember: you likely want to have some sense of consistency between the fixtures in your bathroom. So, the shower handles should correlate with the sink faucet handles, and maybe the towel bars, too. Don’t go crazy with shower fixtures without considering the other fixtures in your bathroom to ensure the entire room ties together well.
DO use the existing pipe setup
Another must-do as you are planning the details of your shower remodel is to resist the urge to move your shower set up to another spot in your bathroom. It’s always better to use existing piping. It makes for a much easier job, and you will save a lot of money by working within your existing pipe setup. According to home designer Justin Riordan, it costs “about $5,000 each time you move plumbing fixtures.” That kind of money could cover 1-2 shower remodels on its own!
Things to Avoid During a Shower Remodel
Now that we’ve covered some of the steps you should definitely take during the shower remodel process, it’s important to also share things to avoid to make sure your renovation goes as smoothly as possible. Here are some “don’ts” that you should be aware of when it comes to how to do a shower remodel.
DON’T assume your bathroom remodel is a DIY project
While it can be fun and rewarding to complete repair and remodel projects within your own home, you need to consider carefully before moving forward with your shower remodel on your own. Depending on the kind of work you want to be done, it almost always makes sense to hire a professional. Especially if you want to install any sort of intricate tile setup, if you are doing any significant plumbing modifications, or if you have never done any home renovation work before, your bathroom remodel is not going to be a good time to start.
DON’T forget the lighting
When you think about a shower remodel, there are several components that immediately come to mind: the floor and wall tile, the showerhead, the shower curtain, and door. But one element that people don’t often think of right away is the shower lighting. And yet lighting can play such a big role in improving safety in your bathroom, refining the aesthetic of your remodel and providing a finishing touch.
It’s likely that the lighting installed in your shower and bathroom right now is what came with the original house, maybe even builder-grade lighting. These fixtures are functional, but aren’t pretty to look at, nor do they do you any favors when you’re looking in the mirror. This is why remembering to factor in lighting can be such a game-changing element of your shower remodel. According to HGTV, adding lots of light to a bathroom is one of the most valuable changes a homeowner can make. And, these lighting upgrades don’t have to be expensive! You can easily find quality fixtures and bulbs at local home improvement stores.
Another cool lighting upgrade to make during your shower remodel is adding in a dimmer switch. Especially if your new shower is a tub and shower combination piece, being able to dim the lights while you take a relaxing bath in your tub is a nice touch.
If your bathroom is situated near the roof of your home or connected to an outer wall, you can choose to make more of a drastic lighting upgrade by knocking out a new window or even a skylight. Nothing beats natural light when it comes to light quality, and this will make your bathroom look bigger and brighter on its own. Plus, installing a skylight over your shower gives you the experience that you’re showering under the stars at night, which is a very freeing sensation.
DON’T shy away from color
While white bathrooms used to be the traditional norm, nowadays bathrooms are more colorful than ever! Navy blue bathrooms exploded in the last year, and more and more homeowners are gravitating towards color in their showers and bathrooms.
And that doesn’t mean you have to paint your bathroom bright blue from top to bottom. You can use colored paint as an accent, or work in color in other ways: a bright pop of tile in a shower shelf, a painted wall above the shower, or even a white and colored tile pattern can help add some more dimension to your shower remodel. A favorite option is to add an accent tile wall in your shower that draws the eye, and can even make your bathroom look bigger.
DON’T assume “it will all just come together”
You absolutely must have a plan going into your shower remodel. If you go into the process without a plan, you’ll definitely end up spending more money than you need to, taking more time than is necessary, and will likely have some frustrated contractors and family members on your hands.
Do your due diligence and work closely with your remodel team (which may include designers, architects, and contractors) to define the remodel style, the budget, and set a timeline for the project. This will make sure that everyone is on the same page at the start of the project, and minimize miscommunications and unrealistic expectations.
Also, don’t be afraid to be a part of the process. Yes, you’ve hired these people to be the experts at what they do, and create your perfect shower remodel, but if you don’t understand something, or if you’re not comfortable with development during the remodel, speak up. Yes, your contractor might not be happy if you decide you don’t like the tile once they’ve started installing it, and yes, you might have to pay extra costs to re-do it, but at the end of the day, you being completely satisfied with your new shower and your home is what matters the most.
It’s important that remodeling your shower should be a fun and rewarding process. And it can be with the right preparation and education. Do the work up front to make sure you are clear on style, budget, and intention, and you will enjoy a relatively stress-free remodel process, with a finished product that you absolutely love.