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Shower Design Trends

If you spend each morning dreaming of a luxurious space, we understand! In addition to the kitchen, the master bathroom is the second most popular space to renovate because it impacts how you start and end each day. The bathroom is the first place you go to jump-start your morning and the last place you visit before getting a good night’s rest. It’s essential to create a space tailored to your specific needs – from the layout, organization, as well as a look and feel that reflects your style.

What’s on Your Bathroom Wish List?

A new shower is often the most anticipated aspect of a master bathroom remodel. Whether you’re reworking the layout or gutting your space and starting over, there are countless details to consider to get it right.

  • Do you have a tub, but you’re more of a shower person?
  • Wish you had a soaking tub to relax in after a long day?
  • What shower features do you want?

The list goes on and on. Luckily, we’ve been there, designed that, and worked through all these scenarios to help our clients come up with solutions that are personalized just for them.

Space Planning

Shower or Tub?

One of the most common bathroom layouts our clients ask to change is removing a massive, tiled bathtub surround and a small stall shower. Tubs can take up a lot of real estate in the bathroom – especially in the 1980s/90s/2000s designs of the past. If you’re not a tub person, the tub surround feels like a lot of wasted space. The goal for most of our clients is to enlarge their existing shower.

Beaverton Bath Room Remodel
AFTER – a modern, freestanding tub is a welcomed upgrade to the early 90s mauve tile tub surround from before.

Curb or Curbless?

There are choices to make when it comes to designing a shower – both size and construction:

  • Do you want a curbless shower – as in no threshold?
  • Would you prefer a walk-in shower with a curb?
  • Do you want a glass door or no door – open to the rest of the room?

It’s possible to change to a curbless shower during your remodel, but special modifications are needed, so it requires some investigating. Floor heights are considered, as well as slope, tile types, and overall shower size. Curbless showers have become popular as more and more homeowners plan to stay in their homes and age in place. A curbless shower is an excellent solution for any future accessibility challenges. It’s also easier to clean, and you can take a larger format floor tile and run it right into the shower since larger-format tiles are often used throughout the bathroom.

Shower Size

Everyone wants to know how they can make their shower larger. Your bathroom size and layout impact what you can do, but you have to start with what you want and how you want to use the space.

Heather Wood, owner, and designer at Mountainwood Homes, questions: “Do you really need a five-person shower? Showers don’t need to be huge. Think about how you use the space.” She adds, “It’s personal. Usually, only one person showers at a time, but sometimes it’s two.”

AFTER – The massive shower fits the shape, scale of the room, as well as the grandeur of the home.

Design Selections

Selecting Plumbing Fixtures

Plumbing fixtures are the first thing homeowners pick out during the material selection phase. We start with plumbing for practical reasons and to determine the client’s style preferences. Plumbing fixtures have extended lead times, so we select these first to receive the product and stay on top of the construction schedule. Rough plumbing is one of the first steps after demolition, and we need to have the right parts and pieces ready for the plumber.

Plumbing selections set the stage for the bathroom remodel. Starting at the plumbing showroom allows us to see what our clients are attracted to among various styles. The style and finish of the fixtures set the tone, and everything complements them. From sinks, faucets, showerheads, bathtubs, toilets, and bath accessories, plumbing fixtures are an important decision and a sizable investment as part of an overall remodeling project. Plumbing in the bathroom and is the most important because you’ll use them every day. Plumbing fixtures in a secondary bathroom don’t matter as much. Keep this in mind as you prioritize your budget and spend accordingly.

Many people are opting for a hand shower in enlarged showers for their flexibility. You can change the head height, and they’re also suitable for cleaning as you can spray hard-to-reach areas.

AFTER – The chrome hand shower makes for easy cleaning in the shower.

Adding body sprays or a rain shower is a personal choice. Couples often consider these options because you should cater to both people’s preferences. A more oversized rain shower doesn’t provide hard pressure – it’s more of a drizzle. Rain showers often drip in your face due to softer droplets, so if that bothers you, you may want to reconsider.

If you like harder water pressure, go for a different showerhead. At Mountainwood Homes, we take our clients to The Fixture Gallery where they’re able to test the shower head pressure in their interactive showroom displays. Scared to make the wrong choice? If you’re scared to make the wrong choice, don’t worry – it’s very economical to replace a showerhead. The sizing is universal, so it’s an inexpensive item to swap out.

Grohe’s new Tempesta System provides an alternative to a concealed valve, and won’t ruin the shower’s tile design. The design is very European, and it attaches to the wall for a cleaner look. The temperature handle is on one side, and a diverter handle is on the other side. Some versions even have push buttons for temperature and water volume control.

Grohe’s Tempesta System is the perfect choice for modern, architectural bathrooms.

Plumbing Fixture Finishes

There are many plumbing finishes – chrome, satin nickel, brass, bronze, black, to name a few. However, classic polished chrome is the most economical and never goes out of style. However, brushed nickel remains a popular choice.
Some trends come and go in the plumbing world. Currently, black and brushed gold are hot and come with a price upgrade.

AFTER – This Portland master bathroom remodel features Delta Trinsic and Brizio plumbing fixtures in Matte Black finish.


AFTER – Delta shower fixtures in Champagne Bronze finish give the space an updated feel.

The finish should follow suit with the rest of the bathroom. Bath accessories such as towel bars, rings, and hooks should all match.

Shower Tile

The following selection needed for designing the shower is to select your tile. There is no shortage of fantastic tile products on the market to fit your style and budget. Large format tile is excellent for walls. Larger tiles minimize grout and are a more economical way to look like a solid surface. We suggest smaller tile on the shower floor, if not curbless, to provide traction and create a slope for the shower train. Big tiles can’t bend, so smaller tiles give you a gradual shower pan. Even if you have a curbless shower, you can install a smaller variation of the bath floor tile to give better traction in the shower and looks continual in color.

Radiant Heated Floors

In the Northwest, we love our toasty toes. Radiant heated floors are a luxury but well worth it on those cold mornings. We’ve never met anyone who said they regretted adding radiant heat.

How does it work? Electric heating coils are set on top of the cement backer board and under the tile. The heat from the floor warms the space from the ground up. There’s a programmable control thermostat on the wall to control the temperature. You can schedule it to turn on at a specific time, so it’s comfortable for those chilly mornings.

Behind the scenes look at the radiant, electric floor heating system installed in a West Linn master bathroom remodel.


The new floor tile is installed over the heated floor coils. Once completed, the homeowners can control the heat from a thermostat on the wall.

Radiant heat is likely to heat the whole bathroom. Radiant heat helps dry out towels and eliminate mold and mildew in the shower.

Shower Doors

There are various options with glass shower doors. First, you need to decide if you want a door or not –determined by the size of your shower and the feasibility. It’s colder without a door since the steam doesn’t stay contained. However, it’s easy for wheelchair and accessibility. Bonus! You don’t have to squeegee the door!

There’s no shower door at this Portland master bathroom remodel project.


The homeowners opted for no door for their Cornelius master bathroom remodel. The organic shower design is large enough to allow for the open doorway.

If you have ample space to work with, it’s possible to design a hidden shower. A hidden shower requires a lot of space, but it’s a great option if you don’t want to shower out in the open.

If you’re limited on space, sliding barn doors are a great option. Since the glass door is on rollers, it’s great for a tight space that won’t allow for a door to swing in or out.

A sliding glass door was the perfect solution for this Portland master bathroom remodeling project. There was not enough room for a swinging shower door.

Our standard shower glass door is 3/8” thick clear glass. The reason? If you have pretty tile work in the shower, you want to show it off and see it.

This Aloha master bathroom features a flat, river-rock floor tile that spills out under the freestanding, angled tub.

Some clients want privacy and like frosted or rain glass.

Wet Room Trend

Wet rooms are a popular trend right now. A wet room features the showerhead out in the open, with the whole bathroom functioning as the shower enclosure. If space is limited, you can have the shower in the room with no glass enclosure. If you have a larger space, it’s common to have a freestanding or drop-in tub integrated into the shower area. It doesn’t matter if water hits the tub. You’ll spend more on the tile since the whole area needs to be waterproof.

The feasibility of a wet room design depends on the construction of the home. A wet room requires the proper slope to the drainage point. The larger the area, the more difficult this can become.

Shower Niches

A bathroom remodeling project is a perfect time to create a place for everything. This includes shower products! Shower niches are tailored to the homeowner’s needs and require thoughtful consideration.

The shower niche is hidden on the half wall in the shower.

If you like the linear niche look, it requires framing. Depending on what wall you want to use, we may have to dig into an exterior wall to create the niche, which will cause you to lose insulation space. It’s best to try to do inset niches on interior walls. If plumbing is on a particular wall, you’ll want to place the niche somewhere else. Until you can see what’s going on with the plumbing behind the walls during a remodel, you may need to modify your plan. Niches are easier to design in new construction homes.

Shower Benches

Adding a bench to your shower is a bright idea. If you’re planning to age in place, this gives you the option to sit down if needed and bathe. In addition, you can add heat like your heated floors to the top of your bench, so it’s not cold if you sit down. We advise placing a hand shower near the bench so you can create a zone if you’re unable to move or need extra assistance.

In this master bath, the bench is near the hand shower. Therefore, everything is easily accessible if the homeowners need to sit down to bathe as they age in place.

If you don’t have enough space for a shower bench, it’s helpful to install a shaving niche down below to prop up your foot.

These are some of the details to consider with a bathroom remodel. No matter what size space you have to work with, a master bathroom remodel is a great investment for immediate enjoyment. In addition, a remodel can help with potential resale value down the road.

Do I need a bathtub in my home for resale value?

We recommend having one tub in the home for resale value. The tub doesn’t have to be in the master bathroom if you’re genuinely not a tub person. For instance, we suggest keeping a tub in a guest or secondary bath – especially since kids bathe in a tub.


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