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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, and 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 are 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 personalized solutions.

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. 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 the existing shower.

large platform tub before bathroom remodel
BEFORE -The enormous platform tub took up unnecessary space in this Lake Oswego primary bathroom.
freestanding bath tub Beaverton Bath Room Remodel
AFTERa modern, freestanding tub is a welcomed upgrade to the early 90s mauve tile tub surround from before.

 

shower tub before
BEFORE – The enormous platform tub took up unnecessary space in this Lake Oswego primary bathroom.
shower tub design after
AFTER – Now, the bathroom remodel features a freestanding bathtub, separate His and Her vanities, and a spacious walk-in shower.

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? No door – open to the rest of the room?
    master bathroom curbless shower
    The curbless shower in this Northwest Portland bathroom remodel uses large format tile and a smaller version for the shower floor.

     

    curb shower
    The tub was removed from this Portland master bathroom to enlarge the shower.

It’s possible to change to a curbless shower during your remodel, but special modifications are needed, so it requires some investigating. We consider floor heights, 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. Often larger-format tiles are used throughout the bathroom so that you can run them right into the shower.

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 must 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.”

spa-like bathroom remodel in West Linn, Oregon
AFTERThe 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.

Chrome plumbing finishes
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 can test the shower head pressure in their interactive showroom displays. If you’re scared to make the wrong choice, don’t worry – replacing a showerhead is very economical. 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 attaches to the wall for a cleaner look. The temperature handle is on one side, and a diverter handle is on the other. Some versions even have push buttons for temperature and water volume control. 

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

Grophe tempesta system
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, and 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 trends and come with a price upgrade.

Curbless shower with neutral tile surround
AFTER – This Portland master bathroom remodel features Delta Trinsic and Brizio plumbing fixtures in Matte Black finish.

 

gold plumbing fixtures finishes
The Brizo satin bronze plumbing fixtures add a modern elegance to the Portland primary bathroom remodel.

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 to fit your style and budget. Large format tile is excellent for walls. Larger tiles minimize grout and are more economical 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 provide better traction in the shower and looks continual in color. 

Rustic bathroom remodel in Hillsboro, Oregon
This rustic Hillsboro custom home uses larger multicolored brick set tiles for main floor and a smaller version for the shower floor.

 

black and white shower tile
The primary bathroom shower at this Lake Oswego modern farmhouse custom home uses a punchy black and white tile as a dramatic feature wall.

 

primary suite shower tile
Various grey tiles add interest to the curbless shower in the primary bathroom. The Z Collection 6×6 Square tiles on the back wall add a glossy accent.

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. 

The process of radiant electric floor heating system being installed
Look at the radiant, electric floor heating system installed in a West Linn master bathroom remodel.

 

Tile over the radiant heating system for this 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 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 wheelchairs and accessibility. Bonus! You don’t have to squeegee the door! 

Black and white tiled bathroom
There’s no shower door at this Portland master bathroom remodel project.

 

shower door design
This Lake Oswego Custom home guest suite features a walk-in shower with Z Collection basket weave tile accent band.

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.

Sliding glass door in master bathroom remodel
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.

Freestanding tub wiith river-rock flooring
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.

Frosted glass doors for privacy in this bathroom remodel in Portland, Oregon.
This SW Portland bathroom remodel features partially frosted glass doors for privacy in the water closet and walk-in shower.

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 home’s construction. A wet room requires the proper slope to the drainage point. The larger the area, the more difficult this can become. 

Forest Grove bathroom remodel with large windows and doors to bring natural light in
An integrated shower wet room with a glass door keeps the space light and bright.

 

wet room shower designs
A modern, freestanding bathtub is in the enclosed shower area creating a wet room in this Forest Grove custom home.

Shower Niches

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

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

 

shower niche design
The lit shampoo niche is a special touch in this dramatic shower remodel in Northwest Portland.
shower niche in West Linn Oregon bathroom remodel
This primary bathroom remodel in West Linn features a large linear shower niche for a contemporary spin.

Niches are easier to design in new construction homes. 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. You’ll want to place the niche elsewhere if the plumbing is on a particular wall. Until you can see what’s going on with the plumbing behind the walls during a remodel, you may need to modify your plan.

Shower Benches

Adding a bench to your shower is a bright idea. If you’re planning to age in place, you can 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.

Easily accessible bathroom remodel
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.

 

shower bench design
This NE Portland bathroom remodel expanded the primary bathroom shower to create a luxury walk-in shower.

If you don’t have enough space for a shower bench, installing a shaving niche below to prop up your foot is helpful.

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

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 primary 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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