If you were to poll folks on what they most look forward to when starting or ending their day, a hot shower would probably be near the top of the list. A custom shower design will have you looking forward to it even more, as you curate every aspect of the experience from your head to your feet.
There are many ways to go about designing a custom shower enclosure for a master bathroom, and few of them are objectively “wrong.” The “right” design all depends on the space you’re working with and personal preference. Let’s explore the options!
Custom shower layout
One of the very few constraints you’ll have when customizing a walk-in shower (other than budget) is the master bathroom layout itself. Its dimensions and setup will force some decisions about the custom shower’s size, shape, and location. Given the number of choices you’ll be making otherwise, that may actually come as a relief!
Generally speaking, most people prefer a shower that is cozy but not claustrophobic. You should be able to fully extend your arms and spin around in a circle without bumping into anything. The standard size for a walk-in shower is 48” x 36,” but larger or more upscale master bathroom remodeling projects might want to consider an enclosure that is 60” x 36” or larger.
A square or rectangular shower enclosure will work for most master bathrooms in a corner or along a wall, whereas a circular shape is typically only possible in the middle of a larger space. Of course, some homeowners opt to forgo an enclosure entirely, in an effort to capture the vibe of a steam room or spa.
Once you’ve determined the shower size, location, and orientation in the room, it will be a lot easier to choose a door.
- Sliding doors are good for smaller bathrooms and shower enclosures flush with walls
- Hinged doors swing outward so you’ll have to account for how an open shower door may interfere with (or be interfered with) by other master bath elements, such as the sink, vanity, or the entrance to the bathroom itself.
- Pivot doors are a more modernized cousin to the hinged door, operating by the same outswinging mechanic. However, since it is either hinged at the very top and bottom or hinged continuously, the door is tighter to the frame and does not swing out as far.
From there, you might consider whether you want clear or obscure glass, a partial wall, or windows depending on your aesthetic preferences and privacy needs.
The selection of shower tile materials available today are virtually limitless, and can pretty convincingly mimic many aesthetics and textures found in nature.
- Ceramic and porcelain tiles, which are both formed from clay, remain the most popular option — they’re typically more economical and easier to clean and maintain (porcelain even more so).
- Natural stone materials such as marble, slate, and travertine are among the most striking and beautiful ways to finish shower walls and floors. However, they’re more high-maintenance, and may fade, discolor, or degrade more quickly without proper sealing and regular cleanings.
- Man-made materials such as engineered quartz, cultured marble, or solid surface (e.g. Corian) combine ground stone with other binding and fortifying substances. They’re available in a wealth of colors and patterns, replicating materials that would otherwise not be recommended for a shower environment (such as natural wood).
When we talk about shower systems, we are talking about how water temperature is controlled and regulated. There are three main types.
- Manual mixer: Features one or two valves that adjust the ratio of hot to cold water flowing through the system
- Thermostatic: Allows precise temperature control through a thermostat, sometimes digital.
- Electric: A heating unit directly heats cold water from your water supply continuously. This occurs separately from your hot water system.
Water pressure and spray patterns are governed by showerheads, which greatly influence the sensory experience of your custom shower. They are classified in one of two ways.
By mount position
- Fixed showerheads are mounted to a shower wall.
- Hand-set showerheads are also mounted to a wall but attached to a hose. This not only allows you to hand-maneuver the spray to virtually any angle you desire, but also makes for easier cleaning.
- Ceiling mounted showerheads rain down water from above at low or medium pressure.
By control settings
- Single-setting: Offers only one spray setting and flows at a constant pressure.
- Multi-setting: Variable spray patterns and pressures, from beads to mists.
- Rainfall: The most coveted type of single-setting showerhead; like showering under a gently cascading waterfall.
- Shower tower: If you’ve ever wanted to use a jacuzzi standing up, this is for you. You’ll be able to adjust several vertically-oriented jets and nozzles to caress you from all angles for the ultimate spa experience.
Custom shower features
Now that the essentials are taken care of, we can turn our attention to finer details. Liven up or tone the mood with LED lighting and Bluetooth speakers. Accommodate all your sundries with built-in shelves or cubbies. Incorporate a shower bench to make personal grooming tasks that much easier.
If all these possibilities excite you, you’re not alone! The professionals at Ayars Complete Home Improvements take a true craftsman approach to master bath remodels — a beautiful custom shower is just the beginning!