Designing a stellar shower that is both beautiful and functional can seem daunting. However, following these 7 key steps will help you create the shower of your dreams.

Pick the Right Location

Choosing the right location for your new shower is crucial, as it will impact the size, layout, and plumbing. Here are some tips on picking the optimal shower location:

  • Avoid placing it under or near windows, as the humidity can cause damage over time.
  • Try to situate it near existing plumbing to minimize construction costs.
  • If creating a stand-alone stall, ensure there is adequate room for entry and exit. Measure carefully!
  • For a primary bath, situate it close to the vanity for convenience.
  • For a master bath, consider privacy as well as convenience.

Taking the time to find the right location will pay off when it comes to enjoying your new shower for years to come.

Select the Proper Size

Once you’ve settled on a location, it’s time to choose the size. Shower dimensions impact the overall look and functionality. Follow these tips for picking the best size:

  • Measure the space and draw out different layout options on graph paper.
  • For a stall, 36-42 inches square is comfortable without feeling cramped.
  • For an open shower, 60 inches is a good minimum for maneuverability.
  • If adding benches or multiple shower heads, plan for more generous proportions.
  • Custom showers can be designed for accessibility if needed.
  • Balance size with available space – don’t overcrowd the room.

Getting the proportions right is key. An oversized shower can look out of place, while an undersized one will feel tight. Take time to determine the optimal dimensions for both aesthetics and functionality.

Choose the Right Door Style

Once you’ve got the location and size determined, it’s time to pick the perfect shower door style. Door style impacts aesthetics, functionality and budget. Consider these factors when selecting shower doors:

  • Hinged doors provide a clean look and fold in, taking up little space. However, water may splash outside the enclosure.
  • Sliding doors are also space-saving and have a modern appearance, but may leave gaps. Keep tracks clean to prevent damage.
  • Frameless glass doors create an open, airy aesthetic. Opt for thicker glass for safety and durability.
  • Curtains or privacy screens provide an affordable option, but are less luxurious and may allow water to escape.
  • Pivot doors can provide complete access without taking up floor space. However, the pivoting motion may bump users.

Take into account your budget, decor, and space restrictions before choosing a door style. This decision plays a big role in the overall shower design.

Select Durable, Easy-to-Clean Materials

The materials you choose for shower walls, floors, shelves, and benches will impact the look, durability, and functionality of your space. Consider these tips when selecting materials:

  • Porcelain, ceramic, or natural stone tiles resist moisture and are easy to clean. Choose textured tiles for safety.
  • Glass block provides a contemporary yet private look. It may not stand up to hard water deposits over time.
  • Solid-surface acrylics offer seamless walls. However, repairs are difficult and mold may form on joins.
  • Water-resistant drywall with vapor barrier paint is a budget DIY option. Cement backerboard is better for tiles.
  • Teak, polymer or composite materials make attractive shower benches that stand up to humidity.
  • Shelving with moisture-resistant finish avoids swelling and deterioration over time.

Take time to research options and only use materials designed to withstand humidity and hard water. This will ensure your shower stays looking fresh and clean for years.

Incorporate Special Features

Once you’ve got the shower basics designed, it’s time to consider special features that transform an ordinary shower into an at-home spa. Some options to consider include:

  • Multiple shower heads for a luxurious, spa-like experience. Opt for wall-mounted rainheads, body jets and wand attachments.
  • Digital temperature display and controls for precision comfort and safety.
  • Built-in shelving and benches for convenience and relaxation. Use water-resistant materials.
  • High-end finishes like glass tile accents, mosaic inlays or stone wall cladding to upgrade the look.
  • Dimmer lighting or even waterproof TVs to enhance ambiance and enjoyment.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to shower upgrades! Decide which luxurious features fit your budget and lifestyle to personalize your space.

Don’t Forget the Details!

It’s easy to focus on the big shower design elements and forget crucial details. Don’t overlook these important finishing touches:

  • Provide adequate lighting. Waterproof LEDs around the mirror plus overhead lights are ideal.
  • Include recessed or slip-resistant niches for shampoo, soap and other necessities.
  • Install grab bars if needed for accessibility and safety. Choose styles that complement your decor.
  • Incorporate a built-in or wall-mounted shower caddy for convenience.
  • Select a waterproof Bluetooth speaker to stream your favorite music.
  • Ensure proper ventilation to prevent mold and humidity damage.

Accounting for these details during the planning process will elevate your shower from good to great. Put the finishing touches on your stellar design!

Hire the Right Pro

Unless you have remodeling experience, installing a shower is best left to professionals. Be sure to:

  • Get references and check reviews to verify quality workmanship.
  • Look for experience with the type of shower you want installed.
  • Ensure proper licensing, insurance and bonding.
  • Check that warranties cover both labor and materials.
  • Ask about their process and what to expect during installation.
  • Compare several bids and talk through different product options.

Don’t sacrifice quality to save money on your shower installation. Do your homework to find the ideal pro for the job.

Maintain It Properly

To keep your shower looking and performing its best for years to come:

  • Use a squeegee after each use to minimize soap scum and mineral buildup.
  • Apply caulk and grout sealant annually to prevent mildew and cracks.
  • Clean with gentle, non-abrasive cleaners designed for showers and tubs.
  • Inspect seals, grout and caulk regularly. Reapply as needed.
  • Opt for a water softener if dealing with hard water stains.
  • Avoid using shower as storage area for shampoo bottles, etc. Clutter can lead to more cleaning.
  • Ensure good ventilation between uses. Open a window or run the bath fan for a few minutes after showering.

With proper care, your dream shower can look great and function optimally for decades! Follow these maintenance tips.

Frequently Asked Questions About 7 Steps to a Stellar Shower Design

Designing and installing a new shower brings up many questions. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about achieving a stellar shower design.

How much does a custom shower installation typically cost?

The cost of a custom shower installation can vary greatly based on the size, materials used, special features included and whether you hire a design professional. However, expect to spend $3,500 to $7,500+ for a high-end custom shower installation.

What is the best material for shower walls and floors?

Porcelain or ceramic tile is generally the top choice for shower walls and floors. Make sure the porosity rating is low for minimal water absorption. Mosaic tiles can provide an upscale look. Natural stone also offers beauty and durability if properly sealed.

Should I choose glass or acrylic for my shower?

Though acrylic is affordable and offers a seamless look, it can be easily scratched and damaged over time. For longevity and easy cleaning, frameless glass is generally the better choice if it fits within your budget. Opt for thicker glass panels for safety.

What special features help create an at-home spa?

Adding a rain shower head, wand shower attachment, benches, temperature display, dimmable lighting, and a Bluetooth speaker are great ways to give your shower a spa-like vibe. Digital temperature controls also help dial in your perfect comfort level.

How do I make my shower safer and more accessible?

Install grab bars as needed. A bench and hand-held shower head also improve accessibility. Choose a frameless pivot door for easy entry and exit. Any smooth surfaces like floors or benches should have adhesive texture strips added for slip resistance.

How do I keep glass shower doors looking pristine?

Use a squeegee after each use to prevent mineral spots and soap scum buildup. Check door tracks often and remove built up grime before it hardens. Avoid harsh cleaners which can damage the glass coating. Also have professionals reglaze the glass periodically.

Should I choose a tiled shower or install a prefabricated unit?

Though prefab units save time and can work in some spaces, tiled showers offer more customization and higher-end aesthetics. If choosing a prefab stall, inspect walls for bowing and test doors/tracks to ensure optimal function before installing.

How do I add lighting to my shower design?

Waterproof LED lighting around the vanity plus recessed lights in the shower itself create ideal illumination. Some showers also incorporate decorative light niches with colored glass tiles to cast a soft glow. Dimmer switches allow you to set just the right mood lighting.

What mistakes should I avoid when designing my shower?

Don’t choose a shower door that swings into the room, as it will limit space and may get in users’ way. Avoid placing shower controls where they’ll get direct water exposure. Skipping a vapor barrier paint can lead to mold issues. Placing the shower under a window is also an error as it will lead to damage over time.


Designing your dream shower takes thoughtfulness, careful planning and attention to important details. Following these 7 key steps will help set you up for success. Determine the optimal location and size based on your space. Select the ideal door style for aesthetics and function. Choose durable, water-resistant materials. Incorporate special features like rain showers or benches. Account for lighting, storage and other details. Hire qualified pros for installation. And keep your shower looking its best with regular maintenance. With the right design approach, you can enjoy a beautiful and invigorating shower for years to come.