master bathroom shower

Bathroom Design: The Glorious Shower Trumps the Bathtub

(Curved Luxury is located on a beautiful lake with a view that was always part of the attraction. Peter Rymwid Photography)

The master bathroom has evolved into a spa-like environment that pampers you morning and night giving you the space and accoutrements to prepare yourself for the day ahead. It also receives you and allows you to melt into its embraces after a long day. The bathroom design is your private oasis to indulge your senses and relax.

Some of us love to soak in a warm tub, and if you have the space, lovely sculptural bathtubs serve double duty in an elegant master bath. The free-standing tub, in particular, has become the fashion statement and accent piece of the bathroom design while indulging us in bathing luxury whenever the mood arises. Many of us once thought that the epitome of the master bathroom was a good soak. After years of providing larger and more scintillating tubs, it seems that most of us rarely use our big beautiful tubs and whirlpools but must nevertheless keep them clean, and keeping at least one bathtub in a home for resale is consistently reaffirmed by realtors as a good idea.

But what if you enjoy your daily shower – a quick in and out or perhaps a prolonged relaxing shower? Unless your room has many square feet to spare, you may want to ditch your bathtub in favor of the workhorse of many bathrooms: the shower. The shower has become larger and more impressive to accommodate additional functions and more people. It can lavish you with large rain shower heads, spray you from all sides with wall mount spray heads and, of course, allow you to play with a handheld shower head. The handheld also assists with the bathing of the elderly, children and pets (a win-win for young and old, able and disabled alike).

Showers can provide enhanced functionality

  • Shower seating: Your shower will most likely offer you a seat while bathing in the form of a floating bench or a wall mounted folding seat. I also always prepare niches for your products – big accessible places that accommodate all that you request.
  • Multi-person showers: The removal of a bathtub allows the option of a larger more inviting and luxurious size shower. I re-evaluate a space and design a shower to meet your needs. Sizes can vary but I keep maintenance and practicality in mind. Do you want to wash with more than one person, be it for romance or pragmatism? Sometimes it is easier and more fun for the kids to wash in these showers than in the tub!
  • Universal design showers: I can also offer a Zero-Entry no lip – no step over entry to easily get in and out of the shower. This feature may require a minimum size shower for proper drainage. I can also prepare your shower to receive grab bars for the future or install the more attractive ones right away. Ask your contractor to provide blocking in the walls while installing your new shower and take a picture so you remember the location.
  • Showers with steam features: The shower may offer you a steam event should that be your spa-like preference.
  • Programmable shower options: Faucets may digitally customize your individual experience. You can personalize your water temperature and program it to give you the perfect shower each time just as you would program your car seat.
  • Showerheads with speakers: Your showerhead may play music for you, an easy addition you can install immediately, and many stores offer these new shower speakers off the shelf.
  • Disappearing shower drains: New drains may seem to disappear or move to a less obvious location than the standard center because people often stand on them while showering, encumbering the drainage process. Nevertheless, if you absolutely must have that center drain, there are a wonderful variety of drain designs and finishes.
Master bathroom with Japanese-inspired design
Master bathroom with Japanese-inspired design

Showers offer therapeutic benefits

Thoughtful bathroom design is not just about function, however, and can create a private oasis to indulge the senses and help you relax. In fact, therapeutic offerings have been introduced into the personal bathroom design experience along with other spa-like products to enhance our well-being. For example:

  • Chromotherapy, or the science of using colors, adjusts to body vibrations and frequencies in a way that results in health and harmony. Each color possesses frequencies of a specific vibration, and each vibration is related to different physical symptoms. Color therapy can influence your mood and is playing an increasing role in bathroom design.
  • Aromatherapy, or the practice of using natural oils, extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant enhances psychological and physical well-being. The inhaled aroma from these “essential” oils is widely believed to stimulate brain function. Essential oils can also be absorbed through the skin, where they travel through the bloodstream and can promote whole body healing.

Showers are environmentally-friendly

bath within a shower
The wife loved bathing in a tub but the family wanted a quick shower option for their daily needs and despite the space restraints, both were designed in the same location. The shower includes a seat and handheld showerhead.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the typical bathtub holds about 36 gallons of water and because you will usually only partially fill it, the typical water consumption is probably more in the 20 to 30 gallon range.

If you take long showers with a standard 2.5-gallon-per-minute (gsm) showerhead, you’ll be close to that number (eight to twelve minutes under the flow will fill your tub to the 20 to 30 gallon mark). If you switch to a WaterSense showerhead with a 2 gsm rating, you’d have to scrub-a-dub for 10 to 15 minutes for a bath to win out. With a water-friendlier 1.5-gsm model, it would be 13 to 20 minutes.

There are so many beautiful options for us to work with and enjoy. Oh, the shower! How many ways may I enhance your bathing experience? Invite me to indulge you in designing your ultimate shower experience. Call Pat Valentine Ziv at (201) 233-4636 or email, and for some additional inspiration, view our design gallery.

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