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Spa Inspired Shower Design Trends For 2014

Deluxe showers blend the luxurious experience of a spa with the convenience and speed needed for a hectic lifestyle, offering a more realistic way to enjoy a little R&R even if you’re on the go. In 2014, many homeowners are turning their attention to showers rather than bathtubs or whirlpools, focusing on big, bold, spa-like designs to create elegant, sun-soaked spaces. Many of the most innovative and unusual shower designs are becoming mainstream choices, so if you’re planning a major remodel this year, it might be worth giving one of them a try.

Frameless Shower Doors

Frameless Shower Doors, Like This Neo-Angle Enclosure Fron Vigo, Offer A Clear, Unintterrupted View That Can Make A Bathroom Seem Larger
Frameless Shower Doors, Like This Neo-Angle Enclosure From Vigo, Offer A Clear, Uninterrupted View That Can Make A Bathroom Seem Larger

2014’s shower trends are heavily influenced by the showers found in high end hotels and spas. There’s a strong emphasis on bright, natural light, barrier-free floor plans, and open, airy spaces in general. Nearly all of the most significant shower trends reflect that simple, light-colored aesthetic. The simplest example is the steadily rising popularity of frameless showers. Now, this trend is really nothing new – frameless shower enclosures have been gaining popularity for the last few years – but it’s becoming more and more ubiquitous for homeowners to upgrade to shower enclosures that are made nearly entirely out of glass. These make the bathroom look larger, giving an uninterrupted view of the space, and have a clean, seamless appearance.

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Curbless Showers

Showers Without Traditional Curbs Or Shower Trays Offer A Cleaner, More Seamless Look And Are More Accessible
Showers Without Traditional Curbs Or Shower Trays Offer A Cleaner, More Seamless Look And Are More Accessible

Many homeowners are going even a step farther to get a truly barrier-free look. Instead of just eliminating the metal hinges and rails that hold together the walls of a shower enclosure, they’re also eliminating the curb as you step into the shower, often tiling the entire bathroom floor – shower and all – in the same tile. This seemingly simple change is both more elegant and more accessible than a conventional design, and when done from the ground up only requires a slightly more involved installation to achieve – just make sure you use a slip proof tile!

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Barrier-Free Showers

Totally Barrier Free Showers Are Wide Open And Breathtaking And Offer A Relaxing, Delightfully Scandalous Bathing Experience
Totally Barrier Free Showers Are Wide Open And Breathtaking And Offer A Relaxing, Delightfully Scandalous Bathing Experience

But the trend toward more and more open showers doesn’t stop there. In fact, many homeowners are doing away with shower doors and shower enclosures entirely, opting instead for totally barrier free showers that are open to the rest of the bathroom. Now, this look isn’t for the faint of heart (or the overly modest), but if you’re looking for a way to really make your bathroom look and feel bigger, this is it. Without any glass or tile walls to separate it out, these open showers have no limit on elbow room.  Just be aware of how much and how far water will splatter when the shower head is turned on, and make sure everything in splash distance is waterproofed, and that the (slip proof!) tile floor is slightly graded to prevent water from pooling.

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Wet Bathrooms

Wet Bathrooms Are The Best Way To Add Functionality And Accessibility To A Smaller Bathroom While Still Getting That Open, Spa Like Feel (by The Kitchen Studio Of Glen Ellyn, photo by Dawn Jackman)
Wet Bathrooms Are The Best Way To Add Functionality And Accessibility To A Smaller Bathroom While Still Getting That Open, Spa Like Feel (by The Kitchen Studio Of Glen Ellyn, photo by Dawn Jackman)

A natural extension of these barrier free showers is the wet shower. These are showers that incorporate other waterproofed bathroom fixtures, like a bathtub, toilet, or sink, and generally come in one of two forms. In a smaller bathroom, the entire bathroom can be waterproofed from top to toe,  allowing for a roomy, full-sized, very accessible shower in the space of a very small bathroom. In a larger bathroom, it often means putting a luxury soaking bathtub and sometimes a sink and toilet inside a glass enclosure separate from the main dressing portion of the bathroom.

Steam Showers

Steam Showers Are The Most Enclosed Type Of Bathroom That's Really Popular This Year, But They Also Offer The Most Authentic Spa Experience (by Rasmussen Construction, photo by John Merkyl)
Steam Showers Are The Most Enclosed Type Of Bathroom That’s Really Popular This Year, But They Also Offer The Most Authentic Spa Experience (by Rasmussen Construction, photo by John Merkyl)

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One notable exception to this trend toward more and more open showers is the growing popularity of steam showers. Steam showers are designed to fill with velvety, relaxing steam, and are generally designed with benches so you can sit back and breathe in the hot, moist air and unwind first thing in the morning, after a workout, or at the end of a long day. But steam needs to be well managed to prevent water damage, which means built in steam showers have to be completely enclosed on all sides, and typically have slightly lower ceilings to trap the steam as much as possible. The sides of a steam shower can be made of glass or tile, but need to be completely waterproofed to prevent the steam spilling out into the rest of the bathroom.

Curved Walk In Shower Enclosures

Curved Or Spiral Shaped Walk In Showers Offer A Little More Privacy Than A Barrier Free Shower, But A Similarly Relaxed, Open Experience When You're Actually In The Shower (by House and House Architects)
Curved Or Spiral Shaped Walk In Showers Offer A Little More Privacy Than A Barrier Free Shower, But A Similarly Relaxed, Open Experience When You’re Actually In The Shower (by House and House Architects)

Finally, one trend I’m starting to see a lot of that really runs contrary to this trend are walk in showers with curved tile walls that spiral inward, creating a little shower alcove that’s separate from the rest of the bathroom. Obviously, this is more of a barrier than any of the other kinds of showers listed here, but at the same time, these don’t really have the same “feel” as a conventional shower. The winding curve that leads into the shower allows for more privacy, but the space isn’t really closed in the way a conventional shower is, and from both the inside and the outside the tile wall (which is often uniquely shaped to boot) creates a lovely, unique, almost statuesque appearance that you simply can’t get from a basic rectangle of glass. 

What do you think of these distinctive new shower trends? Are you planning a major bathroom remodel in 2014, and if so, what type of shower would you love to have? Let me know in the comments!