How to design a functional and stylish shower


Designing a bathroom can be intimidating, especially when it comes to the shower. You want something both practical and aesthetically pleasing, but with all of the options available, making sure you have everything you need is overwhelming. Thankfully, there are some great ideas that will help make your dream shower come true!

When it comes to designing a shower, there are some essential elements that you must consider. From size and layout to tiles, fixtures, and accessories – this article will provide the key steps necessary for creating a practical and visually attractive shower. By adhering to these tips, you can develop your dream bathroom getaway with ease!

Determine the type of shower you want

If you’re wanting to design a new shower, the very first step is selecting which variety of shower best suits your space and needs. There’s an abundance of options from walk-in showers, corner showers, stand-up showers, tub-and-shower combos, wet rooms as well as more. A few types take up much larger amounts of room than others do so if you have ample area available why not entertain opulent features like rain and steam chambers?

Size and Layout

When concocting the perfect shower, one of your first considerations must be size and layout. This factor is largely dictated by the amount of space you have to utilize in your bathroom; if it’s on the smaller side, considering a compact shower or even an all-inclusive tub/shower combo can help optimize this essential feature. If you’re lucky enough to boast expansive square footage, why not opt for something grander with more room for indulgence?

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What are my options?

Here’s a rundown of the different shower arrangements you could consider

Stand up shower / Walk in shower

This is the classic shower arrangement where you stand in one area of the bathroom, and shower features are on a wall. This is great for those who don’t want to take up floor space with a tub.

This type of shower is typically within a separate shower enclosure, but that is not necessarily a requirement. The size can range from a small square to almost any size or shape and can include a variety of features like body sprays, hand showers, benches, etc

Curbless entry

Walk in showers with curbless entries are great for a modern look, and they make your bathroom more accessible.

If you have sufficient bathroom space, a shower area separated by a floor-to-ceiling glass screen makes for a functional and modern look. Consider a switchable frosted screen which will change from clear to translucent at the touch of a button.

Wet Rooms

A wet room is an open-air shower with no enclosure. This type of shower is great for those who want a more modern, spa-like experience, or those who need easy access and lots of space, such as those in wheelchairs.

These showers typically include some sort of drain in the floor and the shower equipment on the wall.

Corner Shower

This is a great option for smaller bathrooms, as this type of shower utilizes the corner space in an efficient way. Corner showers typically have a more rectangular shape, with most of the shower’s components along two walls.

This type of arrangement can also provide more room for features like benches, shelves and rain shower heads.

Bath shower ideas

If you want to keep the traditional look of a tub and shower, a tub and shower combo is an excellent choice. This arrangement has a lot of benefits as you retain the luxury and general practicality of a bath with the option of using it simply as step in shower as well.

Even if the person has taken a bath, they can still use the over bath shower to rinse their hair or body.

You can also include shower accessories like a handheld shower head or rain shower head for added convenience.

This arrangement can be incorporated, whether it’s a freestanding bath or integrated into the wall.

There is a multitude of shower baths designs and shaped baths can be used to maximise the available space.

An L shaped bath is typically best used in small bathrooms, as they are designed to fit into corners and maximize space. L shaped baths are often preferred by those who are looking for a bath that offers both a soaking tub and a separate showering area, as they can typically accommodate both features within their design.

Providing a perfect union of modernity and comfort, the P shaped bath is an ideal choice for any contemporary bathroom. It’s cleverly designed to join together two distinct shapes – rectangular and semi-circular – with one end slightly curved so you can relax in both style and ease. With its slightly curved end, the bathtub allows for a comfortable backrest. Meanwhile, at the rectangular end of the tub, it is perfect for bathing toddlers or cleaning your furry friends!

P shaped baths are an ideal solution for those who crave comfort and wish to conserve floor space. This type of tub fits perfectly into small or medium-sized bathrooms, replacing a traditional bathtub without needing additional room for installation.

If are looking at a combined shower bath, you should also look to incorporate a shower screen or shower curtain into your designs.

Shower screens and shower curtains are two popular options for enclosing a shower area, but they have some key differences that may make one more suitable for your needs. A shower screen is made of glass or acrylic and can be fixed in one place, or hinged at the wall or mid-way along or have a sliding arrangement.

They normally provide a clear, unobstructed view of the shower area. They are more expensive than shower curtains, but are more durable and easier to clean.

They also have a more modern and stylish appearance, making them a popular choice for a high-end and modern bathroom. The biggest downside is that they cannot normally be moved completely out of the way.

On the other hand, a shower curtain is made of fabric or vinyl and hangs from a rod above the shower area. They are a more affordable option and are easy to install and replace.

There are many shower curtain designs you can choose from, and they are a quick and easy way of changing the look of the room.

Shower curtains also tend to have a more casual and traditional look, which may not be suitable for all bathroom styles.

Ultimately, the choice between a shower screen and a shower curtain will depend on your personal preferences and budget. If you want a more durable and modern enclosure with a clear view of the shower space, a shower screen may be the better option. If you are looking for a more affordable and easy-to-maintain and change solution, a shower curtain may be the way to go.

Don’t forget the floor drain if you have a shower over a freestanding bath!

Shower features

Having considered the size and layout of your shower, the next step is to look at all the different elements that you wish to include. This is where other constraints will come into play, such as the budget and practicality. With showers, you can go anywhere from a basic setup with just a showerhead to an extravagant steam shower with a sauna.

Wherever you site your shower, you have to have a drain in your shower tray for the dirty water to flow away. Your next consideration needs to be the water supply and electrical supply.

The greatest flexibility and choice comes if you have a high capacity mains electricity supply available as well as both hot and cold water.

You only need hot and cold water if you are using a basic mixer shower, as this blends both to achieve the desired temperature.

An electric shower / on demand shower requires a high capacity electricity supply as it heats its own water from cold – and only a cold water supply is required.

Standard showers are the most common type of shower and feature a single showerhead which could be fixed on the wall or ceiling, or it could be a showerhead which you can remove from the wall and hold.

Fixed or Handheld Shower Heads

You should decide whether you would prefer your shower head to be fixed to the wall, handheld, or have both. We can help you decide on the best shower head

Rainfall Shower head

Imagine standing in the rain – that’s exactly what a rainfall shower gives you! These showers feature an overhead sprinkler-like showerhead, which provides an ample and soothing water spray.

Installing one of these showers is guaranteed to turn your bathroom into a luxurious spa experience.

Elevate your bathroom’s style and transform it into an oasis with waterfall showers. These stunning showerheads offer a vertical wall of water that gracefully flows down from one or more outlets, making a dramatic yet luxurious statement in any shower.

Craving the ultimate in showering luxury? Look no further than multi outlet showers, otherwise known as shower systems. These high-end offerings feature multiple heads and outlets, offering you countless customization combinations that can include standard showerheads, rainfall options, handhelds, and body jets. Enjoy a spa-like experience from the comfort of your own bathroom with these lavish fixtures!

Choose the right materials for your shower design

If you’re looking to create a stylish and functional shower, selecting the right materials is absolutely critical. The right components can drastically enhance your bathroom’s durability, maintenance requirements, as well as its visual appeal.

The durability of the material: You want materials that are durable and can withstand the wear and tear of daily use, as well as cleaning with abrasives and chemicals. Look for materials that are resistant to stains, water, and other types of damage.

Think about maintenance: Cleanliness and maintenance are essential, yet some materials require more care than others. For example, tile floors may need regular grout washing and sealing to sustain their original look; however, they remain relatively easy to manage overall.

Think about the style you want: Different materials can give your shower a different look and feel. For example, stone tiles can give a natural, rustic look, while glass tiles can give a modern, sleek look.

Consider the cost: Different materials have different price points, so be sure to consider your budget when making your choice. You should take into consideration whether this is a stop-gap refit or a refurbishment that will last you many years.

Some popular materials for shower designs include:

Ceramic or porcelain tiles

These are popular choices because they are durable, easy to clean and come in a wide range of colours and styles.

Image of a bathroom featuring elegant ceramic tiles on the floor and walls
Credit: Total Tiles

Porcelain can look just like natural stone

Image of a bathroom featuring elegant porcelain tiles on the floor and walls
Credit: Total Tiles

Natural stone

Natural stone tiles, such as marble or granite, can give your shower a luxurious, high-end look. However, they can be more expensive and require more maintenance.

Image of a bathroom featuring elegant granite tiles on the floor and walls
Credit: Total Tiles

They can work equally well for both wall and floor tiles for a seamless look.

Image of a bathroom featuring elegant marble tiles on the floor and walls
Credit: Total Tiles

Glass tiles

Glass tiles can give your shower a modern, sleek look, but they can be more expensive and may require more maintenance.

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Credit: Total Tiles
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Credit: Total Tiles
Image of a sink with taps featuring elegant glass tiles on the floor and walls
Credit: Total Tiles

Acrylic or fibreglass: These materials are budget-friendly and easy to clean, but they may not be as durable as other options. There are many styles available, including ones which very closely mimic patterned tiles.

No matter what materials you choose, make sure that your design is not only beautiful but also safe and functional. When done correctly, a well-made shower design can last for decades and add value to your home.

Decide on a style that suits you best

To create a shower that is both attractive and practical, it’s important to select the right style for you, one that not only complements your tastes but also matches up with the atmosphere of your bathroom and home. Here are some common design styles to consider when planning out your perfect shower setup


If you prefer a modern and sophisticated aesthetic, consider designing your shower with contemporary elements.

Modern bathrooms typically include subtle features such as simple lines, glass doors or walls, and a few decorative accents – the perfect combination to create an iconic minimalist look


If you long for a timeless and classic aesthetic, traditional shower designs are the perfect match. These distinctive looks include bevelled tiles, decorative trimwork, and stylish clawfoot freestanding baths – making your bathroom look luxurious without compromising on style or quality.


Embrace a natural, organic aesthetic with rustic showers. You can choose from wood or stone elements and earthy colour schemes that evoke the outdoors in your bathroom.

Textures range from smooth to rough-hewn for an eclectic look that is sure to be unique and inviting.


Industrial showers are characterized by their edgy and urban aesthetic.

They often feature exposed pipes, concrete or metal finishes, and a utilitarian vibe.

Install adequate lighting in the shower area 

Illuminating your shower area is essential for both safety and style. Adequate lighting ensures that you can navigate the space without missteps while also adding a touch of elegance to elevate its look and feel. By investing in adequate light fixtures, you are able to minimize any potential hazards as well as create an inviting atmosphere.

There are regulations that must be adhered to when illuminating a bathroom. BS 7671:2018+A2:2022 covers the electrical installation regulations and there are specific requirements for electrical installations in the bathroom.

The bathroom is divided into zones ranging from 0 (inside the bath tub and shower tray) through to zone 3 which is outside of any particular risk areas, but still within the bathroom.

If you wish to install an electrical device (light / heater / fan / switch, etc) in a particular zone, then the device has to meet or exceed the minimum IP (Ingress Protection) rating for that zone. The IP rating system covers both solid objects as well as liquids and is shown as IP followed by 2 digits, e.g. IP44.

Overhead Lighting

Many people opt for overhead lighting, such as recessed, surface-mounted or hanging fixtures.

This type of lighting is great for illuminating the entire shower space and providing general illumination.

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Credit: Lights 4 Living
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Credit: Lightbulbs Direct
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Credit: Lamp and Light

You can let your imagination go wild and have some fun with lighting as LED technology has revolutionised the ways that light bulbs can be incorporated into designs

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Credit: Lights 4 Living
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Credit: Lamp and Light

Another option is to install accent lighting, such as wall sconces

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Credit: Lamp and Light

You should incorporate lights to illuminate yourself, such as when you are applying makeup and trimming hair

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Credit: Lights 4 Living

It’s also important to think about the type of light bulbs you use in your shower lighting. LED bulbs are a popular choice due to their energy efficiency and long lifespan. LED light bulbs give you the opportunity to set your desired colours based on the mood you are in or the ambience you are looking for at that moment in time.

With the right lighting, your shower can be both functional and visually appealing.

Incorporate storage solutions into your design 

Incorporating storage solutions into your shower design is a key aspect of creating a functional and organized space. There are several options to consider when it comes to adding storage to your shower, but it will depend upon the space you have available and wish to utilise.

If you have otherwise unused space on the wall, an option is to install shelving or built-in storage into the walls.

Another option is to use freestanding storage units, such as a shower caddy or a small shelf, to keep items like shampoo, conditioner, and soap organized and easily accessible.

Illuminated bathroom cabinets are also an excellent way to keep the space tidy and organised. They have built-in LED lights which both make it easy to find as well as potentially provide additional room illumination.

Heated towel rails are also a great option for adding extra storage, warmth and convenience to the shower. They provide an efficient way to warm your towels while also providing towel hooks or rods for additional storage.

Make sure to include safety features such as grab bars and non-slip surfaces 

Ensuring your shower includes safety features is essential, especially for those who may be at a higher risk of slipping or falling. Installing grab bars and non-slip surfaces in the shower can reduce the chances of accidents occurring, making them particularly important for elderly individuals or people with mobility impairments.

Grab bars are typically mounted horizontally or vertically to the walls of the shower and provide sturdy support for people to hold onto while moving about. They can be made of a variety of materials, such as stainless steel, plastic, or even wood, and can be integrated seamlessly into the design of the shower.

Non-slip surfaces are also important in the shower, as they help prevent slips and falls on wet surfaces. These can be achieved through the use of non-slip tiles or mats or by applying a non-slip coating to the floor of the shower.

Surfaces found in bathrooms are are typically hard and can easily become slippery. Landing on a tiled surface after a slip is much more dangerous than a soft surface such as a plush carpet.

Incorporating safety features into your shower design may not be the most glamorous aspect of the design process, but it is crucial for ensuring the safety and well-being of those using the shower.

Add decorative touches to make it stylish and inviting

Decorative touches can add the finishing touch to your shower design and make it feel more like a spa experience.

Whichever overall aesthetic you go for, you should include a plant or two, as they will complement any style and bring many benefits of their own.

Hang a picture or painting or install a mosaic tile backsplash.

You can also consider adding a bench or shelf for convenience and relaxation.

Be sure to keep the decorative touches in line with the overall style and aesthetic of your bathroom.


Creating a functional and stylish shower doesn’t have to be difficult. With the right planning, you can incorporate all of the elements necessary for both functionality and aesthetics. Choosing your desired colour palette based on mood or ambience is key in setting up the atmosphere of your bathroom oasis. Storage solutions like shelving, illuminated cabinets, caddies and heated towel rails are essential components to ensure everything has its place. Lastly, adding decorative touches such as plants, pictures or mosaic tiles will add that spa-like feel we all love when it comes to our showers! By taking these steps into consideration during your design process, you’ll be sure to achieve a beautiful yet practical result for years to come!


Is a shower over a bath a good idea?

A shower over a bath can be a great option if you’re looking for the convenience of having two separate functions in one. However, it is important to ensure that there is adequate space and safety considerations in place, as well as making sure the design works aesthetically within your bathroom.

Where should a shower be placed in a small bathroom?

To maximize the limited space of a small bathroom, placing the shower in a corner is an ideal solution that ensures easy access and plenty of room to move around. However, if a corner location isn’t viable, you can also opt for one wall instead – just make sure there’s enough clearance both on either side of the unit as well as overhead. Moreover, ensure that it does not block any fixtures or features such as your toilet or sink

What is shower over bath called?

A shower over bath is typically called a shower/bath combination or a combo unit. It is a type of bathroom setup where a showerhead is installed above the bathtub, allowing the user to shower while sitting or standing in the bathtub. We have plenty of shower over bath ideas.

Can I put a shower over a freestanding bath?

Yes, it is possible to install a shower over a freestanding bath. There are several options for doing this, depending on the specific layout and design of your bathroom. 


Jonathan Gaze

Content Editor

Hello there! I’m Jonathan Gaze, Content Editor for Harry Rufus.

With my technical problem-solving skills and meticulous attention to detail, I present sustainable living advice clearly and understandably. I’ve developed a knack for filtering out the fluff, presenting you with only the most practical and reliable sustainable living guidelines.

Here’s what you can anticipate from my content:

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