Shower seating: are built-in designs the new luxury trend?

shower seating

Do you want to level up or futureproof your shower experience? Then we’ve got the expert lowdown on the growing trend of built-in shower seating. KBB expert Jill Morgan has the lowdown.

Built-in shower seating so luxe that it’s one of the latest bathroom must-haves. So whether you fancy sitting down and unwinding in the shower or improving accessibility for all the family, it’s a great shout. It’s also more than just an Insta-worthy style statement – though we admit they do look rather stunning – these features are super practical too.  

shower seating
Arabescato verde oro marble Shower Bench, price on request, Varisco Stone. Photography: Chris Snook.

The reasons why built-in seating works for all the family

Not only does seating provide a handy ledge for keeping products close to hand and a perch for easier washing and shaving. Shower seating also enables those who need extra support – or just like to take their time – to shower with confidence.  

Hugely popular with both bathroom designers and homeowners, there are plenty of smart and space savvy shower seating designs available.  

an illuminated bathroom
Underlighting a wall hung shower bench adds to the luxe feel of this home spa. Integrated LED strip lights and spotlighting blend with gloss white brick tiles and marble panels. Small Size Premium Spa by Sieger Design at West One Bathrooms.

So, why is shower seating a good idea? Well, today’s homes take on many different roles as spaces for living, working, unwinding and socialising, and our bathrooms are no different. Constantly in use, they need to be both space efficient, functional and pleasurable to use, and also cater for differing household needs. 

shower seating
Maximise limited head room in the shower with a fully tiled ‘L’ shape bench. Naples floor tiles, £57.12 sq/m; Retro Metro wall tiles, £59.98sq/m, both Fired Earth; Bespoke Glassware, price on application, from SSI True Frameless; Shower generator from £3540, TyloHelo. Design by BC Designs.

Shower seating is great for future proofing

These days, more UK homeowners are looking to future-proof their homes, both for comfort and financial investment. So there’s a real desire to tailor key areas such as kitchens and bathrooms to meet individual needs. “There is increasingly a need to cater for multi-generational families within the bathroom industry,” says James Sketch, Country Manager UK, KEUCO. “This in turn has led to a trend towards generously sized showering areas, with easily accessible shower trays that are flush with the floor. Providing both an enjoyable showering experience and ensuring there is adequate space to install seating in the shower if needed.” 

an illuminated bathroom with freestanding bath
Rich and handcrafted encaustic tiles from Craven Dunnill and shower fittings from Catchpole and Rye create a luxurious steam room. Design by Godrich Interiors. 

With this in mind, integrated shower seating (or a bench or ledge) has many advantages. Not only does it look jaw-droppingly chic, it’s space efficient. It’s also stable – important for those less mobile or seeking reassurance while showering. Oh, and it’s hygienic and easy to clean, too.  

shower seating
Elegant and neat, this tiled ledge doubles as a handy seat. The small side return adds a designer edge. Reves Magnum XL Format porcelain tiles, price on application, Domus . 

Justine Bullock at The Tap End explains why shower seating is so popular. “We love a big shower where possible, but often when introducing a larger shower tray to a room (unless your room has been purpose built for your design) it can leave a bit of dead space at the end of the tray. This is especially pertinent if you purchase an off the shelf size tray and are therefore restricted by available sizes. To fill this gap, we like to introduce a tiled shower seat or bench.” 

a large bathroom with matt black finishes
A large walk-in shower and corner bench are the focal point of this stunning bathroom. Project by CP Hart, prices on request.

Fully bespoke designs will always maximise your space and needs. If floor space is tight, a corner design is a great option and can provide a handy solo perch. If you intend to spend more time lounging in the shower, opt for a larger ottoman-style seat possibly with a shaped, supportive back or armrests. For spacious showers, try a pair of benches or an ‘L’ shape ledge that wraps around two walls. This can provide plenty of shower seating for couples or young families plus additional storage room too.  

Which style should you go for?

shower seating
Capitalise on a wet room alcove by building in a shower bench. Teak with its natural water-resistant oils is practical, warm to touch and rich in tone. Bathrooms from £8000, Ripples. 

Those are the benefits, but how about deciding on style? Whether you go for a wall-hung, floating style ledge or a solid, fully grounded bench is up to you, though there are a few pointers to consider.  

Built-in shower seating can be tiled or finished to blend seamlessly into the rest of the shower area and have the bonus of making the space appear much larger. Creating a tranquil and soothing spa-like feel, installations are stunning in smooth, pale finishes and gentle, curving shapes. These designs can also incorporate LED lighting and provide useful opportunities to conceal pipework and wiring.

More gorgeous designs

a green bathroom
Built in shower seats are a stunning feature and are super-functional. Fit under tile heating, for comfort and to dry moisture quickly. Day True bathrooms from £15,000. 

Cantilevered ledge-style seats always create a striking feature, especially when formed from a contrasting and exquisite material such as solid marble, granite or water-repellent teak. Fitted into the wall, they do have to be carefully engineered for a secure and safe installation.  

Whatever the bench is made from it is crucial to ‘get the installer to tilt the top of the seat slightly to avoid any water pooling on the bench, the same principle you would use for a shower recess or niche,’ says Hayley Robson, Creative Director, Day True. 

shower seating
Tailor a built-in shower bench and incorporate a storage niche. Project by The Tap End. Projects start at £10,000 fitted. 

Featured image: Sleek and seamless Oatmeal is a specialist composite material with anti-bacterial materials. Non-porous, warm to touchwith a textured finish it’s ideal for shower seat surfaces. Oatmeal by Inalco, £400-£650 sq m, CRL Stone. 

So, did you love our feature on shower seating? Then read our feature on shower toilets.

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