Walk-in shower: how to get the look right

The shower has come a long way in recent years. We’ve said goodbye to small cubicles and are embracing a much more luxurious type of design – the walk-in shower. Oh, I love them. I want a giant shower area for my bathroom, complete with a large rainfall shower, too. I know what you’re thinking…you don’t need a huge bathroom to create this modern look; you don’t need to fully waterproof the whole room like you would for a ‘wetroom‘; and it’s not that much of an upheaval to go from bath to shower, promise.

Thanks to the clever people who design products for the bathroom, the choice of fittings is now huge and it’s never been easier to create a wetroom-inspired walk-in shower. Shower trays are as thin as a couple of centimeters, shower screens can look as seamless or designer as you want them to be (time to get rid of that shower curtain if you haven’t already, sorry) and materials for walls and floors are so vast that you can create a really fun, stylish and personal look to suit your interior design goals – think bright patterned tiles, bold murals, concrete-look backdrops or sophisticated marble coverings.

Bespoke enclosures can make use of wasted areas such as under the eaves or beneath staircases. Furniture from Frontline Bathrooms’ Kompass collection, completes this scheme.

So what should you think about when deciding on a walk-in shower?

  • the enclosure
  • the shower tray
  • door style
  • finishing touches

The enclosure

The good news is that there are many formats of ready-to-install walk-in shower solutions on the market to suit various sizes, so you are sure to find one that will work for you. There are curved, straight, hinged, door, no door panels to choose from, or you could go bespoke and get a design made especially for your space – good if, say, you have sloping ceilings, alcoves or awkward spaces to work around.

Show off your assets by matching a charcoal flush-fit shower floor surface to your walls – keep the rest of the room simple for a timeless finish. Mode shower range; Ascend 100cm divider panel; Ascend divider hinged 20cm deflector panel, all Mira.

The walk-in shower enclosure can be as big or small as you need, can have minimal framing around the glass, thicker frames on all sides, or only some sides, or you could go for a panelled look to mimic steel-framed glazing, or even go for reeded glass or opaque glazing. I mean it when I say the choices are endless.

Got a generous space for a walk-in shower? Two-sided enclosures enable you to tuck the shower tightly
into one corner, while designs with three screens are ideal for a more central position. You could even create a twin-entry or double shower arrangement for total luxury.

One step on from barely-there enclosures, this two-side frameless design looks stunning in reeded glass. Adding a degree of privacy, a flipper panel helps contain spray and splashes, too. The Liberty wetroom panels is from Roman.

The shower tray

A low profile or seamless shower surface is key to a walk-in shower done he modern way. This will create a seamless transition from the bathroom floor and make it safer and easier to access the shower. Not only is this comfortable for all, it’s also great for kids, elderly or anyone who has additional mobility needs. All good shower trays have an anti-slip surface as standard.

Designed to be quick and easy to fit, Duravit’s Tempano shower tray system is available both with or without a support frame and features a gentle slope to a discreet side drain. Available in 27 sizes and in an anti-slip high gloss white acrylic.

Bonus: the seamless surface is easy to clean and, as germs have nowhere to collect, hygienic too. That’s when compared to tiles with lots of grout lines, for example.

Installing a walk-in shower tray to fit flush gives better drainage than a tiled floor, too.

When it comes to drainage, the shower tray will either have discreet grooves to channel water towards to drain or be slightly angled to encourage the water to flow away (instead of flooding the floor!).

Shower trays are not only practical – they can be beautiful too, as Ripples’ Hybrid design shows. Made from Akron, choose from cement effect, smooth microtexture, or a wooden and concrete combo in more than 2000 colours.

Oh and one other thing: even a flush-fitting shower surface can become integral to the décor. The tray doesn’t have to be white – it can even be colour matched to the surrounding tiles. Yep, I’ve seen all colours from soft powder pinks and blues to terracottas, reds, black and all shades of beige and greige.

Door style

As a practical answer to open-plan wetrooms, it is not surprising that most walk-in shower enclosures and panels aim to be as unobtrusive and discreet as possible. Originally, glass panels were set within slimline metal frames – but as technology has advanced in the last few years, solutions have become even more minimal.

right Rounded fittings in rose gold and frameless screens showcase the shower panel and surface in Blush. Grandera thermostatic shower mixer with integrated two-way diverter, and Grandera 210 one-spray, shower head, in Warm Sunset, all Grohe.

You may hear them described as “frameless”. This style of glass panel helps to open up the space, typically consisting of wall-mounted brackets either side. The rest of the enclosure is made up glass
panels with rounded edges – good if you want a barely-there look.

Some companies even offer a bespoke service where the brackets can be recessed into the wall to create a floating appearance.

Glass options are no longer limited to clear or opaque either: elegant fluted panels add a softer, period feel while coloured tints increase privacy.

And then don’t forget the details such as hinges and handles. These are important in their own right, especially if they’re on show. There are many styles available, including metals such as polished and brushed nickel, gold, and brushed gold in ranges, alongside the standard chrome or silver.

A bold shower screen with support bar and sleek black fittings creates a streamlined walk-in solution. The handy recessed ledge and contrasting large-format tiling add to the effect. Drench Frahm wetroom panel, with Fil matt black showerhead; Fil matt black hand shower set; and Fil matt black thermostatic valve, all CP Hart.

Finishing touches

Once you’ve chosen your tray, door and enclosure, you’ll definitely have a clear idea of the overall look you’re going for. But you’ll need things to go in the shower too, right? Namely – the actual shower.
Why not indulge in a spa-like experience with a supersized shower head, for example? Generally, aim for a 30cm overhead design, but for more spacious areas you could opt for a large 50cm multi-function shower head, either wall mounted or fitted flush to the ceiling.

Look out for showerheads that feature rain, waterfall, and mist functions. Chromotherapy – or colour therapy – lighting is also an optional extra, which really makes the shower become a space of true luxury and wellness. Ahhhh nice.

Complement a stylish shower with a discreet but effective flush-fitting drain. Unidrain’s HighLine collection replaces traditional grating with a smart panel and now comes in metallic finishes including brushed stainless steel, brass and copper, each set within a matching stainless steel frame. The shown HighLine Colour drain is available from Wetroom Materials.

Then, for the controls and taps elsewhere, look beyond chrome to finishes including rose gold, brushed nickel and matt black, which all bring their own character and quickly transform valves and controls into design features. I mean, chrome is good too…

There is so much choice now when creating a walk-in shower – have fun with the design and embrace the multitude of finishes available.

Fit this fluted-glass shower panel with or without a tray, fora look that oozes understated chic, and team it with matt black fittings for a coordinated finish. Aqata’s DS402 reeded glass wetroom panel comes in chrome or polished gold.

You may also enjoy: How to plan a bathroom: your 10 step plan

Featured image: Plenty of room to spare? A generous twin-entry walk-in shower creates a decadent focal point in any master bathroom or ensuite. AWT900 twin-entrance wetroom panel with returns, Matki.

 

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