Industry Ed with Richard: Shower Design Trends, Part 2

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This is the second post in my two-part Shower Design Trends series. In this post, I’m going to talk about the current trends in hardware and accessories for showers. Read my first post for my opinion on what is big in overall shower design.

A shower designed for a farmhouse bathroom update. See more pictures on our Houzz page. 



Showers are more popular than ever. Bathtubs are still a fixture in many bathrooms, but the new homes I see being built simply don’t not have a shower. With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the latest trends I have seen in shower accessories and hardware. Knowing more about these products can help you and your client come to the best decision about bathroom renovations and builds. 

Rain Shower Heads


Unlike most modern shower heads, which spray a stream of water in one direction, these shower heads use multiple valves to create a rain-like stream.

  • mounted on a 90 degree angle from the shower wall or drop out of the ceiling 
  • wider water coverage than other styles
  • provides a natural showering experience 

Rain shower heads need a bit more room than other shower heads. Be sure to account for both vertical height in the shower and horizontal coverage on the floor. 

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A rain shower head from a local bathroom renovation. See more pictures on our Houzz page. 

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Body Spray Shower


This style was really fashionable five years ago but seems to be tapering off in popularity. I’ve heard many clients want to move away from it because its simply not an eco-friendly design. Remember that each head in a shower uses 2.2 gallons of water per minute; body spray showers, with their multiple heads, use up a lot of water quickly.


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Handheld Shower Heads 


Most of my clients like the added ease of having a handheld shower head. These shower heads making cleaning and shaving convenient. Many people opt for a combination system, with both a mounted shower head and a handheld one.

A handheld shower head that was part of a recent remodel. See more pictures of this project on our Houzz page. 

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Thermostatic Control Valves


Thermostatic control valves are a great safety addition to any shower. Rather than reading the water pressure outlet in order to control the water’s temperature, these valves ensure a continuous mix of water temperatures to prevent excessively high temperatures.

  • blends hot and cold water before spraying into the shower
  • turns shower off when cold water isn’t available 
  • automatically prevents scalding
  • some have further temperature control

Shower Seat


There are natural wood or plastic shower seats available, but, by far, the most popular styles as of the moment are stone.

  • chair height of around 18 in
  • depth of between 14 and 18 in
  • usually made from a suspended piece of stone
  • can also be made boxed in with stone, stone on top, and tile on the front


Like many other accessories on this list, the shower seat’s current popularity has to do with practicality. Having a seat inside the shower makes cleaning and shaving easier. It is also great for people who are concerned with aging-in-place, since they allow people who are unable to stand for long periods of time a place to sit. 

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History Lesson: The Sling Sofa

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Few designers have had more of an impact on America’s taste in modern furniture design than George Nelson. The leading American modernist designer spearheaded George Nelson Associates, Inc., a studio that created hundreds of designs for furniture giant Herman Miller. 
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Works created under Nelson’s stewardship, such as the “Coconut” Chair, the “Ball” Wall Clock, the “Bubble” Sofa, and the “Action Office II” (better known today as the office cubicle), went on to win his firm numerous accolades. Some designs are still manufactured and produced by Herman Miller today, more than 30 years after Nelson’s death.

Though Action Office II was the most profitable of Nelson’s designs, the Sling Sofa is considered most indicative of his design style. The late designer was a consummate industrialist, pushed to create works that were strong, cheap to produce, and comfortable.

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The Sling Sofa, with its chrome-plated tubular steel frame, thick black leather, and plush seating supported by rubber “slings” across the back, was meant to be beautiful, durable, and, of course, comfortable. It was first released in 1963 by Herman Miller as “Sofa, Model 6832;” the original design stayed in production until 2000.

“You don’t think your way to creative work. You work your way to creative thinking.” – George Nelson

This work might seem quieter than, say, the Bubble Sofa, but it is important nonetheless. The exposed structural elements of the sofa are a hallmark of industrial design. By pairing it with premium leather and a sleek profile, Nelson made what had been considered poor and drab something quite luxurious. The continuing popularity of the design among designers, collectors, and copycats, speaks volumes about Nelson’s eye for design.

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Unrestricted DeLight: Oversized Lighting Fixtures

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If you’re looking at lighting fixtures and thinking “This is going to be too big,” you’re probably wrong! In this day and age, don’t be afraid to be bold. Large scale, big, over-sized, bright, and colorful light fixtures make statements. They get noticed. Grand room = grand fixture. Small room = small fixture, right? Not always true.

If you’re still on board, just remember: balance is key. You don’t want every aspect of your design to be loud and in-charge. Once you’ve picked one element to be the focal point, use other elements in the room, like furniture and accessories, to compliment it.

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Types of Lighting

It’s fundamental that every space have layers of lighting: ambient, task, and accent.

Ambient is your general lighting. It is not there to catch your attention but to provide necessary light to see.

Task is your practical lighting. This is for specific tasks, like a desk light.

Finally, accent lighting, is your aesthetic lighting. While it does bring needed light to a space, it’s main role is for creating focal points, casting light on focal points, and even directional lighting.

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Lighten Up

When using lighting to define a focal point, it is important to consider the size and scale of the light fixture to the room within which it is being hung. You want to put a fixture in that is big but doesn’t overwhelm the space.

It is important to always consider clearances (from the floor, or the tops of counters), but as long as the fixtures fit within those perimeters, you don’t need to restrict the size of light. If you really want to create a focal, a large fixture can really have an impact.

Here is a collection of rooms that show just how deLIGHTful a large scale fixture can be in a space!

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Trend Alert: Ombre Interiors

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White was the most popular home interior color in 2017, but in 2018, its popularity is slowly starting to… fade. Color is inching back into homes, and one of the freshest ways it is being incorporated is in ombre interiors. This style, inspired by your favorite millenial hair color technique, shows off the best of two colors by gradually fading out from one color to the other. Here’s some tips for using the “ombre effect” in your own home.

Statement Wall 

Time to break out the paint can! A statement wall is a great way to draw the eye to your new style. For the best overall look with minimal fuss, choose colors that compliment the existing space.
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Accessorize 

If you feel like this trend isn’t here to stay, there’s an easy way for you to use it now and lose it later – accessories. Try incorporating a throw, pillow, or rug for a little pop of color that’s easy to change once the next trend comes! 
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Subtle Can Be Better 

If you want to use a lighter touch when incorporating this trend, either choose two colors that already complement one another or get shades that are on the softer side. The finished piece or wall will still have the trademark ombre fade, but the look won’t be quite as dramatic.
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Until It Isn’t 

Go big or go home, right? If you’re on the other end of the spectrum, choose colors that contrast one another. Bright citrus and ice cream colors can give you a playful, summer-y look just in time for the hot weather.

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