The power of a good shower

The 8 Series Colour Sliding Door in Gold, from £1,495.20, available from Merlyn Showering, visit mer

The 8 Series Colour Sliding Door in Gold, from £1,495.20, available from Merlyn Showering, visit for nearest stockist - Credit: Archant

Stepping under a cascading shower can be one of the most luxurious feelings in the world. But turning the shower on to be greeted with a pathetic little trickle can be one of the most frustrating and disappointing experiences!

The Concept Freedom dual shower, from £636, with M1 rainshower, fixed riser, M3 handspray and pin ha

The Concept Freedom dual shower, from £636, with M1 rainshower, fixed riser, M3 handspray and pin handles, available from Ideal Standard, visit for nearest stockist. PA Photo/Handout - Credit: Archant

Indeed, the power of a good shower should not be underestimated. So much more than a means of getting clean, the right one can encourage us to break into a chorus of Singin’ In The Rain, awaken the senses and leave us invigorated and ready to face the demands of the day.

Nearly 90 per cent of UK households, according to AMA Research (, have at least one shower in their home, and with demand for super-stylish systems continuing to grow, leading bathroom specialists now offer an array of solutions for both traditional and contemporary interiors.

“The bathroom continues to be a key element of our homes, playing a much greater role beyond that of its traditional function as just another part of the daily routine,” says Robin Levien, international designer at Ideal Standard.

“It has become both multi-purpose and multi-functional, an oasis of escapism and relaxation. A place for reinvigoration, transformation and even somewhere to pose, ponder and play.”

Dreaming of a shower upgrade? The first stage in the planning process is to address a number of key issues, such as water pressure, the fabric of the building and ceiling height.

“The most important thing is to ensure you choose a shower system that’s compatible with your water supply, to make sure you have sufficient water pressure to give optimal showering experience,” notes Joe Stephens, product designer at Roper Rhodes.

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Once the practical points have been addressed, you can drench yourself in the fun bits...

Dark depths

Style and ambience can make a big difference in a bathroom; an uncluttered spa style, and chic, minimal designs are ever-popular.

And while lighter colour schemes may be most traditionally associated with this part of the home, don’t rule out moody hues, which can work especially well.

“There is a trend for using dark colours on the walls and floor, which with good lighting, can actually make a small space seem bigger, as well as delivering a boutique hotel feel,” says Levien.

Think different shades of greys, particularly darker tones, which are very on trend and great for creating a tranquil feel of luxury and relaxation.

Bristan’s latest electric shower range has been designed to complement any decor scheme, and their Bliss model comes in a cool black gloss, to combine uber contemporary design with the usual functional benefits. Clever new detailing includes an anti-limescale feature and warm-up mode.

Wet & wild

Oversized shower heads can – literally – wash our woes away and make us feel like we’re in Club Tropicana.

“Drench shower heads are a fantastic choice for those looking to create a spa-like showering experience,” says Helen Shaw, marketing manager at Laura Ashley Bathroom Collection.

“Large, 300mm shower heads, which can be ceiling-mounted for a dramatic effect, are perfect for this as they create a cascading rain shower effect. Diverter valves are very popular, as they give the ability to switch the flow of water between two or even three different outlets, such as the main overhead shower, a handset and a bath filler. Thermostatic shower valves are another popular choice, particularly for families, as they are safe and easy to use.”

Lisa Ward, shower design expert at Bristan, agrees: “ Right now, bigger is better. Show-stopping ceiling-fed shower heads are a huge trend, because they look great, and they provide a really luxurious showering experience.

“This year we’re seeing the emergence of ‘wow’ shower head features, such as waterfall settings and LED mood lighting, which create a sense of total relaxation,” she adds.

“There’s a perception that ceiling-fed shower heads are inflexible, but increasingly, homeowners are investing in a diverter to a second shower head, which can be adjusted to suit the needs of each user, meaning they get the best of both worlds.”

The wow factor

When space is at a minimum, often it’s all about finding inventive and user-friendly ways of fitting in the essentials - but those lucky enough to have lots of bathroom space to play with can tap into trends on a larger scale.

“Bathrooms are moving from the functional into the decadent,” says Edel Nicholson, marketing manager at Merlyn Showering.

“There are no longer any taboos and the filter has been lifted! Colour, texture, shape and size have moved from being ‘safe’ to almost stretching the boundaries of good taste. There has never been so much choice and product variation, and trends are very fast moving.”

To create a beautiful bathroom, the pros at Merlyn suggest picking a statement piece that you really can’t live without - make that the focus of the room – and design your bathroom around it.

Talk to your local bathroom retailer, as they can give you professional advice and use a suite of design tools, so you can be confident you’ve made the right choices for your space and needs, before any costly tiling or plumbing work begins.

“We love giving a traditional bathroom an up-to-date facelift by removing the bath and replacing it with a large format slim tray and wet room,” says Nicholson. “This totally transforms both the look, life and function of the bathroom.

“Again, there is huge choice out there, and if you are concerned about plumbing and drainage, opt for a low level tray for a true wet room look.

“Think about coloured glass, as this can offer a ‘wow’ factor and also delivers some privacy, if the bathroom is used by more than one person at a time.”