10 Tips to Build the Custom Shower of Your Dreams

Dina Cheney
Written by Dina Cheney
Updated December 21, 2021
large marble bathroom with shower and tub
Photo: Javani LLC / Adobe Stock

Shower yourself in luxury and style

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Picture this—it’s been a long, stressful day. But you step into a luxurious shower that was made—literally—just for you. Maybe you turn on a steam feature, lather up with an aromatic body wash, then rinse off with multiple body jets. You then finish your shower by wrapping yourself in an Egyptian cotton towel warmed by your heated towel rack. 

Here are a few tips for building a custom shower that brings this spa-like dream to life.

1. Make It Big

Most people want a spacious shower of at least 36 by 48 inches, but ideally closer to 60 inches in width. If you need to make space for your custom shower, you may need to remove a tub or borrow space from an adjoining bathroom, bedroom, or closet. 

2. Pick a Prime Spot

You can always go the most popular route and have your shower installer place your shower stall in the corner of the bathroom. For a more dramatic choice, locate it in the center of the space or make the shower its own separate room. 

3. Decide on a Format

beige and white wet room with curbless shower
Photo: pbombaert / Adobe Stock

For a wet room effect (which is basically a bathroom, except the whole area is designed to get wet), place a freestanding tub inside your shower, or go for a large walk-in shower. For the most seamless look, opt for a curbless shower. These showers lack the threshold that typically separates the shower floor from the bathroom floor (they’re also wheelchair-accessible). You’ll just need to ask your bathroom remodeler to lower the shower floor below the bathroom floor to make a slope to the drain.

4. Pick Luxe Finishes

marble stone bathroom with modern shower
Photo: bmak / Adobe Stock

For a clean, modern look, clad shower walls in slabs of quartz or natural stone. Alternatively, opt for the perennial favorite of white subway tile (with dark grout for easier cleaning). Or pick colorful tiles, such as hexagonal aqua blue ceramic, to make a design statement. You can even designate one wall as an accent wall, giving it a different tile treatment than the other walls. Don’t forget the floor— install river rock or pebble to massage your feet and lend your space a natural look.

5. Minimize Doors

dark grey shower with half glass door
Photo: Jodie Johnson / Adobe Stock

Many custom showers don’t have doors. As a sleek alternative, you can install a fixed glass panel (frameless or framed in metal) or opt for hinged swinging glass doors. If you go this route, make sure they don’t open into toilets, toilet bars, or shower heads. To make your bathroom ceiling look higher, splurge on floor-to-ceiling glass panels or doors. Colored glass can also make a dramatic design statement

6. Add Light

spacious white bathroom with skylight
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

If your bathroom is on the top floor, consider installing a skylight. Or, if your bathroom runs along an exterior wall, think about adding a window. Otherwise, you can have a local electrician install recessed lights overhead. 

7. Splurge on Fixtures

Purchase multiple types of shower heads. Consider a rainfall-style fixture above, a hand-held sprayer, and wall-mounted fixtures on two walls, so two people can shower at once. For true luxury, splurge on a steam generator and a crisscross installation of body jet sprayers.

When determining fixture placement, make sure that shower heads don’t point toward the shower door and that you’ll be able to turn on the shower without getting wet. Also, be sure to select a finish that meshes with the remainder of your bathroom, whether it’s brushed brass, oil-rubbed bronze, polished nickel, or rose gold. 

8. Provide Storage and Seating

beige stone bathroom with shower storage
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

Ask your contractor to build in recessed shelves or a niche. For a less pricey option, go for a shower ledge. For somewhere to shave or simply sit and luxuriate, include a bench or floating seat.

9. Go High-Tech

You can opt for a voice-activated system that lets you control your shower through your phone. Tech fans can also install sophisticated sound and light systems, like waterproof Bluetooth speakers. 

10. Don’t Forget Extras

black and white stone bathroom
Photo: Wollwerth Imagery / Adobe Stock

To help you shave in the shower, add a fogless mirror. By the shower entrance, install a towel bar, hook, or ring so you won’t need to walk across the room before drying yourself off. For an organic element, hang greenery, like aromatic eucalyptus branches or a snake plant.

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