Future-Proofing Shower Styles! (Or, making a shower for sale in 2025)
September 6, 2018 11:01 AM   Subscribe

My master Bathroom has a 5' by 18' area that has a bathtub square in the middle and no shower. I've never really done a bathroom renovation before, so I have several questions, but the big one is about the style and layout of the doors/curtain. Probably more than you need to know inside!

There's a ton of info swirling in my head, so I'm excited to share this with you and ask some specific questions.

Background info:

1. We want a shower in our master bathroom. There's another full bathroom (including tub) on the main floor but it's far away. We don't take tubs that much but shower daily.
2. We have a big space here, bigger than a lot of fancy shower's we've seen in other houses. We have already decided that we'll probably use the end of the space for a small cabinet.
3. I've read this blog post about DIYing a shower pan, and I think I could do it.
4. I have lots of ideas for different materials for the tiles and floor, including cool tiles, wood, river rocks, and more. I put together a pinterest-y google doc here.
5. We are probably going to live in our house for 5 more years, and we want the shower to be perfect for us but also help resale value slightly.


1. How do you choose a tile style that will look awesome in 5-10 years? It seems like Subway Tile and River Rock are on their way "out". In your opinion - what is the best way to future-proof a shower tile material? Just make it as white as possible and the specific tiles don't matter as much?

2. Fancy Doors Suck? Most of the fancy DIY showers I see online are doing "european" half-wall showers with no door or curtain. These half-pane showers or no-pane showers Look Amazing are easier to clean, but have a potential to splash onto the floor and have cold drafts. Our master bathroom is large and being cold would be our largest concern here. Alternatives suggested is a curved shower rod (less high end), or a sliding or swinging glass door (hard to clean, more expensive). I've even thought about a cool slatted wood wall there, which would also be just as cold. Which do you recommend for our situation? Is there some perfect solution here I'm not seeing?

3. Have you recently redone/added a shower? Do you have pictures? I'd love to see any real showers instead of showroom showers in imaginary bathrooms.

Thanks so much for your help!
posted by bbqturtle to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
We put in a full glass shower door, and while it is mostly attractive, the rubber sealant around the edges gets grody and is difficult to clean (particularly because I made the biggest mistake of my life and put marble tile on the floor of the shower- NO MARBLE TILE! You can only clean it with tears and love and ugggh I just want some Scrubbing Bubbles in there). A shower curtain wouldn't really have worked in our setup, but I will lean toward shower curtain situations in my bathrooms going forward.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:04 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Subway tiles may be on the way out as 'the hip thing' but they have been in bathrooms for close to 100 years, so you may want to decide if you are going for 'hip' vs 'timeless'. I see river rock flooring as being difficult to clean and uncomfortable for those with sensitive feet, so I'd place that in the 'hip' category.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:17 AM on September 6, 2018 [8 favorites]

Also if your bathroom is cold, consider a combined heater/vent system. We use ours occasionally, and it provides spot heat when you don't really want to heat the entire house. I think ours was $100 a Lowes, and is super quiet. Pay more for quiet when it comes to venting.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:20 AM on September 6, 2018

There's good reason that subway tile is popular. It's a classic. I wouldn't count it in the "trendy" category. Hubby and I hope to custom build our post-kids/forever home in a few years and my hope is to put in full slab or subway tile on the walls and penny on the floor. of the master bath. My priority is cleanliness.

Regarding shower doors, I personally do not like the full glass enclosures. Not only are they a serious pain to keep clean, but I feel like they are safety hazard. Instead, I would like a half wall with a pane of glass like this...

Classic looking and easier to keep clean. I'm not super worried about the bathroom being cold, but I have thought of either a heated floor or a overhead heat lamp on a timer.

Good luck!
posted by jraz at 11:50 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Subway tile, like white and black hex floor tile, are bathroom classics even if they had a moment of trendiness. They don’t really go out of style even if they are not the current Hot Thing.
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:53 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I would argue that square tile (4"x4" I think?) in bathrooms is a more timeless classic look than subway tile (I've never been in a home bathroom with original/vintage subway tiles, I have been in many with vintage square tile). What I think is trendy and will look (somewhat) dated is very dark grout with white tiles.

We did white square tile with black trim and hex tiles on the floor. If I were more daring or it weren't our only bathroom or I was never really planning to sell, I would have done a vintage color, possibly even pink. Ours is a very small bathroom and not a shower stall, and we have a mostly original 1920s home. If you are interested in pictures, feel free to message me, and I can send you some.
posted by vunder at 12:04 PM on September 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the feedback on tile types - any more ideas about door type/shower type, or any photos of showers you love would be wonderful :)
posted by bbqturtle at 12:07 PM on September 6, 2018

Do not do a sliding door on a tub or shower. Too high of possibility of stubbing your toe on the railing. And it makes it annoying to lean over and give a kid or bath when there is a railing there.
posted by radioamy at 12:48 PM on September 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

When I did the only full bath in the house, I pulled the tub and went with a full sized shower. It was the right choice.

We went with a cast iron shower pan, mainly for strength (vs fiberglass), durability, and ease of care.

White subway tiles look great, and we added a royal blue border.

I have a shower curtain because the shower has a window in it, I like to leave the curtain pulled open to let the light in.

If you are on your top floor, how about a skylight? Regular skylights seem to be water and weather magnets, so we put in a Suntube with a built-in vent. In the daytime, the room is as bright as can be.

Think about adding an additional fan over the shower.

Really get a bidet toilet seat. You won't be sorry.

One thing I regret: I thought about adding a heated floor, but didn't. Should have, tile in winter is cold. But that's what bathroom carpets are for.
posted by Marky at 1:01 PM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Go for plain tile in a classic shape with no accent stripes. Tile on both walls and floor. I'd probably do subway tile for the walls and hex tile for the floor. You can always get some slightly more interesting tile textures and non-traditional sizes, but I'd stick with classic shapes and no extra fancy design element things.

Glass with door unless you have enough room to do a long shower where you can enclose the shower area with a long enough glass wall to capture all spray and leave an opening at the end (I'd place hooks at the far end for towels and would also place a teak slat "mat" there so that you can dry off a bit before stepping out.) If you do a long shower, you can also put the vent at the far end where the towels hang.

Build shelf cubbies into the wall for shampoo/soaps. I have two of these and they're tall enough to comfortably accommodate large, salon-size shampoos and various soaps, conditioners, razors, etc. My configuration only allowed me to build in two (we built them between studs). Probably my most favorite feature of my shower/bath as it looks tidy and also prevents me from needing any kind of storage rack.
posted by quince at 1:44 PM on September 6, 2018

For our house we had to choose tiles for 3 showers. For all of them we just went with slightly bumpy 2"x 2" tiles that were suitable for swimming pools for the floors because for us the most important thing was not slipping. For the walls we did subway tiles for one and patterned tiles for the other two. Our tile selection for the patterns was probably more retro than anything else, which means it can't look any more dated than it already does (that's how it works right? Right?). Only one of the bathrooms has been completed so far but I am liking how the small tiles work for the shower floor.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:50 PM on September 6, 2018

We have a half glass shower door in our guest bath (similar to this) and while it looks great, I can confirm that showering in there is not fun because it gets drafty and cold (sorry guests!)

Our master bath is full length glass with a frame, which I don't have a photo of, but is fully sealed so it doesn't get cold. If we were to ever redo it, I would choose frameless (I like this one), but I would stick with glass because I like the way it looks and while it does require more cleaning effort, I personally think it's worth it.
posted by Shal at 2:20 PM on September 6, 2018

Build shelf cubbies into the wall for shampoo/soaps.

Agree. We didn't do this, I wish I had.
posted by vunder at 2:49 PM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have glass shower screens. Since I removed ALL soap from by bathroom, cleaning is a breeze. Gels are a cleaner's best friend.

My shower glass is laminated, not toughened, and after over 20 years the water seems to have penetrated into the laminate, and replacement looms. I will be replacing with more laminated, because safety.

I can't imagine that I would ever want shower curtain.
posted by GeeEmm at 3:40 PM on September 6, 2018

We have a full glass wall + door, but far enough away that water doesn't splash on it in the normal course of a shower. This makes it pretty easy to keep clean. It still fogs up, but a good ventilation fan can take care of that.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 5:03 PM on September 6, 2018

Also, two stupid luxuries from my bathroom remodel that bring me joy: A timer switch for the fan, and a shower fixture with a built-in digital thermometer.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 5:04 PM on September 6, 2018

We just did our first ever home renovation project - demo to the studs and rebuilding the tiny tiny master bathroom. It was hard but it came out all right! We did the shower with Kerdi-board, which is a more expensive option than what you found, but it is lightweight material and straightforward. My husband was very concerned about trying to get the slope right, and the kerdi shower pan does it for you.

I like the ideas in your google doc, and the slatted wood wall in particular sounds great to me, because it gives you the look you like, it's easily replaceable by glass if you or rhetorical future buyer doesn't like it, and you can use any combination of shampoo holders, hooks, etc., you want, using the slats, and then remove them for cleaning or replacement when you need to. (We put in a tiled niche, which was a little above our skill level, and it shows - not a LOT, but I see it)

Adding heat by vent or heated floors would probably do more to make the bathroom warm and comfortable than the enclosure would, so I think you should choose based on what seems doable and affordable to you.

Style-wise, try to just go along with the style/age of the house you are living in and the prevailing taste of your area if you are focused on resale in the near future.

Last thing is these two sites, in case you haven't seen them yet: john bridge and https://floorelf.com/. Along with youtube videos, these two sites were invaluable.
posted by hiker U. at 5:14 PM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

My mother-in-law has the wood slat shower floor and the problem is that it grows mold on the bottom underneath the wood.
posted by xo at 6:23 PM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

« Older Using a strop with double edge razor   |   How do I stop being so sensitive about my weight? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.