Is your shower a disaster? Is it ugly, yellowed, stained, and scratched? Or worse, is it a breeding ground for mold and mildew? Does it (literally) bring you to your hands and knees with your ‘favorite’ (sarcasm intended) scrub brush in tow?
OK, if this describes your world and you’re looking to remodel (or build a new home) AND are desperately seeking the best products to upgrade your shower – I know you DO NOT want to repeat the mistakes of the bad showers in your past. And here’s a few problems I’m sure you desperately want to stamp out in your new shower:
Problem #1 – You can’t get the shower clean no matter what crazy chemical or ‘potions’ you use.
Problem #2 – Due to mobility challenges, your shower is not safe (or useable) for everyone in your family.
Problem #3 – You find out bacteria in your bathroom is the culprit of illnesses your family has been battling.
Problem #4 – You determine (after the fact) you paid too much and could have got more value for less money.
And if these problems ‘resemble’ shower frustrations you’ve experienced, this is a post you’ll want to read.
You see every year (except last year because COVID blew this event up) I make my annual ‘pilgrimage’ to the International Builders Show and Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (or IBS and KBIS – as we say to ‘sound’ cool in our industry).
It’s where I see not only the ‘shiny new objects’ in the world of bathroom and shower trends, but more importantly (and practically) I’m looking for products and systems which can solve your problems WITHOUT DRAINING (OK – that bad shower pun WAS intended) ALL your money!
And let’s face it, anyone can get a stylish and functional bathroom if they’re spending $20,000, $50,000 or $100,000 on the project (and yes there are people – believe it or not – who DO spend this much). However, I’d like to show you how it’s possible to take advantage of the latest fun and functional shower trends if you only have $2,000, $5,000 or $15,000 to spend.
In this article, I’ll show you 9 of the latest (and greatest IMHO) shower remodeling trends from IBS/KBIS 2022 I just attended so you’ll get a stylish, functional AND low maintenance shower without going broke in the process. So, let’s dig in.
Shower Trend #1 from KBIS (the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show)– How low can you go
Saying how ‘low can you go,’ is normally a negative thing, but when it comes to shower design, I’d argue (and so would many forward thinking shower product manufacturers and design firms) – low (as in shower curb height) is the way to go when it comes to smart shower layouts.
And this trend is exactly what I saw in droves at the 2022 builders show. First, I saw decorative low-profile shower pans in white marble and black marble designs which were stunning! And if marble just ain’t your thing, you’ll find these stone shower bases in stock in the United States in matte white, matte black and matte gray. They’re subtle, stylish and safe for everyone in the family because the curb height is only 1 1/6” tall.
Then I saw this low-profile pan with a hexagonal design for the drain. It’s fun – and comes in cool colors – if you’re bold enough to use them.
Image Source: Aqua Bella
And finally, I saw a new line launching by Cosentino later this year with more low-profile shower pan offerings.
The smart (and safe) shower design ‘money’ is on low profile shower curbs. Don’t ‘settle’ for big, bulky curbs which are a trip hazard and could land the mobility-challenged person in your family in the hospital.
Shower Trend #2 from KBIS – Germs be gone!
As we can all relate, the remnants of COVID are still among us (as was evidenced by needing a COVID test or proof of vaccination to even attend the show this year!). And the damage bacteria has left in its ugly path has been death, sadness, long-term sickness, and debates about mask wearing (although I’m not touching THAT SUBJECT!).
And as Marine Sargsyan (Houzz Senior Economist) said, “In the midst of the chaos created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re seeing homeowners turn to their bathrooms for respite, creating calm sanctuaries with premium features, hygienic surfaces and plants and other greenery.”
With all the worries about a healthy bathroom, the good news is the bathroom and shower products industry has seen this challenge and responded with smart products.
First, I saw this SurfaceShield exhaust fan from Broan which fights bacterial, mold and fungi growth with the Vyv antimicrobial killing ultra-violet light.
Image Source: Broan NuTone
Then, Fibo USA has obtained the worldwide anti-bacterial designation through ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) for these fun, functional and affordable shower wall panels.
It’s nice to see healthy can even be fashionable.
Shower Trend #3 from KBIS – Modern farmhouse is waning, while designs with movement (and texture) are winning
Before COVID shiplap and modern farmhouse inspired bathrooms (and kitchens) were all the rage in the show. And at this year’s IBS/KBIS show, I’ve seen a definite trend away from this much- used style. In fact, designers like Jeanine Yancy of KSI Kitchen and Bath in Brighton Michigan said, “I’m honestly getting sick of the farmhouse style requests which all look the same.” The modern farmhouse craze is finally settling down, and designers are glad to see it happening!
And what is trending, you may ask? Well I saw more marbleized shower patterns with movement and interest. I saw wood grain looks in warmer hues are making a comeback (for those of you who hate grays and whites, there’s hope AGAIN!).
And if you’re bold (and yes you need a bigger budget for this) – go uber textured with these Corian crafted designer shower (or feature) walls. If you install these walls, you’ll get the ‘oh-my-God’ moment for a bathroom design which cannot be denied.
Image Source: Corian
Shower Trend #4 from KBIS – It’s cool to shower ‘inside the grid.’
For the lovers of matte black hardware – you’re on to shower trend which IS NOT slowing down any time soon. In fact, matte black is the fastest growing finish being used in shower doors and fixtures (although it’s still not as large as brushed nickel or chrome, but it is gobbling up more and more interest).
And the door style which is really taking off is matte black grid style shower doors. They create a Prairie, or “Frank-Lloyd-Wright-ish’ look which is timeless, yet also cutting-edge. And if you still love the barn-door craze (and yes, it’s still OK to do the modern farmhouse look), a sliding matte black shower door can be just what the ‘shower’ doctor ordered!
Shower Trend #5 from KBIS – The ‘Larry the Cable Guy’ inspired ‘get ‘er done’ installation systems
Here’s a construction problem I’ll be the bearer of bad news and tell you IS NOT going away. Qualified contractors are today (and will be tomorrow) increasingly a needle-in-the-haystack to find.
And according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of 2022 there are more construction jobs going unfilled (410,000 and growing) than at any other point in history.
So, what does this mean to you when looking at shower and bathroom product trends? Well, what it means (whether you’re DIYing or hiring a professional contractor) is labor WILL be more expensive (and harder to find). In addition, it means you need to find stylish products which install in less time (unless you want to take a second job, or a second mortgage, just to pay for your shower remodel).
And OK, you may be saying, Mike what are these labor-saving products?
Well – two systems I saw at the show used ‘click and lock’ technology. Check out this click and lock shower and bathroom floor tile system. Or these click and lock laminate shower wall panels.
And if you don’t want to do the ‘click and lock’ thing, this aluminum backed ‘glue-up’ shower wall panels give the look of natural stone at a fraction of the cost.
Finding ways to save labor may be essential to ensure the project is affordable for you to do …. OR NOT!
Shower Trend #6 from KBIS – Durable, low maintenance solid surface bathroom ‘furniture’ (‘er vanities’) will help you say ‘bye-bye Felicia’ to your ‘old-school’ cultured marble vanity tops of years gone waaaay by
Trust me those swirly, cultured marble tops WERE in style … when those mullet-sporting contractors installed them in your home in the 1980’s!
However, while your cultured marble tops have been durable, they’ve seen their better days….’er years ago.
You wouldn’t be updating your bathroom (and shower) if you wanted to live with the look of yesteryear. And this is where progressive manufacturers are stepping up.
You see wall hung vanities were hot at the show. And wall hung vanities with durable, yet colorful, solid surface tops were popping up everywhere. And what’s also nice about wall hung vanities is they work well with safe, one level wet room systems. And if you use large format tiles on the floor with your modern wall hung vanities, your bathroom will look larger as well. Check out these cool (and sanitary) solid surface vanity tops made from Dexton (a solid surface composite).
Shower Trend #7 from KBIS – Shower storage SHOULD NOT be the red-headed stepchild of your shower
If your need for shower storage (for loofas, shampoos, conditioners, anti-aging creams, you name it) far outstrips your available storage, you’re just like everyone else in the world.
Shower storage is – and has been – an afterthought. A shower lacking in storage is a common problem. In shower design, you’ll ignore storage at your own risk.
Fortunately shower wall panel manufacturers have begun seeing this trend and responding with products to help you step up your storage game.
Recessed niches in a wide range of powder coated metals are now available. Niches with glass shelves and matching grout free back panels create a harmonious look, while making your shower waterproof and not as expensive to build as a tile shower niche.
Shower Trend #8 from KBIS – Even ‘cheap’ is getting a face-lift
OK – I’ll admit I’m not a big fan of fiberglass one-piece showers used by builders to save money in new construction projects. However, when you’re building a home, you’ll likely have to cut back somewhere – and in many cases, this happens in the kid’s hall bathroom with the tub/shower unit.
However, the good news is even these showers are being redesigned to make them better. New versions have built in shelves which aren’t so shallow your shower bottles are GUARANTEED to fall off. In addition, materials have gone beyond fiberglass (Vickrell for example) to not yellow and crack like the fiberglass units of yesteryear. New options have better longevity than the old-school materials.
Yes – these one-piece, new construction showers ain’t sexy – but cost-effective units are at least being upgraded.
Shower Trend #9 from KBIS – Is it live (or real) or is it Memorex?
OK some of you (who likely have NO GRAY HAIR) won’t relate to this analogy, but back in the 1980’s when cassette tapes were new technology (and there were NO CELL PHONES – believe that!!!) a popular TV commercial (before you could ‘stream’ them away) was for Memorex cassette tapes. You see the brand Memorex said they could create the sound of the ‘real artists’ on their tapes (see the video below for a blast to the past) and created an advertising campaign titled, “Is it Live or is it Memorex?”
Well, what’s happening in the world of shower design today is one ‘Memorex’ product after another is being introduced. There are shower wall panels and shower pans bringing to life the look of the ‘real thing’ without the heavy cost or infuriating maintenance of ‘real stone’ or ‘real tile’ showers.
For example, there are high pressure laminate wall panels which look like real tile. There’s marble inspired shower pan which look like natural stone. There are wood-look vanities made with easy to clean laminate surfaces.
Now this is a trend time-starved (and tight-budgeted) homeowners can get behind!
How can I – or a member of my team – help you next?
While I know most reading this post didn’t have the opportunity to escape the evil cold weather in February and come to the 2022 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (or International Builders Show) in Orlando, however, I do know those reading this article likely DO want a stylish, easy to clean, healthy and safe bathroom which WILL be affordable.
I hope you found these ideas are ‘right up your alley,’ and can help you design a better new shower than you could have imagined before. And while I’ve given you a brief overview of these progressive products, I recognize you likely have more questions to see if they’ll work for the shower and bathroom.
And if you have questions – or need pricing –me and my team would like to help. Call 877-668-5888 or click for a Free Design Consultation. Or ask in the comments below if we have a dealer near you who can help with the installation of your project. And if you need help finding a Cleveland bathroom remodeling contractor call 216-658-1270.
Thanks for reading – Mike