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Turn a Simple Shower Into an Energising Spa Space

Every bathroom shower can be transformed with a little spa-style glamour

Jennifer Louise Ebert

Jennifer Louise Ebert

Interiors Writer

Think about tiles

Create a New York-style loft vibe in your bathroom by tiling your walls from floor-to-ceiling with metro tiles. Choose a colour that will stand the test of time, is gender-neutral and will perfectly match your existing fittings. Draw attention to the shower with a strip of contrasting black tiles behind the shower fittings and around the shower tray to create a tiled skirting that defines the space.

Use simple and timeless materials

Transform your shower into an elegant feature by choosing a vintage-style shower enclosure. Introduce the plainest of accompaniments - a sheer blind, linen shower curtains and an elegant table for toiletries to allow the stunning shower to take centre stage. Tile the floor with durable marble tiles, which when properly sealed are easy to care for. Its tactile feel and luxurious finish will give the impression of a stylish retreat, will age beautifully and stand up to heavy traffic.

 
Modern Marble Bathroom with Pipe Shower
Photo credit: Emma Lee for Livingetc

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Take inspiration from a design classic

Go for a total refresh with a statement stainless-steel pipe shower. This floor-standing design is the ultimate fitting for those who want sleek minimalism in their bathroom. Create a soothing spa space with natural materials. Tile the walls and floor with book-matched marble - a process that splits the marble down the centre to produce two identical grains in mirror image. Distinct patterns and variations in tone ensure an entirely unique product.

 
Modern Shower Room with Matt Grey Metro Tiles
Photo credit: James Merrell for Livingetc

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Make the most of a small space

If your bathroom is verging on the small side, draw your line of sight upwards with floor-to-ceiling metro tiles. Visually maximise the space with a frameless shower screen. Spans of clear glass create the illusion of more space with clean lines that flow right the way through. Combine with a chrome shower head if you don't already have one for a look that is stylish, sleek and doesn’t overwhelm the space.

 
Modern White Bathroom with Glossy Metro Tiles and a Green Ceiling
Photo credit: Matthew Williams for Livingetc

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Double up for couples

It may be the ultimate luxury but, if space allows, why not install twin showers? Introduce a traditional, spa-like element with walls decked out in stylish metro tiles. Time is of the essence first thing in the morning, so a double shower will prevent you badgering each other to get out of the bathroom. Stick to a regular side, so your favourite products are within reach. 

 
Walk in shower with textured wall and pebble flooring tiles
Photo credit: David Giles for Ideal Home

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Experiment with shades and textures

Explore the many depths of a grey colour palette by choosing a tile combination that mixes tones and textures for a cohesive and considered scheme. Use the same colour - like the grey shown here - but in its palest and deepest incarnations for a rich, contrasting look that is still harmonious and co-ordinated. Choose designs that offer different textures as well as shades - the floor in this shower is given added grip with a pebble-effect tile that's great for capturing a classic coastal feel in a contemporary space.

 
Modern Bathroom with Spa-style Shower
Photo credit: Matthew Williams for Livingetc

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Create a zen-like experience

Install the ultimate spa experience - a wet room - to give your bathroom a truly grown-up showering experience. It might involve building work, but my it's worth it. Consider a seat in a walk-in shower - it doesn't take up much room and means the space can be used like a steam room. Finish off the look with large format tiles to re-create the spa feeling in a modern setting.

 
Modern Bathroom with Ethnic Floor Tiles and Showcase Lighting
Photo credit: James Merrell for Livingetc

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Mix materials, styles and eras

Merge your love of different trends to create a scheme that will last for years. Take inspiration from classical style, such as these ethnic-inspired encaustic bathroom floor tiles, and combine them with industrial elements, like a metal shower enclosure, for a smart update on traditional style. If space allows, have a seat built in the shower and tile with a contrasting plain metro design for a cohesive look that is aesthetically pleasing. 

 
Modern grey tiled shower cubicle
Photo credit: Jonathan Gooch for Homes & Gardens

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Utilise every nook and cranny

Make the most of a narrow alcove shower - it may be squeezed into a small space, but it can be beautiful. Alcove showers can be dark spaces so, if you can, install a glass brick inset to allow a flow of light from an adjacent room. When space is at a premium like this, install a pretty-but-practical recessed shelf into a stud wall - perfect for keeping your toiletries close to hand. 

 
Modern Bathroom with Walk-in Shower
Photo credit: Douglas Gibb for Style at Home

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Invest in a wet room

If you're lucky enough to be planning a complete bathroom refit, consider a wet room. You will need to create a watertight environment by tanking both the floor and the walls of the room to thoroughly protect it from leaks. Fit a new shower with a luxurious rainfall effect that looks both contemporary and stylish and add glossy finishes and sleek chrome fittings for a modern, spa-inspired scheme.