With our fast-paced modern lives, the shower is now a predominant bathing habit. Richard Bond of Jamie Hempsall Ltd considers how to create the ideal showering environment.
In the modern era of good plumbing, showers can provide a convenient, easier to access and potentially money saving option to a bath. Research shows taking a daily five-minute shower rather than a bath can result in a saving of 13,000 litres of water per year.
A roomy, powerful shower is now at the top of many house buyers’ shopping list, but don’t through the baby out with the bath water if you are doing up to sell – at least one good bath is a “must have” in any family home.
If you are working with a bath, invest in a dedicated shower fitting with separate plumbing, rather than a hose from your main tap. This allows for more effective temperature regulation and you can ensure appropriate water pressure.
A glass screen on the side of the bath, rather than a shower curtain, will also make the most of the space available to the occupant and avoid shower curtain cling.
Alternatively, if you have decided on a dedicated shower area take a careful look at the dimensions of your shower tray. A standard shower tray is only 80cm x 80cm. If you only add 10 or 20cm to each dimension, it has a significant effect on the feeling of space within the enclosure, vital for a good showering experience.
In modern design there is more emphasis on oblong installations, as these give a feeling of space, without wasting valuable bathroom square footage.
When it comes to the plumbing, you should be choosing between a mixer shower (which takes water from the hot and cold system which you then mix to your ideal temperature) or an electric shower (which heats cold water as it flows through the shower unit).
If you have good water pressure the former is likely to give a more powerful shower and you can enhance the strength with a system-pump. However, ensure that your mixer has a thermostatic control valve to avoid the horror of hot water turning to ice when someone flushes the loo.
Electric showers are great at providing independent hot water (so no restrictions due to your tank size), but can feel a little underpowered. I would always advise opting for a 10kw electric shower as a minimum.
The actual delivery of the water is what makes your shower special, but bear in mind who will be using it. Overhead drenchers can deliver an array of experiences from tropical rain forest to light mist, which many love.
However, these can be a problem for people with long or thick hair that takes a while to dry and want to avoid wetting it every day.
If you are looking to install a shower in a small, challenging environment then a corner installation is often the best option as they provide large side dimensions. This importantly ensures plenty of space to allow you to freely move your arms while showering; giving the illusion of a spacious enclosure, without encroaching too far into the room.
Look for outward opening pivot or sliding doors and ensure you have enough floor space to easily open them and gain access to the shower.
Finally, always include a good amount of waterproof overhead lighting within your shower area to avoid it feeling dark and uninviting.
Jamie Hempsall Ltd is a multi-award winning interior design consultancy.
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