Shower Upgrades That Will Make You Never Want To Get Out

A long and hot shower can be relaxing and invigorating. It can help you wake up and prepare for the day or allow you to unwind at the end of a stressful evening. While any shower can be a welcomed part of your day, it's possible to make your experience even more amazing. With a few upgrades, you can completely transform your overall experience — so much so that you may never want to get out.

Picture yourself in the shower. How would a pulsating massage make you feel? What about a comfortable bench where you could sit and relax as the water cascaded over your muscles? How would you feel about having a control panel that would let you set your preferred water temperature? Maybe your feet feel more comfortable on a unique stone floor, or one that was heated. While some of these ideas may sound like they're from a futuristic movie, you can actually make them a reality by upgrading your shower. Here are a few renovations and transformations that will take your showering experience to the next level.

Install a rainfall shower head

Adding a rainfall shower head can completely change your showering experience. This type of fixture can either be attached to the ceiling directly above your head or mounted to the existing plumbing line. Mounting it to the existing plumbing line can save some money, but if you have the budget to have a plumber attach it to your ceiling, it can be an even more peaceful showering experience. Plus, you'd have the option to keep the existing shower head in addition to the new rainfall one to enjoy water from more directions. The cost to purchase a new rainfall shower head can vary significantly. Some models cost less than $100, while others are several hundred dollars. If you plan on having the shower head installed on the ceiling above the shower, factor in the cost of hiring a plumber and potentially applying for a permit, depending on your local requirements.

Standing under a rainfall head offers a feeling like none other. It's as if you're enjoying a warm summer rain in the privacy of your own home. With their wider heads, they're able to offer more body coverage than standard fixtures. The falling water is also more gentle than higher pressure heads, for a more relaxing experience. Depending on the specific fixture you choose, you may even be able to customize the flow of water, choosing from a softer rain to a stronger flow. 

Add a recessed niche

One of the problems many people run into in their showers is a lack of space to hold all of their hair and skin care products. While you can buy caddies that hang over a shower head or tension rods with shelves or baskets, these options aren't always the most attractive. Having a recessed niche installed will offer ample storage space with a more cohesive and visually-appealing look. Along with the improved look, it is also generally easier to access the items in a recessed niche than having to reach up higher or bend down lower with other storage solutions.

Depending on the contractor you work with to have the niche installed, they may install a niche insert with a set size. Other contractors may opt to frame the niche in themselves, allowing for a more custom size and layout. Custom shower niches will cost more, though. They can run between $300 and $700, while prefabricated niches typically cost between $75 and $300. When planning out your recessed niche, you could even choose to have an accent tile installed along its back, adding a pop of color or more visual interest to your space.

Add a bench for safe and comfortable seating

When you're looking for ways to upgrade your bathing experience, consider adding a bench. There are actually several benefits associated with having a bench in a shower. First, if you or anyone else in your home has mobility concerns, a bench can make showering safer. Sitting while bathing will decrease the chances of slipping and falling on the wet tiles (and the potential injuries that would come with such a fall). Even if you don't need to bench for safety now, if you're planning on staying in your home for years to come, you might appreciate it down the road.

But safety isn't the only reason to add a bench. It can actually improve the overall appearance of your space. Benches can coordinate with the rest of the tile in the shower, creating a seamless look. You can even add custom touches or tile colors to further personalize its appearance. A bench can also offer some additional storage space for bathroom products. Many are wider than needed for comfortable seating, meaning that there will be room to place your shampoo and other products. Plus, you can take a more leisurely and relaxing shower since you'll be able to sit down and thoroughly unwind. Before committing to this upgrade, be ready to spend at least $300 to $800 for a built-in shower bench.

Consider upgrading to a steam shower

Transforming a standard shower into a steam shower is one upgrade that really might make you never want to get out. Every time you wash yourself, you'll feel like you're stepping into an expensive spa. If you're not familiar with steam showers, let's start there. As their name suggests, they create hot steam that will engulf you as you clean your body. Believe it or not, steam showers actually save more water than standard ones do. That is because it takes less water to create steam than it does to send water flowing through a traditional shower head. Most steam showers will only require about 2 gallons of water over 30 minutes, while standard shower heads require the same amount of water — or more — to run for just a minute.

Bathing in a steam shower offers a whole new level of relaxation. Surrounding yourself with the warm steam will help your brain recharge and can alleviate the stress of the day. Adding a steam shower can even increase your home's value. Just keep in mind that this is not a very budget-friendly upgrade. You'll have to be willing to spend anywhere from about $2,600 to over $6,000.

Opt for a river rock shower floor

A river rock or pebble shower floor can upgrade your space in many different ways. First, these types of floors can add a more natural-looking touch. There is just something appealing about it looking and feeling like you'll be cleansing your body in nature. While they offer a natural look, there are still several different design options to choose from. You can find river rock floors with large or small pebbles in a range of colors. You could even develop a custom layout for how the stones will be placed on the floor.

Another benefit of a river rock floor is that the stones do not get as slippery as many standard tile materials. They can decrease the chance of falling in when showering. Moreover, the shape and texture of the stones mean that they will work to give your feet a light massage every time you bathe. As your feet rub against them, it can even help smooth out rough skin. Pebble floors are relatively affordable, typically costing between $4 and $8 per square foot.

If you like the idea of a pebble floor, there are a few different types to consider. The first is a basic pebble tile floor, which consists of full natural stones. It will have a more uneven surface because the stones are not cut or flattened in any way. If you like the look of a stone floor, but want a more even surface, then you should consider a sliced pebble floor. Each pebble is cut to make it flatter and smoother before installing the floor. A third option to consider is a stacked pebble tile floor. With this flooring type, larger, raised pebbles are used. It will offer the most massaging feeling for your feet because of the higher arc of the stones.

Replace the existing shower head with a massaging one

If you haven't switched your existing shower head for a massaging one, you've been missing out on one of the easiest and least expensive upgrades out there. Massaging shower heads offer different spray patterns that pulsate or offer increased pressure to alleviate sore muscles and help you better relax. Both handheld or fixed fixtures are available, so you can choose the style that will best match your needs and preferences. You can find massaging shower heads for under $20, though more luxurious models can cost significantly more.

Upgrading to a massaging shower head is simply a matter of removing the existing fixture and replacing it with the new model you choose. You can find models in every finish, making it easy to coordinate with the existing plumbing fixtures in your bathroom. When shopping for a massaging shower head, there are a few things to consider. First, pay attention to the number of spray settings. Every massaging shower head is different; some will only offer a few different settings, while others will offer several for you to experiment with and find the ones that feel the best for you. As mentioned above, it is also important to decide whether you prefer a handheld model that you can pull down and for a more directed or focused spray or one that will stay fixed in place. Finally, determine how easy it is to switch between the different massage settings.

Add speakers for an improved listening experience

Consider adding shower speakers to help you listen to your favorite tunes, podcasts, or other programs as you get cleaned up. Having a built-speaker (or several built-in speakers) installed will provide the most seamless look. You can have a speaker system installed right into the ceiling over the shower, bringing the audio up close and personal when you're bathing. A built-in speaker can be flush with the ceiling for a custom, integrated look. However, installing built-in speakers won't be cheap. Plan to spend at least $200 per speaker for the materials and installation.

As a less expensive alternative that could hold you over until you're ready to do a complete bathroom overhaul, you could consider purchasing a waterproof Bluetooth speaker. These portable models start at about $20 and can connect with your smartphone or other wireless devices, making it possible to listen to your favorite playlists and programs. Many are available in a range of colors to coordinate with your bathroom, and some even include an integrated strap that will allow you to hang them from your shower head.

Swap out recessed lights for heat lamps

The tile floor in a shower can get very cold. Moreover, dreading the cool air when you turn off the water and step out to get your towel is one of the things that can make it the hardest to get out of the shower. Swapping out your bathroom's existing recessed lights for a heat lamp can help solve both of these problems.

Choosing the ideal location for a heat lamp is important. While it can make the entire bathroom feel warmer, the majority of the warmth will be found right next to the light itself. For this reason, you will want to position it over the shower itself or close to its exit, where it will be able to deliver the greatest benefits.

Just keep in mind that many heat lamps should not be the only source of lighting in a shower. In many cases, you'll still want a separate switch that controls the light above your shower. However, you may be able to find a model that offers separate controls for heat and light, which could offer a more streamlined solution. Basic bathroom fans with integrated heat lights can cost about $100, but some more advanced options cost closer to $300.

Make your shower smarter

Do you want to feel like you're really living in the lap of luxury every time you shower? If so, you should look into upgrading to a smart shower. These futuristic devices make it possible for users to customize each aspect of their shower, offering the most luxurious experience possible. With the ability to program the panel to remember your preferred water temperature, you won't need to waste time adjusting the temperature to make it hotter or colder. You can feel confident that it will be set to your exact preferences every time you step in. And, even more, you can control the shower using your voice, smartphone, or integrated controller. This means that you could even get the shower running and warmed up before you even get out of bed. No more shockingly cold water first thing in the morning.

You can also use a digital control panel to set a timer. If you're in a rush to get to work, school, or somewhere else and want to make sure you don't spend too long washing up, set the timer to automatically turn off the water at your desired time. You can even program the system to alternate the spray of water between multiple shower heads, eliminating the need for you to do it manually. Smart shower systems aren't cheap — you can easily spend $1,000 or more — but with the added convenience, you may decide the cost is worth it.

Warm up your feet with a heated shower floor

Does the cold tile on your bathroom or shower floor take away from the otherwise enjoyable experience? It can be hard to thoroughly enjoy yourself if your feet feel ice-cold stepping on a frigid floor. Fortunately, you can get rid of this problem by installing a heated shower floor — and even heated tile throughout your entire bathroom. There are two different types of heated floors. Some are warmed with electric cables beneath the tile, while others consist of a system of tubing that sends warmed water around under the tile.

When properly installed, heated floors are safe and will not require much more maintenance than a standard tile floor. Heated floors are also energy efficient, so they won't add too much to your energy bill, and could even help you save money on your heating costs. They are a bit expensive to install and will require the existing flooring to be completely replaced to provide space for the heating units. Budget $15 to $20 per square foot for a waterproof heated shower or bathroom floor.

Choose frameless glass shower doors

Frameless glass doors can help bring a more dated door into the 21st century. As their name implies, frameless doors do not have metal trim or a frame going around them. This helps give them a much more modern look to go with other bathroom renovations you're making. While frameless doors do not have a frame by definition, there are actually several styles to choose from. Some doors may have panels to open, while others may slide to provide entry into the shower.

In addition to their more modern appearance, frameless glass shower doors are easier to clean. They don't have the metal surround or track that framed doors have, which means that there are fewer spaces for grime to accumulate. Before you finalize your decision to add frameless doors to your bathroom, be prepared for the higher price tag (typically between $2,000 and $2,500) that comes with them. You'll also want to hire a professional to make sure that they are installed correctly, which will also increase the total cost.

Increase natural lighting with a bathroom skylight

Many showers suffer from poor lighting. This can make it difficult to see clearly when you're trying to get cleaned up. Plus, when the shower area in a bathroom is dark, it can look cold and uninviting. Adding a skylight above your shower could address all of these problems.

Skylights will let natural light into the bathroom, making it easier to see what you're doing and giving the space a warm and welcoming glow. Bringing in natural lighting with a skylight is a better alternative than simply adding more light fixtures to the ceiling above your shower. Natural lighting is associated with lower levels of anxiety and stress. It can also increase vitamin D levels and help you sleep more soundly at night.

Depending on the size and layout of your shower, you may have a few options for where to place skylights. Consider the room's architecture and overall appearance to help you choose the ideal location. You may want to think about whether there are any features in the shower that you want to draw attention to or if one side of the roof gets more sun exposure than the other. Before finalizing your decision to add a skylight above your shower, keep in mind that this is not a cheap project. Skylights cost about $1,750 on average, but some can cost well over $2,000.