2023 Is the Year of the Shower (Sorry, Bathtubs)

From aromatherapy upgrades to stylish tile trends, showers are turning into must-have home spas.

Big things are in store for showers in 2023, and with tubs acting as the star of the bath for years, it’s high time the humble shower got a little love. “Homeowners update many elements of their bathrooms, but shower upgrades, in particular, are gaining in popularity,” says Mitchell Parker, Houzz senior editor. “The 2022 Houzz bathroom trends report found that more than 4 in 5 homeowners made updates to their showers (84%), a 2-point rise compared with the previous year.”

bathroom with large tiled shower
David Tsay

But what will be the most-desired update in the year ahead? Parker says bigger showers, dual showerheads, and wow-worthy features like body sprayers, all with a wellness-focused emphasis.

Why Showers Are Trending Toward Tranquility

With wellness dominating interior design, it’s no wonder it has seeped into bathroom design as well. Parker says many homeowners look to their bathroom as a place for rest and relaxation, and in 2023, they’re considering inventive ways to create a dreamy respite. “We’re seeing showers that feature aromatherapy, which infuses the steam or mist with essential oils; chromotherapy, which features various mood lighting; and audio therapy that uses integrated speakers connected to various music apps, including Spotify and Calm,” he says.

With all the new 2023 shower features, you might find yourself looking for behind-the-scenes ways to save in order to allow for a design splurge, but Parker assures the internal pieces (i.e. the stuff you don’t see) shouldn’t be the place to recoup that budget. “Professionals on Houzz recommend getting the highest quality plumbing components within your budget,” he says. “Poor quality shower components often feature plastic internal parts that wear out over time, affecting the spray and experience.” And with so much to gain with the year’s hottest shower trends, you’ll want to ensure everything is top-notch.

shower with glass door and wood vanity in bathroom


The New Look of Showers

There’s no longer a one-design-fits-all shower. These days, frameless, curbless, and open showers (referred to as a Roman shower) are all making waves. “Few homeowners want to step into a dark enclosed shower stall,” says Parker. “Frameless glass enclosures give a light and airy feel, allowing light and views to pass through, while also giving the bathroom the appearance of more space because your eye can travel through the glass to a back shower wall.” 

Mallory Micetich, home expert at Angi, points to the Roman shower for a similar effect as it doesn’t have a door or require a shower curtain. “Roman showers have been gaining popularity recently due to their large and open look,” she says. 

When it comes to curbless showers, the appeal lies in their streamlined appearance. Parker says that when selecting shower tile for a curbless shower, homeowners typically call on a smaller size or different material flooring, but that’s taking a turn in 2023. “More recently, many designers on Houzz are running that mosaic tile continuously through the entire bathroom, including the curbless shower area,” she says. “This approach further enhances the sleek, streamlined effect of a curbless shower design, extends the nonslip surface, and helps a small space appear larger than it is.”  

walk-in shower with glass door, marble hex tile and brass finishes

Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Top Tile Trends

This year, it's all about the tile when comes to shower designs. Parker says the most common material is porcelain or ceramic (60% use it for flooring; 82% choose it for walls), but marble is also a popular choice. “Tile is trending right now and for good reason—it’s durable and highly customizable,” says Micetich. “You can keep it simple and timeless with neutral-colored tiles or you can get creative with patterned or subway tiles.” 

Mixing it up with bold color or textured options like zellige can add dimension and appeal, but they can also be intimidating. Perhaps that’s one reason why white is dominating bathroom palettes. “It is now the most popular color for shower walls (49%) and non-shower walls (37%); each of those percentages increased by 3 points year over year,” says Parker. 

bathroom shower with glass doors and brass showerhead


Must-Have Shower Upgrades

Whether you’re renovating or determining the specifics of your new build, consider enlarging the shower for a more luxurious design. Even if you can’t commit to more space, using the space wisely can make all the difference. Consider built-ins for shampoo and shower essentials or a bench for seating that can also be helpful with accessibility.

But make sure you don’t overlook the experience while deciding shower details. “If you’re looking for a unique and functional shower feature, think about installing a smart shower panel,” says Micetich. “Depending on the panel, you may be able to adjust the water pressure, temperature, or lighting in your shower.”

Even introducing multiple showerheads can act as an instant upgrade. “One wall-mounted showerhead doesn’t cut it anymore for many homeowners on Houzz,” says Parker. “They want a combination of a standard showerhead, rain showerhead, handheld wand, and body sprays for that spa-like experience.”

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