Are you building or renovating a bathroom? If so, I bet you’re spending many hours searching social media and Pinterest for inspiration? It is so easy to be seduced by those beautiful bathroom photos, that sometimes we forget to question whether some of these on-trend fixtures are the most suitable choice. Let’s take a look at showerheads as an example. The latest style includes a combination of an overhead, fixed shower-head (wall or ceiling mounted), and, a separate slim, hand-held head. Is this combination the best for your new bathroom?
Recent shower photos from Instagram (rain shower and hand-held):
As a bathroom specialist I spend a lot of time listening to people, delving into the detail of how they really use their bathrooms. From these discussions, it is evident there are ‘disconnects’ between current bathroom trends and ‘reality’. The latest showerhead trend is one of these ‘disconnects’ so let’s take a look at “why this is so”.
Rain Shower and Hand-held:
The low flow, larger rain shower spray is promoted as the luxury shower experience. Rain showers are typically accompanied with a hand-held showerhead, primarily because the low flow trickle over the head can hinder rinsing the important body bits (groin and underarms)! Until last year the two heads were incorporated as one unit with the hand-held attached to the rail of the overhead rain shower.
Wall mounted rain shower with hand-held incorporated:
The trend for 2020/21 has transitioned to the hand-held being separated from the rain shower and installed at waist height. The overhead rain shower is either wall-mounted, or more recently ceiling-mounted.
So, getting back to my original question: Is this combination the best choice for your bathroom? Let’s take a look at what people have been telling us about their day-to-day showering experience?
The overwhelming key takeaway is that the majority of women actually dislike using a rain shower, for two primary reasons;
- “for the days I don’t want to wet my hair, I feel like my neck will break whilst trying to keep my hair out of the water”
- “when washing my hair, the water flow is not strong enough, becoming extremely frustrating”
This immediately raises the alarm! If we (women) don’t like the rain shower, the only other option with this latest trend is to use the hand-held. When the hand-held is up high, it doesn’t need to be detached to use, so both hands are available to soap and rinse. Now with the hand-held at waist height, one hand is taken up holding the hand held! How frustrating is this?
I understand the other benefits that people are promoting about having the hand-held at waist height, such as washing down the shower and wet-area, washing small fur-babies etc, but surely the primary purpose of taking a shower is for our own personal hygiene? With most of us wanting to get in/out of the shower as quickly as possible, let’s design our showers for the enjoyment of this!
Deviating a bit to share my own experience with rain showers:
When building our new home, we installed two different showerheads in the ensuite. I chose a rain shower, and my husband chose a hand-held (see photo below). Despite me being the one who pushed for the luxury rain shower, I have only used it around half a dozen times in five years, for exactly the same reasons that people are telling me why they don’t like them! Luckily my husband doesn’t seem to mind using the rain shower, as his hair is extremely short so he’s happy to have wet hair every day!
Why is this showerhead combination on-trend?
This on-trend, showerhead combination is the result of a drive for the minimalist bathroom which appeals to the human aesthetic sensibility, and so has become the primary focus for many designers. To demonstrate this, take a look (below) at the two Instagram shower photos from the amazing duo @Zephyr and Stone. Which one do you find more aesthetically pleasing?
Something even more concerning:
Knowing that the majority of women are not fans of using the rain shower, it is disheartening to see some of the latest Instagram showers with rain heads only. Quite often people building a new bathroom are unaware of the ‘cons’ around rain showers and typically base their bathroom fixture decisions on these beautiful stylised photos.
Please don’t think I am against rain showers. I totally understand they are great for those days when you want to de-stress and let the soft droplets fall upon your head, I am just concerned that this minimalist bathroom trend is really starting to work against us. Whilst aesthetics are important, hygiene and functionality are what create an enjoyable daily bathroom experience.
Unless you love taking a rain shower every day, I sincerely encourage you to consider alternative showerheads. Remember your ensuite is for the one or two of you, and not a showpiece for your visitors to admire. If you are planning on two showerheads, remember there is always the option to install two different types.
I hope you found this article helpful? Feel free to message me on social media or send me an email for any bathroom advice. I would love to hear about your experiences with shower heads!
Note: As per all my blog posts, some of the photos are ‘real’ rather than ‘staged’, so please don’t get turned off if they don’t appeal to you. My focus is on solving real bathroom problems.