Recently, we posted a blog on how to design a luxury bathroom you’ll never want to leave. One of the features I mentioned was a steam shower – probably my favorite things to introduce to homeowners who aren’t familiar with them.
Steam showers take all of the benefits of a nicely designed shower – beautiful tile, frameless glass doors, any combination of still and hand-held shower faucets – and they raise them one by adding steam elements that provide a wet sauna effect.
Design a Steam Shower for Your Luxury Bathroom You’ll Never Want to Leave
I love steam showers because they can be designed for any bathroom size – tiny or large – and they yield so many benefits that you’ll wonder how you lived without it. The key, however, is to design a steam shower that takes care of all your considerations ahead of time. The last thing you want is to relax into the soothing warmth of the steam only to wish the bench was a little wider, that a towel rack was closer to the door for face mopping or that you’d installed a grab bar on the wall.
Here are some of the features I recommend, and ideas worth considering, before the steam shower build-out for your luxury bathroom is complete.
Opt for a sauna-appropriate lighting design in the shower area
Lighting plans are essential to good interior design. Bathrooms are a prime example where “standard” lighting designs just don’t cut it, and that’s especially true if you’re installing a steam shower. During the day, you may not want any lighting at all but during the evening hours, you’ll want to have a good lighting design that allows for dimmable lights, preferably operated via remote control (more on that below) so you can create an ambient glow in your luxury bathroom.
Keep in mind that some steam shower kits offer colorful lighting options so you can choose a particular shade of light, depending on your mood. If your steam shower kit of choice doesn’t offer light therapy as part of the package, we can talk about other ways to accomplish the same goal in the shower area.
Use a mixture of shower faucet options
Unless you’ve had a steam shower in the past, you won’t know exactly how you’ll use it until you actually have it. Some people like to take their shower with the steam function, some like to turn the faucets off completely and only use the steam, others might prefer a specific type of faucet during their steam session.
Use a mixture of shower faucet options, including your traditional mounted and fixed faucet (massage options are always a bonus), an overhead rain shower head and a handheld shower faucet so you have more options available to you. The way you use steam after a sports injury or a back spasm, for example (hand held faucet with rhythmic, pressurized massage streams) might be very different from the way you use it with a winter flu (enjoying the gentle relaxing fall of warm water from the rain shower head, for example.
Install a waterproof sound system
There’s no need to set your gadget or a remote speaker on high in order to hear your favorite soundtrack. You can install a waterproof sound system, compatible with your gadget of choice via Bluetooth technology, to take care of that for you. From energizing music in the morning, to the relaxing sounds of Bach cello suites during an evening steam – the playlist is all yours.
Don’t forget about aromatherapy options
Essential oils are all the rage these days, and Mr. Steam, as well as other well-known steam shower manufacturers, take that to heart. Feel free to infuse your shower with specific scents or custom blends to suit the moods or conditions. For example, a Eucalyptus and Peppermint combo is just the thing for children with wheezy coughs and stuffy noses, while lavender and rose can help their tired parents relax once they’ve finally fallen asleep.
Design comfortable seating area(s)
I’m always a proponent of benches in showers whenever possible. They’re great for relaxing and helpful when shaving one’s legs. In a steam shower, comfortable seating is essential. Have your designer work with you to find a comfortable material (wood – typically teak – might be preferable to stone, but not necessarily) and then determine the height and dimensions that work for your body. Taller homeowners might want a bench a little higher than most, long legged clients may want a bench with greater depth, and vice versa.
Smaller bathrooms typically require smaller showers, and in that case, I recommend folding benches that can lay flush against the wall when not in use, and then folded down when you need them. Also, consider adding grab bars in locations that make sense. While these are a tenet of universal or accessible interior design, they’re just plain handy when you’re injured, ill, feeling weak or just plain tuckered out!
Did you know remote control options are available?
All those ambient lights, aromatherapy, water temperature and pressure, steam or no steam, music and so on – can all be controlled via remote options. So, while you sit or stretch out on your custom shower bench, you’ll have only to lift a finger to customize your steam shower experience.
Your steam shower design process should be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that yields a relaxing steam shower experience – with–no regrets and no “wish we would haves” involved.