Features by Diane Larner founder and editor of Bathroom Review & Kitchens Review.
Diane Larner launched both titles over 12 years ago and has been writing about the bathroom and kitchen interior design industry ever since, publishing regular features across the two sectors.

Designing a shower room demands a detailed analysis of its impact on the environment and its longevity. Every aspect of a new project calls for consideration, from its unavoidable imprint on the world around us to its ‘well-being or usability gauge’ for the end user.

Today we consider some of the options on the market, from accessible shower rooms to eco-design and space-saving options.



Gone are the days of the unsightly handrail; today’s designers can incorporate inclusive features from the outset. For hotel design, some of the latest chameleonic options mean hotel rooms may be used as multi-purpose zones, quickly switched to aid clients that require accessibility, to all-purpose spaces when demand is high. For the home, features such as level-access shower trays and walk-in enclosures deliver design-led versatility for all users.

Stephen Maley, UK sales director, HEWI UK Ltd, explains: “Floor-level showers are very much in vogue at the moment, especially in accessible washrooms. They are accessible and, with the right floor space, also enable wheelchair users to shower independently.”

Extending independence further, HEWI’s newly launched seat family offers increased comfort and safety in the shower and the entire washroom. Its design is based on the well-known 950 stool and features a new, modern design language. 

We are also seeing an increase in collections that offer a range of accessible products that work together in harmony, thus making it easier to create a cohesive, aesthetic design. Stephen Maley agrees: “It is not only the floor-level shower that makes the shower accessible; shower seats, grab rail, and many other products make a significant contribution to creating accessibility in showers.”

Mixing it up

Ideal Standard Navigo® technology 

Energy and water-saving features are fast becoming fundamental to the design toolkit; products that efficiently help set water flow and temperature are in demand, not only for environmental reasons but also for personal safety, especially in multi-generational settings.

The German-engineered Navigo® technology from Ideal Standard features a simple push-and-turn movement to control water flow at your preselected temperature. This innovative temperature safety technology adds to the user’s well-being by automatically adjusting the flow of hot or cold water if pressure spikes or is lost. Meanwhile, the Cool Body technology works like a protective shield, keeping the controls and body cool to the touch despite the interior flow of hot water.

The continued popularity of complete shower systems is also because they offer a one-stop shop for designers who wish to incorporate various optional showering products, such as hand-held showers or overhead showers.

Ashley Smith, product manager (UK), residential brassware at Ideal Standard, explains: “Further flexibility is afforded for housebuilders and end users through shower systems with rain showers and hand sprays that allow end users to change between spraying modes for further customisation. Shower systems can also be paired with baths where space allows, giving the bathroom a diverse range of options while being cheaper than getting a new built-in shower installed.”

Guiding lights

shower design Lakes
Ambient light-up walk-in

Lighting changes our perception of space, and whilst brighter lights make us more alert, ambient lighting is diffused equally throughout the room, creating a sense of calm. With ‘cocooning’ having more than just a moment in the ‘trends chatter’; we are seeing an increase in showering options that provide gentle, ambient surroundings.

Mike Gahir, managing director of Lakes Showering Spaces, agrees: “Once considered a functional space, bathrooms have become private sanctuaries designed for mindfulness and relaxation. The quest to turn the home bathroom into a spa isn’t particularly new in itself but will be something we are likely to see more of next year. 2023 bathroom trends predict a move towards opening up bathroom spaces, removing bathtubs and replacing with larger, walk-in showers that ooze luxury with the addition of brass, copper and gold features for a subtle hint of colour and interest.”

Ingeniously designed to offer a calming, soothing and tranquil shower experience, the unique Ambient Walk-In from Lakes Showering Spaces (pictured above) features a PIR motion sensor that triggers a built-in LED lighting system along the edge of the glass panel, emitting a low-level soft glow.

Frameless chic

Kudos pinnacle 8 shower design
Kudos Pinnacle8 Shower Enclosure

As UK homes are becoming smaller, omitting the bath is one way to make the most out of a reduced floor area. Where there is enough space for a bath, walk-in showers, frameless designs or quadrant options, all help give the illusion of a larger floor space.

Kudos Showers is introducing some superbly stylish frameless, low-level access additions to its Pinnacle8 Shower enclosure collection. These stunning frameless models maximise space and light and include hinged and quadrant functionality in matt black and chrome profiles.

Personal choice

Increasinlgy designers are asked to create bespoke compositions catering to individual styles and awkward or unusual shapes and sizes, such as sloping ceilings, cellar, and loft conversions. Manufacturers are, in turn, offering a vast array of choices regarding colour, finish, size and shape.

Nick Graville, sales & marketing director at UK manufacturer Kudos Shower Products, tells us: “Personalisation is the buzzword for bathroom design today and the choice of products has never been larger to facilitate it. This is certainly true in Showering where latest trends include a greater choice of enclosure profile finishes reflecting the metallic colourways popular in taps and showers.”

i.life S from Ideal Standard has a contemporary, space-saving, soft-square design and includes a range of products, including shower trays. i.life S complements smaller spaces and is perfect for ensuites and under-the-stairs bathrooms.

Staying grounded

Kaldewei Superplan Zero Milieu shower design
Kaldewei Superplan Zero

As we become more climate-aware, purchasing decisions are under scrutiny. A 2021 survey carried out by Leaders Romans Group (LRG) revealed that 70% of respondents across the UK would like their property to be more eco-friendly. Whilst YouGov research of 2,000 UK adults found that 52% of us inform our purchase decisions based on brands’ eco-credentials. For designers, products with sustainable credentials are undoubtedly a new necessity.

Adam Teal, Kaldewei UK agrees, “Classic style, quality workmanship and longevity within a circular economy is key, more than ever before specifiers are looking for elements that can be re-used, reworked and recycled.”

Kaldewei manufactures its sanitaryware using Bluemint steel reducing its carbon output by 70 per cent and enabling it to produce luxurious, sustainable bathroom solutions. The Superplan Zero is flat to the floor, with zero steps and zero edges making it ideal for bathrooms in both the hotel and hospitality sector as well as for homebuilders.

For the latest kitchen design features – visit Kitchens Review

* YouGov Survey

Features by Diane Larner founder and editor of Bathroom Review & Kitchens Review.
Diane Larner launched both titles over 12 years ago and has been writing about the bathroom and kitchen interior design industry ever since, publishing regular features across the two sectors.

With energy and water usage taking centre stage in every household, it is no surprise smart technology is cementing its role as a must-have household essential. For the bathroom, products that incorporate smart technology are part of the sustainable toolkit and an asset for nurturing our well-being.

Today we consider some options available to the market, from water-saving designs to app-controlled bathroom cabinets and ambient Bluetooth lighting.

App-y days

Smart technology Elisa
Elisa Bathrooms
Intuition brushed brass bath digital showers

The latest mobile app usage statistics tell us there are 2.7 million apps now available on the Google Play Store and that 49% of people will open an app 11+ times a day. With these phenomenal stats showing no signs of abating, what does it mean for bathroom design?

We asked Paul Bailey, leader of product management, LIXIL EMENA and GROHE UK, who explained how interacting with technology will help generate business for the industry, especially in the luxury sector.

Paul comments: “The modern homeowner’s desire for a connected, smart home in which various aspects of their life can be monitored, tracked, and organised via their smartphone is generating lots of sales in the bathroom industry.

“As wellness and personal wellbeing take centre stage, we have seen the popularity for smart shower toilets and luxury connected showers increase significantly. Smart products can really amplify the sense of wellbeing for the consumer due to much greater personalisation features, so consumers can create a bathroom experience that can be truly tailored to their individual needs and tastes.”

Elisa’s Intuition and Incite smart digital showers are good examples; both feature a ShowerMe Smart App, so each household member can create their profile. Seamless connectivity with smart home systems allows the showers to be voice-controlled with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

Saving water & energy

Smart design VitrA
VitrA Bathrooms – Smart Panel Flushplate & V-Care Prime Shower Toilet

When it comes to sustainable design, products that help the consumer manage consumption are clearly important in the current climate. Traditionally consumers have found it difficult to understand why they should change habits, but the rise of the smart meter, coupled with the energy crisis, has helped customers understand how much individual usage impacts the wallet. Smart shower technology dovetails in with this technology, extending visibility over energy and water use.

AO.com’s data reporting shows that searches for smart thermostats have increased by a staggering 140% MoM as people look for ways to stay on top of their energy consumption AO.com’s smart home expert, Kevin Walmsley, said: “With popular models such as the Hive and tado°, many Brits are looking into ways in which they can control their heating at the touch of a button on their smart phones.”

Joe Brawn, head of product management at Elisa, agrees: “Smart digital technology not only allows user personalisation, but greater visibility of water consumption, which – in this current environment – is front of mind for so many. Compromised shower experiences are not desirable, but providing the data to allow people to manage their shower experience via understanding time and water usage is key.”

VitrA’s smart panel flushplate utilises an app that records usage data from the day of installation – it has regular reporting features that allow households to see their weekly water usage and identify how they can be more efficient. The app also relays local water announcements and power updates to aid in better management of flushing systems.

Light up my life

Smart design lighting
Detail Lighting

Utilising smart lighting in the bathroom lets designers set the stage for various bathroom routines, helping create a versatile backdrop that works with any mood, be it gentle lighting for bathtime or perky lighting for personal grooming.

Piero de Marchis, director of Detail Lighting, tells us: “From a practical point of view it’s wise to opt for low-level lighting in the bathroom, ideally on a movement sensor as this means you won’t be blinded by bright overhead lighting at night time. If you’re able to, incorporate Bluetooth control lighting into your bathroom, this allows you to easily control the light level or set the ‘scene’ depending on whether it’s the kids’ bathroom or you are in pampering mode”.

Stay tuned

Sound Cabinet HiB Smart design
HiB Sound Cabinet

Technology and entertainment are integrated into all our living spaces, and the bathroom is no exception. Having access to your favourite playlist in every room of the house is achieved via the latest technology. Hib’s latest Sound cabinet uses integrated speakers and Bluetooth connectivity so users can easily enjoy their best-loved music, podcasts and audiobooks.

Smart reflections

Duravit also delivers a range of smart mirrors* operated by the Casambi light-control app. Designed to help create a pleasant atmosphere in the bathroom, customers can create and save scenes, such as extra-soft lighting for some spa downtime. Light temperature with a memory effect, mirror heating, or dim function is easy to control via the app.

*White Tulip & Zencha

Pictured Top: Elisa Intuition smart digital shower

For the latest kitchen design features – visit Kitchens Review

With nearly one-third of Europeans living in areas experiencing water strain, new and innovative solutions are required to transform how we use water in the home. GROHE’s water-recycling shower concept presents a vision of how the home can actively and positively shape our personal impact on the planet and its resources.

Droughts and water scarcity are becoming everyday challenges for people across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Almost 1 in 3 Europeans are affected by water strain in an average year. 11 out of the 17 most water-stressed countries in the world3 are in the Middle East and Africa.

In addition, water is the second biggest source of energy use in the home. Improved water efficiency cuts fossil fuel use, energy bills, and carbon emissions.

Consume less, enjoy more

GROHE’s circular solution cleanses, reheats, and reuses water in order to use only a quarter of the water and a third of the energy typically required by traditional showers, resulting into a cost-saving of up to 65% a year for a four-person household and up to 70% less CO2 emissions. This new technology has been designed to create the shower experience desired, but by using as little fresh water as possible.

Jonas Brennwald, Leader, LIXIL EMENA comments: “The water stress challenge is one of the biggest issues of our time. And there’s no alternative but to address it boldly – especially if water is core to your business. For our GROHE brand, combining ‘Pure Freude an Wasser’ with sustainability has always been integral to its DNA. We think the best way to help people save water, is by making products that they enjoy using and don’t compromise on comfort.”

“Looking at our professional partners, we believe the construction industry will need to meet ever more stringent standards as regulators look to build water security and consumers demand sustainable solutions. We will continue to invest in innovation to help our partners stay ahead of these trends and create the sustainable homes of the future,” Brennwald concludes.

How it works
The water-recycling shower concept divides the shower process into three parts allowing users to enjoy the experience, safe in the knowledge they are minimising waste.

1) First, users start the shower with fresh water, as with any regular shower.
2) Once finished using the shampoo or soap, the user can switch mode: The water collected in the
drain after switching is pumped into a circuit, maintaining the desired temperature, and hygienically
treating the water.
3) After use, cleaning takes place to prepare the shower for the next user.

Making water efficiency attractive
“It is our mission to provide state-of-the-art technologies for using water resources sustainably while
also creating additional environmental value for water. We already supply a wide range of taps, showers,
and toilets that help people use far less water at home without noticing they are doing so. In taps for
example, GROHE’s EcoJoy technology uses a flow limiter and an aerator which enriches the water with
air to create a voluminous experience using up to 50% less water. The new circulating shower solution
goes one step further – showing the enhanced savings that can be made by products which help
consumers actively make a sustainable choice every day.

“We are very much looking forward to the responses by our customers to the water-recycling shower concept and are working hard to bring it to market maturity soon,” says David Mainka, Leader Electronics, and Innovation R&D Fittings, LIXIL International.

As part of LIXIL’s strong brand portfolio, GROHE’s sustainability activities as well as product developments are embedded in LIXIL’s Environmental Vision which calls for Zero Carbon and Circular Living. Water sustainability is one of the focus areas here. The goal is to help people enjoy water while ensuring sustainable water use on a global scale to have a positive impact on the planet