8 Contemporary Shower Ideas That Are Equal Parts Cool and Refreshing

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Designing a shower from the ground up means that you have a chance to get creative with more than just wall paint. Goodbye, boiler-plate designs and so long, snoozy materials. It's time for a refresh that will up your bath's cool factor. Looking to the contemporary styles we're loving right now, there are a whole suite of ideas to help refresh and modernize your space. Think of the aesthetic as anything that's new and current or simply, what's popular right now. Spoiler alert: There are a lot of ways to approach this.

Graphic or colorful tile (and don't forget the grout) are easy ways to invite a bold splash of personality to an otherwise tired scheme. Beyond that, there are the fixtures (Pro tip: Skip traditional polished chrome and go for brass or matte black for more oomph), which are far too underrated and maybe even a plant or two. Regardless of the direction you choose to go, it's all about a thoughtful curation of decor that speaks to you.

To help you get started, we've rounded up eight cool and contemporary shower ideas that you'll probably want to bookmark.

1. Switch it up.

When it comes to the wall tile in a contemporary shower, a classic rectangular shape is always in style, but we're loving this fresh update featuring a soft green option from Clé that evokes a sweet, bucolic finish. Coupled with brass fixtures that complement the muted palette, and a sleek glass partition that lends modern edge, the combo feels down-to-earth yet chic.

2. Carve out an oasis.

Contemporary showers are more or less synonymous with creating a spa-like retreat, and a tinted limewash finish reserved for the walls is a foolproof way to start. The textured treatment is essentially a combination of water, limestone bits, and natural pigments for color — and it's all the rage these days, too. The end result is a chalky, two-tone effect that's best reserved for an alcove shower, like this stunning scene spotted on Rose Uniacke.

3. Channel the earth.

Terra cotta tile adds a splash of warmth and a textured effect that has the ability to balance out the modern lines of a contemporary shower. Interior designer Emily Seeds outfitted this luxe bath with a hexagon-shaped tile that doubles as a high-contrast complement to the neutral zellige tile on the walls. The matte rainfall showerhead above — similarly muted and cooler in tone — allows the surrounding details to shine.

4. Double up.

If you can't decide between a shower and a tub, and lack the space for both, a combination of the two is a contemporary shower idea that we can definitely get behind. Cue this dreamy design spotted on A1000xBetter that shows just how well the duo works together. A clawfoot tub paired with a ceiling-mounted shower curtain rod, exposed piping, and matching hardware contribute lustrous details and old-school charm. Last but not least, a subtly textured linen curtain ties it all together.

5. Reverse the standard.

We're loving this contemporary twist on traditional subway tile, courtesy of designer Zoe Feldman. The black and white scheme lends itself to a more daring finish that allows the lustrous, vintage-style fixtures to take center stage. The herringbone flooring offers a patterned detail that's on theme yet unexpected.

6. Kick it old-school.

Zellige tile has been a breakout decor element as of late (though they've been around for ages), so naturally, they're a staple of contemporary style. The ceramic pieces are hand-molded and cut, so each tile is one-of-a-kind. Heidi Callier's use of the material in this shower is a prime example of how statement-worthy it can be. And fixtures flaunting a warm metal finish simply go without saying.

7. Think vertically.

When it comes to a contemporary shower, blues and greens take the lead on the color palette front. Cue this charming farmhouse bath. Narrow subway tile positioned vertically (as opposed to the classic horizontal layout) not only visually extend the height of the space, but they also impart a linear and modern detail as well.

8. Embrace maximalist style.

We're not holding our breath in anticipation of terrazzo going out of style anytime soon, and this contemporary shower pretty much confirms our suspicions. Take notes if you want to score maximum impact with little effort, and designate patterned tile for the walls and floors, while keeping the rest plain. We guarantee the end result will make a lasting impression.


Anna is a New York-based writer and editor with a penchant for travel, design, and interiors.

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