Shower enclosure frames in a variety of sizes, styles and finishes with fluted and even coloured glass options are a growing trend in bathroom design – Sally Smith finds out what the latest ranges have to offer.
Designers can create the bespoke boutique-style bathrooms homeowners crave with the latest array of shower enclosures, with frames in Matt Black and Brushed Copper that can be matched perfectly with other elements of brassware, tap and shower controls in the bathroom.
"Customisation is definitely becoming more popular, with clients looking for bespoke enclosures tailored to their individual spaces and preferences. This has been reflected in recent innovations in frame colours, such as Black Chrome and Living Copper, giving customers more choice and we’ve seen fluted and frosted glass are also gaining traction. Frameless enclosures still remain popular for their sleek and seamless look and are ideal for larger bespoke shower enclosures," says Nicholas Cunild, MD of Matki.
Bear in mind though, if customers opt for a fully bespoke shower enclosure their bathroom floor and walls need to be structurally sound to accommodate the extra weight of the larger glass panels.
"We would always advise customers to consult with the trades to assess the plumbing and drainage requirements before any bathroom design is finalised, and encourage them to choose high-quality materials for both the enclosure and hardware to guarantee longevity and durability to avoid costly mistakes," adds Cunild.
Working alongside quartz and ceramic specialists can often be key to creating the ultimate recessed shower enclosure with a bespoke glass door and matching brassware.
But there is an expanding range of shower enclosures in new designs, colours and finishes coming onto the market within both the mid and high-end levels of the shower surround sector.
Richard Eaton, enclosures product manager at PJH's Bathrooms to Love, says: "Matt Black profiles continue to be popular, whilst the Brushed Brass finished frame is also gaining market share as it can be matched with other Brushed Brass bathroom elements for a totally co-ordinated look. Take, for example, our own brand of enclosures, RefleXion and the ‘Iconix’ wetroom panel finished with a brass frame that can be teamed with our Brushed Brass finished thermostatic shower, shower waste, wall-mounted basin mixer tap, mirror, lighting and dual flush button for a truly inspired look," adds Eaton.
For bathroom clients who are looking for something a little different or need to fit an enclosure into an usual space, like a loft with sloping or low ceilings, a fully customised shower enclosure is the only option.
Richard Ticehurst, Crosswater product expert at Bathroom Brands Group, explains: "Our modular component options give designers the flexibility and the freedom to create bespoke solutions for their customers. If your client has a smaller bathroom opt for a shower enclosure with sliding or bi-fold doors and if they have the space, consider a large enclosure with a sleek pivot door. Crosswater’s Gallery 10 walk-in showers create an easily accessible bathroom statement while Optix 10 luxury shower enclosures provide total envelopment for maximised privacy and work well even in a smaller space."
Kudos, sales & marketing director, Nick Graville, adds: "If the bathroom is small, a quadrant corner enclosure makes great use of space as does an enclosure that features sliding doors or doors that open inwards. Shower panels are a good alternative to an all-round enclosure, where no door is needed but ensure that tested, quality fittings are supplied to hold any large and heavy piece of glass securely in place."
If clients have chosen a coloured profile take the time to match the shower controls and other elements in the bathroom to the shower enclosure as invariably they come from different manufacturers, for example, one gold finish may not be the exact match to another.
"Whilst Chrome is still our best-selling profile finish, Matt Black is in second place followed by Brushed Gold. Coloured glass is also a growing trend although still very niche. We offer three different glass finishes within our ‘Bespoke Signature’ collection of products and as special order items within our Ultimate10 Collection including Frosted, Bronze Tint and Smoke Grey," adds Graville.
Matt Black and Brushed Brass shower enclosures with fluted glass and industrial black grid prints are now becoming a staple in bathroom design.
Shower enclosure manufacturer Lakes has seen a shift from functionality to a focus on aesthetics and tailoring a shower enclosure within a bathroom to the individual customer’s needs. Its advice is to encourage customers to really assess the area they have in the bathroom for a shower enclosure you are working with and plan around that, rather than letting them get an idea in their mind as to what they want and sticking to it regardless.
Manufacturers do offer a wide variety of sizes in their off-the-shelf shower enclosures ranges that will suit customers who want to create a customised space in their bathroom.
David Osborne, CEO at Roman, explains: "In a large bathroom you have the luxury of planning an essentially unrestricted showering space. We’ve seen larger shower enclosures move to wetroom panels, as they are quicker and easier to install – 10mm wetroom panels are a common larger enclosure. If you have the space, be generous."
Osborne adds: "Our ‘Fast Fix’ assembly is designed so that the final shower enclosure mainframe installation is a ‘slot and tighten’ exercise, which can be done literally in seconds. Consequently, the main profiles effortlessly link together as the structure is assembled onsite. As much of the process as possible is now pre-assembled in our factory to ensure that the final installation in the bathroom is quick and easy."
Finally, frameless glass shower panels are evolving away from clear glass with a few manufacturers adding colourful iridescent glass options to their ranges.