Four ways to make your shower smarter

Upgrade your shower time with these healthy design hacks.

When done properly, your shower experience should be as much about wellness as it is about hygiene.

That “done properly” can come down to a few functional design adjustments—some of which are small fixes, others best executed through renovation. The end result is a shower that is a sanctuary, a respite from reality or a gateway to spirituality.

“The bathroom should be a retreat, or rejuvenation space from your high-stress environment,” says Douglas Teiger of Abramson Teiger Architects, the firm responsible for the interiors of Equinox Westlake. When designing showers, Teiger and his team focus on a connection to nature and spirituality, ultimately benefiting the mental and physical wellness of their clients.

Here are a few ways you can upgrade your shower—both the physical space and the experience—to maximize its many perks:

Open it up to nature.
If your space allows, install a window (one you can see through clearly) in the shower. “Having a window connects us to nature,” says Teiger. Studies have shown that having a daily connection to nature improves one's health and happiness. “A bathroom is about rejuvenation, and so is nature. We connect back to rejuvenation through openings to the outside.”

But close the shower off to the bathroom.
“The most important thing is a floor-to-ceiling glass door,” Teiger says of a shower’s ability to assuage mental and physical stress. It creates a contained space, which will feel more like your sanctuary. Companies like Smart Tint and Smartglass specialize in producing glass with adjustable opaqueness; just a flick of a switch separates you from the rest of the room, or the world outside. Adding this glass to the windows or door of your shower allows you to open up or close off the sanctuary, whichever—and whenever—you need.

Convert it into a steam room.
Your shower doesn’t have to justbe a shower. Give it dual functionality by installing steam room features. Some experts say the steam will relax your muscles, lower blood pressure and purge toxins from the body. It’s the perfect way to follow a workout; and a cold shower will boost circulation after sitting in the steam. Companies like Kohler offer a variety of steam generators and controls that can be added to most showers. Add a seat, which houses the steam pipe, and protects you from burn. “We always install seats in our showers,” says Teiger. “They allow you to sit down and enjoy the spa-like environment.”

Put nutrients in the water.
Architectural design isn’t the only way to boost your shower’s healthy benefits. Vitamin C-infused shower heads have been growing in popularity because they help give your skin and hair extra nourishment and increase blood flow. In addition to adding a punch of refreshing aromatherapy, the vitamin C also neutralizes chlorine and helps fight rust and contaminant buildup in the shower head.