Showers are now such a commonplace feature in our homes that it's difficult to imagine life without them - but far more than being just a means of getting clean, a good shower helps us revive and restore, setting us up for the day. Here, an expert shares five essential things you need to know before upgrading your shower...

1. Make sure any new model is compatible with your home's plumbing system

It's surprising how many homeowners don't know the type of plumbing system installed in their home. However, if you're planning on having a new shower installed, this is the first thing you need to find out, to make the process smoother and ensure the model you choose is compatible with your home's plumbing.

"If you have a cold-water tank in your loft, and a hot-water cylinder in your airing cupboard, then you most likely have a gravity system," says Roland Boal, lead industrial designer at Mira Showers (

"If you have a boiler the size of a small kitchen cupboard somewhere in your house, and you don't have [separate] hot and cold-water tanks, then this is most likely a high-pressure system," Boal adds.

2. Design options are endless - so do some homework first

More and more importance is being placed on bathroom design, with an array of bathroom designers offering all sorts of shower models, from sleek and modern to functional and eco-friendly.

So you might be surprised by just how much choice is out there - and because there is so much to choose from, it's a good idea to do a little research and get an idea of what you're looking for before taking the plunge and upgrading.

Mar Esteve Cortes, of design company Neolith (, says of current bathroom design trends: "In the past, bathroom design has been overlooked as other rooms are prioritised, but we're seeing interesting trends on the horizon at the moment, including monochromatic colours and seamless, single slabs being used in shower cubicles.

"Walk-in showers are a popular way of optimising space in what is typically a compact room," Cortes adds. "Using the same material inside and outside the shower evokes a sense of continuity, rather than segmenting the area into smaller sections, creating the illusion of more space than there actually is."

3. Little features and design additions can make a big difference

Whether it's a multi-setting shower head or a wall-mounted storage tray, modern designs allow you to add a variety of useful features to your shower.

Margaret Talbot, marketing manager of VitrA UK (, says: "A shower seat, either freestanding or a fold-up model attached to the wall, is a comfortable addition. Don't forget to add a towel rail and a wall-mounted storage basket for shampoo. If you're planning an over-bath shower though, forget about shower curtains - they don't contain the water effectively."

4. Look for energy-saving options too

According to the Environment Agency, the average UK household uses 140 litres of water each day, with showers being responsible for around 30% of this.

But as well as improving the style and functionality of your bathroom, looking to upgrade your shower could be an opportunity to make your home a little more planet-friendly too, and help reduce your energy bills in the longer term.

Andy Grigor, head of design and dnnovation at Methven (, says: "Making your bathroom more eco-friendly can save you money in the long run. If you're looking to save on your energy bills, opting for a low-flow shower handset is one of the simplest ways to do this."

If nothing wakes you up in the morning more than a power shower (which, naturally, tend to use more water), consider trying an 'air shower head' instead - these are designed to mix air and water in order to create the feel of a power shower while still being more energy and water-efficient.

5. Be smart with your tech choices

With technology becoming more advanced year after year and increasingly featuring in our homes, it should probably come as no surprise that this now extends to the realm of showers, too.

Whether it's controlling your shower settings via the clock of a button or through an app, or having screens and speakers installed, bathroom design can now be pretty high-tech.

And this doesn't stop at design features inside the shower, either - there are smart options for guarding against leaks and water damage, for instance, too.

Matt Poll, CEO and founder of the UK's first smart home insurance provider, Neos (, says: "Smart home technology is a great option to look into when upgrading your shower, allowing you to help prevent leaks escalating. Some insurers now offer smart home technology as part of your package, so it's worth looking around to see what you can get.

"If you're having complex pipework laid, for example a wet room, it's a good idea to look into some wireless, Wi-Fi-enabled leak sensors. They can be installed in minutes and mean the smallest of leaks can be detected, both while the work is being carried out and down the line, when the pipework might be hidden away behind tiles."