Hey friends, it’s Angela from Home Décor Chat, coming to you from my little 1910s bungalow in Charlotte. I’m back today to discuss one of my favorite bathroom upgrades – the shower bench.
Now, a shower seat may seem like a snooze-fest topic. But stay with me here! A quality shower bench can be life-changing. There’s nothing quite like relaxing and enjoying your shower instead of rushing through standing up.
Over the years, I’ve tried out my fair share of shower benches in pursuit of that perfect spa-like experience. And let me tell you, I’ve learned a lot about which designs and materials deliver comfort. I can’t wait to share my tips and top picks!
- 1 Understanding Shower Benches: More Than Just a Place to Sit
- 2 Choosing Your Dream Shower Bench Design
- 3 Smart Shower Bench Placement
- 4 Choosing Durable, Water-Resistant Materials
- 5 Designing a Stylish Yet Functional Bench
- 6 Installing Your Shower Bench (DIY or Pro Install)
- 7 Caring for Your Shower Bench
- 8 Stay Safe and Accessible with the Right Bench
- 9 My Top Shower Bench Picks
- 10 Make the Most of Your New Shower Bench
- 11 Frequently Asked Shower Bench Questions:
Understanding Shower Benches: More Than Just a Place to Sit
Before we get into the specifics, let’s quickly cover the basics: What is a shower bench, and why should you get one?
A shower bench is a seat built or designed for use in the shower. Its primary purpose is simple: to provide a comfortable place to sit while you shower!
I don’t know about you, but I love a long shower to unwind and shave my legs. But holding those yoga-like balancing poses to do it all standing up can get tiring. A shower seat is a game changer for making all your shower tasks easier and more enjoyable.
Beyond just comfort, a shower bench also offers many other helpful benefits:
- Convenience – keeps all your shower essentials within arm’s reach
- Accessibility – assists those with mobility issues or disabilities
- Safety – provides stability and reduces the risk of falling
- Versatility – can also be used for bathing kids or pets!
With so many advantages, it’s easy to see why a shower bench can be a practical addition.
Choosing Your Dream Shower Bench Design
Once you’ve decided to plunge into shower seat life, it’s time for the fun part – picking the perfect design! A few key factors must be considered so your new throne accomplishes both form and function.
Built-in vs. Portable Shower Benches
The first decision is whether you want a permanent built-in bench or a portable seat that can be moved around.
Built-in shower benches are fixed in place and integrated right into your shower design. They tend to have a more streamlined look. However, you must commit to placement since they can’t be rearranged.
Portable shower benches, on the other hand, provide maximum flexibility. You can quickly move them into and out of the shower. They’re also super handy for renters who can take their bench to the next place.
I prefer a portable bench because my shower storage needs to be constantly changed. However, a built-in bench can be gorgeous for a seamless spa look.
Materials: Teak, Bamboo, and Beyond
You’ll also want to decide which material fits your shower vibe. For both built-in and portable benches, you have loads of options:
- Teak wood – Gorgeous, durable hardwood perfect for a natural look
- Bamboo – Sustainable and lightweight with a modern touch
- Acrylic – Affordable, easy-clean plastic perfect for portable
- Stone – Elegant natural texture but very heavy
- Resin – Durable plastic in endless styles and color choices
I chose a portable bamboo bench because I love the sustainability factor and lighter weight. But classic teak is always a fine choice, too!
Corner, Folding, or Extended Design
Finally, consider the overall shape and functionality you need. Some top designs include:
- Corner shower benches – Ideal for small, tight showers
- Folding shower benches – Save space when not in use
- Extended shower benches – Offer extra seating room
I opted for a space-saving corner bench to maximize real estate in my modestly sized shower. But an extended bench can be divine if you have a more oversized shower!
Take measurements of your space and visualize what design would function best before choosing.
Smart Shower Bench Placement
Once you have chosen your perfect bench, it’s time for the fun part – installing it! Proper placement is vital for both safety and convenience.
Safety first: The bench needs sturdy support and enough space for people to sit and stand comfortably. Avoid sloped walls or slippery surfaces.
For convenience, situate it near your most-used shower items. For example, I put mine right by the detachable showerhead.
Also, consider opening the shower door without hitting the bench and allowing ample room to step in and out. Take precise measurements and use painter’s tape to map out placement options.
If designing a built-in bench, work with an experienced contractor to construct sturdy supports and waterproof wood materials.
Check the weight limits for portable benches and use non-slip pads underneath. For extra comfort, place a yoga mat on top of the bench.
Choosing Durable, Water-Resistant Materials
To make your shower bench last, choose quality materials. Anything in the shower is exposed to lots of moisture, so longevity and water resistance are key!
Natural teak wood has beautiful warm tones and is highly water-resistant. The natural oils help repel water damage. Look for sustainably sourced 100% solid teak.
Eco-friendly bamboo is also a fantastic wood option. It’s lightweight but highly durable. Bamboo naturally resists mold and mildew, making it perfect for humid bathrooms.
Stones like granite or marble add natural elegance. These solid materials won’t warp or crack, but their heavy weight makes them harder to install.
Plastics like acrylic or resin are affordable, lightweight options. Resins come in fun colors! Just be sure to check thickness for durability.
No matter what you choose, proper sealing and maintenance are critical to longevity. Check out my tips below on keeping your bench in tip-top shape.
Designing a Stylish Yet Functional Bench
In my book, even the most practical piece, like a shower bench, deserves good design! With the right touches, your bench can be both beautiful and functional.
Look for ergonomic shapes, curved seats, and supportive backrests for comfort. Texture and padding can also enhance the seating experience.
If you love a spa look, seek clean, straight lines and muted neutrals. Add decor like a leafy plant, chandelier, or wall art.
Look for ornate details like scrolled feet, carved accents, or turned wood details paired with a painted finish for a traditional vibe.
Or, go for a sleek, modern look with a streamlined silhouette, bold colors, and minimal ornamentation. Mixing materials like wood and metal also looks fresh.
Little design touches are also important. For example, I added a handy side shelf to mine to hold bath accessories. Consider built-in features like grab bars, non-slip feet, drains, and storage space.
With some thoughtful choices, your dream shower bench can blend form and function perfectly.
Installing Your Shower Bench (DIY or Pro Install)
Once you’ve chosen the perfect shower bench, it’s time for installation. Here’s a quick guide for setting your seat up securely.
For a permanent built-in bench:
- Build a wooden frame secured firmly to shower walls to support the bench
- Waterproof wood with marine varnish and seal edges with silicone
- Ensure proper drainage so water doesn’t pool on the surface
- Consider hiring a contractor for structural additions
For a removable portable bench:
- Place non-slip pads under the legs to prevent sliding
- Choose a lightweight but sturdy design that’s easy to lift
- Allow space to move the bench in and out as needed
- Use water-safe adhesive grips to keep the bench tacked in place
Since my DIY skills are shaky, I hired my handy neighbor to install my built-in corner bench securely. But portable benches are a great DIY project!
Either way, take time to waterproof and reinforce your bench correctly. This will ensure it stays fixed in place and is built to last.
Caring for Your Shower Bench
Okay, your bench is installed and ready to use! But like any piece in your home, it will need some occasional TLC to look its best. Here are my top tips for keeping your shower seat in tip-top shape:
- For wood benches, reseal every 1-2 years with waterproof finishes to prevent damage from moisture.
- Use mold-resistant cleaners and a soft cloth to wipe down the seat regularly, especially after heavy use.
- Allow the bench surface to fully dry after each use to prevent mildew and warping.
- Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach that could damage wood or plastic over time.
- For slippery surfaces, use textured pads or appliques to help prevent sliding.
- Inspect hardware like legs and hinges periodically and tighten as needed.
With the proper care and maintenance, a quality shower bench should serve you well for years of relaxing showers. Be sure to test paints and finishes in an inconspicuous spot first to prevent damage to the finish.
Stay Safe and Accessible with the Right Bench
While shower benches offer many ergonomic benefits, selecting a design tailored to your needs is crucial. Safety and accessibility should always come first!
Here are some key features to look for:
- Textured non-slip feet provide crucial traction and stability on wet shower floors.
- A comprehensive, sturdy base prevents wobbling or tipping when sitting or transferring onto the bench.
- The seat should be 17-19 inches high to make sitting and standing easier.
- Look for ADA-compliant benches explicitly designed for accessibility if needed.
- Benches with armrests or backrests offer additional upper-body support.
- Large, extended benches provide ample room for various needs.
Benches explicitly made for those with mobility challenges or disabilities are also available. For example, wall-mounted fold-down seats, adjustable height legs, pivoting seats, and built-in grab bars can further assist. When selecting a bench, consider your needs or those of others who use the shower.
My Top Shower Bench Picks
Are you sold on the shower bench life? Let’s chat about my personal favorites! I’ve tried out quite a few models and wanted to share the best of the best:
- Giantex Teak Shower Bench – This is a gorgeous, smooth, solid teak bench with a spacious seat and an affordable price. It’s perfect for a natural spa look!
- Bamboo Shower Bench by Signature Living – Eco-friendly bamboo design with an extra toiletry shelf. So handy!
- Folding Teak Shower Bench by Heaven Massage – This compact, collapsible bench has a convenient cut-out handle and is excellent for tight spaces!
- Compression Teak Corner Bench by SpaEscapades – This triangle bench tucks perfectly into corners for small shower lovers.
- Acrylic Adjustable Shower Stool by Vive – An affordable portable pick with adjustable height legs. Super versatile!
These recommendations give you a good starting point in your search. Remember to read reviews and measure your space before purchasing.
Make the Most of Your New Shower Bench
Well, that about wraps up my complete shower bench guide! All this info should help you pick the perfect seat to create a relaxing, spa-like shower sanctuary at home.
While a shower bench may seem simple, little comfort upgrades like this can make a huge difference in enjoying one’s home and self-care time. Plus, one may wonder how one ever lived without one!
Frequently Asked Shower Bench Questions:
How much weight can shower benches hold?
This depends on the material and design but look for benches that support at least 250-300 lbs. Higher capacity benches around 500 lbs are ideal for robust support. Always check weight limits before purchasing.
How do I keep a wood shower bench from mildewing?
Choose a naturally mold-resistant wood like teak or bamboo. Allow the bench to dry thoroughly between uses. Apply a mold-resistant sealant every 1-2 years. Wipe down regularly with a non-bleach, antimicrobial cleaner.
Should I get a built-in or portable shower bench?
Built-in benches provide a seamless look but can’t be moved. Portable benches allow flexibility to rearrange or bring to another home. Consider your budget, shower design, and needs.
What is the best height for a shower bench?
For accessibility, ADA guidelines recommend 17-19 inches above the shower floor. Standard seat heights are often 12-20 inches. Consider the user’s needs and height when selecting.
How do I choose the right shower bench size?
Measure your shower space carefully. Allow room for opening doors or glass enclosures and stepping in. Corner benches maximize small spaces. Larger and extended benches provide ample room in more extensive showers.