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7 Shower hacks to improve all Your bathing woes

It’s time to fix all of your peskiest problems, from clogged drains to harsh lighting

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By Architectural Digest US | November 17, 2021 | Bathroom

Clogged drains, mildew-covered liners, zero storage space, inconsistent water pressure, grout staining, ugly tiles: These are just a few of the problems Jasmine Morvay’s clients run into.

As a kitchen and bath designer, owner of KODAinteriors, and recipient and alumni of the NKBA “30 Under 30” award, she’s all too familiar with the shower woes so many of us experience on a daily basis during our frequent visits to the bathroom.

“Designing both a functional and beautiful shower is important,” Morvay says. “Often your day starts and ends in this space and can set your mood and energy level for the day or change it at the end.”

Still, it’s easy to assume that, without a budget for a large remodel, your shower will just be what it is. But this doesn’t have to be the case. From simple DIYs to creative hacks, there are so many ways to fix your peskiest shower problems and create a more intentional space.

“Proper design and function can take you from feeling frustrated because your shampoo bottle keeps falling on your toe to realizing your fingers are pruning because you don’t want to leave the comfortable and calming atmosphere,” Morvay tells AD. You deserve a shower that’s more than an afterthought, and, with these seven hacks, you can get just that.

Start by unclogging your drains

“Add something to catch hair from going down the drain,” Morvay says, offering one of the simplest ways to instantly elevate your shower. Still, even with a nifty drain cover, clogged pipes are a problem most of us encounter at some point. But before you call a plumber or succumb to Drano—which, by the way, many plumbers despise—grab a zip tie and see if that will fix the issue.

Often, the culprit of backed-up plumbing in your shower is loose hair. By cutting a few diagonal strips into a plastic zip tie, you can make an easy hair-catcher and drain snake to grab all of those free strands. Once you’ve made the cuts, stick the zip tie into the drain, rotate it a few times, and use it to pull out all the gunk that’s clogging your pipes.


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♬ original sound - Scott Kinmartin

Next, get your water flowing

Did you know many commercial showerheads have a flow restrictor in them that keeps your shower water from coming through at full force? Originally put there to conserve water, sometimes they do their job a little too well, especially if you already have low water pressure.

Removing the flow restrictor is a simple way to solve this problem. To get rid of this little device, unscrew your shower head from the hose and pop the restrictor out with a screwdriver or needle-nose pliers. They’re usually small, circular devices—often made of plastic—although it might help to look up your showerhead model to see exactly what you’re looking for.


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♬ Sunny Day - Ted Fresco

It’s worth noting that these devices are there for a good reason, and your water bill will likely go up, so it’s best to remove them only if your flow is seriously poor. Another solution to a more powerful shower is to clean the showerhead itself with some white vinegar. The acid in the vinegar can help reduce buildup that might be making it hard for water to come out.

Tying a bag full of white vinegar around the head and letting it sit for about an hour should help dissolve anything that might be preventing water from coming through.


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♬ Splish Splash - Little Spookz

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♬ original sound - Macy Lynn Hodge

Keep your tension rod from falling down, then add a second for extra storage

If you use a tension rod for your shower curtain, you’re probably aware of how frustrating it is when it falls down. Luckily, there is a solution far simpler than drilling into your tile or begging your landlord for an upgrade.

Try super-gluing felt furniture pads or rubber shelf lining to the plastic ends of the rod for a better grip against the shower walls. You can also purchase tension rod holders that use adhesive to stick to the walls for extra support.

If this restores your faith in tension rods, consider adding a second one in the back of your shower to maximize your storage space. As Morvay explains, not enough space for bottles and other shower necessities is a common problem. Adding baskets and caddies to a second tension rod can make for better organization.


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♬ Mission Impossible Theme (Movie Trailer Mix) - Dominik Hauser

Make over the shower walls with tile paint

You may be like DIY content creator Karlin Summer and not know you can paint your shower tiles. “I didn’t know I could paint them at first,” she tells AD, “I just knew I hated the colour that they were.”

Despite disliking their hue, Summer realized the tiles themselves were actually in good shape. A quick Google search brought her to a Rust-Oleum tub and tile refinishing kit.

For a makeover that’s as dramatic as it is inexpensive—the kits are around $25–$30—tile paint could be a perfect hack to give your shower a completely new look.

Summer has used a few other kits for a bathtub and kitchen counter refresh. “They’ve all worked pretty great so far and are holding up,” she says.

If you do go this route, make sure to dedicate plenty of time to good prep—you’ll want to remove caulk, clean the tiles, sand them, and then wipe them down with a tack cloth. Lastly, use a natural cleaner instead of something with harsher chemicals that could affect the paint.


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♬ Awesome Day - Tokyo Police Club

Freshen up the little details

If your shower isn’t in need of a total makeover, just give the smaller details a touch-up. It’s not uncommon for the edges of showers to get a little grimy, especially the caulk around the tub. Luckily, re-caulking is a simple DIY.

You’ll want to start by getting rid of the old stuff, “You can remove it by scraping it off with a plastic putty knife, but avoid using anything metal as you don’t want it to scratch,” Morvay says.

From there, James Upton, a certified tile installer, ambassador for the National Tile Contractors Association, and owner of DIYTileGuy, advises replacing it with 100% silicone caulk.

“It’s the best product,” he adds. Morvay’s default suggestion is matching it to the colour of the grout, noting white or clear also works well to match the colour of the tub.

Another quick fix for an upgraded look is to recolour the grout between your tiles. “People have nightmares about their grout joints from the ’70s and ’80s,” Upton says, “but if you have an older shower, you can get a colourant and go over them.”


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♬ original sound - Laurencarnow

Set the mood with the right light and colors

Nothing ruins a relaxing shower quite like harsh lighting. “The colours used in the space can have a huge impact,” Morvay says, “Choosing a more calming paint colour or lighting that is warmer will create a more inviting space.”

To do this, add a dimmer switch to help set a relaxing spa mood—trust us, it’s easier than it sounds! You could also add recessed lights inside the shower area or replace all of your boring bulbs with color-changing ones. “There are even colour-changing showerheads,” Morvay adds.

Finish with accessories

To finish the space, decorate with some accessories. You could hang eucalyptus leaves around your shower head for both a spa feel and health-improving benefits.

The steam from your shower will help release the plant’s oil—which is known for reducing inflammation, pain, and stress, and improving respiratory health. Morvay also says that fogless mirrors are another fun option to take your shower to the next level, because they’re “great for men who shave in the shower.”

Even switching up the curtain can change the feel. “A fabric shower curtain can make for a more high-end look and adds a softer, more inviting texture to the space,” Morvay explains.

Now armed with plenty of shower inspiration, it’s time to get to work, because these changes do add up. As Morvay says, “Making large or small adjustments to improve the experience will drastically change the way you feel in the space, and, more importantly, how you feel after being in it.”

This originally appeared on Architectural Digest US