The One Surprising Thing We Would Change about our Bathroom

October 16, 2018

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We’ve been using our newly remodeled master bathroom for 5 months now and it still feels like a dream. Almost every day, either Chris or I comment on how wonderful, beautiful, functional or worth it it was. All the painstaking planning really paid off.

Even still, we often get asked (mostly by others gearing up for their own bathroom renovation, I think) “What would you do differently?” It wasn’t until recently it dawned on us–We would skip the rain shower head.

When planning out the shower, we were originally going to do a steam shower, with a shower head on each side and the rain shower in the middle. We ended up nixing the steam option and I’m so glad we did–it gets PLENTY steamy in there! And we LOVE having two shower heads on either side–they are both constantly used. But the rain shower? Not so much. It’s nice for a very short time until it feels like you’re drowning in water. I’ve tried just using the rain shower head, but it wasn’t as enjoyable as the side heads, so it goes unused 98% of the time.

Obviously this is all a luxury and it’s not something we would remove, but hopefully it serves as a heads up to anyone else about to embark on a bathroom renovation. Maybe it’s the size of our shower (48″x60″), but for us, the rain shower sounded more appealing than it ended up being.

Anyone else with a similar set up have thoughts on rain showers?

See the full bathroom reveal here
The budget breakdown here
The budget breakdown here


Wall Color– Sherwin Williams Cloud White in Satin
Trim color– Valspar Pure White in Semi-Gloss
Vanity, Linen cabinet, and Water closet cabinet–custom made through Fashion Cabinets in West Jordan, UT
Marble Floor Tile— Wayfair
Shower Tile, 3×9 and Chaine Homme in Loch Ness–Fireclay Tile
Countertop –Venato Quartz
Undermount Sinks
Purist Wall-Mounted faucets by Kohler in Polished Nickel–Wayfair
Walnut Mirrors
Towel rings
Hand towels
Soap and Lotion set
White Pocket door
Wood pocket door
Prive sign
Flush Pull  and Edge Pull Pocket door hardware
Smokey Floral Wallpaper
Flush-mount light
Unlacquered brass knobs
Toilet paper holder
Kohler Purist Shower head –Wayfair
Kohler 12″ Rain Shower Head in polished nickel— Wayfair
Kohler Purist Cross Handle for Thermostatic Valve — Wayfair
Kohler Purist Lever Handle for Volume Control
Triple Towel hook
Jewelry tree
Simple Human Mirror
Dipped Ceramic canisters
First Aid box

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What do you think?

  1. Emily says:

    Hi Julia! Major fan here – I absolutely love everything that you guys do! Thank you for making this your job :)
    I am currently renovating my master bathroom and had a discussion about rainshowers with the salesperson based explicitly on this post. She mentioned that Kohler has 2 flow amounts – 1.75 and 2.5 gallons – you have linked to the 2.5 gallon head…If this is the actual head that you purchased, do you think that this water flow impacted your perception or enjoyment of the rainshower head? I see you have a volume adjustor (and temperature) so did you find if you reduced the volume that it improved the experience?
    We’re looking at Riobel lines which incorporate volume and temperature together and the rainshower is on a shower arm, rather than the ceiling, swivels and the flow is at 1.5, 1.7 or 2 (all lower than your 2.5 purist)….
    Thanks for your thoughts!

    • Chris Loves Julia says:

      Hi, Emily! We’re excited for your new shower! We’re Kohler fans, through and through, and love the flow of the 2.5 gallons. We rarely reduced the volume, so I can’t tell you if this improves the experience. I CAN tell you that we’re going with Kohler again in our master bathroom this year. Please check back in with a review once you’ve made a decision!

  2. Aimee Dotter says:

    I love your bathroom. What color paint did you use on the vanity? Thank you

  3. Annie says:

    Do you think these two white paint colors could work well in a kitchen? We just moved into a new (to us, 1920s to others)house and someone along the way painted the molding green! I’m struggling to determine how to do a white tone in the kitchen and a brigher white for the molding.

  4. Karen Chou says:

    What is the color and brand of paint for your bath vanity and kitchen vanity?

  5. Sara says:

    Hi Julia! Is it possible that the paint colour (Cloud White) is actually from Benjamin Moore? Can’t find it on Sherwin Williams website!

  6. Lindsey N says:

    Good to know, considering our contractor suggested we just go with a rain head as opposed to the two side heads as a way to save money. Now we will definitely reconsider!

  7. Gia says:

    I had one at a hotel, but I didn’t like it, either. You just can’t be partially in the water. With the rain shower head, you are either getting wet from your head down or you are cold while you step away from the rain shower to apply shampoo or soap up. No, thanks!

    • Ellen says:

      I completely agree with this, unfortunately when we remodeled our bathroom we only installed a rain shower head… i’m out in the cold with shampoo in my eyes…..also if you ever shower without washing your hair, its next to impossible to not get your hair wet with a rain shower head!

  8. KD says:

    PS: Don’t use black stainless appliances if you are going to rent your cabin!! It’s just a “plastic like” coating over stainless so if it scratches it will peel and look awful. Check this out:

  9. KD says:

    Agree, I think they are a waste of money to install and to use. I also think they aren’t attractive just because your eye goes right to the gigantic head instead of to the pretty tile in the shower.

  10. pt says:

    I need help maximizing our choice of towel bars/hooks in our recently renovated, small, modern, city bathroom. Any advice?

  11. caroline says:

    What kind of window do you have in your shower? Is it waterproof? Is it opaque?

  12. Heather says:

    We bought a combo hand-held/rain head when we did our shower update. I don’t much care for the rain head because I never feel like I get my hair fully rinsed with it, but my husband loves it in the winter. He says the more gentle pressure keeps his skin from getting too dry. The combo head was a win-win for us.

  13. Juliet says:

    If you are considering a rain shower head, spend a little time/money and stay at a hotel that has one (or seek out something local – health club, flotation tank place, physical therapy clinic that has a locker room maybe) to try one out. I had one at a hotel in Chicago that I tried first, and I hated it. Hotel had rain heads and a hand-held. Only used the hand-held shower for the rest of my stay. Totally felt as though I was drowning. I also used one at a local place (this one had much softer pressure), and I hated that too! It took forever to wash the shampoo and body wash off. When I did the plan for my bath renovation, I had one wall head and one hand-held head with adjustable flow. Love that combo. Hand-held is adjustable for washing where you may need it specially – shaving legs, rinsing the dog, getting sticky stuff off of a kid without having to rinse/wash entire child, etc.

    • Martha says:

      Completely agree! I thought I wanted a rain shower head as we were planning our master bath renovation, but while on a trip I tried one in a fancy hotel and realized I preferred the wall mounted shower head so much more.

  14. We recently remodeled our master bath as well. I had all the plumbing fixtures delivered to our house and when I showed our plumber my plan he quickly discouraged the rain shower, I was so frustrated bc I had my heart set on it. He said it would just feel like soft rain falling on our heads and we really wouldn’t use it. I finally agreed to let it go and haven’t missed it a bit!! We have two Kohler shower heads and the hand shower. It’s more than enough!!

  15. Martha Alvarez says:

    I think it depends on shower head. I have a Perrin and Rowe Rain shower head that is so so so (did I say so?) wonderful to stand underneath. I use it when I wash my hair and I can stand there for hours. Does not feel like I am drowning. Its perfection! On days I don’t want to wash my hair I use the side shower. So, having both is very useful to my bathroom design. I guess the lesson is that you should read reviews on whatever you are picking if you cannot try them ahead of time.

  16. Guylaine says:

    Thanks for sharing your regret…I was wondering if there were more of these you could share? Or things you would change? I only ask because it’s nice to see that we don’t always get things right or perfectly the first time, and that it’s ok to change it up if it didn’t work.
    Glad to see you’re getting better health wise too…

  17. Diane Belanger says:

    We also did one in our bathroom when we renovated 13 years ago. My husband used it for a few months at the beginning and it hasn’t been used since.

  18. Kris says:

    I totally agree! We built our house last year & I believed I had to have one. I barely use it. My college age son loves it when he comes to visit! But the rest of the time, it doesn’t get used.

  19. Karen says:

    Totally hate rain showers!!! I don’t get the trend at all!!

  20. Kelly says:

    We’ve had two showers with rain shower heads… one was in the ceiling and I hated it. Like you said, I felt like I was being drowned or water boarded. :) The second shower had one that came out of the wall and the angle of it made for a delightful shower experience. I’d go that route again in a heartbeat. :)

  21. KB says:

    Used a rain head once in a hotel. Hated it too.

  22. Kirstin says:

    We have rain shower heads in both our showers and they never get used either.
    Would definitely recommend not getting them. Invest instead in a fancier regular shower head.

  23. Heather says:

    I totally agree!!! No rain shower. It was a waste of money and really not that enjoyable. We moved after our remodel and have a new house to redue, you bet, I won’t be adding a rain shower at all this time.

  24. Martha Owen says:

    I love the color used. It looks peaceful as well as functional.
    Enjoyed reading about some of the decisions made.
    Our next project is our master bath. We are collecting ideas. We may incorporate a few we saw in this article. Thanks.

  25. Amanda says:

    I once stayed in this quirky bed and breakfast type place in Costa Rica, and our bathroom had a shower that ONLY had a rain shower head. At first I thought it was cool, but then quickly realized it made me feel like I was drowning if I was standing underneath it, but then I was cold if I stood just outside it. So, I’m with you and don’t love them! However, a friend of mine built a new house and put a rain shower head in her shower and says she loves it and uses it every day!

  26. Courtney says:

    We recently renovated our shower and made it a double by adding a rain shower head. It’s my shower head and I love it! No way would I change it!

  27. Amber Collier says:

    We had a rain shower in our last custom build and we experienced the same thing. I felt like i was drowning every time i used it! After trying it a few times, it went unused for the remaining 5 years that we lived there. Obviously we opted out of this feature in our current home ;)

  28. Mandy! says:

    Ahhhhh!! I just laid the rough plumbing today for my 4’6×8’ double shower. Have been planning on doing 2 rain shower heads in the middle with a head on each side and a big window in the middle. I think I will still do them, BUT want to know why you chose to have temperature control valves. I’m also using the Purist line and am unsure if I should go that route or just one valve per shower head! Any thoughts??

    • Julia says:

      We love the temperature control valves because the water is always at our perfect: preferred temperature just but turning on the volume control

  29. Estelle Carlson says:

    We decided on not having a rain shower head in our new build because of that very reason. We used one on vacation once and decided the idea is cool, they look awesome, but using one… not so much. BTW I love everything you do and post about! Keep up the great work :)

  30. Christina says:

    I love my rain head shower! It’s the best thing about my morning! We live in Atlanta and went to the Hansgrohe showroom – Aquademie. You get to bring your bathing suit and test out all the fixtures in person before ordering. Not all rain head showers are created equal. Also, Hansgrohe has a variety of overhead fixtures that provide different spray modes – from hard to soft rain. This allows you to customize your experience depending on what you like. They have water saving features that really reduce consumption but not experience, so the overhead showers don’t consume more than your regular one on the wall. (No, sadly, I don’t work for them). We added a shower pipe with a handle for those days you don’t want to get your hair wet. If you are considering an overhead shower I would recommend testing them out and doing research.

    • kathyg says:

      I agree…we LOVE ours! As said above, not all are created equal by any means, and it’s smart to test them out in a show room. We have Kohler brand, and I remember our plumber letting me test it out before hand . I do think it has to do with how high it can be mounted…ours is pretty high… as well as maybe the size of the shower in general. Ours is on the larger side, and actually I usually turn on both the rain head and the side shower ever single time…and use both…but I try to compensate by taking very quick showers.

  31. Veronica says:

    I’ve seen some shower heads that are designed with an open space in the middle where there are no holes for water – the description says that it’s to create a place where you can stand and enjoy the rain but still breathe. Do you think that feature would make a difference, or would you still pass? The example I’m looking at is called the Kohler Real Rain Shower Head.

  32. Karen Brown says:

    We had only a rain shower head in a vacation rental recently, and I was surprised at how little we enjoyed it. It made rinsing off in general a lot more difficult, and things like trying to just wash our bodies without also getting hair wet pretty much impossible.

  33. Patty says:

    I agree with Fritz. When installing a rain shower the diameter of the pipe has to larger. The pressure is not an issue and you don’t feel like your drowning. It literally feels like a “ rain shower”.

  34. Patty says:

    We have a small shower (4×4) with only a rain shower and absolutely love it. I don’t think I could go back to a regular shower head.

  35. Anne says:

    I have never enjoyed a rain shower head. There’s no comfortable way to stand underneath it!

  36. Wen says:

    We were in a house with rain head and had the same experience. It was a novelty for a few minutes, then annoying. Further, water left in the pipes from last use would sometimes drip out as the pressure changed while using other shower heads (that was probably a flaw in pipe layout maybe?)… but those “drips” always felt super cold and were so starteling wgen they hit you. Also, steam shower roof wasn’t too angled so beads of water would form on the ceiling and drop straight down on you instead of rolling on the angled ceiling towards the wall. BUT… after two wall shower heads is a total game changer!

  37. Anna says:

    Totally agree about the drowning feeling under the rain showerhead! We paid for the upgrade and never use it. It’s nice to have both the side and rain on on cold days, but it wastes a lot of water and gets really steamy so we never do. The only pro is that my husband (6′ tall) claims the rain has better coverage. If we just had the side showerhead placed higher, it would be the same.

  38. Lucy says:

    We remodeled our last home and put 2 shower heads and a rain shower in, and maybe used it twice. Totally agree with the drowning factor. Womp womp! I’m so so happy we had two shower heads though!

  39. Erin says:

    We had a rain head in the shower at our vacation rental recently. We both used it once but couldn’t turn it on again as we felt guilty about the amount of water it used. These days we are trying to be a bit more mindful of our imprint.

  40. Sassy says:

    My husband loves it and uses it every day; I don’t like it except to help steam up the shower on cold mornings. We have both with a knob to switch between them and that works for us. I would never get one on my own because just too difficult to feel like I’ve gotten everything rinsed off except my hair and shoulders.

  41. Jessica says:

    We paid so much to upgrade ours to have a rain shower above when building. But now every time we have to shower together we really just wish it was on the side instead. It’s just not functional.

  42. Kerry says:

    Aha! I wondered what it could be and now I’m remembering that when we were remodeling our bath the salesperson told us most people don’t use their rain shower heads, so we skipped it.

  43. Amy says:

    I agree 100% about rain showers. It’s impossible to stay under the water and not drown at the same time.

  44. Sara says:

    I definitely love my rain shower head (for the exact reason you say you don’t like it! Hah) But we have the kind where it’s just a long extended arm, not coming from the ceiling-so anyone in the future could easily replace! In fact I’d probably change it before we moved since the consensus seems to be “just say no to rain shower heads!” ????

  45. Jordan says:

    I agree with an above commenter. When I’m lounging, relaxing in the shower, I enjoy it while on the teak bench. But for the functional, everyday shower (you know, the one where every single noise you hear during it sounds like a crying child?) it doesn’t get used.

  46. Kristen says:

    Your bathroom is gorgeous!! I would love to know how the polished nickel is holding up? I was talked out of using it by quite a few people who said that it is very difficult to maintain and spots easily and it’s hard to get out. Do you find this to be true? I kinda regret not using it and am thinking about giving it a try for our new master bath. Would love to hear your opinion!

  47. Oksana says:

    We lived in an apartment a few years ago that had a rain shower and a regular shower, and I have to agree – it went unused 98% of the time. In my mind, having multiple shower heads is already a luxury, and seeing how uncomfortable a rain shower really is, I just never understood the appeal.

  48. Thao Tran says:

    Yup. I agree. I remember using one in my friends house years ago for the very first time and it seemed so luxurious. Had one installed and I felt like I couldn’t breath under it and had to position my body so that most of my face was not under the water. Then when I shampooed I had to step out of the rain where it was cold whereas the regular shower head you can just turn around. Definitely not worth it. It looks nice in the bathroom though :)

  49. Erin Z says:

    Yep. Always wanted one, and now I’m totally disappointed. They look stunning, but it’s not enough water pressure for me. I really want to be pelted!

  50. Kaylee says:

    We also opted for a rain head when we reno’d our en suite a few years back, and I actually forget that it’s even there now. The rain head does not provide enough pressure to rinse shampoo out of my hair, so all it’s really good for is the nice feeling, I guess, which I don’t have time to enjoy during my rushed morning shower anyway.

  51. Felicity says:

    Thanks for the PSA. I experienced a rain shower head once in an Air B&B rental. It felt like torture. I seriously thought I was going to drown. I’m glad I got to try it out in a rental so I was never tempted to put one in my own home.

  52. Casey says:

    I’ve used one at an Airbnb, there were no side showerheads just the rain shower and I felt like I was drowning ???? but it does look impressive so that’s something???

  53. Lesley says:

    Do you have a bench in your shower? We use our rain shower all the time, but we can sit/lounge while using it and it’s amazing.

  54. Sara says:

    Oh my gosh I am with you! I stayed at an all-inclusive that had a rain shower which I thought, “This will be amazing!” And quickly found out not-to-much. I don’t wash my hair daily and it was near impossible to not get my hair wet or feel like I was drowning with water being dumped on my head. At the end of the day, I was thankful for a hot shower, but like you, would go without it.

  55. Allie says:

    I recently stayed at a nice hotel that had a beautiful shower with a rain head and after using it for a week I was shocked to think the same thing – I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would and kind of felt like I was drowning while using it. It has been on my wish list to include a rain shower head in our upcoming master bath remodel, but I am rethinking that now. Although they look so beautiful!!

    p.s. your gorgeous bathroom is providing me so much inspiration and things to think about as we start planning our bathroom!

  56. Allie says:

    When we were building, we debated about a rain shower head. Then I stayed at a hotel with one and I also felt like I was drowning! And I hated how it pushed my long hair in my face the whole time. It looks nice though and your bathroom is beautiful. It is good thing the one thing you regret isn’t a functional choice; you can just not use it!

  57. 100% agree. Love the idea, but it’s terrible to have water constantly running over your face and you end up having to stand outside the stream and lean your head back in to wash your hair. Great advice for those thinking about installing one!

  58. M says:

    I thought these were a necessity until I actually used one. I didn’t care for it at all, especially when I didn’t want to get my hair wet (it’s unavoidable with these). It definitely falls under the “great in concept, kind of terrible in reality” category.

    To my surprise, after working through virtually every permutation of options, the ideal in terms of flexibility of use is actually a single slide bar with a nice, handheld shower head. It gives you a hand shower and adjustable shower head all at the same time without too many things going on to visually clutter the space. I also like a large-ish round, fixed to the wall rain shower head and a simple baton hand shower for a more luxe look! Hansgrohe makes nice looking and affordable options for all of this (we’re designing five different bathrooms atm so it’s all been on my mind!)

    • mribaro says:

      This is exactly what I wanted to write! The handheld shower is great not only for washing yourself from all sides, but also for washing the bathtub itself, and soaking and washing my potted plants and their pots once in a while.

  59. Jenna says:

    Luckily, I tried a rain shower in a hotel before we renovated and I hated it! Drowning for sure! And impossible to wash your hair. I thought maybe i wasnt using it right . Haha. Now i cringe when i see one.

  60. Nicole says:

    We had a similar set up in our shower and I agree, I never used the rain shower. But it does look pretty and make the bathroom feel luxurious.

    • Fritz Diehl says:

      Nobody seemed to comment on the size of pipe coming in and water pressure. I love ours, but did it myself and have 3/4″ lines and city water. We have lots of pressure and used an Italian made control valve and shower head. Maybe that makes the difference?

      • Patty says:

        I agree with Fritz. It’s important to have 3/4” pipe with a rain shower. Pressure is not an issue, and you don’t feel like your drowning. It literally feels like a “rain shower”.

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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