What to Put Above Shower Surround: Design Ideas

What to Put Above Shower Surround?

When deciding what to put above a shower surround, there are numerous options available to enhance the aesthetic appeal and functionality of the space.

Some popular choices include waterproof artwork, decorative tiles, creative shelves, and plain white or ceramic color shelves.

Other options include thin glass sheets to protect items on shelves, DIY bathroom wall hangings, vinyl wallpaper, and beadboard.

Natural prints, vintage-style mirrors, displays of fresh or artificial flowers, and decorative panels made of glass, metal, or wood can also be used.

Additionally, moisture-resistant paint above the shower head and acrylic panels as a replacement for tiles are suitable options.

It is also important to ensure proper sealing of the top of the shower to protect it from moisture and mold.

Key Points:

  • Numerous options available for what to put above a shower surround
  • Popular choices include:
    • Waterproof artwork
    • Decorative tiles
    • Creative shelves
    • Plain white or ceramic color shelves
  • Other options include:
    • Thin glass sheets
    • DIY bathroom wall hangings
    • Vinyl wallpaper
    • Beadboard
  • Additional options:
    • Natural prints
    • Vintage-style mirrors
    • Displays of fresh or artificial flowers
    • Decorative panels made of glass, metal, or wood
  • Moisture-resistant paint and acrylic panels are suitable options
  • Proper sealing important to protect from moisture and mold

Did You Know?

1. In ancient Rome, wealthy citizens would often hang intricate mosaic artwork above their shower surrounds, depicting scenes from mythology or daily life.
2. Did you know that adding a small shelf or niche above your shower surround not only adds functionality but also prevents water from pooling on the shower curtain or door?
3. The practice of placing decorative plants, like hanging or trailing vines, above shower surrounds originated in ancient Japan, where it was believed to bring harmony and relaxation to the bathing experience.
4. Some people opt for installing a mirrored panel above their shower surround, not only to create the illusion of a larger space but also to provide a practical area for grooming and getting ready.
5. Throughout history, various cultures have incorporated religious symbols above their shower surrounds to bring a sense of tranquility and spiritual cleansing to the bathing ritual.

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Waterproof Artwork

Why settle for a plain and boring wall above your shower when you can add a touch of creativity with waterproof artwork? There are numerous waterproof art options available, ranging from printed canvas to durable acrylic panels. Not only can waterproof artwork withstand the humidity and moisture in the bathroom, but it can also inject vibrant colors and interesting designs to brighten up the space.

Consider choosing artwork that complements your bathroom décor and personal style. Whether it’s a serene seascape or a vibrant abstract painting, the right artwork can transform your shower area into a work of art.


If you prefer a more subtle and cost-effective option, painting the wall above your shower surround can make a significant difference in the overall look of your bathroom. Opt for a moisture-resistant paint that can withstand the steam and humidity generated by daily showers.

When choosing a paint color, consider the overall theme and color scheme of your bathroom. Neutral shades like white or beige can create a clean and timeless look, while bold colors such as navy blue or deep green can add a dramatic touch. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different finishes, such as matte or glossy, to achieve the desired effect.

Remember to properly prepare the wall surface before painting and apply multiple coats for maximum durability.

Decorative Tiles

Tiles are a popular choice for shower surrounds, but why limit them to just the walls? Extending decorative tiles to the area above the shower surround can create a cohesive and visually appealing design. You can choose tiles in a variety of colors, patterns, and materials to suit your personal taste and the overall theme of your bathroom.

Consider creating a focal point above your shower by using decorative tiles in a different pattern or color. For example, a mosaic pattern or a bold geometric design can add visual interest and transform a plain wall into a stunning feature.

Remember to choose tiles that are suitable for a humid bathroom environment and use a waterproof grout to prevent moisture penetration.

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Creative Shelves

Instead of leaving the space above your shower surround empty, consider installing creative shelves. These shelves can provide practical storage space and also serve as a decorative element in your bathroom.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to creative shelving options. You can choose floating shelves made from materials like wood or glass for a modern and minimalist look. Alternatively, you can opt for unique shelving designs, such as rustic wooden crates or vintage-inspired metal shelves, to add character to your bathroom.

Remember to choose shelves that are resistant to moisture and can withstand the weight of items you plan to store on them. Additionally, ensure that the shelves are installed securely to prevent accidents.

  • Install creative shelves in the space above your shower surround.
  • Choose floating shelves for a modern and minimalist look.
  • Consider unique shelving designs like rustic wooden crates or vintage-inspired metal shelves.
  • Ensure the shelves are moisture-resistant and can support the weight of your items.
  • Securely install the shelves to prevent accidents.

Note: Installing creative shelves above your shower surround not only provides practical storage space but also adds a decorative touch to your bathroom.

Plain White, Off-White, Or Ceramic Color Shelves

If you prefer a more understated and classic look, plain white, off-white, or ceramic color shelves can be an excellent choice. These shelves blend seamlessly with the shower surround while providing a clean and organized storage solution.

Consider installing built-in wall niches or recessed shelves to create a streamlined and integrated look. These shelves can be perfect for storing shampoo bottles, soap dispensers, or decorative items.

To add visual interest, you can place small potted plants or decorative storage baskets on these shelves, ensuring they coordinate with the rest of your bathroom décor.

Whether your aim is to create a luxurious spa-like ambiance or a sleek and modern look, the options for what to put above your shower surround are plentiful. From waterproof artwork to creative shelves, the choices are only limited by your imagination. Consider your personal style, the overall theme of your bathroom, and choose the option that best suits your taste and needs.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do you put on top of a shower wall?

A practical and stylish option to use on top of a shower wall is an acrylic panel. These panels provide the elegance and charm of tiles, minus the concerns of mold, moisture, and cracking. Being non-porous and waterproof, acrylic is an excellent choice to cover an entire wall or create a decorative wainscoting accent. With its cost-effectiveness, acrylic proves to be a smart investment for your bathroom, combining functionality and aesthetics seamlessly.

What do you put over a shower?

When it comes to waterproofing shower walls and cubicles, shower panels have emerged as a popular alternative to traditional ceramic tiles. These panels provide the same level of waterproofing and aesthetic appeal as tiles, while also offering unique advantages. Unlike tiles, shower panels don’t have grout lines which can accumulate dirt and mold. Additionally, they are easy to install and require less maintenance, making them a convenient and stylish option for covering a shower.

Should I tile above shower surround?

Yes, tiling above the shower surround is a wise choice. Not only will it provide a polished and finished look to the overall design, but it also serves a practical purpose. By adding tile above the shower surround, you create an additional layer of protection that helps safeguard the wall against potential water damage, preventing the occurrence of rotting or other issues in the long term.

What do you use behind shower surround?

For the optimal protection against moisture, it is recommended to use cement board or a similar moisture-resistant backing material behind shower surrounds. This will provide a sturdy and durable foundation for tile or panel assemblies with caulked joints. It is important to avoid using paper-faced backer board, such as paper-faced drywall, behind seamed tub and shower enclosures as it is not as resistant to moisture and may compromise the integrity of the installation.

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