The shower or sink drain is arguably one of the most boring products in a house. Sure, it’s important, but the drain is not an element builders or architects spend time talking about or detailing—at least not until recently.

These days, manufacturers have stepped up their game with linear drains that can either disappear from sight or take on a streamlined appearance. Even the traditional center drain has been redesigned with custom grill patterns and installations that can be tiled-in.

The linear drain is perhaps the hottest of the bunch. Frisco, Colo.–based Quick Drain USA, which claims to manufacture and sell the first linear slot-drain in the country, says the product is a god-send for designers and architects.

It “can be easily installed against a shower wall or under a shower door, thereby eliminating the need for a deep shower pan and the all-too-familiar drain in the center of the shower,” the company says. “Designers love the product for its versatility—now they can use large tiles on the shower floor; and builders are captivated by its sleek design, affordable cost, and the ease and speed of installation.”

If you’d rather install a more traditional product with a twist, Port Washington, N.Y.–based Infinity Drain, which also manufacturers linear drains, recently introduced TileDrain. “Crafted to make the drain disappear, it's the first drain of its kind available in the U.S. market,” the company says. Because the unit allows tiles or solid surface material to be install within the grate, the drain seems to disappear.

Drain manufacturers aren’t the only ones making strides in drain design. Makers of shower receptors are redesigning their drains, and sink manufacturers such as Kohler, Neo-Metro, and Franke are moving away from boring round holes and using clever covers and slots that are far more attractive.

Here are 14 products that will add a measure of cool to your kitchens and baths.

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