If you are looking to update the appearance of your shower, you might try something as easy as changing the finish or style of the hardware. This is easy to do as long as you stay with the same brand that you currently have.
Many showers that have gold in them have become outdated. There are many finishes to replace it, but realize that this type of project tends to get larger. For example, if you change the hardware from gold to brushed nickel, you might find that the frame of the shower door and the sink faucets need to be changed too. It is very common.
For the shower, if you have Moen, buy Moen replacement handles. The same goes for Delta and Price Pfister. The decorative kit will come with a new escutcheon, but the shower arm and head are totally your choice. Brands don’t matter with shower arms and shower heads.
Replacing the shower head and arm are a matter of unscrewing them, taping the threads with Teflon tape, and reinstalling them.
For the handle, you will need to find the screw that holds the handle on to the stem. It might be hidden under the handle’s cap, or it might be a set screw that is recessed along the handle somewhere. Loosen the screw and remove the handle. Remove the screws that hold the old escutcheon plate to the wall and clean off the old caulking. Secure the new escutcheon plate to the wall with the screws and caulk around it. Finally, secure the new handle.
Shower faucet handles get damaged, particularly plastic handles. They are held in place with one screw and an aggressive turning when it has bottomed-out will crack it and necessitate replacement. That’s not to say that metal handles don’t get damaged, they can also get damaged if someone slams their hand against it to turn off the water abruptly. It’s just that plastic gets damaged more frequently because it is not as strong.
You can replace the handle easily enough, as I said, just one screw holds it to the stem. You don’t have to buy the exact handle either. Just keep in mind that as long as you stay with the same manufacturer, the new handle will fit. In other works, if you have a Moen faucet, you can use any Moen handle. Don’t try to install a Delta handle on a Moen faucet as they each have a different mating pattern.
The screw to remove the handle is going to be located under the plastic cap. You can use a standard screwdriver and slide it under the cap to pry it off. Then just remove the screw, replace the handle and screw it back on.
For metal handles, there is usually a setscrew located on the underside of the handle. Remove the setscrew and the handle should pull right off.