Are Shower Niches A Good Idea?

When considering renovations or updates to your bathroom, the functionality and efficiency of space are often top priorities. Among the numerous options available, shower niches stand out as a smart solution for organizing and enhancing your shower area. 

Yes, shower niches are a good idea. They enhance bathroom organization, maximize space usage, and add to the design appeal. When properly installed and waterproofed, they provide a practical, stylish storage solution that can also increase the value of your home.

This guide from a shower remodel contractor examines the concept of shower niches, evaluating their benefits and potential drawbacks, to help you determine if they are a fitting addition to your bathroom.

What is a Shower Niche?

A shower niche is a recessed shelf built into the wall of a shower. It provides a designated space to store shower essentials like soap, shampoo, and conditioner, eliminating the need for hanging racks or freestanding shelves that can clutter your shower space. 

Available in various sizes and designs, shower niches offer a convenient and stylish way to keep your bathing necessities within easy reach.

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Types of Shower Niches

When planning to install a shower niche, understanding the different types available is crucial to make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and bathroom design. 

Here's an overview of the primary types of shower niches you might consider:

1. Standard Recessed Niches

These are the most common type of shower niches, designed to be built directly into the wall. They offer a sleek, integrated look and can be tiled to match or complement the rest of your shower. Standard recessed niches are versatile, fitting into almost any shower design and size.

2. Corner Niches

Corner niches are designed to fit into the corner of a shower, making excellent use of what might otherwise be wasted space. These niches are ideal for smaller showers where wall space is limited. They can also add storage areas in larger showers without compromising the wall integrity too much.

3. Custom Niches

Custom niches are tailored to fit specific dimensions and designs. They can include unique shapes, multiple shelves, or special features like accent lighting. Custom niches allow homeowners to create a personalized storage solution that perfectly matches their bathroom's style and storage needs.

4. Pre-formed Niches

Pre-formed or prefab niches are ready-made units that can be directly installed into your shower wall. These are made from waterproof materials like plastic or foam and are designed to fit standard wall cavities.

Pre-formed niches are a great option for those looking for a straightforward, easy-to-install solution, often featuring a simpler installation process compared to building a niche from scratch.

5. Tile-Ready Niches

Tile-ready niches are a subset of pre-formed niches designed specifically to be tiled over. They provide a waterproof and mold-resistant recess that can be finished with the same tile as the rest of the shower, ensuring a cohesive look.

These niches are ideal for those who want the appearance of a custom niche with the ease of installation of a pre-formed unit.

6. Shelving Niches

Shelving niches incorporate multiple shelves into the design, providing separate spaces for different items. These are perfect for users who have many small items to store or who share their shower space with others. Shelving niches can be customized or pre-formed and offer a highly organized storage solution.

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Benefits of Installing a Shower Niche

Improved Organization and Space Utilization

One of the primary advantages of a shower niche is its ability to organize your bathing essentials neatly. Offering a specific spot for each item helps in reducing clutter and maximizes the available space in your shower.

Enhanced Safety

By eliminating the need for shower caddies or corner shelves, which can often lead to accidents or spills, shower niches contribute to a safer bathroom environment. Their integration into the wall ensures they do not protrude into the shower space, reducing the risk of bumps or trips.

Customization and Design Flexibility

Shower niches can be tailored to fit any size or style preference, making them a versatile choice for any bathroom design. Whether you prefer a sleek, modern look or a more traditional appearance, there is a niche design to suit your needs.

Increases Property Value

A well-designed shower niche can add to the overall appeal and functionality of your bathroom, potentially increasing the value of your home. It is seen as a desirable feature for prospective home buyers, emphasizing the thoughtfulness of the bathroom's design.

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Drawbacks of Installing a Shower Niche

While shower niches offer numerous benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider:

Installation Complexity

Installing a shower niche can be more complex and time-consuming than installing simple shelving or a hanging caddy, especially if it's being added to an existing shower. It often requires cutting into the wall, which might necessitate structural, plumbing, or waterproofing adjustments.

Waterproofing Challenges

Ensuring a shower niche is completely waterproof can be challenging. If not done correctly, it can lead to water leakage and damage, promoting mold and mildew growth within the walls. Proper installation and sealing are crucial to prevent these issues.

Limited Flexibility

Once installed, a shower niche is a permanent fixture. If your storage needs change or if the niche is not placed conveniently, it can be inconvenient and costly to alter or remove.


The cost of adding a shower niche can be higher than other storage options due to the need for professional installation, especially if retrofitting a niche into an existing shower. The expenses increase with custom designs and high-end materials.

Space Limitations

In small showers, a niche can sometimes reduce usable shower space if not planned carefully. It's essential to consider the size and placement of the niche to ensure it enhances the shower experience rather than detracts from it.

Design Constraints

While a niche can be designed to blend with or accent your bathroom's look, it also imposes certain design constraints. The size, shape, and location need to work with the existing structure and tile layout, which may limit your design choices.

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FAQs on are Shower Niches a good idea

Can I install a shower niche in an existing shower?

Yes, a shower niche can be added to an existing shower, but it requires cutting into the wall and may involve significant renovation work. It's advisable to consult with a professional to assess the feasibility and cost.

Are there pre-made shower niches available?

Yes, there are pre-made shower niches that can be integrated into your shower. They come in various sizes and styles to fit different needs and design preferences.

How do I choose the right size for my shower niche?

Consider the size of the items you plan to store in the niche and the amount of wall space available. A common size is 12x24 inches, but the size can be adjusted to meet your specific needs.

How can I ensure my shower niche is waterproof?

It's crucial to use waterproof materials and ensure that the niche is properly sealed. Hiring a professional installer who can integrate the niche with the shower's waterproofing system is the best way to ensure longevity and prevent water damage.

Investing in Shower Niches

Shower niches offer a practical and stylish solution for enhancing the functionality and organization of your shower space. By considering factors such as placement, size, and waterproofing, you can ensure that your shower niche adds convenience to your daily routine and also contributes to the overall appeal of your bathroom. 

Whether you are building a new home or renovating an existing bathroom, a shower niche is a feature worth considering for its blend of practicality and design versatility.

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About the author

Hi my name is Jeremy Maher. My wife, 2 kids and I went through Contractor Nightmares for 3 years straight.

Ben, Mark, and I teamed up to start Phoenix Home Remodeling to help homeowners remodel without the common contractor nightmares.

Learn more about Jeremy's expertise and topics he likes to write about on his author page.