Shower Ledges vs Niches: Which Option is Right for You? 1

Shower Ledges vs Niches: Which Option is Right for You?

If you’re planning a bathroom renovation, consider the best way to store your shower essentials. 

Do you opt for a shower niche or a ledge? 

The shower ledge vs niche debate has been ongoing, with each option offering its own unique benefits. 

In this article, we will explore the differences between a shower niche and a ledge, including their benefits, design choices, and costs. Whether you’re looking for a space-saving solution or a design element to elevate your shower, this article will help you make an informed decision.

Shower Ledge vs Niche

A shower ledge is a flat, horizontal surface that is a half height wall built in the shower for holding bathroom products. On the other hand, a shower niche is a recessed area within the shower wall that can be used for the same purpose but offers a more enclosed and protected space. 

Here’s an in-depth look at what a shower ledge is all about:

modern shower with shower ledge and lights
bathroom interior design with gray tiles and glass shower wall

What is a shower ledge?

A shower ledge is a shelf-like feature that is installed within a shower area to hold shower essentials. Unlike a shower niche, which is recessed into the wall, a shower ledge is installed on top of the same tile. Here are the benefits of having a shower ledge:

  • Increased storage space: A tiled shower ledge creates additional storage space. It is an ideal solution for those who have limited storage in their shower area but don’t want a shower shelf.
  • Decorative aspect: A tiled shower ledge can add a decorative touch to the shower area and can be used to enhance the overall look of the bathroom. They can be made of different materials like stone, marble, or ceramic, to match the same tile.
  • Convenient access: A shower ledge is easily accessible, making it easy for you to reach for the products you need when taking a shower. This is especially convenient for those who have limited mobility.
  • Easy to clean: Shower ledges are easy to clean, as they have a smooth surface and do not have any crevices that can trap dirt and grime. Simply wiping down the surface with a damp cloth is all that is needed to keep the ledge looking clean and fresh.
  • Cost-effective: Installing a shower ledge is more cost-effective than building a recessed niche. The materials required to construct a shower ledge are readily available and less expensive than those required for a niche.
  • Versatile: Shower ledges can be installed in different locations within the shower area and can be designed to fit into any bathroom design style such as a walk-in shower. They can be installed at different heights, depending on the height of the users, and can be customized to fit each household’s specific needs.
accent tile in shower niche
closeup detail of marble tile shower

Benefits Of A Shower Niche

A shower niche is a built in storage space in your shower that provides a dedicated space for your shower essentials. Not only does a shower niche add convenience to your daily routine, it can also enhance the appearance of your shower. Here are some of the benefits of a shower niche:

  • Space-saving: A shower niche helps you maximize the limited space in your shower by giving you a designated area for your shampoo, soap, and other shower products. With these items off the floor and out of the way, you can reduce clutter and create a more organized and spacious shower.
  • Convenient storage: A shower niche provides a convenient place to store your shower products, making them easily accessible when you need them. No more fumbling for your shampoo bottle in the shower or leaving your soap on the floor.
  • Improved appearance: A well-designed shower niche can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your shower. With various design options available, such as different shapes, sizes, and materials, you can create a shower niche that seamlessly blends with your shower’s overall design.

How to Decide on a Shower Niche

There are endless variations of shower niches. The way to pick the right one is first to evaluate your needs. The list below should help you understand your needs so you can zero in on the right one. 

Who is using the shower?

It’s important to consider who will be using the shower when selecting a shower niche. Different shower users may have different needs and requirements for their shower space. For example:

  • Elderly or physically challenged individuals: These individuals may require a lower niche for easy access or a wider niche for storing necessary medical equipment.
  • Children: Children may need a niche that is within reach, so they can easily access their own shampoo and soap.
  • Couples: Couples may need a larger niche to accommodate both their shower products.
  • Single users: Single users may only require a small niche to store their basic shower essentials.

What products do you use in the shower?

When selecting a shower niche, it’s important to consider the types of products you typically use in the shower and their storage requirements. Some common shower products include:

  • Shampoo: Large bottles of shampoo can take up a lot of space, so a larger niche may be necessary.
  • Soap: Bar soap or small bottles of liquid soap can be easily stored in a small niche.
  • Conditioner: Conditioner bottles can vary in size, so it’s important to measure the bottles you use to determine the right size niche.
  • Body wash: Body wash bottles can also vary in size, so measure your bottles to ensure they will fit in the niche.
  • Razor: Razors and other personal grooming items may need a niche with a shelf or basket for safe storage.
shower niche with contrasting feature tile
Shower shelf detail in wall of herringbone marble tiles

Shower Niche Design Choices

When choosing a shower niche, there are various design options to consider. The design choice can have a big impact on the overall look and functionality of the shower.

Horizontal Niches

Horizontal niches are installed horizontally on the shower wall, creating a shelf-like effect. This type of niche is ideal for storing larger items such as shampoo bottles, body wash, and other taller items.

Horizontal niches also offer ample space for stacking items and are easier to access, making them a convenient choice for daily use.

Vertical Niches

Vertical niches are installed vertically on the shower wall and are ideal for storing smaller bathroom products such as soap, razor, and other personal grooming items. This type of niche is perfect for maximizing space in a small shower, but may not provide ample space for larger items.

Introducing Contrast

Another consideration is whether or not to introduce contrast in the shower niche design. Adding contrasting tile or grout to the niche can create a visual pop and provide a subtle design detail that complements the overall aesthetic of the shower.

Supersizing the Niche

Some homeowners opt for a larger niche, known as a “supersize” niche. This type of niche provides ample storage space, but can also make the shower feel cramped and cluttered. There are some downsides to having a large shower niche need to be carefully considered before making a decision.

Hiding the Niche

Lastly, homeowners may choose to hide the niche from being seen. This can be achieved by using a niche that matches the tile or by using a recessed niche that is tucked behind a shower wall. Hiding the niche can provide a sleek, minimalist look, but also reduces the amount of storage space available.

shower ledge works even in small bathrooms
Vintage mansion – a glass shower in a bright bathroom

How to Blend the Shower Niche or Ledge?

The design of shower niches or ledges is an important factor in achieving a cohesive and attractive look in a bathroom. To seamlessly integrate these elements into the design, consider the following tips:

  • Match the material: Choose a material that matches the rest of the bathroom’s fixtures, such as the same tile or stone.
  • Consider the size: The size of the niche or ledge should be proportional to the rest of the shower and bathroom. It should also be large enough to accommodate your shower essentials both in terms of the height but also the width of the products.
  • Think about the placement: The niche or ledge should be functional and create an aesthetically pleasing bathroom design. It should be easily accessible and positioned in a way that does not obstruct the shower’s flow like a shower shelf would.
  • Use contrasting grout: To add visual interest, consider using contrasting grout for the niche or ledge wall tile. This can help define the edge and create a nice contrast with the contrasting tile which will draw attention.
  • Incorporate lighting: Incorporate lighting into the niche or ledge to highlight its design and make it easier to see what’s inside. You can either have recessed lighting installed when you build the niche or retrofit it with an LED strip. Install LED strip lights inside the niche to create a subtle, ambient light. This type of lighting is also waterproof and suitable for use in a shower.

Can You Have Both a Shower Niche and a Shower Ledge?

Yes, it is possible to have both a shower niche and a shower ledge in a single shower area. This can be a great option for those who want to have ample storage and display space in the shower while also incorporating a functional surface area.

Having both shower niches and ledge can provide added versatility in organizing and storing shower products, such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, and other items. This helps keep the shower area clutter-free and provides easy access to your most used bathroom products that are needed during a shower.

The shower niche can serve as a designated space for storing products and keeping them organized, while the shower ledge can be used for holding items that are frequently used or for displaying decorative items.

Shower Ledges vs Niches: Which Option is Right for You? 10

How Much Does It Cost?

Shower niche cost

Generally speaking, a niche costs more than a shower ledge. The price of your shower niche or multiple niches is influenced by various factors, particularly its dimensions. 

The larger the niche, the higher the expenses for bathroom renovation such as carpentry, waterproofing, and tiling.

Another aspect to keep in mind is whether the niche is integrated into a load-bearing or structural wall, in which case installing a beam or lintel may also be necessary to support the wall above the opening.

In addition to size, the method used to finish the external corners of your tiles also affects the cost. A mitered tile finish is usually more expensive and is priced per square foot for labor.

On the other hand, installing butt joint tiles or using tile trim is a more budget-friendly option, although it does not provide as seamless a finish as mitering.

Shower ledge cost

The cost of a shower ledge can vary greatly depending on several factors, including the size of the ledge, the materials used, and the labor involved in the installation. On average, a basic shower ledge can cost anywhere from $100 to $500 or more. 

More elaborate or custom shower ledges may cost even more. The installation cost can also add significantly to the overall expense, depending on the job’s complexity and the contractor’s hourly rate. 

Other factors that may impact the cost of a shower ledge include local labor and material costs, as well as any additional features or finishes that you may want to include, such as tile, grout, or caulk. One thing that can reduce the cost is if you use the exact same tile.


Bottom Line

In conclusion, the decision to install a shower niche or a shower ledge ultimately comes down to personal preference and practicality. Both offer unique benefits, from convenient storage to aesthetic appeal.

When considering cost, it’s important to keep in mind the size, materials, and design choices, as these will all impact the final price. Ultimately, incorporating a shower niche or ledge can enhance a bathroom’s overall functionality and beauty, providing a convenient and organized space for all shower essentials.

By carefully considering the factors mentioned in this article, you can decide which option is best for your needs and budget. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Check out our Privacy Policy for more info.


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