where to place shower niche

Maximizing Your Space: Where to Place a Shower Niche

Do you struggle with limited shower storage space?

A shower niche can provide the solution you need to keep your shower essentials organized and within reach. Imagine having all your shampoo, soap, and other items neatly stored in a stylish and functional niche, making your shower routine smoother and more enjoyable.

The question is where is the ideal shower niche location?

Let’s explore the key principles of shower niche placement and design, including ease of access and aesthetic appeal, to help you create a customized and functional shower niche that meets your specific needs.

What Shower Wall is Best for the Niche?

When it comes to shower niches, the optimal wall is usually an interior one that lacks any structural importance and does not contain any obstructions like pipes. This ensures smooth installation and sturdy attachment of the niche. The most suitable shower niche placement depends on the shower design and how easily accessible you want the items stored inside to be.

The Most Common Placement Options

One popular option is to place shower niches in the center of the wall opposite from the shower head. This placement provides easy access to shampoo, soap, and other items, and keeps them away from the spray zone.

Another common option is to place the niche on one of the side walls of the shower. This is ideal for smaller bathrooms, as it saves space and maximizes wall space.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Placement Options

Each shower niche placement option has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, placing the niche in the center of the back shower wall provides easy access and keeps items away from the spray zone, but may need to be more aesthetically appealing.

Shower niche placement on a side wall saves space and maximizes wall space, but may be in the shower spray zone.

Is it OK to put a shower niche on the exterior wall?

While it is possible to place a custom shower niche on an outside wall, it is not typically recommended. Outside walls are often less well insulated than interior walls and can suffer from temperature fluctuations and moisture damage.

It can also be more difficult to access the bathroom niche from the outside of the shower. It is always best to place the niche on an interior shower wall for the best insulation, accessibility, and durability.

Avoid Wall Sections with Electric Wires and Pipes

When building or remodeling a wall, it is important to be aware of the location of any electrical wires or pipes that may be present especially in the shower head wall. Here are some tips to help you avoid these types of wall sections:

  • Check building plans: Before you start any construction work, review the building plans or blueprints to determine the location of any electrical wiring, pipes, and other important features.
  • Locate existing utilities: You can also locate existing utilities by using a utility locator tool, which can detect the location of underground pipes and wires.
  • Mark the wall: If you have determined the location of the electrical wires and pipes, use a pencil or a brightly colored marker to mark the wall sections that you need to avoid.
  • Use caution: When cutting or drilling into the wall, be mindful of the marked sections and use caution to avoid damaging any hidden utilities.
  • Consult an expert: If you need clarification on the location of electrical wires or pipes, or if you need to make changes to the electrical system, it is always best to consult a licensed electrician for guidance and assistance.
Shower niche detail in wall of herringbone marble tiles

The Best Placement for Your Shower Niche

Can you put shower niche under shower head?

Yes, you can put a shower niche under the shower head. In fact, this is a common shower niche placement as it is easily accessible and provides ample storage space for items like shampoo, conditioner, and shower steamers.

One thing to keep in mind, however is that it will be right in the splash zone from the shower head. If you have bars of soap stored there, they will always be wet and end up dissolving faster. Not to mention the mess that would make. 

For Bathtubs

We highly recommend having two niches when you have a tub with a shower and not a walk-in shower. This is because you want to be able to access the bathroom niche while sitting in the tub to get your soaps and shampoo. If you have to stand up then this is annoying and can also cause a fall

Have a lower one that is within reach when you are sitting and another one higher that you can access when showering without bending over. 

If you place the niche about a foot above the edge of the tub on a side wall then this should be ideal. 

shaving legs in shower

For Shaving Legs

Take advantage of installing a shower niche by adding a couple of them so you can shave your legs much easier. You should have one that is low for you to rest your foot that also has the right shower niche size for all of your shaving gear such as a razor and shaving gel. 

For easy shaving the shower niche placement should be around a little below knee height so your leg is bent just right and you don’t have to reach down too far. 

Should Shower Niche be Centered?

A custom horizontal shower niche does not necessarily have to be centered. It is more important to consider the functionality of the shower niche and how it fits into the overall design of the shower. For example, if you have a large shower head in one corner of the shower, it may make more sense to position the niche nearby, rather than in the center. 

However, if you have a symmetrical shower design, placing the bathroom niche in the center can create a balanced and aesthetically pleasing look. Ultimately, the positioning of the shower niche should be based on your personal preferences and the specific needs of your shower.

narrow shower niche

What’s the typical shower niche height?

Most shower niches are typically between 18 and 24 inches tall. This height range allows the niche to be easily accessible and provides ample space for storing shampoo, soap, and other shower items. Some other factors go into how tall your shower niche should be

Ease of Access

The shower niche size doesn’t just need to accommodate the things you put in there but how you will use them. For instance, if you use a shower gel with a pump bottle, then you need to be able to get your hands into the niche to have space to use it. 

It’s better to have more height and a relatively large shower niche than you think you need so you can access and store the items well if your needs change. 

Aesthetic Appeal

How the shower niche tile will look needs to factor into the decision of how big it should be and where to place it. Here are some guidelines you may want to follow:

  • Proportion: The size of the shower niches should be in proportion to the size of the shower and the overall bathroom. A large niche in a small shower may look disproportionate, while a small niche in a large shower may need to be functional.
  • Space utilization: Consider the space available in the shower and make sure the size of the niche is optimized for storage. A niche that is too small may not be practical, while a niche that is too large may take up too much space and disrupt the overall flow of the shower.
  • Style: The size of the niche should also reflect the style of the bathroom. For example, a minimalist bathroom may benefit from a smaller, simple niche, while a traditional bathroom may be better suited for a larger, more ornate niche.
  • Personal preferences: Ultimately, the size of the shower niche should reflect the personal preferences of the users. Consider what you need to store in the niche and choose a size that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.


If you want to put some lighting into the niche then the height will definitely play a part in that. You’ll need to plan accordingly when installing your shower niche with lights. 

  • Recessed lighting: Recessed lighting can be incorporated into the design of the shower niche, allowing the niche to be well-lit without taking up additional space. Recessed lighting can be adjusted to provide the right amount of light for the niche.
  • Size of the niche: If the niche is deep, it may require additional lighting to ensure that items stored at the back of the niche are properly lit. In this case, the size of the niche may need to be adjusted to accommodate the additional lighting fixtures.
  • Natural light: If the shower has a window or skylight, natural light can be utilized to illuminate the niche. In this case, the size of the niche may not need to be adjusted, as the natural light provides adequate illumination.
  • Mood lighting: In some cases, mood lighting may be preferred in the shower niches, in which case a smaller niche may be more appropriate. Mood lighting typically provides a softer, more ambient light, so a smaller niche can still be functional and aesthetically pleasing.

How deep is a shower niche

The depth of a shower niche can vary depending on the design of the shower and the specific needs of the users. A typical shower niche has a depth of 4 to 8 inches. The bottom ledge of the shower niche should also be slightly sloped so water doesn’t accumulate. Make sure it has roughly a ¼ of an inch gradient so your bottles and other items don’t fall out, but also allows water to run off. 

A deeper niche provides more storage space for shower items, but it may also take up more space in the shower and reduce the overall flow of the shower. On the other hand, a shallower niche may need more storage space, especially for larger items such as shampoo bottles.

The depth of the shower niche should be determined based on the specific needs and preferences of the users. Consider what items you need to store in the niche and choose a depth that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Waterproofing and Trim Options

Plan for Waterproofing Your Shower Niche

Waterproofing is an essential aspect of building a shower niche, as the shower niche tile is constantly exposed to moisture and water. Proper waterproofing will prevent damage to the wall and the surrounding area, as well as prevent mold and mildew growth.

When planning for waterproofing, it is important to consider the materials you will be using for the niche, as well as the type of shower you have. A pre-fabricated shower niche made with a shower wall waterproofing membrane, such as solid surface materials or tiles, may not require additional waterproofing, as the material itself is waterproof.

However, if you are building a custom niche, it may be necessary to apply a waterproof membrane, such as a liquid waterproofing membrane or a waterproofing tape, to the walls and corners of the niche.

It is also important to ensure that the grout used to fill the seams between the tiled shower niche is properly sealed to prevent water from seeping through the seams. A silicone caulk can also be used to seal the edges of the niche and prevent water from entering the wall.

Choosing the Right Trim for Your Shower Niche

Trim options for a shower niche can range from simple tiles or molding to more decorative options, such as carved stone or sculpted metal. Choosing the right trim for your tiled shower niche can greatly enhance its aesthetic appeal, as well as provide a finished look to the niche.

When choosing trim for your shower niche, consider the style of your shower and bathroom, as well as your personal preferences. For example, a minimalist shower may benefit from a simple tile trim, while a traditional bathroom may be better suited for a more ornate trim option.

It is also important to choose a trim option that is both functional and durable, as the trim will be constantly exposed to moisture and water. Consider the type of material you want to use, such as ceramic, stone, or metal, and choose a trim option that is appropriate for the materials you have selected for your shower niche.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, placement of a shower niche is an important consideration when designing a shower. Proper placement can maximize the functionality and aesthetic appeal of the niche, while improper placement can lead to inconvenience and decreased functionality.

Factors such as ease of access, water flow, and height should be taken into consideration when determining the placement of the niche.

It is important to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetic appeal, and choose a placement that meets the specific needs and preferences of the users. With careful consideration and proper planning, a shower niche can become a valuable addition to any shower.

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