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A Guide to Shower Niches: What are they & how to build one.

A Guide to Shower Niches: What are they & how to build one.

Shower niches have become a popular trend in recent years and there’s a perfect reason why – they’re practical, yet are a creative and stylish use of space.
If you live in a large household, then you’ll probably have different shower products for different family members. Or, you may be one who simply loves an array of beauty essentials. Either way, this can turn your shower floor into a game of hopscotch! A shower niche is the perfect storage solution.

What is a shower niche vs. a shower recess, and what is it used for?

A shower niche and a shower recess essentially means the same thing. Now, if you’re not familiar with the term, chances are you’ve probably already seen one at a friend’s house, in a hotel room or wandering through display homes.

A shower niche is a permanent recessed shelf located in the cavity wall of your bathroom that allows extra storage for your shampoo, body wash and other bathing items. It’s a smart way to get your nic nacs off the floor to reduce clutter and away from any grime. They also reduce the need for any bulky shelving.

 What type of shower niche is best for my bathroom?

Prefabricated shower niches are an off the shelf product that come in standard sizes. They are quick and easy to install, and are cost-effective compared to getting it custom-made by a builder. They come with a waterproof membrane which is crucial because it keeps water from penetrating and running into the cavity wall. Moisture can seep into the most smallest of cracks that the naked eye cannot see, so the fact it comes already waterproofed will give you piece of mind and prevent any issues later on. Pre-made niches are also render and tile
ready, and are guaranteed to never rot, degrade or leak.
Custom-made shower niches is a bit of a longer process as it requires the complete construction of a framed box. The box is covered with tile backer board and then waterproofed. The upside of having it custom-made is that it can be made to your desired measurements. On the flip side, it is more time consuming and more expensive due to labour and materials. It also needs to be built right.
Choosing between a prefabricated or custom-made shower niche comes down to personal preference, budget, time and the overall look you wish to achieve.

What size and height should my shower niche be?

Niches are available in a large variety of sizes, usually in rectangle or square shapes. They are installed either horizontally or vertically, and preferably between waist to chest level. What size you need for your bathroom depends on how many collectables you and your family generally have. Rule of thumb is to never go too small as it’s better to have more storage space than not. Average depth is around 80mm and height no less than 300mm. Of course, these measurements will depend on the size of bottles you use which is why it’s
important to keep this in mind. For instance, you don’t want to run into the problem of having tall pump bottles that there’s barely any room to get your hand in! You also don’t want them half hanging off the niche. This can easily be avoided with the right planning. 

How to build a shower niche?

Depending on the size of your shower, you can build one long horizontal niche or you can build two or three squares (one above the other). Two niches provide a lovely symmetry, but remember to keep balance in mind when thinking of practicality and design. A second niche may also provide a handy foot nook for those with really flexible legs (sorry gentlemen, women will do anything to make shaving easier). 
Knowing where a shower niche should be placed is super important. It’s best to install away from the splash zone, either on the opposite wall or on the side wall of the shower head. This helps to keep it dry, preventing any nasty mould from growing. That, and you wouldn’t want to reach for your products while the water is pouring all over your head! You can choose to leave your niche exposed or you can inlay it with the same shower tiles for more of a continuous look. With that said, if you’d like to be bold and show off your creative flare, you can inlay with different tiles altogether. Just make sure it looks cohesive as this can impact the look of your bathroom. Tiling has to be done tile by tile once the
niche has been installed, ensuring there are no hollow areas or air pockets.

Are niches built just in showers?

The wonderful thing is that niches aren’t limited to just showers. They can be installed over a bath within reachable height of your bath accessories, or be used as a display shelf where you can place a candle or a sneaky glass of your favourite wine on (no judgement here). Niches can also be installed in saunas, and outdoor pool and spa areas.

Other storage options

If you’re not quite ready to step up your storage game with a shower niche, then you may fancy a shower basket or shelf. These are also a convenient way to keep your items organised, and they’re available in a range of finishes including chrome, matte black and brushed brass.

A shower niche can create a focal point and really elevate your space. They can make a stylish statement and even add a little personality. If you’re contemplating one for your reno, don’t think twice. Once you experience a niche, you’ll wonder how you survived without it!

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