Shower Niche: Things You Need to Know Before Tiling

Tiles have been used in the bathroom for a very long time to make it look elegant and various designs and beautifying articles are used in modern bathrooms of today.

A shower niche is one such modification to the bathroom wall that can help declutter and organize an otherwise crowded and unorganized bathroom and shower cubicle.

It is such a simple yet unique design that we wonder why we did not think about having something like this in our bathrooms around a decade ago.

Did you know that the shower niche can be tricky properly install and the tiling can be even trickier to achieve a good result?

After all, when it comes to a bathroom where water splashes and runs in abundance, ensuring all walls are waterproof is like a basic hygiene factor requirement.

If you are trying to build one or are even wondering if you would like to have one in your bathroom, make sure you read through our article and check out some really useful references that we have provided in the end.

Why Does It Matter Where The Shower Niche Is?

Why Does It Matter Where The Shower Niche Is

The niche or the recessed shelf in one of the walls of the shower cubicle is what we call a shower niche.

It has to be deep enough to hold bottles of shampoo, shower gel, loofah’s, and razors and yet look elegant and amazing. But bringing it to your surprise, it is not the key area that you need to focus on.

Instead, you need to make sure that it is placed in the right place – i.e. the right wall of your bathroom shower cubicle. There are a number of reasons why its location matters so much.

Are the walls of the cubicle deep enough?

Are the walls of the cubicle deep enough

Before we decide on which side to locate the niche, we need to check how thick the wall is. Any wall that is more than 8 inches wide will be able to have a niche in it.

The standard depth can be anywhere ranging between 4 to 5 inches inside the wall. Anything less and the niche may not provide the required service as per your expectations.

Which side of the shower?

Which side of the shower

Now, sometimes people may question whether the niche should be on the left or the right side of the shower? Well, it can be decided based on the design of the shower head. Also, contacting your home contractor for guidance can be feasible. Some tips on what should be the driving factors:

  • Are the majority of the family members right or left-handed?
  • Is the cubicle door a sliding one or with a regular open and shut mechanism?

The first point determines where most of the people staying in the house would naturally tend to move their hands in order to find the toiletry they are looking for.

A right-handed person is more inclined to grope around on his or her right side, assuming he or she is in the shower and may or may not have eyes open due to the water in the eyes. And, this similar logic applies to a left-handed person too.

In case of a glass sliding door on the right side of a shower cubicle, it may not be ergonomic to have a shower niche that may get covered by the sliding door. The niche would then be placed on the left wall and vice versa.

Does the shower niche need to be waterproofed?

Does the shower niche need to be waterproofed

Yes, indeed. Everything that has a groove, recess or a niche in a bathroom must be waterproof.

Adequate measures must be taken to ensure that there is no leakage from the niche sill into the rest of the wall.

To ensure this, tiling a shower niche is not as simple as it may look like. It can be a tricky task and may need to have a number of things done for having that perfect waterproof shower niche.

How high should you place it?

How high should you place it

When the shower cubicle is being designed, everything must be finalized before the actual masonry work and mortar laying starts. Knowing which wall to house the niche is important but so is the aspect of how large it should be.

In short, the dimensions of a wall shower niche must be known to the designer so that he or she knows exactly how to deal with the entire wall and give it the desired finishing.

But have you given a thought on how high it needs to be from the shower cubicle floor? Fret not, we can tell you right away that the ideal height is about 60 inches from the floor or 5 ft.

The niche can go from 24 inches to over 30 inches and the top edge ideally would be coming around the eye level of an average human being.

How Do You Actually Tile the Shower Niche?

Some stores also provide a fully designed and complete niche that just needs to be installed in the groove created in the wall. This is the easiest process and all we need to do is to ensure that the right amount of waterproofing chemicals and liquids are put in the mortar that covers the wall housing the niche. A good practice will be to go a couple of feet above the top level of the niche so as to make the wall mortar waterproof. This ensures any splashing or accidental spraying of water on the wall or shower door does not result in any seepage and water damage behind the tiles.

If the niche needs to be tiled, then it has to be done tile by tile. And many reference articles as described below will inform you to start from the bottom and work your way from the sides to the top. Make sure you apply a sufficient amount of thin-set cement behind the tiles to ensure there are no hollow areas or air pockets. A gentle knock on the tiles can tell you if an air pocket was left inside. The best way to deal with it is to redo the tiling, something which is expensive after the whole bathroom has been done. Precautions in the right areas at the right time always tend to save many a hundred in the long run.

Make sure you level the bottom sill with a laser level tool or at least an air bubble level tool. This ensures that water does not collect on the sill which may result in the build-up of mold or moss in the niche. We need not stress the fact that it is a very humid and enclosed space and mold, fungus or moss may begin to form quicker than you would have thought.

If the shower niche is large enough in height to add an additional level or compartment, go for it. After all, having two shelves to store your most treasured accessories and shampoo or conditioner bottles make it a great utility to have. Double the storage and an assurance that your famous fashion accessories do not leave your sight during your turn to use the shower.

Whether building from scratch or renovating a bathroom, if the majority of your time is spent on choosing the fixture and tile design, we are here to give you some friendly advice. Do not overlook the point of having a shower niche incorporated in the shower cubicle.

Trust us, fidgeting for the shampoo bottles or navigating yourself over scattered shampoo and conditioner bottles is not easy in the enclosed space of a shower cubicle or a bathroom tub. Add to it the wet and slippery surfaces, and the unorganized and ugly look that the bathroom carries. A shower niche can be tiled or a pre-built shower niche can be installed as per the users’ preferences.

Installing the shower niche to store those accessories that give you the fresh experience of showering together is too critical to be overlooked.


Whichever wall houses the niche, it surely helps in keeping the bathroom well organized and pretty looking.

If you want, the niche can be twice as tall as the normal 1.5 ft design and can have a shelf at the center. It will magically double the number of bottles that can be stored in the niche.

Our vote goes to having the niche on the right side of the shower and preferably on the same wall from which the shower head comes out. That way, when in the shower, just extending your right hand will give you access to whatever toiletry you need.

2 thoughts on “Shower Niche: Things You Need to Know Before Tiling”

  1. Emma, it’s great that you mentioned that the ideal height for a shower niche is about 60 inches or 5ft from the shower floor. We’re planning to have a shower niche installed in our master bedroom, which is why I’ve been researching inspirations and tips about shower niches. Thank you for your helpful information. We’d keep that in mind when once we find the right company to help remodel our bathroom. Thanks!

  2. What are your thoughts about installing niches in the knee wall? We were thinking it would make cleaner lines in the shower, yet there may be other considerations.


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