Shower Niche - Things to Consider

APRIL 2022

 

Shower niches continue to be ‘on-trend’, but many of us have been caught out!

If you’re planning to renovate or build a new bathroom and are contemplating a shower niche, here are some things to consider:

Construction

As per the shower shelf guide, niches are recessed into the shower wall frame, creating a box. If your shower walls are wood or steel framed, this is a very efficient use of space. Whereas, if they’re brick/block walls, it means a false wall needs to be built out to accommodate the box niche. Building the wall out, not only costs a lot more, but also takes up valuable bathroom space!

Size is important

Remember it’s not just the soap, shampoo and conditioner! Don’t forget all those other items you and your partner use in the shower. Take a look at the size of many shower niche photos on social media – how on earth are you going to fit all those items in that small space?

And it’s not only the width, don’t forget the height and depth to accommodate those larger bottles. Checkout the Instagram photo below – not sure how you would push down those pump bottle nozzles!

Why are there so many small niches?

It happened to me – a small niche! This was the start of my obsession to help others with their bathroom designs. Learning from both mine and other peoples’ experiences – the problem is primarily a result of:

  • not thinking about the DETAILS of your new bathroom as part of the design stage, and
  • not communicating the details to your builder at the early stages of the design and build process.

A brief understanding of how timber walls are constructed will help explain this a bit more. The walls are framed using timber studs (vertical) and noggins (horizontal). In Australia the vertical timber wall studs are normally placed 450mm apart. So, if you want your niche wider than say 370mm, the wall framing needs to be modified to accommodate the larger rectangular box. Unless you've informed your builder that you want a larger niche, they will habitually construct the shower wall with studs placed 450mm apart.

Trust me, it’s easy to get it wrong – so many of us have! Unfortunately, it continues to be a problem – just take a look at the never-ending photos of small niches on social media! I totally understand how it happens – with so many decisions to be made when building a new bathroom, the last thing you think about is shower shelves, and especially niche dimensions! This is one of the reasons why, I do what i do - discuss the ‘pros & cons’ of everything bathrooms BEFORE people even engage a builder.

Forgot to inform your builder? – All is not lost!

If you forget to inform your builder about wanting a larger niche before the timber wall frames are constructed, stacked niches are still an option. These fit between the standard wall studs and noggins. And, you know what, they do have some additional advantages:

  • The bottom niche makes a great step for shaving legs!
  • Kids at different ages/heights can have their own niche.

Location is important

The best place for your niche, is away from the water splash. Place it about an arm’s length away from where you stand whilst showering. This helps keep it dry, which goes a long way in preventing that pesty mould from growing in the corners.

Hygiene is important

No matter what size niche you're thinking about, the one limitation is; not having anywhere to hang all those items that should be air-dried for hygiene reasons. Go into any bathroom and you will see shower-puffs, loofahs, facecloths and body gloves hung on taps or shower frames! Hanging against the wall, getting splashed with water every time someone uses the shower, they’re great breeding grounds for mould and bacteria.

Yes, believe it or not, a niche can affect your skin health by not providing a place to hang your puff, loofah or facecloth.  I’m not suggesting you ditch the idea of a having a niche, just don’t forget to install a T-air shelf that allows these items to dry between use. 

For smaller cubicle showers a narrow shelf is the best option, whilst more open showers can accommodate a wider shelf.  And a friendly reminder – place this accessory away from water splash! 

Aesthetics are important                     

Want to make a feature of your niche? Use a different colour tile in the niche.

Or vice versa, if you don’t want a feature to distract the eyes from the minimalist spacious vibe of your bathroom, then use the same tiles, and match up any lines.

Storing all those hanging items in one place on a T-air shelf, rather than scattered around the shower taps and frames, not only improves aesthetics, but also makes for a more enjoyable showering experience

Decision time

Hopefully, this information makes it easier for you to decide whether a shower niche is the most suitable option for your new bathroom. Want to compare it to the other shower shelf alternatives? Here’s a link to the Shower Ledge. More blogs to come soon on the nib wall, shelf and caddy alternatives.

Friendly reminder – if a niche is the best option for your new bathroom, don’t forget to inform your builder of the detail at the early planning stage.

Feel free to email me if you would like more information.

Note: As per all my blog posts, some of the photos are ‘real’ rather than ‘staged’, so please don’t get turned off if they don’t appeal to you. My focus is on solving real bathroom problems.

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