What’s the best shower shelf for your new bathroom?


Ledge, niche, nib wall, shelf or caddy? Each has different ‘pros and cons’. This blog takes a look at the key differences between the five distinct types of shower shelves, to help you choose the most suitable one for your new bathroom.

  1. Ledge
  2. Niche
  3. Nib Wall
  4. Shelf
  5. Caddy

But first, why is it even important to have a shower shelf at all?

Don’t underestimate the importance of shower shelves!

Apart from eliminating the frustration of having the shampoo and conditioner bottles on the floor, shower shelves can have a big impact on both your personal hygiene and bathroom aesthetics.

Key differences explained…

1. Ledge (built-in)

These stylish and minimalist ledges are the latest trend, but, as with everything, being ‘on-trend’ doesn’t mean it’s the best!

The ledge is constructed as part of the shower wall, by building the bottom part of the wall outwards to create a ledge. Since it forms part of the wall, it’s not a fixture that can be removed easily without doing renovations. Typically, they run the full length of the side, or back wall of the shower, but if space is limited, half wall ledges are still an option.


2. Niche (built-in)

Shower niches have been around for quite a few years, and are still popular. They are a box section built into the wall frame. Unless you have brick walls, recessing the box into the wall framing between two studs is an efficient space saver idea, and relatively inexpensive. Longer niches require the wall framing studs to be modified to create a longer box shape, which can be an extra cost.

If the shower wall is brick, the wooden framing needs to be built out from the brick wall (typically 100mm) to create the required box niche. This not only increases costs, but also takes up valuable bathroom space.


 3. Nib Wall (built in)

A nib wall is an additional bathroom half wall, designed to separate spaces whilst maintain the open/spacious feeling. Typically they separate the shower from the toilet or vanity. These tiled half walls are constructed of timber or brick.

Being about 100mm deep, they create a great ledge for storing shampoo/conditioner bottles. As an extra wall, it means extra cost, but in smaller bathroom they can be an efficient use of space, if designed well. 


4. Shelf (purchased separately)

The wall-mounted shelf has been around for many years, and will continue to suit many showers. They come in a wide variety of styles and materials. As bathroom trends have become more minimalist lately, these types of shower shelves have become more simplified and slimline.  

The majority of these shelves are purchased from retail outlets and screwed into the tiles. There are a limited few that get grouted in as part of the tiling process.


5. Caddy (purchased separately)

In Australia, the most common shower caddy is one that hangs over the shower head or glass frame. It’s not fastened to anything, so may be easily removed and replaced.

Even though most people renovating or building a new bathroom don’t consider these, I’ve included the shower caddy in this guide, for a couple of reasons:

  • they do have one key benefit over many other shelves,
  • on numerous occasions people forget to install any form of shower shelf, so a caddy is often the only solution! 

    So, how do you decide?

    Like everything, there are ‘pros & cons' for each type of shower shelf. To help with your decision, checkout my upcoming blogs digging deeper into each shelf type.

    There’s more to shower shelves than you think!

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