Choosing Shelves, Niches and Benches for your Bathroom Remodel

When planning a bathroom remodeling project, many homeowners are interested in enhancing the design and functionality of their bathtub or shower by including more convenient and attractive storage or seating for their bathing needs. Three options  for this purpose are shelves, niches and benches.


Shelves are typically attached to the corner of the shower and are triangular in shape. The size and height of each shelf affects what it can hold and how easy it is to reach. When planning a bathroom remodel, designers should make sure that the protrusion of the shelves into the shower space doesn’t interfere with elbow room. Shelving should comfortably hold items like shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash and other bathing necessities. The distance between each shelf should take these sizes into consideration. Moreover, a detail-oriented design/build remodeling company will be sure to place the shelves in a way that avoids a direct stream of water.

Sometimes confused with shower shelves, a niche is a recessed area embedded into the shower wall. The edges of the niche can be curved and soft or sharp and distinct to coordinate with the design of the remaining wall space. The niche was once just a small area to hold soap and offer a handle to grab when taking a bath, however today’s showers and tubs have single, double and even triple niches built in to accommodate all the homeowner’s bathing supplies. They are sometimes used instead of, or in addition to, shelves. Their placement and size should be large enough to replace the shower caddy as the catch-all for bathing items.

One of the growing trends in bathroom remodeling projects is the use of benches in showers. These attachments or built-in extensions from the wall are ideal for people with balance and mobility issues, homeowners who are thinking about aging-in-place, anyone who desires a more comfortable shaving position, and people who just like the comfort of sitting while showering. Bench seating offers a place to relax without having to step down into a tub, although it must be sized appropriately to still allow ample standing space within the shower.

Article Credits: Gloria Carlson – Designer