Standard Shower Niche Size: Dimensions, Layouts, and Design Ideas for the Perfect Built-In Shower Storage

When remodeling or building a new bathroom, one of the most useful features you can add is a shower niche. This built-in recess in the shower wall provides welcome storage space for shampoo, soap, razors, and other shower essentials.

But what are the optimal dimensions for a shower niche? What size should you make it to be both visually appealing and highly functional?

Average Shower Niche Width

One general guideline for shower niche width is to make it around half the total width of your shower wall. Given that the average width for a residential shower is 900-1000mm, a standard shower niche size would be in the 450-500mm range.

This proportional width not only looks balanced, but it provides enough space to conveniently store bottles and accessories. At 500mm wide, you can easily fit 2-3 average sized shampoo or conditioner bottles side by side.

Minimum Recommended Niche Width

If space is tight, you can get by with a shower niche as narrow as 300mm wide. However, this will limit you to storing bottles in a single row rather than side by side.

For especially small showers, like those found in RVs or camper vans, a niche width around 200-250mm can work with careful bottle selection. Just be sure to measure your actual bottles to ensure a snug fit.

When to Size Up on Niche Width

For larger showers, you may want to size up and do a shower niche width of 600mm or more. This allows you to store multiple large bottles with room to spare.

standard shower niche size

Wider niches are also great for holding folded washcloths, waterproof speakers, and other shower items. Plus, a generously sized niche can make a striking visual design statement.

Optimal Shower Niche Height

When it comes to shower niche height, most designers recommend positioning it between elbow and eye level. This placement makes the niche easily accessible without excessive bending or stretching.

Standard Height in Metric and Imperial

A typical height for a shower niche is 1500-1700mm (59-67 inches). This fits within the average adult vertical reach range.

For a slightly lower placement, you can go with 1200-1400mm (47-55 inches) from the floor. Just keep in mind this may be tougher for taller users to access.

Customizing Height Based on Shelves and Users

If your niche will hold fixed shelving, make the measurements based on shelf placement. For example, the bottom shelf could be 1200mm high and the top shelf 1600mm.

You’ll also want to tailor the height to the users. If you have a tall family, consider a niche height of 1700-1800mm. For homes with kids or shorter adults, 1500mm is likely sufficient.

Easy Accessibility

Regardless of exact height, ensure your shower niche placement allows for easy access. You don’t want niche contents to be difficult to reach or require straining or high reaching once installed.

Shower Niche Depth Considerations

When planning your shower niche depth, storage needs and construction factors come into play. Typical niche depths range from 150-250mm.

Standard Depth

For most shower niches, a depth of 150mm provides a good balance. This gives enough room to accommodate average sized shampoo or soap bottles while keeping the weight and tilework reasonable.

Deeper Niches

For larger bottles or more storage capacity, consider increasing the depth to 200 or even 250mm. Just keep in mind that deeper niches require more extensive framing and tile backing.

Shallower Niches

On the other end, you can go with more shallow 100-125mm niches. These have a lighter weight demand but don’t hold as much. Only small bottles will fit flush to the niche wall.

Customizing Based on Contents

Take measurements of your actual bottles and shower items to determine the ideal niche depth. Tailor the measurements to fit your storage needs.

Where to Position the Shower Niche

Most shower niches are centered on the wall for a balanced, symmetrical look. But the specific location depends on your shower layout.

Centered Placement

Having the niche visually centered makes the most of the space aesthetically. This showcases the niche as a “design focal point” rather than a utilitarian afterthought.

Offset Niche Placement

You may need to offset the niche to one side to accommodate plumbing, framing, or wall studs. An off-center niche can also create visual interest.

Relationship to Shower Head

Typically you don’t want the niche right behind where the shower head will sit. Water spraying directly into an open niche invites leaks and drainage issues.

Corner Shower Niche

A niche in the back corner of the shower can maximize unused space. Just take care to properly waterproof the two adjoining walls.

Using Niche Layout to Maximize Space

Well-planned shower niches make the most of every square inch. Here are some clever niche designs for smaller showers.

Stacked and High-Low Layouts

You can double your storage by stacking two niches atop one another. Place them at different heights tailored to contents.

Similarly, a high-low layout with one full-height niche next to a shallow niche adds versatility.

Creative Niche Shapes

Make use of awkward narrow wall spaces with a vertical slot niche. These tall, thin niches are perfect for razors, brushes, and washcloths.

For a corner shower, a triangular niche utilizes wasted space. You can also do a cylinder niche carved into a round half wall divider.

Coordinating with Shower Tile and Style

Your shower niche design doesn’t need to be an afterthought. Use these tips to integrate it into the overall room aesthetic.

Matching Niche to Tile Size

Select a niche width and height that corresponds with your tile dimensions. For example, 500mm by 1500mm works well with a 500mm square tile layout.

Cutting tiles to fit an oddly sized niche looks sloppy. Plan niche dimensions based on full tile measurements.

Inset vs. Protruding Niches

For a seamless look, choose an inset niche where the edges align perfectly with outer tile. Protruding niches stand out more as an intentional “design statement.”

Adding Decorative Tiles or Edging

Use decorative tiles or glass mosaics to make the niche pop. Contrasting border tiles also draw the eye to this feature.

Shaped Niches

Follow the lines of your shower with curved or diagonal niches. Shape them to complement your design vision.

Shower Niche Design Ideas

Beyond just dimensions, also consider the overall niche style and finishing details.

Mixing Materials

While tiled niches are most common, glass and natural stone create attractive contrast. Or blend materials, with a stone shelf and tile walls.

Built-In Shelving

Integrated shelving transforms a niche from simple recess to a practical storage solution. Opt for waterproof shelves.

Lighting Features

Add mood lighting with illuminated or backlit niches. Niche lights make finding bottles easy even in steamy showers.

Mirrored Niches

For a glamorous effect, add a mirrored back wall. Mirrored niches make small spaces feel more open while reflecting light.

Doors and Accessories

Keep niche contents concealed with a matching waterproof door. Or customize with handy hooks, bins, and trays.

When planning your new shower niche, keep these standard size guidelines in mind. For width, go with about half your total shower width or 500mm. Standard height falls between 1500-1700mm. And for depth, 150-250mm accommodates most shower items.

But don’t be afraid to customize niche dimensions and layout to match your space, aesthetic, storage needs, and accessibility. With smart planning, your shower niche can be both highly functional and beautiful.

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