This post will show you the best shower niche height as well as the best shower niche placement horizontally on the shower wall.
You will learn about what you need to consider when making your decision and what mysteries might be in the wall to restrict your choices for the perfect shower niche location.
This is Steve from SKG Renovations with another important addition to my shower niche series.
Standard Shower Niche Height from Floor
The standard shower niche height from floor is between 36″ and 40″ (to the base of the niche). The typical or standard shower niche height from floor for tub/ showers is between 25″ and 30″ (to accommodate bathers).
Shower Niche Height from Floor – Important Considerations
Although I’ve found that most people end up deciding on a narrow range of shower niche heights when presented with all the information, there’s still a vast array of different shower & bathroom niche heights out there.
This is because some people might be more focussed on accessibility while others are focussed more on aesthetics. I always recommend that all the practical issues should be considered first before aesthetics are considered.
For example, if you have a bathtub / shower installation and someone in your home is bathing regularly, you might consider installing your niche at an appropriate bathtub niche height for easier access while bathing (see Standard Shower Niche Height from Floor – section above).
Another important consideration is whether children will be using the shower. If so, you might want to find the “happy medium” between an ideal adult height and a height suitable to your children.
Perhaps you should install your shower niche low enough to double as a shower foot niche for shaving your legs? There may not be a lot of guys out there with this priority, but most women might consider it quite useful. 🙂
Shower Niche Height Cautions
A more practical and cautionary consideration would be to avoid installing your niche too low, due to the regular splashing and water immersion that occurs on the lower parts of the shower wall.
Maybe you’re concerned that your shower niche has not been waterproofed correctly and worried about the risk of mold growth inside and behind your shower niche (especially if it’s mounted on an outside wall).
If so, you might want tell your contractor to mount it higher up on the shower wall so the niche doesn’t get doused in water so often. Or you might want to consider installing a finished shower niche that’s impervious to moisture.
If your soap niche is mounted higher up on the shower wall, it’s also pretty likely that it’ll be easier to clean. Constant splashing can do a number on your bar soap, creating a sloppy soapy mess.
A discussion about interior shower niche height has nothing to do with the shower niche height from floor. It’s all about the height between the shower niche shelves. To decide how high your shelf spacing needs to be, you need to figure out what you’re going to store in your niche.
Some people need only a place for their bar soap and a single shampoo bottle, while others need enough room to store bulk sized shampoo bottles.
If this is you, then you need some extra vertical height in your shower shampoo niche. And the only way you can get this is with either a custom built vertical shower niche, a prefab tile ready niche that’s mounted vertically, or a finished shower niche with a taller shelf height.
Either way, you’ll need to get your shelves spaced properly within the niche to accommodate these larger bottles. Most prefab niche brands do not have vertical models, and their smaller niches are designed only for average shampoo bottle height.
Average Shampoo Bottle Height
Shampoo bottle height ranges between 7 1/2″ to 9 1/2″. Larger pump bottles can be between 9 1/2″ and 10 1/2″ but you’ll need 12″ – 13″ of height in your shower niche for good access.
Standard Height for Shower Niche Shelf
A standard shower shelf height in your shower niche should be between 8-1/2″ to 10″ to accommodate regular shampoo bottle heights. A larger shower shelf space of 12″ – 13″ may be needed if you plan to use the larger pump bottles. A standard shower soap shelf height is around 3-1/2″.
Shower Niche Placement
When I talk about shower niche placement, I really mean horizontal placement. In other words, on which shower wall do you want your shower niche installed, and more specifically, in which stud bay.
To decide where your shower niche should go on the shower wall you need to first figure out if your niche (or niches) will be mainly serving a practical purpose, or if they are intended to be both practical and a design feature.
Once you determine this priority, the decision about where your shower niche should be located becomes a bit easier. Below are a few important things to consider.
Beware of Utilities
A very fundamental first step is to determine which of your stud bays contains utilities like drainage or water supply lines as well as electrical junction boxes or wire runs.
Any of these utilities can ruin your plans of installing a shower niche into a stud space that contains them.
Some of these utilities like water supply lines and electrical wire runs can be rerouted, but often this isn’t practical or cost effective.
It’s also difficult to plan in advance where you want your niche to be located because some utilities can be difficult to detect without first removing the wall board.
Shower Niche in Splash Zone
One of the most practical shower niche placement concerns is accessibility. Your shampoo bottles need to be within easy reach when you are showering.
That is why many people install their shower niches in the shower “splash zone”. The splash zone is the area that directly surrounds you when you are rinsing yourself in the water stream.
That means it’s the most convenient place for your shower items to be, and the most obvious place to install your shower niche, right?
Well, not exactly….
There are a few good reasons why you don’t want your shower niche to be located here.
First, you may find it irritating to access your shower products when you’re standing in the water stream. Lots of splashing, water in your eyes….. you get the picture.
Another thing is the mess it creates if you’re a bar soap user. Your soap basically dissolves away as water splashes into the niche during rinsing. Messy, and a waste of good soap!
Another more serious reason is the increased risk of water penetration into your stud wall. If the niche interior is constantly soaked with water, there’s an increased risk of moisture penetrating into your stud wall.
This can be particularly problematic if your tiled niche is not adequately sloped on the bottom or if your waterproofing membrane has a low perm rating. Of course if your shower niche is not protected by a membrane at all, this may be disastrous.
Opposite Wall Niche Placement
A great way to avoid the risk of moisture penetration into your shower stud wall is to simply install your niche into the wall opposite the shower head wall.
Because this shower niche location is farthest away from the water stream, your niche receives much less water spray, so it stays cleaner, and the risk of moisture penetration into the stud cavity is greatly reduced (especially with no waterproofing membrane).
In other words, there’s a good reason why this is the most popular shower niche placement idea.
Shower Niche in Outside Wall
Generally speaking, an outside wall is NOT a recommended location for your shower niche.
There are two main factors that determine whether moisture will condense within your shower wall (causing mold growth, dry rot, structural damage …..). These are permeability and insulation depth (or insulation thickness).
Your goal should be to decrease the permeability of the shower wall and increase the insulation depth to reduce the chance of condensation.
Because installing a shower niche reduces the insulation thickness behind it, you’re doing exactly the opposite of what you should be doing to keep this from happening.
And it could mean bad news.
See my article, 5 BIG Shower Niche Install Mistakes for more info. on this topic
Aesthetic Shower Niche Location
Many people that are considering installing a shower niche are concerned about how it might affect the look and feel of their shower.
It’s really quite understandable since they’ve spent huge amounts of time looking through tiles, fixtures and shower doors to find that perfect combination. The last thing they want is for their shower niche installation to ruin the whole look simply because they needed a bit more shower storage space.
One of the aesthetic factors that often influence my client’s decision about shower niche height, is the placement of accent tile. Because the shower niche creates an alcove in the shower wall, it tends to break the symmetry of the shower wall tile, and can interrupt the design of your accent tile.
If you’re planning on a horizontal pattern of accent tile across the niche wall, the shower accent tile height and pattern should also be considered along with the niche height if your goal is maintaining some design symmetry.
In my experience, the shower accent tile height ends up to be the same as the shower niche height. In other words, a strip of accent tile passing directly through the center of the niche is what most of my clients have always preferred.
A Shower Niche Showpiece
There is one way to ensure that your shower niche doesn’t ruin the cool new look and feel you’ve designed into your shower. Make it the star of the show, that’s how!
There are a lot of beautiful tiled shower niches that can accent or dominate the tile design in your shower. High vertical niches with accent tile on their back surface, long, bold horizontal shower niches or shiny finished stainless steel shower niches are great examples of this.
In other words, you can choose to feature your shower niche instead of hiding it.
Below is a floor-to-ceiling custom vertical shower niche that I built for a client recently with composite marble tile and sleek stainless steel niche shelves. I know it’s a little over the top for your average shower, but it shows what you can do with a shower niche to make it the star of the show.
If you’re designing your shower niche to be the star of the show, just make sure that you consider that it will likely never be an empty showpiece. More likely your shower niche will be loaded with lots of the items that you use regularly in the shower.
But as you can see by custom shower niche image shown above, your personal care items need not ruin the aesthetic of your niche.
Using attractive soaps, washcloths, puffs, and decanting your shampoo into attractive pump containers can do a lot to maintain the look and feel that you originally intended.
My aim was to write a post that gave you a bunch of info about the best height for your shower niche as well as the best horizontal location (which wall and which stud bay). I hope I’ve accomplished my goal and you got some useful info from it.
Please let me know what you think about this post and if you have any comments about it at all …… good or bad…. I really mean it!
And if you have some experiences or other important hints about shower niche height or any shower niche placement ideas, please let me know! It is always great to hear from you.