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Bathroom Remodel Part 6: Niche, Dish, or Shelves?

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So you’ve picked your wall tile with matching bullnose and a matching 2″ x 2″ mosaic for the shower floor. Now you need to decide if you want a wall niche, soap dish, or corner shelves. Wall niches are nice, but not always a viable option. If your shower is in a corner on two exterior walls and doesn’t have a knee wall, a niche may not be your best bet. I avoid putting them on exterior walls because the niche takes up the wall cavity where insulation should go.

If you want a niche centered on the wet-wall, some creative rerouting of the plumbing may be necessary. Depending on where your shower falls relative to the framing, electrical, gas lines, etc, inside the walls, you may or may not be able to have the niche exactly where you want it without the added expense of moving the offending obstacle.

Corner shelves provide a good alternative to a wall niche. They’re readily available in white ceramic, travertine, white marble, and clear glass. Shelves come in different sizes. It’s important to decide where you want the shelves located, before you start tiling. And how much shelf space you need versus how far the shelf will intrude into your showering space.

Take into consideration the overall size of the shower, the location of the valve, and any seat you may want. Placing shelves above a corner seat, for instance might not be the best move. Have your shelves on hand before tiling. Test out different corners and heights to see which will work best for you. I typically install shelves in a stack of two, the upper 12″ above the lower to accommodate shampoo bottles.

Soap dishes are getting hard to find, at least as an in-stock item. White ceramic can usually be had without too much searching. If you have something else in mind, search it out and have it in hand before time to tile, or the whole job may get delayed. The same goes for tile towel bars.

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