You step into the shower after a long day, ready to wash away the day’s stress. But, instead of fumbling around for your shampoo or knocking over half-empty bottles, everything you need is right there, within arm’s reach. That’s the magic of well-designed bathroom niches and ledges – the unsung heroes of a truly blissful shower experience.
In this exploration, we’re unraveling the secrets behind turning your shower space into a haven of convenience and style. We’re not talking about just shelves; we’re diving into the art of crafting the perfect nook for your essentials. So, grab a towel and get ready to discover how these small, thoughtful details can make a big splash in your daily routine.
A shower niche is a purposefully designed, recessed shelf or compartment built into the wall of a shower or bath enclosure. Its primary function is to provide a convenient and organized space for storing bath products such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, and other toiletries. Shower niches are crafted to be seamlessly integrated into the wall, offering a sleek and practical solution to keep your shower essentials within easy reach.
These niches are typically installed during the construction or remodeling phase of a bathroom. They can be customized to suit personal preferences regarding size, height, and location within the shower space. The idea is to enhance the overall functionality of the shower area while maintaining a clean and uncluttered appearance.
Labels and Dispensers: Simplifying the Search
Ever been half-asleep in the morning, desperately trying to find the shampoo while the shower water turns colder by the second? We’ve all been there. This is where labels and dispensers come in. They’re like the trusty sidekicks in a quest for the perfect shower, making sure you not only find what you need but also do it with a touch of flair.
Labels are like the nametags at a party; they introduce each product with a clear identity. No more accidental face wash in your hair – labels are the superheroes that save you from those early morning mix-ups, making your shower experience smoother and a tad more organized.
Dispensers take the convenience game up a notch. Ever tried opening a shampoo bottle with wet hands? It’s like trying to wrestle an octopus. Dispensers are the sleek solution to this daily struggle. A simple press, and voila! It’s like having a personal assistant in your shower, making the whole process smoother, quicker, and a lot more enjoyable.
Diving into the world of bathroom niches reveals a spectrum of options that go beyond mere functionality, offering a touch of personalization to your shower space. Tiled niches, in particular, come in three variations, each with its own set of characteristics and considerations:
Custom Tiled Shower Niche
This niche type involves constructing a framed box between wall studs, covering it with tile backer board, waterproofing, and finally, tiling. While it may be the most costly and time-consuming option, it offers the flexibility of being customized to any size. Despite the challenges, the end result is a niche tailored precisely to your needs, making it a worthy investment for those seeking a bespoke touch in their shower space
Custom Horizontal Tiled Shower Niche
For those envisioning a horizontally oriented niche spanning two or more stud bays, the custom horizontal tiled shower niche is the answer. However, this design requires cutting away sections of wall studs, demanding structural reinforcement during construction. While it shares the cost and time challenges of its custom vertical counterpart, the horizontal niche adds a unique design element, making a statement in your shower space.
Prefab Niche, or Preformed Shower Niche
If simplicity and efficiency top your priority list, the prefab niche is a game-changer. Available in plastic, foam board, or stainless steel, these preformed niches are designed to be easily installed and waterproofed. While they come in standard sizes, their hassle-free installation makes them an attractive option for those seeking a functional and stylish niche without the complexities of custom construction.
5 Most Popular Bathroom Niche Designs for 2023
As we step into the design landscape of 2023, bathroom niches are evolving into stylish focal points that seamlessly blend form with function. Here are the top five bathroom niche designs that promise to dominate the trends this year:
Minimalist Alcove Niches
Embracing the “less is more” philosophy, minimalist alcove niches are characterized by clean lines and uncluttered surfaces. These niches are seamlessly integrated into the shower space, offering a sleek and modern look. The simplicity of the design allows for easy customization, making it a favorite for those seeking a timeless and understated aesthetic.
Mosaic Accent Niches
Elevating the artistry of bathroom design, mosaic accent niches are capturing attention with their intricate patterns and vibrant color schemes. These niches act as artistic focal points within the shower, incorporating mosaic tiles that create a visually stunning display. From geometric designs to nature-inspired motifs, the possibilities are as diverse as your imagination.
Open Shelf Niches
Breaking away from traditional enclosed niches, open-shelf designs are gaining popularity for their accessibility and decorative appeal. These niches feature exposed shelves that not only provide easy access to products but also offer a platform for displaying decorative items like succulents, candles, or stylish toiletry containers. It’s a perfect blend of functionality and aesthetics.
Niche with Integrated Lighting
Infusing a touch of luxury and practicality, niches with integrated lighting are making waves in 2023. These niches incorporate built-in LED lights strategically placed to illuminate the products within. The subtle glow not only enhances visibility but also adds a warm ambiance to the shower space, transforming it into a soothing retreat.
Recessed Niche Bench
Blurring the lines between form and function, recessed niche benches are redefining shower seating. These niches are designed to seamlessly blend with the shower walls while providing a functional bench for a spa-like experience. It’s a perfect solution for those who want to combine comfort and style in their bathing sanctuary.
In the realm of bathroom design, ledges are horizontal platforms that serve as versatile storage and display spaces. These elevated surfaces can be mounted on walls or integrated into existing structures, offering a practical solution to organize essentials while adding a touch of style to your bathing space.
Why You Should Have a Ledger in your Bathroom
Decorative Displays: These platforms offer an opportunity to showcase decorative items, adding a personalized touch to your bathroom and enhancing its overall aesthetic.
Functional Storage: Ledges serve as functional storage solutions for frequently used items like towels, toiletries, or grooming essentials, keeping them within easy reach.
Versatility: From floating ledges to multi-level designs, the versatility of ledges allows for creative and customizable storage solutions tailored to your preferences.
Integration with Niches: Ledges can seamlessly integrate with bathroom niches, enhancing both storage and display options within shower or bath areas.
In the simplicity of a well-placed niche, there’s a subtle luxury – the luxury of not having to search for your shampoo or soap, the luxury of a shower that understands your needs. And those ledges? They’re not just shelves; they’re storytellers displaying your favorite scents, plants, or perhaps a good book.
So, the takeaway? Your bathroom is more than tiles and fixtures; it’s your personal sanctuary. It’s where convenience meets style, where niches and ledges play the role of silent architects, shaping a space that reflects you. As you step into your next shower, let it be a reminder – you’ve created a haven, a place that’s uniquely and wonderfully yours.
1. What is the best niche for in the shower?
A shower niche can store various items, including shampoo and conditioner, body wash and soap, razors and shaving cream, sponges, and washcloths.
2. What are the disadvantages of shower niche
Shower niches can be costly to install, take up space in the shower, and require regular cleaning to prevent mold and mildew buildup
3. How do I choose a shower niche?
Choose a shower niche that is the right size for your shower and needs, made from durable and water-resistant material, and has a shape that complements your shower design.
4. What is the difference between a shower ledge and a niche?
A shower ledge is a small shelf typically installed at the bottom of the shower for storing soap and shampoo, while a shower niche is a recessed shelf built into the shower wall for storing larger items.
5. What is the difference between a shower ledge and a niche?
Shower ledges are smaller and shallower than niches, typically installed at the bottom of the shower, while niches can be installed at any height.
Not a week goes by that a potential customer calls me complaining about various ailments with a new or existing cement tile installation. These ailments include but are not limited to:
– Cracked tiles – Picture Framing – Grout cracking – Stains of various sorts – Powdery or dirty surface – Etching
Before I dig into the problems, it’s important to note what I am referring to when I say, Cement Tile. Cement Tiles are typically 8″ x 8″ x 5/8″ (20cm x 20cm x 1.6cm) in size. FYI, If you’re reading this, it should be noted that Cement Tiles are also known as Cuban, Mission, or Victorian tiles. Many tile vendors now carry different sizes of Cement Tiles. While they traditionally came in elaborate patterns with different colors, they are also found without patterns and single colors. From Spanish type patterns to mid-century modern colors and shapes, you will find a wide variety of patterns and colors to choose from.
Cement Tiles are hand made and comprised of three layers. The lower layer is made up of a cement base (ahem, actually concrete). The middle layer is made up of sand and grey cement. Finally, the top layer (what you walk on) is made up of colored cement commonly referred to as “pigmented cement”.
All of these layers are stacked upon one another in a mold and then compressed together hydraulically. There are faux cement tiles with the same sort of patterns you find in real Cement Tiles but these are normally porcelain. When in doubt, the dead giveaway is the thickness of the tile. OK, let’s circle back to the cement tile problems I hear too often about.
Of all the problems I listed earlier, the vast majority of these problems can all be tracked to one place. The installer. You see, people no longer read instructions. They believe Cement Tiles are installed just like every other porcelain / stone / ceramic tile. Sorry, this is just not the case.
The installation of Cement Tiles require a multi-step process that takes time. It doesn’t take rocket science but does require the tile installer to follow a simple checklist. Follow it to the motherland I say. Many of these checklists can be found at reputable retailers and manufacturers. Some of my favorites are located here:
While these installation guides are pretty good, they appear to be written by someone who has never installed tile but instead works in the marketing department. Hence, consider this to article to be the one guide that rules them all.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have read that cement / encaustic tiles are too difficult to install, don’t last, or don’t look good after install. Most of the bad information out there comes from folks who run click bait blogs full of affiliate links. These folks have never actually performed a correct install of cement tiles. Some of these click baiters are outlined below:
Seriously, do you think Bob Vila has installed a 1500 square foot cement tile floor? Or some person who runs a blog about decorating has ever actually sealed a cement tile? Probably not.
OK. Let’s dig into some of the common problems I run into.
When I see one cracked tile, I write it off as fluke. If I see multiple cracked tiles, I automatically know that there is something wrong with the substrate. The substrate is the underlying floor that the tiles are attached to. This can be a concrete slab, cement backer board, or a float job. Like most tiles, cement tiles require an absolutely flat substrate. If there is any unevenness or voids under the tile, they tend to crack when people walk over them. This is not specific to cement tiles, but, endemic to any type of flooring really. If you are experiencing cracked tiles, the issues with the substrate must be fixed. Hence, at a minimum, you are likely looking at a redo of a section of the tiled floor and possibly a redo of the entire installation.
Picture framing is a discoloration of the some portion or the entirety of a tile around its edges. This normally occurs after the wet cutting of the cement tiles, setting the tiles, or immediately after the grouting of the installation. As I will teach you later, cement tiles must be sealed before you cut or set them. If your cement tiles have picture framing, it’s game over. The tiles are toast.
When I see grout cracking, it’s usually an indication there are problems with the underlying substrate causing the tiles to flex. Essentially what is happening, twhen someone walks on the tiled floor, the floor underneath the tile gives a little bit causing the tile to flex up and down enough that the tile does not crack but the grout, being inflexible, cracks. I see this often in homes with raised foundations or on the second floor of wood framed homes. On some occasions, I see this on homes with a concrete slab. If you have grout cracking, your tile installation likely needs to be redone. No amount of regrouting will resolve the underlying issue.
Stains of Various Sorts
When working with cement tiles, I often get called to diagnose a staining issue. Staining is when some sort of liquid has penetrated the upper layer of the cement tile, the colored cement layer. If see staining, I need to normally get down on my hands and knees to understand what the stain is and how deep the stain is. I also need to determine if the tiles are indeed stained or if the issue is superficial and the tiles are simply dirty. If the tiles are stained and the damage is not to deep, a standard maintenance will resolve this. Staining occurs at different times but can occur during the setting of tiles, the grouting of the tiles, or, after the installation from some sort of spill. A dead ringer to determine if a cement tile has not been sealed is by encountering some sort of stain.
OK. So. Here it is. The real scoop. Cement tiles are absolutely one of the best tiles you can have installed in your home. End of story. Period. There are so many benefits to these sorts of tile. Like most things, I have discovered that these tiles have their pros and cons. These pros and cons have been gathered from performing dozens of installations throughout Southern California. You can see some of them here. These include but are not limited to:
Cement Tiles are easy to clean. Easy to sweep and mop. Just some water and non-acidic cleaner gets the job done.
Unlike porcelain or ceramic tiles, you can polish the tiles just like you would stone. Hence, once they start looking a bit grubby, you can simply polish them!
While these tiles are not impossible to install, they do require several steps that shouldn’t be skipped. Hence, the installation tends to take longer than a standard tile installation.
Being that the tiles are handmade, they tend to be more expensive than your standard porcelain and stone tiles. Also, because they are heavier, if you can’t find them locally, once you factor in shipping, the final price per tile increases
For customers that
Typical Cement Tiles are normally 5/8″ (1.6 cm) thick. Hence, depending on the the type of substrate you have,
So, here you have it, the definitive guide to sealing, installing, grouting, and polishing cement tiles.
1 Seal the tile
Before you cut, set, or grout Cement Tiles, you must seal them. No matter what anyone tells you (including in many cases the manufacturer / reseller) these must be sealed before the tile setter does anything with them. Period. The second you pull each tile from the box. Seal them. Note, that many of the sealers that are recommended by the manufacturer / reseller are not very good. These sealers tend to be something they carry or have some financial incentive to sell.
This following video clearly depicts how cement tiles should be sealed
2 – Install the tile
3 – Grout the tile
4 – Polish the tile
The following video demonstrates how a cement tile floor is polished and sealed.
Cement Tile Reputable Vendors
When people ask me, where should I buy Cement Tiles, I normally send them to one of these vendors / manufacturers.
It most cases, yes. If the cement tiles came out of the box with a patina finish, the patina finish can be removed. This finish can be eliminated using a standard maintenance procedure. If you are in Southern California, please visit our contact page, enter your contact information, and select Cement Tile – Polish and Seal as the service desired.
After my cement tile installation was grouted, the cement tiles are dirty. Can this be fixed?
In most cases, yes. A standard maintenance can be performed. If you are in Southern California, please visit our contact page, enter your contact information, and select Cement Tile – Polish and Seal as the service desired.