July 9, 2014

Shower Niche Tutorial

diy tall shower niche

One of our frequently asked questions is about how we built the tall shower niche in our Master Bath and if we are happy with it.   I am very pleased with the single tall niche.  Our shower isn't very big and this niche gives us lots of storage.  Also, since we didn't have room for a bench in the shower, the bottom shelf functions as a ledge to put my foot on for shaving.  Mostly, I like the added touch of the green glass tiles and the marble shelves to the white subway tiles.

Billy is back today to tell you all about how he built the niche...
diy tall shower niche
When we were planning our master bathroom, one of the must haves for my wife was a shower niche.  This would be a place to keep the shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and anything else that finds its way in to the shower - without being in the way.  Also, it would help give a little bit of contrast to the white subway tile we used for the two walls within the shower.  This was done by using 12” Glacier Ice Brick mosaic glass tile sheets that were bought at the Home Depot.  The shower is 32” x 48” and the niche was placed on the larger wall, framed between the existing studs.

Once all framed, I used cement backerboard to cover the walls.  I started by cutting the piece to fit the back of the opening first.  This piece had to be cut and placed first so that the the side and top pieces could be screwed into the framing to hold that piece in place. I then used Redgard (purchased at Home Depot), a liquid waterproofing membrane, to waterproof all the joints of the backerboard as seen in the photo below.
diy shower niche with glass mosaic and white subway tiles using Redgard waterproof

I installed the bottom shelf prior to starting the tile.  A little extra thinset was applied at the rear for a slight pitch toward the shower.  I tiled about a third of the way up before installing the next shelf.  Then did the same for the top one.   For the shelves, I used a piece of marble threshold which I cut to fit.  I supported the shelves with the surrounding tile.  To prevent water from puddling up on the 2 upper shelves, I cut the side supporting tiles with a 1/16” pitch toward the shower floor. 
Here is the completed niche before I added the shower glass.
DIY tall shower niche tutorial with exposed shower, mosaic glass and white subway
It really goes a long way in adding both style and function to the shower.

Cement Backerboard- Home Depot
Redgard- Home Depot
Marble Door Thesholds for shelves- Home Depot

DIY master bath with carrera marble, white subway tile, freestanding
Check out more posts about our Master Bath:
Master Bath Reveal (including sources)


  1. This is really timely! I'm getting ready to tile my
    Shower combo and have been researching niches. Do you feel the tile is going to be strong enough to hold up the shelf long term?? Do you put liter bottles, etc?

    1. Hi!
      The shelves are very sturdy. They are supported on 3 sides by the tile. I keep the extra large shampoo and conditioner bottles from Costco on there. Good luck with your tiling!!

  2. Where did you get the shower unit in the shower stall with the exposed chrome, white finishing and handheld unit? That's exactly what we are looking for and we are told it doesn't exist!!

  3. i gotta ask, did you guys leave the shower pan in the shower?? we're remodeling our shower/bathroom and hubs wants to leave the shower pan in vs taking it out and tiling that. if you left yours in, how does it look?

  4. Hi! I realize this post is from a ways back, but I'm hoping perhaps you'll still see comments. First, I love your bathroom - it is gorgeous! I am tiling a very similar shower and niche right now but we're stuck on the side walls of the niche. Did you use a bullnose subway on the edges of the niche, or just regular subways and then filled the edges where they met with grout? We're having a heck of a time finding bullnose that isn't 2x6 and trying to figure out if we have to use it on the niche.

  5. Great bathroom! Can you tell us the color grout you used with the subway tile?

  6. Great bathroom! Can you tell us the color grout you used with the subway tile?

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