“I Want a Shower Wall Niche”

If you are thinking of adding a niche to your shower wall, what should you consider? Building a niche into an existing wall can be fairly simple or really hard.  A niche between wall studs can be simple.  Typically as a niche gets larger, it becomes more complicated.  Here are 7 things to consider (but believe me there are many more) before you tackle adding a niche.

  1. Is the wall a plumbing wall?

    If it is a plumbing wall,  you may need to reroute pipes, like the drain waste vent lines, or the hot and cold water supply lines, or any other plumbing located in the wall.

tiled shower wall niche in gray2. Is the wall a bearing wall?

If it is, you may need to frame a new header over the niche area.


  1. Is the wall a shear wall?

    Shear walls are engineered to address lateral forces that a home can experience such as in an earthquake.  Making an opening in a shear wall weakens the wall and should not be done without consulting a structural engineer.

shower wall niche at hip height4. Is there a pocket door behind the wall?

I know this is obvious, right?  If the pocket door is for the bathroom, it is obvious.  If the pocket door is for another room, it may not be as obvious.

5. Is there a structural post in the wall?

Cutting a structural post is something that should not be done without consulting a professional.

  1. Are there electrical wires or boxes within the anticipated niche area?

    These will need to be moved.

  2. Will the niche be on an exterior wall?

    Depending upon the state you are in, having insulation between the niche and an exterior wall can be critical.  If your niche backs up to the siding, you could end up with frozen shampoo.

    If you are handy, and the answers to these questions are consistent with moving forward with a niche, then have at it! If you aren’t handy, hire a handyman or contractor and be sure to go through these, and perhaps other questions pertinent to your home, then begin your project. Whether a shelf for toiletry products or a place to rest your foot while shaving, a niche can be a handy and decorative addition to your bathroom.


See our Rossmoor bathroom remodel with a wonderful niche!

Kat Mullen

Kat and her husband, Scott Westby, own and run MSK Design Build, an award-winning design-build firm located in the San Francisco East Bay. With over 10 years of experience in design-build construction for high-end remodels, Kat enjoys sharing her knowledge, experience and expertise. Kat's favorite part of the design build process is hearing her client's vision for their home and helping to make their dream into reality.