What is the best type of shelving for a tile shower installation?


Have you ever showered in a hotel or friends house and there wasn't anywhere to put your shampoo? When it comes to showers, there are many ways to store your hygiene products. In this article I'm going to share with you the different options that are available and what I believe to be the best ones. I'll share with you the pro's and con's of each and how much they cost. Let's start with the different options that are available.


Recessed Niches

Floating Shelves

Corner Shelves

Wire Baskets

Store Bought Shelves

Recessed Niches

The most common and usually what most people want (or think they want)

are recessed niches. These can be premade sizes or they can be custom made sizes. Traditionally they are restricted by the amount of space that's between the studs in the wall, but if you're doing a full custom shower you can make these niches as big as you want by redoing some of the framing. This type of shelving, which aesthetically looks the best, is also the most complicated and expensive type of shelving.


You can get really creative with niches. Even adding lighting inside them. The sky is the limit if you do a custom niche. The drawbacks to a lot of these pre-made niches and ones that fit in between the stud cavities, is that after it's all said and done you don't get that much storage space. Typically you can only get two to three bottles of products in that space. For the increase cost in labor and materials and overall small amount of storage space, I don't believe this is your best investment. Niches can run as much as $400 - $600 dollars in materials and labor.

Floating Shelves

Another option in shower storage are floating shelves. These are custom shelves that are built or bought and can be any length that you want. They can go along the whole length of the back wall or just a few inches. They protrude out of the wall 2 to 3 inches and allow you to put as much product on there as you would like. With this type of shelf, you usually have way more storage then you'll ever need. The drawback of this kind of shelf is aesthetics. You have to like that style of shelving or it doesn't always look right. This can be a custom-made piece or can be a store bought piece. Typically, they are installed when the tile is installed but you can also buy glass shelves that are installed after the tile is installed. The limitations with glass shelves is that you usually can't put much weight on them.

Custom shelves can run you anywhere from $200 - $800 for materials and labor. Store bought glass shelves can run anywhere from $100 - $300.


Corner Shelves

The next type of shelving that we'll talk about are corner shelves. In my opinion, these are some of the most useful type of shelving as you can have multiple shelves in multiple corners. You can have as many as eight shelves (four in each corner) and they're out of the way enough that they don't take up much of the shower space. They're also the least expensive option and the easiest to install. The two basic types of corner shelves that are out there are going to be a stone shelf and a metal Shelf. They do also make glass shelves or you can also make a corner shelf with tile.

Traditionally we install stone shelves that will complement the tile in the shower, but there are metal shelves available in multiple finishes as well. Most corner shelves will run you between $75 - $150 dollars in materials and labor.

Wire Baskets

Another type of shelving are wire baskets. There are few different manufacturers out there that sell this, but we're particularly fond of a company called TileWare. They manufacture different sizes and configurations of these baskets and they are a permanent solution. They are actually installed while the tile is installed. This is my personal favorite type of storage. They come in multiple finishes and different sizes as well as different types to fit any bathroom or need.

Some of the downsides to this type of shelving is that they are more expensive than other options and they are harder to clean. An average basket can run you around $300 - $400 installed.

Store Bought Shelves

The last option that's available and probably the least chosen method is to buy an aftermarket style of basket that hangs around the shower head or one that fits into the corner through a tension rod system. These are obviously going to be the cheapest option but they're going to be the least attractive and will not compliment the shower. If you're on a really tight budget for your new shower, this may be the best option. They cost anywhere from $40 - $150 and can be bought online or even in the local store. They usually require some kind of assembly and often are made as a one-size fits all. Some are made to fit certain height ranges so it's important to measure your shower and get one that fits.

Shower storage can sometimes be an afterthought, but with the proper planning, selecting the best option for you can make a world of difference. It's important that you decide what type of shelving that you want early into the process as some options need to be added even as early as the framing process. Also, it's important to figure in the cost of these early on so that you are not surprised later on with additional cost in your shower install.


As you can see there are multiple options available to you to fit any budget and design. Ultimately, you would have to decide what's going to work for you and your shower. Make sure to talk with your contractor about which options that you like so they can aid in deciding what may or may not work in your shower.

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