DIY Renovation Project: How To Build a Recessed Shower Shelf

Recessed bathroom shelf can take advantage of hollow spaces behind drywall. Wide shelves give the storage space needed for it to function properly without taking away several valuable floor spaces.


When remodeling a bathroom, consider adding a recessed shower shelf into your design. It’s a practical and streamlined way to add storage space for shampoos and soaps, without taking away elbow room. Built-in shower niches are also a great alternative to gunky corner shelves and rusty shower caddies. For all of you DIY renovators, read on to learn how to build a shower shelf of your own.

 (Image credit: June Bhongjan)

What You Need


  • Thinset
  • Quick-dry leveling thinset
  • 2x4s
  • Backerboard (we used Wonderboard)
  • Backerboard tape
  • AquaDefense
  • Tile
  • Painters tape
  • Grout
  • Caulk


  • Mini circular saw
  • Mallet
  • Shop vacuum
  • Level
  • Trowel
  • Stud finder
  • Respirator mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves



1. Using your stud finder, find the space in between studs where you would like your shelf. Keep in mind that it needs to be large enough to fit your shampoos and soaps.

 (Image credit: June Bhongjan)

2. At this point, we’ll assume you’ve tiled the rest of the wall leading up to the general proposed shelf area. If possible, you want your niche to fit seamlessly in your tile design. In other words, the bottom and top of the niche should start and end at the grout lines. Eventually you’ll cut a rectangle that is about 3/4″ larger (the orange lines above) than where your grout lines meet in order to give space for the backerboard and tile that will later be installed inside the niche.


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