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Wall Niches: What They Are—and Why You’ll Want One in Every Room

When you’re feeling starved for space, the obvious solution is to create more storage wherever you possibly can. But adding bulky cabinets or mounting shelves can take up valuable room and make everything feel even more cluttered. To the rescue: recessed wall niches.

Wall niches are nothing new, but designers say they’re seeing more homeowners embrace them as smart storage solutions in pint-size spaces. The best part: They look beautiful.

So it’s time to put mounted shelving on, well, the shelf. Keep reading to learn about wall niches, why we love them, and why you’ll want one in every room of your house.

What is a wall niche?

Photo by Eren Design and Remodel
A wall niche is basically a decorative box nested inside a wall of your home. People love them because they’re fully customizable, and they offer a creative way to squeeze in some extra storage out of a blank wall. But not all niches have to be functional, and in fact many are purely decorative.

Have a favorite heirloom piece you want to display? Think of your wall niche as its own personal shrine.

But the real reason we love wall niches as a small-space solution is that they don’t take up any space—instead they actually win you some back. Contrary to mountable shelving, which can get in the way (and make rooms look smaller), wall niches don’t extend past the surface of your wall.

Wall niche in the bathroom

Photo by Poulsom Middlehurst Ltd
Now that you know all about wall niches, it’s time to think about where you’d get the most benefit from yours and what you might put inside it.

One of the most popular places in the home for wall niches might not be where you were expecting: the bathroom.

“They’re often built into showers,” says Alexander Munro, a licensed builder and broker specializing in historic properties with Munro Real Estate & Development.

“You can put bottles of shampoo or body wash, hair product, or even daily vitamins, medications in a bathroom wall niche,” Basher adds. “It’s also a great place to have a mirror for easy makeup access and application.”

Wall niche in the entryway

Photo by Sims Hilditch
“An entryway wall niche is a great place to hang key hooks or leave your wallet,” Basher says. “You can also use this space as a little charging station for phones.”

These functional entryway niches guarantee you won’t leave home without the essentials, while also keeping things organized and out of the way.

Wall niche in the living room

Photo by HoneyBee Designz
“This will be a perfect spot to place small conversation pieces, figurines, and collectibles,” Basher says.

You can choose how to decorate your niche based on the theme of the room, or use it as additional storage area in a cramped media corner.

Munro lists libraries or media areas, “where space may be confined and storage is precious,” as some of the best places for a functional wall niche.

How to build your own wall niche

Building your own wall niche might not be the easiest DIY project, but it’s certainly possible if you have a bit of carpentry experience. Whether you choose to install the niche yourself or hire a professional, keep in mind that there is a wide selection of premade ones online to get you started. Stores such as Home DepotWayfair, and even Amazon all carry a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles to choose from. Choose from modern simple designs to something more decorative.

“Consider arched or more intricate niches with molding for a European aesthetic,” Munro suggests. He also recommends jazzing up your niche later on with accent lighting or special wood paneling.

However you choose to decorate your new niche, just be sure to do some homework before cutting into any walls—especially if you’re not sure what’s behind them. Work with a professional to locate the important stuff (like pipes and wires) before firing up the power tools.

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