By Erik J. Martin, CTW Features
Want to make an impressive design statement and create an aesthetic focal point in a given room of your home without forfeiting any existing space? There’s valuable real estate hidden within your vertical surfaces that can be utilized if you think outside the box and within your wall cavity. The solution? A wall niche.
“A wall niche is a cubby or carved-out area similar to a shelf but set within the frame of your wall without protruding,” explains Jay Sanders, a general contractor and owner of Castle Dream Construction, a home remodeling company in Baltimore. “Walt niches are great for displaying decor or holding items, and they are a great way to add a luxurious feel to your home.”
Using rectangular or curved space recessed within your wall allows a niche to provide functional storage that an outward shelf or alcove would otherwise provide.
“Living rooms and hallways are prime candidates for a wall niche, as they offer the opportunity to showcase art or décor. And niches can also be functional in bathrooms for storing toiletries or in kitchens for spices,” notes Lav Patel, founder of Collage Master.
Truth is, wall niches can be integrated into practically any room, but they especially shine in more formal settings like dining and living areas where accouterment and decorations can be showcased, including vases, artwork or collectibles, per Roman Smolevskiy, owner of Sacramento-based A+ Construction & Remodeling.
“They are ideal for homes that boast a mix of traditional and contemporary styles,” he says. “But like many design elements, the popularity of wall niches has ebbed and flowed. Fortunately, they have been reimagined recently in modern designs and remain a favorite for homeowners who love the blend of artistry and functionality.”
Because wall niches act as focal points, positioning is crucial. They should be centered on a wall or placed at eye level when entering a room to make them eye-catching. However, not every wall is a candidate for a niche.
“Steer clear from walls with plumbing or heavy electrical work behind them to avoid structural complications. Additionally, walls that receive a lot of direct sunlight might not be suitable, as they could fade items placed within the niche,” cautions Smolevskiy.
Niche dimensions will depend on the size of your room and the purpose of the niche. A typical niche could span 12” wide by 18” high x 4” deep, but larger dimensions may be needed to display oversized items.
“You’ll need one or more shelves within the niche if you are using it to hold multiple items, including toiletries within the bathroom,” adds Sanders. “LED striplights or spotlights are also great for wall niches placed in dark hallways or dim entryways.”
Avoid overcrowded or cluttered niches; you don’t want to stack or display too many items within.
Bathroom niches need to be sealed properly if placed within the shower, “as you do not want water to enter any cracks or openings, which can lead to costly water and structural damage,” Sanders warns.
Adding trim with casings can give your niche a more finished look. Select a trim that complements your room’s molding or baseboards and aim to match the wall’s paint color or use a contrasting shade to make it pop, advises Smolevskiy.
“If you want the niche to stand out, use a contrasting color for the inside and add a bold trim to the outside,” Sanders recommends.
The experts say installing a wall niche will likely set you back $500 to $2,000, including labor and materials.
“Homeowners can save significantly with a DIY approach, but professional expertise guarantees longevity and aesthetic appeal,” adds Smolevskiy.
Once installed, don’t forget to update your decorative niche occasionally.
“Niche contents can be rotated seasonally or based on trends,” Patel says.