How many bottles, bars of soap, razors, or other loose items are in your bath or shower right now? Are they on the edge of the tub? Sitting on the floor of the shower? Maybe you have a few contained in a caddy, but your idea of being minimalist about bath products didn’t really work out and it quickly overflowed (I’ve been there!)


Instead of dealing with a mess of products, think about adding a shower niche if you’re ready to remodel or build a new bathroom. There are many ways to include these in your bathroom plan, and they fit into any size space. In a small shower where you really feel that need for storage, you can add exactly what you need.

The first thing to consider is the size, shape, and number of niches. Be honest about your needs and how much space you use. Think about whether you need a tall space for large bottles, or a smaller spot for a bar of soap or a razor. Will you use it purely for storage, or do you want something more decorative?

This series of niches fits a variety of products. The smallest one at the bottom can double as a shaving ledge:


Consider whether you want the niche to blend into your design, as the one below does, or to stand out as a separate design element.


The shower below uses a dark tile on the back wall of the niche to add a horizontal block of color, while a contrasting band runs vertically up the same wall. The inner walls of the niche match the main shower tiles.


Another choice to make is how you want to frame and edge your niche. This will impact how much it stands out from the rest of the wall, and different methods work better with different styles. You can use a coordinating tile on the inner walls, such as the example below:


You can also frame the niche on the shower wall; the bathroom below shows an example of a picture frame style with mitered corners. The bottom of the niche is a contrasting tile that matches the bench and windowsill:


You can also use one to feature decorative items, which sometimes get overlooked in a bathroom. A large niche can provide space for a vase, for example:


A wide niche or series of smaller ones can be a great place to set candles, especially above a bathtub:

three small nichesPhoto by Santa Rosa Tile Supply, Inc.


A tiled shelf or ledge is a similar option. Since it extends into the shower or bath rather than being pushed back into the wall, you may need to consider more carefully how it might work in your space. This wide shelf gives plenty of room to place your shower items:


There are so many ways you can incorporate a shower niche into your bathroom. It can blend in or stand out; it can give you a spot to use a smaller amount of a showy tile; it can be both extremely functional and extremely decorative; and it can be customized to fit your exact needs. If you’re in the process of planning a bathroom remodel, be sure to consider whether a shower niche will help your space work better for you.

Earlier this year, a couple of our employees were able to participate in a Schluter workshop along with some local contractors and tile installers. They spent 3 days in a class learning about Schluter’s technology, the best techniques for installation, and actively using the products in on-site installations.

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If you have any questions about how to use Schluter products or what’s best for your project, don’t hesitate to ask our staff. For an overview of their products, visit

Pantone’s color of the year for 2013 is emerald green. Pantone’s website says, “the perception of Emerald is sophisticated and luxurious… It’s also the color of growth, renewal and prosperity.”

Source: via Santa Rosa Tile on Pinterest

Those are all certainly things we’d like to see in the upcoming year!

I’ve pulled together a few images of items featuring this lush, bold color – as with 2012’s Tangerine Tango, it doesn’t take much to make an impact! Picture this color painted on the walls of a powder room, however, and you’ll see that it really can give a sophisticated feeling in larger doses as well. The images below plus several that aren’t shown, are all pulled from our Pinterest board. The other Spring 2013 forecast colors are displayed there as well.

Source: via Santa Rosa Tile on Pinterest

I love emerald green in a soft texture like velvet. It just feels so luxurious, visually as well as tangibly. Satin-finish textiles or items with a slight shimmer would give the same type of effect.

emerald green bathroomSource: via Santa Rosa Tile on Pinterest

This bathroom features emerald green, sky blue, and a golden yellow. Each surface has its own pattern, texture, or material, with everything tied together by color. This is a lovely example of pattern mixing and making an impact with a specific color palette.

Source: via Santa Rosa Tile on Pinterest

You could also consider shiny emerald – this calls to mind gemstones, flashy and brilliant. Mixed with metals, it’s a bold statement-making color.

Source: via Santa Rosa Tile on Pinterest

This dresser was painted, glazed, waxed, and finished off with tassels. Inspired by a Kelly Wearstler piece, it’s had quite the transformation from a cast-off piece of furniture to focal point in the living room! It bridges the contemporary style of the graphic black and white accents and the classic style of the chair and it’s own design.

Source: via Santa Rosa Tile on Pinterest

Here’s emerald green used in a trendy pattern on a rug. This would work well in many rooms, from a living room to your kid’s room or wherever you want a bit of this green without a huge commitment. It doesn’t get much easier than switching out a rug, after all.

Source: via Santa Rosa Tile on Pinterest

I just recently heard about Habitat Horticulture, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in living walls and similar items. This is an example of their new Living Tables, with live succulents housed under glass for a unique and gorgeous accent table. Green is a color that is beyond abundant in nature, so if emerald is too strong to integrate into your typical decor through paint or furniture, it may be easier to bring it in through plants and natural elements.

Emerald green is a color that work across every style. It can lend a sense of energy to rooms that need it, be used as an accent color to tie thing together, or provide a luxurious touch in a space. I look forward to seeing more of it this year!

Chalkboard paint has been a trendy item for a few years now. Many home improvement shows, blogs, and magazines have featured it at one point or another, and with a few companies producing this paint it’s very accessible to the average consumer. Chalkboard paint is both fun and functional and can be used anywhere in a home. However, it’s most often found in only black and green. A few products in other colors are available but have only recently been easier to find and are often in far fewer colors.


There’s a solution, though! Mixing a bit of non-sanded grout into latex paint will give you a chalk-friendly surface in any color you want. Acrylic paints should work, too, but avoid oil-based paints – they won’t create the right surface texture.


The best ratio to use varies depending on who you ask, but 2 tablespoons grout per cup of paint seems like a good place to start. You can always add more grout, but don’t mix it up so thick you can’t paint with it and be sure to thoroughly mix in the grout without lumps.


As for how to use chalkboard paint? Here are just a few ideas:

  • Message board from framed plywood or a painted canvas
  • Trays – especially great for parties because you can label what’s being served
  • Inside of a pantry or kitchen cabinet door – perfect for grocery lists or keeping track of all those hard-to-see cans and jars
  • Mini signs for placecards or an appetizer table
  • Paint an entire refrigerator
  • Kids’ rooms or playrooms can use a little chalkboard paint right on the wall

Chalkboard canvas

Source: via Santa Rosa Tile’s Pinterest

Chalkboard tray

Source: via Santa Rosa Tile’s Pinterest

Pantry door chalkboard

Source: via Santa Rosa Tile’s Pinterest

Mini chalkboard signs

Source: via Santa Rosa Tile’s Pinterest

Since you know how to make any paint into chalkboard paint, you don’t have to worry about the chalkboard fading into the background (unless you want it to)!

Turquoise fridge

Source: via Santa Rosa Tile’s Pinterest

Non-sanded grout can be purchased at your local tile or hardware store, or if you or someone you know recently remodeled, you might be able to snag just a little bit from them. It’s best to use regular chalk on these surfaces; chalk pens may not erase properly. Make sure you “prime” the surface after painting but before using it by completely covering it with chalk then wiping off with a dry towel.