Expert Guide: Placing the Perfect Bench in Your Shower

Hey folks, Hank here! If you want to add extra comfort and convenience to your shower, installing a bench can be a game-changer. As a woodworker and DIY expert in Chicago, I’ve helped many folks build and install custom shower benches made from beautiful reclaimed wood.

But you don’t have to be an expert carpenter to upgrade your bathroom with this type of bench—with the right guide. Anyone can learn how to choose, design, and install the perfect shower bench. In this post, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know, from selecting materials to DIY installation. Let’s dive in!

Why Add a Bench to Your Shower?

A guide to placing a bench in your shower

Some of you may be wondering why I want a bench in my shower. Well, there’s a few great reasons:

  • Extra Comfort: A bench provides a comfy place to sit while you shave your legs, wash the kiddos’ hair, or just take a breather.
  • Accessibility: A bench in the shower makes bathing safer and more accessible for people with mobility issues or who get tired quickly.
  • Spa Experience: Kick back on your bench surrounded by candles and tunes, and it’ll feel like you’re at a fancy spa without leaving home!
  • Relaxation: There’s nothing like sitting back and letting the hot water run over you after a long day—a bench makes this relaxation ritual possible.

So, if you want to add comfort, accessibility, and luxury to your shower, a bench is the way to go!

Types of Shower Benches

When it comes to shower benches, you’ve got options. Here are some of the most popular styles:

Built-In Benches

This type is permanently fixed to your shower walls as part of its structure.

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Pros: Seamlessly blend with your existing shower, and you can customize the size and shape.

Cons: More expensive and requires professional installation. Difficult to modify or move later.

Use tile, stone, or waterproof wood like teak for top stability.

Types of Shower Benches

Freestanding Benches

A movable, standalone bench that can be placed anywhere in your shower.

Pros: Affordable and easy to DIY. It can be moved or removed whenever needed.

Cons: May shift around or need more adequate support for some users.

Look for lightweight but sturdy materials like bamboo, plastic, or aluminum.

Corner Benches

They are designed to tuck neatly into a shower corner. Maximize space in more minor showers.

Pros: Space-saving and adds style. It can include storage.

Cons: Limited seating room. It must be secured well to prevent tipping.

Great for small bathrooms! Do colorful mosaic tile or natural stone for a luxe vibe.

Floating Benches

Supported by the shower walls instead of legs. Create a minimalist look.

Pros: Minimal footprint. Easy to clean under.

Cons: It must be very securely installed to hold weight.

Use lightweight materials like acrylic, plastic, or glass to reduce wall strain.

Materials for Shower Benches

Materials for Shower Benches

From natural wood to sleek modern designs, you’ve got many options for bench materials. Here are some of my favorites:


This tropical hardwood is beautiful, golden brown, and naturally water resistant. No sealer is needed! It’s the ideal wood for shower benches.

Maintenance: Just occasionally wash with mild soap and water. Easy-peasy.


Choose from endless colors, shapes, and patterns. Durable and easy to match with existing shower tile.

Maintenance: Re-seal grout every 1-2 years to prevent mildew buildup.


For a super luxe vibe, you can’t beat granite. This natural stone comes in stunning colors and patterns and easily withstands humidity.

Maintenance: Seal annually. Avoid harsh cleaners that can damage the surface.


It’s affordable, lightweight, and available in lots of fun colors. This synthetic material is also naturally waterproof and easily molded into any shape.

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Maintenance: Wipe clean with a soft cloth. It may fade over time when exposed to light.

Design Considerations

To make your shower bench as comfortable and functional as possible, keep these design tips in mind:

  • Size: Measure carefully so the bench fits without obstructing shower space. Standard sizes are 18-24 inches deep and 12-20 inches wide.
  • Shape: Although rectangular benches are the most common, you can get creative with curved, oval, or L-shaped bars.
  • Height: An adjustable height between 18 and 24 inches allows for customization. If the size is fixed, aim for approximately 20 inches.
  • Slope: Add a slight incline of 1-2 inches so water runs off and doesn’t pool. Good drainage prevents slipping.
  • Backrest: Look for benches with full or partial backrests for optimal comfort and support.

Consider the perfect size, shape, and features for your needs. It’s your shower, after all – make your bench your own!

Design Considerations for Shower Benches

Installation Tips

Once you’ve selected the perfect bench, it’s time to install it. Here are my top tips:

Professional Installation

Hire a qualified contractor for the safety and proper construction of built-in or heavy stone benches.

Benefits: Ensures correct and secure installation. Often includes a warranty on their work.

**Cost: **$200-800 depending on complexity. Get multiple quotes.

DIY Installation

For freestanding or floating benches, a DIY install is doable.

Safety: Turn off the water supply! Measure carefully and use a level to ensure the bench is stable and even.

Supplies Needed: Tape measure, level, drill, appropriate screws, and anchors for your shower material.

Prepare: Understand the best way to secure your bench material to the shower floor or walls so it can hold weight.

Patience and care will ensure your DIY bench install looks sleek and professional when finished.

Maintenance Tips

To keep your shower bench looking fabulous, be sure to:

  • Choose a slip-resistant finish like textured paints or adhesive strips to avoid slips.
  • Apply waterproofing regularly to natural wood benches to prevent mildew buildup in the humidity.
  • Clean regularly with a non-abrasive cleaner and wipe down after each use.
  • Inspect for signs of damage, such as splintering wood or loose tile grout. Address any issues promptly to maintain safety and appearance.
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With proper care, your shower bench can look great for many years!

Accessorize Your Bench

The options don’t stop once your bench is installed. Consider these fun extras:

Accessorize Your Shower Bench

Cushions: Add waterproof cushions in fun patterns for extra comfort. Secure them tightly so they don’t slip around.

Storage: Look for benches with built-in shelving or cubbies to store bath essentials within arm’s reach.

Plants: Bring the outdoors in with shower-safe succulents, orchids, or bamboo. Position them within reach of your bench!

Trays: Use a small waterproof tray beside your bench to hold soap, razors, and more.

You can create a spa-like oasis right in your shower with the right accessories!

Ready to Add a Shower Bench?

This guide has shown how easy and rewarding installing a shower bench can be! You can craft a functional and fabulous addition to your bathroom with suitable materials, design, and installation methods.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and customize your shower bench—the options are limitless. Just think of the relaxation and convenience you’ll gain!

If you have any questions, please ask in the comments or check out my tutorial videos on installing a shower bench. I’m always happy to help fellow DIYers tackle new projects and improve their homes.

Get out, grab your toolbox, and create your dream shower oasis!