Bathroom Upgrade: How to Add a Bench to Your Shower Pan

Have you ever wanted to indulge in a spa-like experience right at home? Adding a bench to your shower pan opens up a world of comfort and luxury you never knew was missing. Sure, a quick rinse to start the day has its place, but why not create a sanctuary-like oasis dedicated to relaxation?

I used to grab my shampoo and loofah, then rush through my morning shower routine half-asleep. But after a recent bathroom remodel, I discovered the joy of upgrading my utilitarian shower to a spa retreat, complete with a built-in bench. Now, my daily ritual feels like a mini staycation!

In this post, we’ll explore incorporating bench seating into your shower for form and function. With these savvy tips and tricks, you’ll be ready to take your bathroom to the next level. Let’s dive in!

Built-In vs. Removable: Choosing Your Shower Bench Style

The first design decision is selecting a built-in or removable bench style based on your bathroom’s layout and personal preferences. Here’s an overview of the pros and cons of each option:

Adding a Bench to Your Shower Pan

Built-In Benches

Integrating fixed bench seating into your shower pan creates a seamless, upscale look. Custom tiling gives built-in benches a luxe hotel vibe.

Pros:

  • Sleek, integrated aesthetic
  • Durable and waterproof
  • Customizable size and shape

Cons:

  • Permanent placement
  • Installation requires tiling expertise
  • Grout requires regular maintenance
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Removable Benches

Portable options allow you to customize your seating arrangement and even remove the bench when unused.

Pros:

  • Versatile placement
  • Cost-effective and DIY-friendly
  • Easy to store and remove

Cons:

  • Less integrated look
  • Must be waterproofed
  • Stability challenges if lightweight

Ultimately, built-in benches provide sophisticated style at the cost of permanence, while removable variations allow flexibility and potential cost savings.

Corner Benches: Maximizing Your Footprint

A corner bench provides seating without eating up precious square footage in petite powder rooms. Tucked neatly into an unused area, corner benches prevent cramping the center of your shower floor space.

Corner benches work best in neo-angle or quadrant showers. Measure carefully to ensure at least 20 inches of clearance between bench edges and adjacent shower walls. This allows adequate room to sit comfortably without feeling boxed in.

Adding a bench to your shower pan can offer many benefits

Pro Tip: Rounding the edges of a corner bench adds aesthetic appeal while eliminating sharp corners that can poke elbows or catch clothing.

Get Creative with Storage Solutions

Showers often need a place to store essentials neatly. Adding storage to your new bench creates an organized, zen-like environment.

Shelving Above the Bench

Installing open ledges or cubbies directly above your bench makes toiletries readily accessible mid-shower. Just be sure to waterproof the shelving thoroughly and avoid glossy surfaces, which can become slick.

Drawers Under the Bench

Opt for drawer compartments built right into the bench base for hidden storage. This keeps supplies out of sight but still close at hand. Just be sure drawers have a water-tight seal to prevent leaking.

Corner Caddies

Adhesive corner caddies are portable storage solutions. Opt for rust-proof materials like stainless steel or plastic to withstand shower moisture.

Choosing Your Bench Material

Selecting the suitable bench material ensures both aesthetic appeal and water resistance. Natural stone, tiles, and engineered composites are all great options with the proper sealing and maintenance.

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Natural Stone Benches

Granite, marble, and travertine bring luxurious natural beauty to your bathroom oasis but require diligent sealing to prevent staining and discoloration.

Pros

  • Elegant, spa-like aesthetic
  • Cool surface soothes sore muscles
  • It withstands humidity well when sealed
Create a more functional bathroom space by adding a bench to your shower pan

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Absorbs stains if unsealed
  • Slippery when wet

Tile Benches

Matching your shower tile creates a cohesive, built-in bench. Porcelain and ceramic tiles withstand humidity and are budget-friendly.

Pros

  • Continuity with shower tile
  • Durable and waterproof
  • Grout provides grip

Cons

  • Grout requires maintenance
  • Hard surface lacks cushioning

Engineered Composite Benches

Molded options like solid surface or quartz are non-porous and resist mold and stains. Choose textured finishes for extra traction.

Pros

  • Seamless installation
  • Stain, mold, and mildew resistant
  • Customizable colors and textures

Cons

  • Less natural aesthetic
  • Requires professional installation
  • Avoid glossy surfaces lacking grip

Get the Right Bench Height

Your bench height impacts both comfort and accessibility. Follow these tips for optimal ergonomics:

  • Sit on the bench with feet flat – thighs should form a 90° angle with lower legs.
  • Allow 12-15 inches between the bench and ceiling for easy standing.
  • Standard bench height is 17-19 inches but adjust for individual needs.
  • For accessibility, allow 1-1.5 inches between the bench seat and the rim of the shower pan.

Grab bars and detachable shower heads further boost accessibility.

Lighting Sets the Mood

Strategic lighting transforms your shower bench area from purely functional to a relaxing oasis.

things to consider before adding a bench to your shower pan

Overhead Lights

Overhead lighting provides general illumination but opt for dimmable fixtures to set the mood. Look for waterproof recess-mounted or pendant lights.

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Sconces

Mounted on either side of the mirror, sconces provide perfect primping light. Look for swing-arm versions, which allow you to adjust the direction.

Accent Lighting

For spa ambiance, add accent lighting under the bench or above shelving. Opt for LED strips or rotating glow lights.

Maintaining Your Shower Bench

With routine care, your shower bench will stay fresh for years.

  • Thoroughly dry benches after each use to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  • Seal natural stone annually and re-seal grout every 1-2 years.
  • For engineered composites, avoid abrasive cleaners that can damage the surface.
  • Wipe wooden benches dry after each use, and periodically treat them with water-repellent sealers.
  • Apply non-slip stickers or silicone dots to add traction and prevent slips.

With proper maintenance, your shower bench will continue providing safe, relaxing comfort during your daily cleansing ritual.

Relax and Unwind with a Shower Bench. Upgrade

Adding a shower bench provides a luxurious respite to start and end each day. These tips will inspire you to turn your shower into a rejuvenating retreat. Don’t forget to incorporate spa-like touches like aromatherapy, soothing music, or a hand-held showerhead.

Investing in a built-in bench and accent lighting transformed my bathroom from purely functional to a pampering at-home spa. It’s a pleasure to take some quiet moments for myself in the steamy bathroom, letting the stress wash away.

Do you have a dream design for a spa-worthy shower? Share your ideas below for creating your zen zone!