Bathroom furniture 20 February 2024

Bathroom alcoves: optimising space with style

Bathroom alcoves are a modern, elegant way to optimise space in any bathroom, regardless of size or style. If positioned strategically, they blend into the room as a hugely practical feature that adds a touch of style.

In design terms, their versatility offers a variety of solutions and is very on-trend, especially in a modern bathroom. Bathroom alcoves are a clever, functional way to organise the space we dedicate to our daily hygiene and wellbeing, so join us as we show you how to design and decorate them and where to position them.

Designing and furnishing bathroom alcoves

What are bathroom alcoves and why choose them

As we have said, bathroom alcoves are versatile design features that are perfect for optimising space in bathrooms large or small. When we talk about alcoves, we mean spaces that are specially designed within the architecture of the room or recesses that are already in the walls, whether they are part of the masonry or have been created from plasterboard. Whether they are framed or have special surrounds, they are a creative way to make the most of the available space in any room in the home, including the bathroom.

Bathroom alcoves are often built into the walls specifically as storage for personal hygiene products, decorative features and accessories or to hold furniture. But they can also be a “room within a room” that help optimise space and serve as elegant design solutions. Whether you’re renovating a bathroom or designing from scratch, alcoves are a way to organise space and ensure functionality without compromising on style.

For example, alcoves can be a clever choice for a small bathroom where they maximise the use of space without adding clutter, making them great space-saving solutions.

composizione con 2 nicchie in un bagno di piccole dimensioni

Where more space is available, a bathroom alcove can be exploited for more structured solutions, as in the image below: a “cosy” corner with two separate sinks and double the functionality and storage.

nicchia bagno con doppia postazione lavabo

Where to position alcoves in a bathroom

There are no ideal positions for bathroom alcoves, only optimal ones, given that several factors come into play, such as the room layout, personal needs, and the overall style and design of the room. That said, the most common places we find alcoves and niches are inside the shower or next to the bathtub. In both cases, the space created is handy for holding personal hygiene products.

nicchia in muratura dentro la doccia

In the image below, there are horizontal niches both inside and outside the shower enclosure and they can be made even more functional with the addition of LED lighting. An illuminated niche can also be a dramatic decorative feature that adds originality to the design of a bathroom.

doccia con nicchia nel muro

As we have seen, alcoves and niches can be positioned both inside the shower enclosure and also in the walls next to it. In addition to shampoo and toiletries, they are also a discreet, non-intrusive place to store other accessories like hangers and dressholders for towels and clothing.

piccola nicchia bagno posizionata nella parete vicino alla doccia contenente dressholder

Other common positions for alcoves and niches are around the washbasin, again for toiletries and accessories, or around the toilet and bidet for toilet paper, cleansers and other useful items of personal hygiene.

The alcove in this image is created in the area above the wall-mounted base units. This provides an additional convenient storage space where the emphasis is on depth.

nicchia muro bagno accanto zona lavabo

How to use a bathroom alcove

So we’ve seen that, wherever they are located, alcoves and niches are a useful way to organise toiletries, cosmetics and bathroom linen. They are also great places to keep accessories for personal care or small decorative objects that are pleasing to the eye and personalise the overall space.

mobile a ripiani per nicchia accanto a vasca da bagno

Designing shelves, built-in partitions or cabinets inside alcoves helps keep the items stored inside them organised, in order and easier to access. These apparently “empty” spaces within a wall are in fact functional architectural features that make the bathroom more aesthetically interesting.

nicchia in bagno in muratura con ripiani integrati, inserita nella parte accanto alla doccia

And these are not the only solutions for making the most of the space inside an alcove. A bathroom alcove can be considered a “room within a room” when, say, it serves as the shower enclosure.

arredare bagno con doccia in nicchia

Indeed, a shower installed between two walls is commonly known as an alcove shower. Designed to fit harmoniously into the architecture of the bathroom, they act as a space-saving wellness retreat, especially in smaller settings.

Personalisation is achieved through the choice of door installed, which should preferably be folding or have a pivot mechanism.

esempio di bagno con doccia in nicchia con porta pivotante

Alcoves can also perfectly capture the minimalism of a walk-in shower in a modern bathroom.

doccia walk-in per nicchia bagno moderno con rivestimento parete interna effetto marmo chiaro

Design and inspiration for furnishing a bathroom alcove

In modern design and architecture, a bathroom alcove with washbasin is not only a practical solution, but is also an opportunity to create something unique and sophisticated. Furniture with refined finishes and quality materials, carefully selected colours, design accessories like mirrors in a variety of shapes and sizes and dramatic LED lights can come together to create a cosy, aesthetically captivating corner.

nicchia bagno con zona lavabo illuminata

When it comes to interior design, personalisation is key to creating unique and original spaces. At Arcom, we offer the chance to coordinate furniture with wall treatments. And although apparently separate from the rest of the room, alcoves should also be in dialogue with the overall style. There are several alternative treatments to traditional tiles that deliver aesthetically surprising results. This small bathroom alcove in an attic has marble-effect wood panelling that matches the furniture on the wall in the background. These style details create a coordinated aesthetic within the room.

zona lavabo in nicchia con finiture effetto marmo e legno

Ma anche armadi o mensole offrono soluzioni d’arredo interessanti per arredare le nicchie. Ne è un esempio la composizione della foto che segue, dove ogni scelta fatta va ad impreziosire lo stile minimal della nicchia, per garantire una composizione bagno che va oltre la mera funzionalità.Cupboards and shelves are also interesting solutions for alcoves. In the composition pictured, every choice made adds to the minimal style of the alcove to ensure that the bathroom space offers more than mere functionality.

Next to the bathroom alcove with washbasin area is a second alcove containing two modules with doors alternating with an open front module and a natural oak panel shelf with LED lighting. The result is a bathroom with two alcoves with different functions, but once again coordinate stylistically to achieve a room that is refined and welcoming.

composizione con due nicchie bagno arredate con mobili in legno chiaro

Built-in cupboards make intelligent solutions for bathroom alcoves that allow you to make the most of every available inch. They can be personalised by choosing materials, colours and finishes that suit the existing design and furniture. But more than anything else they make it easier to keep the space clean and tidy.

In this modern, minimalist setting, the cupboard with mirrored door adds functionality as an alternative to a separate full-length mirror, while helping to make the room look more spacious.

armadio a incasso con anta a specchio per nicchia bagno moderno

In this solution, the built-in cupboard is made up of tall units with doors next to an open front unit with several shelves.

armadio a colonne in nicchia per bagno nordico

Other furniture solutions include wall units and tall units that are great in all kinds of spaces, including long, narrow alcoves. Arcom offers a wide variety of options, including some with reduced depth.

pensile verticale a profondità ridotta per nicchia bagno lunga e stretta

An alcove can also be useful in an elegant laundry bathroom, where minimalism and simplicity coincide with functionality.

nicchia in bagno lavanderia moderno

Alcoves are a perfect way to conceal appliances like a washing machine or dryer and provide space for detergents and any other laundry accessories. Of course, special provision should be made when designing such structural features, for installing electrical outlets and drainage pipes, for example.

nicchia bagno per nascondere elettrodomestici

In conclusion, a bathroom alcove is a practical way to optimise space and is also a great highlight feature in a modern, elegant bathroom. By describing what they are, where to position them and how to furnish and design them, we hope we have provided some inspiration and useful tips for how you can make the most of your alcove spaces.

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