Building and Installing Corner Shelves in a Shower

What You'll Need
Tape Measure
Straight edge
Chalk line
Tile (at least 8 inch square)
Tile saw (optional)
Masking tape
Tile grinder/sandpaper
Silicone adhesive
2 by 4 inch lumber
Silicone Caulk

Whether designing a new bathroom or upgrading an existing one, installing your own corner shelves can save you hundreds of dollars. By simply cutting a square in half diagonally, you will have a shelf that will tuck nicely into a tiled wall corner. The complementary shelf will enhance your new shower and increase the value of your bathroom well beyond the investment of the materials required to fabricate the corner shelves.

Step 1 - Make Shelf

To make the corner shelves, cut the tile in half diagonally, which will result in 2 triangles per tile square. If desired, you can glue the 2 triangles back-to-back to form a thicker shelf and to have a finished bottom. Depending on the thickness of your shelves, you may choose to finish the exposed edge with mosaic tiles that match the thickness of the shelves. If you decide to finish the edge, set the mosaics slightly above the top elevation of the shelves, as it will provide a lip to keep your soap from sliding off. Be sure to leave an opening in the edge trim for drainage. Alternatively, have the tile cut at the time of purchase.

Step 2 - Lay Out Tile Placement

As the corner shelves are integrated into the overall tile placement, it is important that you take the time to lay out the placement of your shower tiles. One way is to measure, with a tape measure, 2 adjacent walls where the shelves will be placed. Either on a piece of craft paper or pieces of plywood (any large, flat surface that you can draw on), using a straight edge, draw both walls. Lay the tiles on the mock-up to see how the shelf will best integrate into the tile. It is best to minimize the required cuts to integrate the corner shelf into your design.

Step 3 - Tile Shower Walls

With a chalk line, transfer the elevation of the bottom of each of the corner shelves to adjacent walls as determined in Step 1. Tile the shower walls up to the base elevation of the first corner shelf that you just chalked.

Step 4 - Install Shelves

Place the first shelf at the top of the last row of tiles (set to the elevation marked in Step 2). You may find that the walls are not square. In this case, you will need to sand the tile back to fit with a tile grinder. Using masking tape, support the shelf on the wall until the adhesive cures. To tape the corner shelves, form a sling with the tape, adhere the tape to the bottom of the shelf, and firmly press the tape to the wall above the shelf.

Step 5 - Continue Wall Tiles

Cut the first row of wall tiles in such a way that the top elevation of the tiles around the soap dish will be equal to the rest of that row. Continue installing tiles and shelves as in Steps 3 and 4 until everything has been completed. Be certain to use a silicone bathroom caulk around each of the corner shelves where they make contact with the wall tiles.