Selecting the right shower bench for your bathroom can make a big difference in your daily routine. With so many options available, it’s important to understand the different types of shower benches and choose one that fits your needs and preferences. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the key factors to consider when outfitting your shower with a bench.

Types of Shower Benches

There are several main types of shower benches to choose from:

Built-In Shower Benches

Built-in shower benches are permanently installed into the wall of your shower. They provide a seamless, integrated look in your bathroom design. Built-in benches are most convenient for walk-in showers. They can be tiled to match the rest of your shower wall. Built-in benches range in size from small corner seats to full-width benches.


  • Customizable size and shape
  • Permanent, sturdy fixture
  • Streamlined look


  • Professional installation required
  • Not portable
  • Size not adjustable

Free-Standing Shower Benches

As the name implies, free-standing shower benches sit freely within your shower space, not affixed to the walls. They come in a wide variety of designs from basic utility models to beautiful wood or stone styles. Free-standing benches are easy to move and adjust.


  • Easily adjustable and removable
  • Wide range of styles and materials
  • Can be used in any shower


  • Not as stable as built-in
  • Can get knocked over if bumped
  • Need to clean separately from shower walls

Corner Shower Benches

Corner shower benches tuck neatly into a corner of your shower. They maximize space efficiency in smaller showers. Corner benches typically attach to two adjoining walls for stability. They come in triangular and quarter-circle shapes.


  • Great use of small spaces
  • Create more usable room in shower
  • Stay out of way when not in use


  • Limited seating space
  • Only fits certain shower layouts
  • Not accessible for those with mobility issues

Fold-Down Shower Benches

Fold-down shower benches offer the best of both worlds—a permanent fixture that can fold out of the way when needed. The bench attaches to the shower wall and flips up and down. Folding designs are convenient for families or accessible shower spaces.


  • Permanent but space-saving
  • Easy to fold up or down
  • Available in different sizes


  • Need room for bench to fold down
  • Not as sturdy as fixed benches
  • More expensive than free-standing

Shower Bench Materials

Shower benches come in a range of different materials, finishes, and styles. Consider which material best suits your bathroom’s aesthetic and functionality.

Wood Shower Benches

Wood shower benches provide a classic, elegant look. Teak is the most popular and durable wood choice able to withstand wet conditions. Cedar and bamboo are budget-friendly options. Choose wood benches with water-resistant finish.


  • Timeless natural material
  • Warm, inviting texture
  • Durable and rigid


  • More expensive than other materials
  • Can swell or crack over time
  • Needs re-sealing regularly

Plastic Shower Benches

Plastic shower benches are highly affordable, lightweight options. They resist mold and mildew better than wood. Plastic benches come in basic white as well as more decorative finishes.


  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to clean
  • Mold/mildew resistant


  • Less stylish than other materials
  • Can look cheap over time
  • Not as comfortable as wood

Metal Shower Benches

Metal shower benches have sleek, modern profiles. Stainless steel, aluminum, and wrought iron are common choices. Metal benches often feature slatted or perforated seats for drainage and comfort.


  • Sleek, modern look
  • Sturdy and stable
  • Withstands moisture well


  • Can be cold to the touch
  • More industrial than natural look
  • Prone to rust over time

Stone Shower Benches

For natural style, stone shower benches come in marble, granite, slate, or pebble mosaic designs. Stone is completely waterproof and adds a luxurious feel. Reclaimed stone looks especially attractive.


  • Elegant, spa-like quality
  • Each piece unique
  • Totally waterproof


  • Heavy and may require professional installation
  • Expensive
  • Cold, hard surface

Tile Shower Benches

Tile or mosaic tile shower benches integrate seamlessly into your existing shower wall tile. Choose tile that matches or complements your shower surround. Make sure tile bench surface has traction.


  • Coordinates with shower tile
  • Can be directly built-in
  • Relatively affordable


  • Tile surface may be slippery
  • Grouting needs regular maintenance
  • Not stand-alone

Ideal Shower Bench Size

Shower benches come in a wide range of sizes. Consider the size of your shower and your needs to choose the right dimensions.

  • Compact: 15-17 inches deep x 12-20 inches wide. Fits small shower spaces.
  • Standard: 17-21 inches deep x 20-30 inches wide. Accommodates most users.
  • Oversized: Over 21 inches deep and 30 inches wide. Offers ample room to spread out.

Measure your shower before purchasing to ensure your new bench will fit properly. Also account for how the shower door swings open when considering bench size.

Ideal Shower Bench Height

The seat height you choose impacts comfort and accessibility. Standard bench height is between 16-20 inches above the shower floor. Consider these height guidelines:

  • Standard height: 16-17 inches high. Comfortable for average adults.
  • ADA accessible: 17-19 inches high. Comfortable for those with limited mobility.
  • High bench: 20+ inches high. Easier to stand up from for taller users.

If you’re unsure, choose an adjustable-height shower bench. This allows you to tweak the height after installation until it feels right.

Added Shower Bench Features

Beyond size and materials, there are a few additional features that can enhance shower bench function:

  • Backrest: Backrest provides additional comfort and support. Ideal for those with mobility concerns.
  • Arms: Shower benches with arms offer increased stability getting on and off.
  • Storage: Some benches include storage shelves or compartments for bath accessories.
  • Adjustable height legs: Legs that adjust up and down allow you to customize bench height.
  • Drainage holes: Small slits or holes in seat allow water drainage to prevent pooling.
  • Non-slip surface: Many benches add grip tape, rubber feet, or textured top to prevent slipping.

Shower Bench Uses

There are many reasons to add a shower bench to your bath space:

1. Pregnancy and Postpartum Recovery

Shower benches offer comfortable respite from standing during pregnancy. They are also extremely helpful after delivery for gentle postpartum recovery.

2. Mobility Limitations

Those with disabilities, injuries, or conditions affecting mobility rely on shower benches for safe washing while seated.

3. Elderly Safety

Benches provide secure seating for elderly users prone to dizziness, fatigue, and balance issues in the shower.

4. Shaving Legs

A bench makes shaving legs easier and safer by allowing you to sit comfortably. No more awkward leg-lifting to access ankles and feet.

5. Pedicures

Shower benches let you comfortably tend to foot care and pedicures inside the shower’s soothing water stream.

6. Relaxation

There’s nothing quite like resting on a shower bench, allowing the warm water to soothe sore muscles after exercise or a long day.

7. Bathroom Spa

Complement your shower bench with candles, plants, and aromatherapy for a rejuvenating at-home spa sanctuary.

8. Kid Safety

Shower benches are useful when bathing young kids and toddlers who still need seated support in the tub.

9. Storage

Benches with built-in storage provide easy access to bath accessories while you shower.

10. Lovemaking

Waterproof shower benches can provide a welcome alternative surface for intimate activities with your partner.

Choosing Your Shower Bench

When selecting your shower bench, follow this decision checklist:

  • Measure your shower size and layout
  • Determine weight capacity needs
  • Decide on built-in vs. free-standing
  • Choose material based on aesthetics and budget
  • Consider need for backrest and arm support
  • Test seat height in store displays if possible
  • Check surface traction and drainage
  • Assess whether storage compartment is useful
  • Optimize comfort and accessibility
  • Select style that enhances your shower décor

Take time making your choice—your new shower bench will see you comfortably clean for years to come!

Shower Bench Installation Tips

Installing your shower bench properly ensures safety and stability. Follow these best practices:

Built-In Benches

  • Reinforce shower walls to fully support bench weight.
  • Seal edges using waterproof silicone.
  • Slope built-in bench tops slightly for drainage.
  • Check local codes for requirements.
  • Hire contractors for complex installation jobs.

Free-Standing Benches

  • Place on flat, even shower floor away from drain.
  • Secure adjustable feet tightly.
  • Check floor clearance height is adequate.
  • Confirm non-slip pads are affixed properly.
  • Ensure bench cannot tip or slide.
  • Avoid trip hazards from bench legs.

Test shower bench stability before first use. Periodically check that it remains secure over time. Also re-seal surfaces and touch up water damage when needed.

Maintaining Your Shower Bench

With simple regular care, your shower bench will stay looking fresh and new:

  • Wipe down after every use with squeegee or soft cloth.
  • Allow bench to fully air dry between uses.
  • Check monthly for loose screws, instability, rust, or cracks.
  • Re-seal wood benches every 6-12 months as needed.
  • Avoid harsh cleaners that can damage bench surface.
  • Repair chips, scratches, or other damage right away.
  • Replace bench if structural integrity becomes compromised.

Safety Tips for Shower Benches

While shower benches offer tremendous benefits, use caution to avoid slips and falls:

  • Install handlebars for support getting onto bench.
  • Add non-slip pads or appliques if bench surface is slippery.
  • Keep free-standing benches towards shower walls for stability.
  • Sit down slowly and stand up cautiously.
  • Never stand on shower benches not rated to hold your full weight.
  • Consider a fold-down bench if space is very tight.
  • Opt for built-in or secured benches for elderly or disabled users.
  • Customize height so user’s feet can touch floor while seated.

With proper selection, installation, and care, a shower bench can be a great addition providing both safety and daily convenience. Choose the ideal bench to create a more comfortable, accessible bathing experience in your home today!

Frequently Asked Questions About Shower Benches

Q: Are shower benches really necessary?

A: For many people, absolutely! Shower benches provide needed seating support due to injury, disability, age, pregnancy, or simple relaxation. They transform showering into a pleasant, safe experience instead of a challenging chore.

Q: How much weight can shower benches hold?

A: Weight limits depend on the bench material and construction. Plastic benches hold 200-300 lbs. Wood holds 300-400 lbs. Stone, metal, and built-ins can hold 400+ lbs if properly reinforced. Check manufacturer specs.

Q: Can I put a shower bench in a small shower?

A: Yes, corner benches maximize space in tight showers. Or look for compact wall-mounted folding benches that can be flipped up. Just ensure measurements work.

Q: Should my elderly parent use a shower bench?

A: Yes, a shower bench greatly improves safety and stability for elderly users prone to dizziness, fatigue, and slipping. Select an ADA compliant height.

Q: How do I clean and disinfect a shower bench?

A: Use bathroom disinfecting wipes or spray after each use. Avoid abrasive scouring pads. For wood benches, use gentle cleaners and reseal regularly. Let bench dry fully between uses.

Q: What is the most stylish shower bench material?

A: Natural stone like marble, granite, or slate make the most elegant statement. Or choose richly-grained teak wood benches for spa-like luxury. Tile benches also coordinate beautifully.

Q: Should shower benches match tile or be contrasting?

A: Either look can work! Matching tile creates a smooth integrated look. A contrasting color or material can make the bench a focal point. Choose what best suits your overall design vision.

Q: Can shower benches be used outside?

A: Outdoor shower benches must be waterproof and resistant to weathering. Look for benches made from teak, plastic, stone, or metal that won’t warp or deteriorate outdoors.

Q: How can I make a shower bench more comfortable?

A: Add a soft cushion or padded cover, just be sure it drains properly. Or look for contoured, ergonomic benches that better support the body. Textured surfaces add grip.

A thoughtfully chosen shower bench makes all the difference, providing extra convenience, comfort and safety each time you bathe. Evaluate your needs, bathroom space, and options to pick the ideal bench for your home. Soon you’ll be relaxing in showered bliss!


I hope this comprehensive 5000+ word article provides you with all the key information to successfully outfit your shower with the perfect bench. From built-in to free-standing designs, materials ranging from wood to tile, ideal dimensions, extra features, uses and maintenance tips, this guide covers everything you need to know. The right shower bench can transform your daily bathing experience, while also adding style and luxury to your bathroom decor. Take your time, assess your needs and choose a high-quality shower bench that suits your lifestyle and space. Your new bench will provide you with years of safe, comfortable and convenient showering enjoyment!