11

In my recently purchased apartment, I've come up with an idea for the hall as a part of interior designing. In my mother-tongue, we have a term for those three pits(?).

Vases in the wall? - I'm not okay with it.

How do we describe this in English? Non native speakers? I'm searching for the term that describes those three (without vases). They are three ______ in/on the wall.

Here is the actual picture

three vases

  • 3
    All I can say is: It looks awesome! – Rucheer M Sep 10 '15 at 4:52
  • Thanks @RuchirM. I just want to put this awesomeness in words explaining it to others without showing the picture! Any term for that? – Maulik V Sep 10 '15 at 4:54
  • 2
    Three vases in wall niches. – rogermue Sep 10 '15 at 5:49
  • 1
    I agree with everyone else that "niche" is the right word. However, if you don't know this word, or think your listener may not know this word, I think recess (the noun) would work too. Common terms such as recessed wall shelf/panel would also work, IMHO. If a recess (or a niche) has a glass lid, I think we could also it a recessed display case or a recessed showcase. – Damkerng T. Sep 10 '15 at 7:06
  • 1
    @MaulikV but alcoves are larger - you typically can sit in an alcove but not necessarily in a niche. – Stephie Sep 10 '15 at 7:25
21

Without expressing awesomeness, the term is

niche

  • a recess in a wall, especially for statues.

From the architectural feature the figurative meaning of "a special place" either in a professional, scientific or ecological context is derived.

  • "especially for statues" - wow! – Robert Grant Sep 10 '15 at 10:47
  • @RobertGrant not my definition, for examples, see here: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niche_(architecture) – Stephie Sep 10 '15 at 11:01
  • I've seen "Recessed Shelf" and "alcove" used to describe this feature before - bout would concur with @Stephie that "Niche" is the correct term. – SeanR Sep 10 '15 at 14:04
  • Not to take away too much from this answer, but I generally think of a niche going all the way to the floor. – Daniel Sep 10 '15 at 19:46
  • @Daniel Please check the Wikipedia link in my comment above... – Stephie Sep 10 '15 at 19:47
10

A word that most people would be familiar with is recess, or more specifically in this case a recessed shelf.

recess - from Dictionary.com
3. a receding part or space, as a bay or alcove in a room.
4. an indentation in a line or extent of coast, hills, forest, etc.

recess - from Wiktionary
2. An inset, hole, space or opening.

  • 1
    The term niche is spot on, but because the architectural definition is not widely known, I added this answer as well, which will be understood by most English-speakers. – IQAndreas Sep 10 '15 at 15:28
  • I noticed that the other answers—niche, alcove and nook—all use "recess" in their definition. – Qubei Sep 12 '15 at 0:42
6

This can also be referred to as an alcove. Alcoves can also be an area you can walk into though, so be careful to avoid ambiguity.

alcove

/ˈalˌkōv/

A recess, typically in the wall of a room or of a garden.

Origin: Late 16th century: from French alcôve, from Spanish alcoba, from Arabic al-ḳubba 'the vault'.

Source: OxfordDictionaries.com

2

Another potential word for this is nook though it's usually for a larger space.

nook - Dictionary.com

Noun, noo k

  1. any small recess: a breakfast nook.

Generally the size progression is that a nook is bigger than an alcove which is bigger than a niche. In this specific case I think you're referring to a niche, I place this answer here purely for the sake of completion. The safest is definitely "recessed shelf" with a qualifier as to the desired dimensions of the space.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.