The most common way to use a niche in the home is to use it as a bookcase. Whether the niche is in the living room, kitchen or bedroom, it makes a good place to store your books without having to buy a separate shelving unit. What I love about this niche is that it's in an untraditional spot in the wall (up high) but it's used in a traditional way (for books). I think a ladder leading up to this niche would be ideal.
If you're using a more traditional niche for your books then you should take a cue from the design here. The books are laid out in a manner that hints of an artistic sensitivity. The combination of upright and flat-lying books is really aesthetically appealing. This turns your book niche into a work of art.
Here we see two different niches. The large one is used partially as a bookcase and partially as a space for showing off artwork. The small one serves to showcase a single piece of ceramic art. Each niche has its function here.
The location of the space where the niche is at might contribute a lot to whether or not it's going to be very functional. A niche in the staircase area is terrific. You can put items here that you might want to take upstairs and downstairs with you (such as reading glasses).
Speaking of function, I think it's important to consider that when using a niche as storage space. Since this niche is by the TV and fireplace, it would make a lot more sense to store DVDs, video games and books here rather than storing the assorted stuff that we see in the image.
When a niche is in the right place, though, it can be a terrific place for showing off an entire collection of stuff. This is a perfect example of how to use a niche in this manner. The chairs flanking the niche help to create a sense of symmetry and balance for this collection.
A collection of photos can also be exhibited in a niche in your home. You could play around with different frames and layouts to find the perfect design for showing off the pictures that you like best.
Even a bathroom niche can be used to show off a small collection. Most people use bathroom niches purely for their function (serving the same purpose as a medicine cabinet) but it's so much more decoratively appealing to have a small collection of perfume bottles or soap dispensers in there!
I just love this modern bathroom! In this case, the niche is the centerpiece of the whole room. You could totally forget why you went into the bathroom in the first place if you got lost looking at this collection! Dare to do something different like this!
Another option for doing something a bit different is to put a mirror in the back of your niche. This reflects the back half of any objects that you put in the niche. This is particularly great if you're putting three dimensional art in the niche but it works even with ordinary objects like candles.
Finally, you can make the niche itself a bit of a work of art. This was done here simply by painting the niche a bolder color than the rest of the room. You could paint or decorate your niche in a variety of ways to create this effect. You don't even have to put anything in there if you paint the space in a really impressive way!