The Best Lights for a Bathroom Shower

When designing the lighting for a bathroom, don't forget the shower. Though it may seem unnecessary on a floor plan or in concept, once you are in the shower and pull the curtain, you may wish you had a dedicated light that allowed you to read the label on the shampoo bottle.

Recessed Lighting

Even in a well-lit bathroom, a dedicated light in the shower can be useful.

Recessed or can lights are perhaps the most commonly used lights in shower applications. These lights are set into the ceiling so the bottom of the fixture is flush with the ceiling. Some recessed lights are designed specifically for use in high-moisture settings. Choose a light cover made of glass to avoid the yellowing that often plagues plastic light covers. Most codes require that the lights be placed at least 6 feet above the water line.

Surface-Mount Lights

Some surface-mount light fixtures are designed for use in showers. These give you more options than recessed lights. However, these have to be designated as shower-safe. These fixtures are sealed to keep water out of the electrical components of the fixture. Regardless of the type of fixture you choose to place in the shower, it has to have a rating of IP67 and be a maximum of 12 volts. This means the fixture is protected against total immersion.

Non-Traditional Lights

For an unusual addition of light to your shower, consider a lighted shower head. Several brands require no wiring, just water pressure to power the lights. The color of the light indicates water temperature in some fixtures. Other fixtures require special wiring and installation and integrate the lights with the water nozzles. Some showers are designed with lights in the floor or the walls. These require special installation.


The type of light bulb you choose to put in the light fixture in the shower can vary the ambiance. Bright white bulbs can be energizing, while soft light or daylight bulbs can be soothing. Frosted bulbs can reduce glare and shadows. Putting the light on a dimmer switch can save electricity and allow you to vary the feel of the lighting in the shower. Electrical codes require that the switch be installed outside the shower stall, and some specify how many inches from the shower stall it must be.

About the Author

A freelancer from South Dakota, Maria Tussing has been writing since 2000. She has been published in "Family Fish & Game," "Wondertime," "Today's Horse" and "Cattle Business Weekly," among other publications. Tussing holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Chadron State College.