How to Choose a Recessed Shower Light

Shower Lighting When I say “bathroom lighting,” what image pops up in your head?

If it’s a beautiful vanity area accented with stylish wall sconces, or an illuminated mirror above the sink, you’re like most people. The vanity is important to light properly. It can be incredibly annoying to have inadequate light for makeup or shaving, so it’s typically what people (including us!) think of first.

This post is about the part of the bathroom that is frequently forgotten in terms of lighting: the shower. For some reason, recessed shower lights get left off the lighting plan often. The result is a shadowy, unwelcoming space – hardly the place you’d want to spend your first few groggy moments of the morning.

Whether you’re adding shower lights to your finished bathroom (an easy project with special remodel recessed housings), or choosing the shower trim you’d like to use in a new bathroom, this post should help you decide which product is right for you.

1. Find a Moisture-Resistant Trim:

The most important feature of your new shower light is a “wet location approved” trim. All of the shower lighting trims we sell include a glass diffuser and a rubber gasket – these work together to completely prevent water from getting into the light fixture.

2. Select Your Style:

Recessed lighting is often (mistakenly) thought of as an unobtrusive form of lighting that tends to all look the same. That’s far from true! You can find a number of traditionally styled recessed lights; but if you’re looking for a more unique trim, there are a variety of options. The lens of the trim can make a big difference – you can choose between frosted, opal glass, fresnel, or albalite. If you’re looking for a very uniform distribution of light (typically a good idea for the shower), check out the trims with domed glass diffusers – like this one.

3. Find a Compatible Light Bulb:

MR16 or PAR20 halogen lamps are common for shower recessed lighting, but new LED retrofit modules on the market enable you to incorporate energy-efficient LED lighting into your bathroom. “Module” denotes that the LED lamp is included in the product and not sold separately. For more information, check out the “Description” tab on any of our recessed shower lighting pages.

Questions? Ask them below!

Emily Widle

Emily Widle

Emily graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism. She enjoys scouring the news to report on the latest in the lighting industry as well as bringing valuable remodeling tips and exemplar home projects to light.

  • Lynn Sciera

    Hi Emily:
    I am trying to specify the right recessed lighting fixture inside a shower area. I am looking for good quality light, sharp, intense, maybe an MR16. What would you recommend and can you give me product numbers so I can review my options?

    Thanks – Lynn

  • mike

    i want a trim with glass which lets out as much light as possible (not frosted) fro a 4″ recessed shower light. can you please explain the difference between fresnel and albalite in this context?

    • Jacob Swiger

      A fresnel lens will focus the light and direct it father down than the frosted and albalite lenses. It is ideal if you have a high ceiling above the shower.

      An albalite lens is pretty similar to a frosted lens. It’s going to diffuse the light but perhaps a little less than a traditional frosted lens.

      If your main concern is brightness, then go with the fresnel lens. I personally would rather have diffuse light in the shower to avoid glare… for example, when washing your hair it can be uncomfortable to look straight up into a super bright recessed light.

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