Can I put a recessed light in a shower?

Showering is an integral part of our lives. We want a place that’s clean, appealing, and well lit.  

Often, a bathroom’s single overhead light leaves the ambiance somewhat incomplete and, therefore, a recessed light is required. 

In case you’re wondering, you can put recessed lighting in the shower. Recessed bathroom lighting is perfect for the shower due to qualities which make it better suited than other overhead lights. A moisture-resistant bathroom light taking a minimum amount of space works perfectly for your shower ceiling. You can either choose a plain recessed light and DIY, or call an electrician to install it. 

Recessed light for Showers. 

The shower is the one place where everyone tends to relax. Proper lighting makes our lives easier. Recessed lighting adds light while being unobtrusive and enhances the beauty of your bath, constructing an area that makes it easy to unwind and relax. It is easy to install a recessed light. Furthermore, it offers a sleek modern-day look that not only fits your bathroom architecture but also gives it an elegant touch. Unlike other lighting, recessed shower lights can be installed in shower stalls or over tub areas. Here are some areas where recessed lights are suitable:

In Showers and Over tubs

A damp location is a perfect fit for can lights that are completely sealed and developed for wet conditions. It may be unsafe to install normal ceiling/wall lights in areas that remain damp all the time. 

Mirror lighting 

Placing the light close to the plane of the mirror allows the light to spread out. Using two recessed fixtures is recommended. The light from two recessed fixtures overlaps one another enhancing the bathroom look and providing you with sufficient lighting.

Washroom Ambient Lighting 

The best place for your recessed light is your bath. This light provides a natural glow to the place giving an eye-pleasing appeal. These lights supply fill-in ambient light. A glow can be achieved by placing them around the perimeter of the shower. 

Now that you know enough about recessed lights, let’s have a look at their installation. Read further to find out how to install a recessed shower light.

How to install recessed light:

There are some things which you will be need on hand for installation.

  • Drywall Saw
  • Screwdriver 
  • Flashlight


  • Before doing any electrical work, be sure to shut off the power in the area in which you are working.
  • Decide where you want to place the light and then locate the closest ceiling joists. Using the template that comes with your new recessed light, trace the shape between the joists. 
  • Using a drywall saw, cut the trace out. 
  • Mount your electrical box to the joist closest to your hole. Make sure that you leave enough room for the housing.
  • Secure the light supports with the joists. The number of joists attached to the light depends on the size and the type of the recessed light fixture you have. Larger lights consist of support arms which are attached to the joists. 
  • Attaching the wires is usually considered the most difficult part. In most cases, you just need to attach the wires color-to-color. White wire attached to white wire, red wire attached to red house wire. However, if you are unfamiliar with this, calling a licensed electrician is preferred. 
  • Place the light in the hole you have made and screw it tightly. Now install the moisture-resistant cover over the light. 

How to choose a Recessed Light for Shower.

Not having enough light to complete a task can be annoying, and when it comes to shaving, it can be dangerous. Adequate lighting in the shower is essential. Many newly built houses leave out recessed shower lights resulting in a shadowy, unwelcoming space. Let’s decide which light best suits your shower:

  1. A shower light must be moisture proof. It should have a stamp of ‘wet location approved’ on it. A glass diffuser along with a rubber gasket makes the light completely waterproof. 
  2. Aesthetics come next. You need to choose your preferred style of recessed light for your bathroom. Select the style which goes best with your shower accessories. 
  3. What kind of bulb do you want your fixture to have?. MR16 or PAR20 halogen lamps have been on top for a couple of years, but new LED retrofit modules have taken over the market due to their energy-saving quality. 

Safety is an issue when it comes to placing lights in a damp area. Make sure you’re using lighting made for that purpose.

Do Lights need to be GFCI Protected?

Ground-fault circuit-interrupters are basically built for life-saving purposes found on electrical receptacles (outlets), circuit breakers, extension cords, and other electrical equipment. GFCI’s work by detecting a drop in electrical current. If a drop is detected, GFCI quickly shuts off the power to minimize the risk of shock.

GFCI’s are required for receptacles (outlets) placed in a bathroom, but not for light switches. Additionally, you will need to ensure that your light is not on the same circuit as a receptacle with GFCI, otherwise tripping the receptacle will shut off the light as well.


These are the most frequently asked questions:

What about bulb replacement? Unfortunately changing a bulb in recessed lighting is not as easy as standard fixtures . However, modern LED lights have long lives. LEDs can last for up to 50,000 hours but the fluorescent and incandescent bulbs burn out more quickly. 

How many fixtures do I need? This depends on your brightness preferences. Replacing a fluorescent light, you can plan based on the fluorescent equivalent of your current setup. The average-sized showers use 1 or 2 fixtures for every 6” or 6.5” ultra-thin recessed light.

What are the pros of recessed light? Recessed lights are perfect for low ceilings where you cant have a fixture sticking into the space.

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