Become an Insider and Craft Your Inspiring Space

Can You Put Lights In The Shower?

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I will make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase. 

Times have changed and these days, homeowners prefer separate shower stalls in the bathroom to only bathtubs to make their baths multifunctional. But when you have a shower stall, you might be asking whether or not to put lights in the shower, right?

Considering the wet and humid environment in the bathroom, safety regulations must be adhered to. And this means lighting must be properly done by a professional if you decide to put lights in the shower.

But first…

Should You Have Lights In The Shower?

Can You Put Lights In The Shower?
Courtesy: Berg Interior

If your bathroom is large enough that ambient lighting cannot properly illuminate all corners, you should have lights in the shower to brighten the area, avoid dark corners, and ensure you wash up in style.

However, since water and electricity are a dangerous combination, you want to familiarize yourself with two terms; Bathroom Zones and IP Ratings when choosing bathroom lights.

This will ensure that the light fitting you choose has the relevant IP rating for the Zone in which it is to be placed.

Zone 0 is inside the bath or shower itself. Therefore, any fitting used in this zone must be low voltage, (max 12v) and be rated at least IP67 which is total immersion proof.

Other water-resistant options include:

  • IPX6 – the fitting is protected against high-pressure jets of water from any direction.
  • IPX7 – protected against immersion in water for 30 minutes up to a depth of 1m.
  • IPX8 – protected against long, continual periods of immersion underwater.
Can You Put Lights In The Shower?

How Close Can A Light Be To A Shower?

The National Electrical Code is pretty clear on this, saying that if the fixture is above the tub or shower, and within 8 ft. vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower threshold, the fixture must be rated for damp locations. This is no matter the depth it will be positioned from the ceiling.

Can You Put Lights In The Shower?
Courtesy: Kohler

If the fixture may be subject to shower spray, it has to be rated for wet locations. Therefore, we recommend installing a fixture rated for wet locations, just to be on the safe side.

Here’s what the NEC says…

The National Electrical Code; Chapter 4 Equipment for General Use; Article 410 For Luminaires, Lampholders, and Lamps

II. Luminaire Locations

410.10 Luminaires in Specific Locations.

(D) Bathtub and Shower Areas. No parts of cord-connected luminaires, chain-, cable-, or cord-suspended luminaires, lighting track, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans shall be located within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold.

This zone is all-encompassing and includes the space directly over the tub or shower stall.

Luminaires located within the actual outside dimension of the bathtub or shower to a height of 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower threshold shall be marked for damp locations, or marked for wet locations where subject to shower spray.

Do Shower Lights Need To Be GFCI-Protected?

GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) are a type of circuit breaker used to shut off power in case of an imbalance between the incoming and outgoing current thereby preventing the risk of a potential electrical shock. 

The National Electric Code (NEC) requires a minimum of one GFCI-protected outlet per bathroom, ideally two or three as a good precaution. 

This means that the installation of GFI circuits doesn’t have to cover all outlets within bathrooms as long as they are rated damp or wet. When you do have GFCI protection in your bathroom, those fixtures are able to prevent electrical shock.

Whether it is a recessed light, fluorescent fixture, incandescent lighting, or any other form of electric lighting in your shower, even if it is waterproof, it is a good precaution to install GFCI-protection. This will ensure that everything is safe no matter what happens.

What Lights Can Be Used In The Shower?

If you need help selecting the right lighting structure for your shower so you can leave the installation up to a professional, these are our favorite options:

1. Add Multiple Recessed Shower Lighting Fixtures

Can You Put Lights In The Shower?
Courtesy: Ca Pietra

Recessed shower lights are highly preferred for this area as they don’t take up vertical space.

Also, because recessed lights are installed into the ceiling wall, you can also have a cover for the light fixture. Examples include a lampshade or waterproof plastic light covers.

Most recessed lights are in the form of downlights installed into the ceiling (mounted on or recessed) concentrating the light in a downward direction, or as spotlights fixed onto the ceiling, providing multiple light beams for lighting directly into the shower stall or on an object.

For larger bathrooms, place downlights or spotlights toward the edges of the room rather than in the middle for a better sense of space and more spread-out lighting.

Also, instead of one, use multiple recessed lights to provide enough lighting.

You May Also Like: How to Use Recessed Lighting In The Bathroom

2. Supplement with Cove Lighting

Can You Put Lights In The Shower?
Courtesy: Berg Interior

Also known as ambient luminescence, this form of indirect lighting not only accentuates your shower ceiling but also gives that soft light for a beautiful ambiance.

Usually, light is directed towards the ceiling from one side or more in order to diffuse illumination.

In the shower, use cove lighting in recesses, false ceilings, high on shower walls, ledges, and ceiling valences. 

You can also install wall cove lighting under a trim or wall lip to direct diffused lighting to shine on walls. This creates an accented form of lighting that is ideal for decorating your shower walls.

NOTE: Since cove lighting is usually not bright enough, use it to supplement your overhead shower lighting to produce the required brightness required by the user.

3. Light Your Shower Niches

Do you have an architectural space on your wall that is lost, lacks atmosphere and you think would benefit from lighting?

Then make the shower area shine, quite literally with special lighting inside the niches. These allow you to highlight a wall with niches that hold inside it luxe bath products. 

You can place these lights either at the top or bottom of the shower niche to light up the crevices and create a pleasing lighting effect within the space.

QUE: Can You Put LED Lights In The Shower?

Yes, you can put LED lights in the shower provided they are damp-rated (and not dry-rated) so they can provide resistance to steam and moisture in the bathroom.

The key is in the ingress protection (IP) rating. This explains how sealed an electrical item is against dust particles and moisture.

As mentioned above, the right LED lights for the shower will have an IP rating of at least  IP67 therefore, safe in total immersion up to a water pressure of one meter.


Can You Put Lights In The Shower?
Courtesy: Ca Pietra

Yes, you can put lights in the shower as long as you make sure they are rated for the damp and wet conditions in the bathroom. Ideally, such lighting fixtures should have an IP rating of at least IP65.