Become an Insider and Craft Your Inspiring Space

Can Recessed Lighting Be Used In The Bathroom?

*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. 

Bored with your bathroom space? Recessed lighting can add an understated elegance and breathe life into the most uninspiring bathroom.

Let’s admit it. Lighting for the bathroom is highly overlooked as part of the home lighting plan.

In fact, most bathrooms only have a single overhead light as the main light, and for sure, this is inadequate for properly illuminating the vanity area, the toilet, shower, and tub. Design-wise, this single lighting option comes up short.

Can Recessed Lighting Be Used In The Bathroom?
Courtesy: Berg Interior

To increase the functionality and style of your bathroom, recessed lighting proves to be necessary to help create an area that makes it easy to relax and unwind.

More so, bathroom recessed lighting offers a clean, modern look that blends into the architecture of the bath space.

You May Also Like: How Do You Light A Bathroom Properly?

What Is Recessed Lighting?

Can Recessed Lighting Be Used In The Bathroom?
Courtesy: Red Robot Design

Recessed lighting is a form of lighting where a light fixture is installed into a hollow opening, either in a ceiling, wall, or any other surface. Therefore, after installation, light appears to be shining or glowing from a hole or joint.

For recessed lighting to be done correctly, there must be the:

  • Housing that contains the electrical connections of the fixture, and the fixture itself,
  • The trim that conceals the recessed fixture behind them, directs and shapes the light in the required direction (think downwards) and provides a decorative finish.
  • The bulb to provide light.

Can Recessed Lighting Be Used In The Bathroom?

Yes, recessed lights can be used in the bathroom, particularly, if your bathroom has a low ceiling, or if bulky lighting fixtures could scrape the top of a tall person’s head.

Recessed lighting also suits very large bathrooms, which might otherwise need many standard lighting fixtures spread out across the ceiling.

Can Recessed Lighting Be Used In The Bathroom?
Courtesy: Red Robot Design

They are also a nice way to allow other bathroom features to claim the spotlight since they are usually tucked away into ceilings and walls.

Additionally, since water and electricity do not mix, recessed lighting becomes a safer alternative for bathroom lighting, especially in the shower.

Ways to Introduce Recessed Lighting In The Bathroom

A well-done recessed lighting installation can make all the difference between a forgettable daily routine and a celebratory ritual.

To create the perfect ambiance and feel using recessed lighting that’s only a switch away, consider the following spots for your lights:

1. Down Lighting

Can Recessed Lighting Be Used In The Bathroom?
Courtesy: Marina Ky

Downlights are recessed lighting fixtures, embedded in the ceiling. Popularly, LEDs are adopted as a more energy-efficient downlight source.

In the bathroom, multiple downlights can make users feel more relaxed.

When purchasing, check for LED Fire Rated downlights that are rated IP65.

This means that they are dust-tight and waterproof, making them suitable for bathrooms (zones 1 and 2) where splashing and vapor would make lower-rated downlights not only unsuitable but potentially dangerous (think electrocution).

It is also important to note that by cutting a hole into a ceiling and installing recessed lights, you are reducing the existing fire rating of the ceiling, thereby allowing for fire to escape and spread more easily between floors.

That’s why fire-rated downlights are important for fire safety, especially in the bathroom, as they effectively block the hole cut into the ceiling so the fire spreads slowly through floors and gives you more time to escape a fire.

Have a registered competent electrician fit the downlights in the bathroom as the fitting is regulated by Part P of the Building Regulations.

Also, when downlights have been installed, the registered electrician must then give you a minor works Part P certificate as proof the work is safe.

Can You Have A Downlight Above A Shower?

Have A Small Bathroom? These Are Good Storage Options To Cut Clutter
Courtesy: Marina_Ky

Yes. You can install a downlight above the shower as long as it is rated IP65. This means the downlights are protected against accidental contact and ingress of dust along with water jets from any direction.

Downlights rates IPX5 and IPX6 are also options as IPX5 will protect your lights from water jets in any direction while IPX6 are basically waterproof from powerful water jets.

Can Recessed Lighting Be Used In The Bathroom?
Courtesy: Berg Interior

Such downlights can be used above shower cabins, in shower stalls, and over bathtub areas.

2. Cove Lighting

Cove lighting is a form of indirect lighting that you install into the recesses in a ceiling or high up on the walls of your bathroom.

Cove lighting can generate dramatic effects that will add character to your bathroom and also emits light that is easy on the eyes, considering it is concealed, therefore, your eyes will not hurt whenever you look up.

This form of recessed lighting is also preferred because it provides the right amount of illumination without increasing the warmness inside your bathroom. 

Can Recessed Lighting Be Used In The Bathroom?
Courtesy: Red Robot Design

These lights release soft glows of light billowing from the edges and bouncing off from the walls, looking elegant and natural. They can be:

  • Hidden discreetly under a false bathroom ceiling, over a vaulted ceiling ledge, or ceiling nook.
  • Installed through some type of crown molding a few inches below the ceiling, 
  • Tucked behind your bathroom mirror or shelves.

Another affordable alternative to “cheat” your way to do this is by lining waterproof LED light strips along the edges of your chosen bathroom corners.

3. Under Cabinet Lighting

Another way to give your bathroom a designer look is by installing recessed lighting underneath bathroom cabinets.

Similar to what you see in kitchens, under-cabinet lighting can work on high-level bathroom cabinets and also on lower cabinets, with light illuminating the bathroom floor.

You May Also Like: Does a Bathroom Vanity Need A Toe Kick? Here’s How To Light It Too

When lit, cabinets above bathroom counters provide the opportunity to highlight decorative decor placed on countertops.

Additionally, lighting underneath the ledge of a mirror that’s above the sink provides convenient lighting for washing your hands.

4. Niche Lighting

Can Recessed Lighting Be Used In The Bathroom?
Courtesy: Berg Interior

If you want your bathroom to look like a spa, then consider installing wall niches to optimize storage and cut on bathroom clutter as well.

Basically, a wall niche is a built-in shelf that’s recessed into the wall, mostly, of the shower to provide storage space for your bathroom items. It can also be installed above the toilet.

In the shower, it eliminates the need for a caddy hung from the showerhead, a bath stool, a hard-to-clean corner shelf, or bottles on the shower floor, thereby, making it easy to keep your shower clean and organized.

Since a shower niche also gives your bathroom a more elegant appearance, you want to upgrade its look.

Installing waterproof LED lighting is a great way to highlight your shower niche whilst adding lighting to your shower.

By installing a strip of LED lights, the shower niche becomes a focal point in the bathroom, and adds a warm relaxing glow, helping to achieve a spa-like bathroom experience.


Can Recessed Lighting Be Used In The Bathroom?

Recessed lighting in the bathroom gives you an extra reason to smile in the morning. The soft lights give a good overview of what’s inside your bathroom so you can get ready smoothly. Try it, you’ll love it!