We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
All too often we focus on making the bath the star of any bathroom. But the shower is just as much the hero, and in fact it’s often used more frequently in many homes than the bath. If you are planning a new bathroom, shower lighting ideas should be high on your list to chat through with a qualified electrician, rather than an afterthought.
Start by gathering bathroom lighting ideas and then look at the practicalities – from IP ratings of your chosen lights to recessed or semi-flush fittings.
Shower lighting ideas
Functionality is key when it comes to lighting in the shower, but that doesn’t mean you need to compromise on style,’ explains Natalie Mann, new product development co-ordinator, Iconic Lights. ‘Lighting can create mood and highlight favourite areas. For example placing a light underneath the recessed niche shelving.
Outside of the shower area, there’s plenty of opportunity to bring style and flair to the space, with wall lights positioned either side of the mirror or a striking pendant overhead. For added ambience, install a dimmer switch so you can set the mood.’
1. Lead the eye with spots
Simple spotlights fitted in a walk-in shower enclosure will enhance a spa-like feel, especially if tiling and walls are in calming neutrals. Try painting your ceiling a darker shade. The spots will really pop against a lovely warm brown.
Lighter tiles – like these natural limestone mosaics – will also help make more of a feature of a shower, contrasting with the warmer walls. After all, the actual showering area should be the star of any shower room.
2. Balance spots with a pendant
Use spots in a shower and a pendant next to your basin. You don’t need to keep to one type of ceiling fitting in a shower room or bathroom. Spots will cast a task beam down on you while you are in the shower. Check the projection of any spotlight before you buy, especially if fitting directly above where your head will be, going for a wider beam if needed. A bathroom pendant idea can add a lovely decorative touch, while still providing light where needed.
Don’t be afraid of mixing finish either. Chrome and brass work fine together if the finish is the kept the same, such as brushed or shine.
3. Light up niches and nooks
LED lighting strips and spotlights are a great way of bringing increased light into a small showering space. Ask your electrician to fit to a separate lighting circuit, allowing you to change the mood.
Tile the niche with a hero shower tile idea – shimmering mosaics catch the light adding a touch of luxury. You can also use those expensive tiles you fell in love with – often two-three sheets of mosaics will be enough for most shower niches.
4. Trick the eye with a white spotlight
If your shower enclosure has a dividing wall, then make sure there’s a spotlight on both sides of the wall, otherwise your bathroom won’t have enough light.
Sometimes, with joists above, showerheads and extractor fans, you won’t be able to fit a spotlight centrally in a shower enclosure. If this is the case, choose a simple white spotlight that will blend into the ceiling, even if it is off-centre.
5. Go for a bulkhead fitting
Give your shower a nautical vibe with a bulkhead fitting – you can even choose a design that’s suitable for exterior use. Based on the lighting used for ships, bulkheads love a damp space, making them a great choice for your shower room.
Choose a finish that is different from your brassware, with brass, black, gold, grey and silver all available options. You can also choose round or lozenge shape designs.
6. Turn your shower into a light show
Use smaller recessed spotlights to define your showering area. Try black ones, fitted either side of your showerhead, providing ample light without being blocked when you shower.
You could choose colour-changing ones – or chromotherapy – which you can adjust via a remote to suit your mood.
7. Create a spa-like experience
Illuminate your shower with a multi-coloured shower head, giving a spectacular effect, perfect for creating a spa-like experience at home.
Keep remaining fixtures and fittings simple – this is one lighting trick that needs space to shine and works best in a walk-in enclosure or wet room.
Buy now: Milam 400mm panoramic LED square shower package, Victorian Plumbing.
8. Don’t stress over symmetry
Lighting the ceiling above a shower can be tricky, but most visitors won’t notice that there is an odd number of lights if you can’t get a neat row of two by two for example especially if you keep things simple. Choose the same finish as your shower head and enclosure brackets and you’ll almost trick the eye into thinking there is a second, fourth or sixth spotlight in position.
Recessed spotlights need a hole cutting into the ceiling. Your electrician will be able to advise on the best position, depending on joists and pipework running above. Ask for a lighting diagram, so you know should you plan any future renovations.
9. Make it dual purpose
Need more light in your shower room? How about combining storage and light in one? This bathroom shelf rail light from the Big Bathroom Shop has just the right balance for display, light and storage.
Other easy shower room light additions including swapping your mirror for an illuminated one, replacing a blind with window film (or even removing window treatment ideas altogether), and of course, candles.
10. Light up the floor
In a shower room, don’t forget about lighting close to the floor; spots fitted into the tiles at a low level can create a lovely soft atmosphere, while highlighting different bathroom floor tile idea finishes.
Fit low-level lights on a different lighting circuit, so you can turn just these on for a more relaxing shower. You can also fit lights into the floor, which act as uplighters, providing a wash of light up a tiled wall.
How can I illuminate my shower enclosure/area?
‘IP rated spotlights work great in the show area, as they have a more distinct design element and will give you intense lighting in one specific area,’ says Natalie Mann, new product development co-ordinator, Iconic Lights.
Think about how you want your shower lighting to make you feel – is it to relax or revitalise you? Lighting controlled by dimmer, will allow you to have both, while colour changing or showerheads with LEDs fitted, create more of a spa-like experience. If your shower is separated from the rest of your bathroom, for example by a dividing wall, then make sure you’ve planned in lighting in the enclosure too.
Simple, recessed spots are an effective way to make your shower a feature. For IP ratings explained – most shower lights are rated to IP65, which are suitable for zone 1, although IP45 is the minimum rating required within zone 1. If you are looking at lighting inside the bath or shower itself (zone 0), then any fitting used in this zone must be low voltage (max 12v) and rated at least IP67, which is total immersion proof.
Can you put LED lights in a shower?
Short answer, yes, although they need to be waterproof LED lights. These are usually encapsulated in a waterproof (usually IP67) enclosure to ensure the LEDs themselves don’t come into contact with water.
You could choose a single colour, or get creative with colour-changing LEDs, which can be remote controlled or connected to a 2-gang light switch outside the bathroom (one switch would control the main light source, the other the LEDs). Use LEDs in a shower area to illuminate plinths or niches.