Best Recessed Lighting for Bathroom

Recessed lighting is a timeless fixture that continues to maintain its popularity. This type of lighting is both practical and space-efficient. When it comes to selecting the ideal recessed lighting for one of the most frequently used spaces in your home – the bathroom – the decision-making process may seem daunting.

However, fear not, as we have the solution for your convenience.

Commonly known as “can lighting,” these fixtures are discreetly installed within the ceiling, emitting a downward-focused illumination. You have the flexibility to choose between spotlights and adjustable lights, enabling precise lighting control as needed.

You can select from a variety of light temperatures, including soft white, bright white, daylight, and cool white.

To simplify your decision-making, we’ve compiled a list of the top-rated recessed lights, along with popular size options.

Best recessed lighting for a bathroom, including the type and size of the fixtures, can be a helpful reference for homeowners looking to upgrade their bathroom lighting.

RankType of Recessed LightingSize (Inches)Description
1LED Downlights3-inchEnergy-efficient, sleek design, ideal for small bathrooms.
2Adjustable Gimbal Lights4-inchWaterproof, perfect for showers or wet areas in the bathroom.
3Shower Trim Lights5-inchWaterproof, perfect for shower or wet areas in the bathroom.
4Baffle Trim Lights6-inchSoft, diffused lighting, great for general bathroom illumination.
5Retrofit KitsVariousEasy to install in existing fixtures, versatile sizing options.

The specific recommendations may vary based on bathroom size, layout, and design preferences.

It’s essential to consult with a lighting professional or consider your bathroom’s unique needs when selecting the best-recessed lighting

Why Choose Recessed Lighting for Your Bathroom?

Before delving into the specifics of types and sizes, it’s essential to understand why recessed lighting is an excellent choice for your bathroom:

Aesthetic Appeal

Recessed lights are discreet and minimalistic, blending seamlessly with any bathroom decor.

They provide a clean and uncluttered look, making your bathroom feel more spacious and inviting.


Recessed lights can be strategically placed to highlight certain areas, such as the shower, vanity, or bathtub.

This versatility allows you to create a customized lighting scheme tailored to your needs.


Properly installed recessed lighting provides even illumination, reducing shadows and glare.

This is especially important in bathrooms, where tasks like shaving, applying makeup, or reading can be challenging with inadequate lighting.


Recessed lights are space-efficient, making them ideal for bathrooms with limited ceiling height or where other lighting fixtures may obstruct movement or view.

Now that you understand the advantages of using recessed lighting in your bathroom, let’s explore the different types and sizes available:

Types of Recessed Lighting for Bathrooms

When it comes to types of recessed lighting for your bathroom, you have several options to choose from.

Each type has its unique features and applications, so it’s essential to select the one that suits your needs and preferences:

Fixed Recessed Lights

Fixed recessed lights are the most common type of recessed lighting. They are permanently set in place and provide a uniform, downward-focused illumination. These lights are ideal for general bathroom lighting or for creating a soft, ambient glow.


  • Easy to install and maintain.
  • Suitable for any bathroom size or style.
  • Available in various sizes and finishes to match your decor.


  • Limited adjustability, as they provide fixed illumination.

Adjustable Recessed Lights

Adjustable recessed lights, as the name suggests, allow you to pivot or swivel the light source.

This flexibility makes them perfect for accent lighting, highlighting specific features like artwork, architectural details, or a beautiful tile wall in your bathroom.


  • Versatile and suitable for accent lighting.
  • Can be adjusted to focus on specific areas or objects.
  • Adds depth and visual interest to your bathroom.


  • More complex installation compared to fixed recessed lights.

Shower-rated Recessed Lights

If you’re planning to install recessed lighting inside your shower or above your bathtub, it’s crucial to choose shower-rated fixtures. These lights are specially designed to withstand moisture and are sealed to prevent water from entering the housing.


  • Safe for use in wet areas.
  • Provides adequate illumination for showering or bathing.
  • Available in various styles to match your bathroom decor.


  • May require professional installation due to electrical safety considerations.

Wall Wash Recessed Lights

Wall-wash recessed lights are designed to create a gentle, uniform wash of light across a wall or surface. They are excellent for creating a relaxing ambiance in your bathroom, especially when combined with decorative tiles or textured walls.


  • Enhances the aesthetics of your bathroom.
  • Creates a soothing and spa-like atmosphere.
  • Ideal for showcasing artwork or decorative features.


  • May require precise positioning and professional installation for the best effect.

LED Recessed Lights

LED (Light Emitting Diode) recessed lights have gained immense popularity due to their energy efficiency and longevity. They are available in various color temperatures, allowing you to customize the ambiance of your bathroom.


  • Energy-efficient, reducing electricity bills.
  • Long-lasting, with a lifespan of up to 25,000 hours.
  • Dimmable options for adjustable brightness.


  • The initial cost may be higher than traditional incandescent or CFL bulbs.

Smart Recessed Lights

Smart recessed lights can be controlled remotely using a smartphone app or integrated into a smart home automation system. They offer features like color-changing options, scheduling, and voice control, adding a layer of convenience and luxury to your bathroom.


  • Remote control and automation for convenience.
  • Color-changing options for mood lighting.
  • Voice control compatibility with devices like Alexa or Google Assistant.


  • Higher initial cost compared to standard recessed lights.

Now that you have an overview of the various types of recessed lighting available for your bathroom, let’s delve into the sizing considerations:

Sizing Your Recessed Lights for the Bathroom

Choosing the right size for your recessed lights is crucial to achieving the desired lighting effect and ensuring they fit seamlessly into your bathroom’s design. Here’s how to determine the appropriate size for your bathroom:

Calculate the Room’s Square Footage

Start by measuring the length and width of your bathroom. Multiply these dimensions to calculate the square footage.

For example, if your bathroom is 8 feet long and 6 feet wide, the square footage is 48 square feet (8 x 6).

Determine the Type of Lighting

Consider the purpose of the lighting.

If you’re using recessed lights as general ambient lighting, a basic guideline is to provide 1 square foot of lighting for every 1.5 to 2 square feet of bathroom space.

Using our example, you would need 24 to 32 square feet of lighting (48 square feet divided by 1.5 to 2).

Choose the Right Fixture Size

Based on the calculated square footage, you can determine the appropriate fixture size. Common sizes for recessed lights range from 3 to 6 inches in diameter.

Here’s a rough guideline:

3-inch fixtures

Suitable for smaller bathrooms or as accent lighting.

4-inch fixtures

Ideal for bathrooms with limited space or where subtle lighting is preferred.

5-inch fixtures

A versatile option for most bathrooms, offering a balanced combination of illumination and aesthetics.

6-inch fixtures

Recommended for larger bathrooms or those with high ceilings to provide ample lighting coverage.

Consider Ceiling Height

The height of your bathroom ceiling can also influence the choice of fixture size.

For standard 8-foot ceilings, 4 to 5-inch fixtures are often the best choice.

However, if you have a higher ceiling, you may opt for larger fixtures to maintain proper illumination.

Placement and Spacing

Once you’ve chosen the size of your recessed lights, consider their placement and spacing.

The goal is to ensure even illumination across the entire bathroom.

A typical guideline is to space the fixtures apart at a distance equal to half their diameter.

For example, if you have 4-inch fixtures, space them approximately 2 feet apart.

Dimmer Controls

Installing dimmer switches for your recessed lights allows you to adjust the brightness to your preference.

This is particularly useful in bathrooms, as it enables you to create different lighting levels for various tasks and moods.

Tips for Selecting Recessed Lighting for Your Bathroom

Now that you have a solid understanding of the types and sizing of recessed lights, here are some additional tips to help you make an informed decision:

Choose High-Quality Fixtures:

Invest in quality fixtures made of durable materials. Bathroom lighting should withstand moisture and humidity without corroding or deteriorating over time.

Consider Color Temperature:

The color temperature of your recessed lights can significantly impact the ambiance of your bathroom. Warmer color temperatures (around 2700-3000K) create a cozy, relaxing atmosphere, while cooler temperatures (4000-5000K) provide a bright, daylight-like feel.

Opt for Energy-Efficient Bulbs:

Select LED bulbs for your recessed lights to save on energy costs and reduce environmental impact. LED bulbs are not only energy-efficient but also long-lasting, minimizing the need for frequent replacements.

Consult a Professional:

If you’re unsure about the technical aspects of installing recessed lighting, it’s advisable to consult a professional electrician. They can ensure safe and compliant installation, taking into account local building codes and regulations.

Consider Dimmable Options:

Dimmable recessed lights offer flexibility in adjusting the lighting to your needs. Whether you want bright illumination for grooming or soft lighting for a relaxing bath, dimmable fixtures provide versatility.

Evaluate the Trim Styles:

Recessed lights come with various trim styles, including baffle, open, and decorative trims. Choose a trim style that complements your bathroom’s aesthetics and decor theme.


Selecting the best-recessed lighting for your bathroom involves a combination of factors, including the type of lighting, fixture size, placement, and personal preferences. By carefully considering these aspects and following the guidelines provided in this comprehensive guide, you can achieve a well-lit, stylish, and functional bathroom that meets your needs and enhances your daily routine.

Remember that lighting plays a pivotal role in the overall atmosphere of your bathroom, so take your time in making the right choices. Whether you opt for fixed, adjustable, shower-rated, or smart recessed lights, the key is to create a harmonious blend of form and function that transforms your bathroom into a welcoming oasis of light and relaxation.

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