Consider this shower alcove:

enter image description here

The curtain is partially-transparent. It can't be made much more transparent for privacy reasons; so, it blocks a lot of the light. Also, hanging a towel on that rail further reduces light flow. Thus even despite the light fixture being installed right in front of the shower - it is kind of dark in there.

My question: How is it possible to flood the shower stall with more light?


  • The light fixture's wattage cannot simply be strengthened further, as it is already rather strong and on a very low ceiling (204 cm).
  • I am intuitively ruling out any electricity going into the actual shower (The light fixture is IP54 in case you were wondering).
  • I was thinking about using some sort of mirror configuration; perhaps a right-angle-triangle-paralleloid along the inner-top edge?
  • Ceiling height is 204cm off the floor, minus a few cm if it's off the raised basin.
  • 2
    Add a wet location light fixture on ceiling in shower wire it from the existing ceiling light.
    – Kris
    Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 22:41
  • @Kris: Even if this could be done safely (which I'm not quite sure of), just looking at the lighting fixture and imagining what happens if I direct the showerhead there is enough to scare whoever is showering out of their wits.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 23:13
  • they put lights in the sides of swimming pools. sticking one in a shower ceiling is easy compared to that.
    – Jasen
    Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 23:18
  • @Jasen: Swimming pools seem safe to go into because, had they not been, there would have been short-circuits long before you go in. The difference is that you are "experimenting" with the safety when you splash the thing with water. I realize that's not a rational consideration... also, TBH, if the fixture was recessed (probably impossible in this case) - it would probably have been less scary.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 23:22
  • 1
    I am intuitively ruling out any electricity going into the actual shower - although you seem really stuck on that, I just want to reinforce what others are saying. With the correct-rated fixture, it is very common and low-risk to put a light fixture right in the ceiling of a shower alcove. Of course, the choice is yours, but I don't think your fears are justified.
    – dwizum
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 19:51

6 Answers 6


You can get light and privacy both

See, when you speak of transparency, you're actually talking about 2 wildly separate things.

  • Light can come through it --versus-
  • An observable image can come through it

If you've ever used your car's defogger, you know how you can have one and not the other. There was plenty of light, but you couldn't see.

This answer brought to you by the word "translucent"

Transparent: Light comes through, clear image comes through (window)

Translucent: Light comes through, image does not (fogged up window)

Opaque: Light or image does not come through (anything solid-colored)

enter image description here

Transparent, translucent, translucent of opaque, and opaque. (Source)

enter image description here

Note how on the left side you cannot distinguish a tree from a sasquatch. Yet the light level is equal! Source

The shower curtain you have pictured is nearly opaque, a patchwork of 90% opaque and 10% transparent, so it greatly reduces the light in the shower. That is why you are having problems.

Translucent is what you want, because it lets through the light, but not the observable image. If that is not emotionally comfortable for you, that is a different problem, and we don't fix those here. In that case I recommend low voltage LED lighting fed from a power supply that's not in the shower proper, since it's easy and has no risk of electric shock.

Needless to say, translucent shower curtains are highly desirable, and therefore, plentiful. It's possible you may have been mistaking them for transparent ones; both exist.

Translucency can also be had in glass, one of two ways: By fogging the glass (a sandblaster will do the trick, though it will reduce light penetration somewhat). Or by having one side of the glass "pebbled" so it lets essentially all the light through, but impossibly distorts any possibility of an image coming through. You put the hazing/pebbling on the outside, since it picks up mineralization, and that's very hard to remove from a hazed or pebbled surface.

Another example of a pebbled surface is diffusers on fluorescent overhead "troffers" (the kind in drop ceilings where the whole square glows and you can't quite see the tubes).


How about a glass shower door, a combination of clear and frosted glass? They can be ordered to size and are not expensive.

If glass doors are not an option, you can install one or more battery operated led lights in the shower (see enclosed picture). enter image description here

  • I have actually thought about installing a glass door, but - assuming a similar opacity, how would that help with the lighting? ... or, are you saying that 'frosted glass' can be less opaque but effectivelly blur the view enough?
    – einpoklum
    Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 20:56
  • The frosted glass is much less opaque and the doors can be only 6 feet in height which would let in even more light. Is this for a private bathroom? You're very concerned about blurring the view. The clear glass doors do fog up to obstruct the view but let in all the light you would need.
    – JACK
    Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 21:24
  • Relying on fog for opaqueness is not an option. A much-less-opaque door, even frosted, might be problematic. And the door would need to cover the entire height except for the top few centimeters, just like now. But - +1, I do need to seriously consider this.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 21:33

I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier:

There exist shower curtains where the top bit is transparent, but the rest of it isn't, explicitly to get more light into the shower while still providing privacy. A search for "shower curtain translucent window" should find some.


IP66 is hose-proof, so find a recessed IP66 or IP67 luminaire if the ceiling or wall can be cut open or a surface mount one if not.

If you're still scared go with low voltage LED lighting, mount the transformer in the ceiling above the existing light.

and remember it is (or should be) all on an ELCB, so the worst than can happen is being plunged into darkness,

  • "Supposed" is the keyword there, half the house is not grounded even though it should be. I need to double-check the wiring plus check the grounding. Also, finding and placing an appropriate luminaire will not be trivial - I don't want the light being right in my face. So the power needs to be distributed over a long stretch or a larger area. Perhaps I could recess it on the far inner top edge of the alcove?
    – einpoklum
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 7:44

Another suggestion is to replace your exiting fixture outside of the shower with a track lighting system or some other form of aimable spotlights wherein you can aim some of the light beams directly into the shower over the top of the curtain.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • Umm, the ceiling is 204cm ... that will make people bump their head against the fixture :-( also, I wonder about the IP rating of these things.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 22:11

Can the curtain rod be removed and repositioned lower? If so, you can cut off the bottom few inches of the curtain, (or buy a new, shorter curtain; I think the curtain you have now is longer than standard.) That shouldn't reduce privacy.

You can also move the towel off the rod by installing a towel rack near the shower, so it's still accessible from inside the shower. That'll also increase light. Don't want to mess with the walls? Buy a towel rack stand.

  • The curtain rod can be repositioned, but then I would need a non-standard-length curtain. Cutting is not an option - it needs to have a certain finish at the bottom. the current curtain is the standard 180cm.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 23:24

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