Who has chromatherapy lights in their steam shower?

zagyzebraDecember 10, 2013

I am so tempted to buy the chromatherapy lights. But also wonder if they grow old after the initial novelty wears off. Or if they become something you could never imagine living without again. Any tips on the best place to find them? Or best placement of them in the shower?

Also, one other GW poster said he did uplighting in his steam shower -- he got the idea from the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas. I am wondering where would be the best placement be for all this ambient lighting. And at last, the best placement for the main source of light that it seems one would only need for shaving.

I don't particularly want light fixtures all over my steam shower, so I'm trying to get consensus here from those who are happy with their steam shower lighting or wish they could do it differently if given a choice.

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I have them for my steam shower but it's not installed yet. But I have always varied my lighting in the shower and am effected by the type and color of light, so I can't wait to be able to control it with the touch of a button. I experienced one when out of town for a wedding and I just loved it.

Mine will be installed as a separate chromatherapy light unit in the ceiling along with two regular other shower lights, all controlled separately. The regular shower lights are also dimmable. But I've seen several types including ones that are in a rain shower head flush with the ceiling and with a regular light also. These are commonly operated with the steam shower system controls that also determine the steam type and temperature (I recommend one that can be cool as well as hot/warm), and can include aromatherapy (I skipped this one because I'm sensitive to most fragrances) and music.

You can search 'steam shower systems with chromatheory', go to plumbing or bath showrooms or do a Houzz search and you will find a good selection. I got mine before I needed it just over a year ago and they have changed the look of the controls from what they used to have.

For me, an important consideration was the number of colors (mine has 7 but some have as few as 4) and the ability to control the timing of the full color changes and to stop and hold in one single color. Think of a dreary overcast morning or an early day in daylight savings time and be able to shower in a bright yellow light. How invigorating! Or set it for the rotating ones for fun. At night it will be nice to relax in a blue - purple - green light to calm down. Or in a red - orange light for a hot shower on a cold day or night-would make me feel warmer!

So for me, yes it will be important. But you may feel differently. The up lights sound cool and would be interesting so see. But I would consider that to be 'accent' lighting and would still want 'task' lighting downward to see what I'm doing. In addition to the regukar lights and chromatherapy, I also have natural light coming from an adjacent skylight and through a portion of glass in the shower ceiling, so I like lots of varied light.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 1:56PM
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Cindallas - Hey thanks for the considerate response! I'm pretty much going with the same configuration as you, but I'm pretty sure the chromotherapy lights I'm ordering from steamsaunabath.com also can be programmed to white lights as well. I was considering speakers in the shower, until my low voltage guy said that all the shower speakers sound like crap anyway. I'm with you on the fragrances. Instead, I'll invest in a couple of spritzer bottles with homemade scents if the mood strikes.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 6:50PM
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Zagyzebra - Glad you went ahead and got it! I don't think you will be disappointed. Yeah, my AV guy had the same opinion on the shower speakers. We decided to pre wire the whole first floor for when we want to put regular room speakers in. And that fragrance thing was too much; you could not control the Amount it dispensed. I agree with you on that too; the only thing that I might like is a menthol or eucalyptus spray in the flu / cold / allergy season (with a cooler steam), and I can dispense the exact amount and type I need by myself.

This entire steam shower has been quite a learning experience for me. I was blown away by all of the extra prep required for a good sealed steam shower for the waterproofing AND vapourproofing. I was also surprised that my natural stone shower tile required a larger steam unit than if I used ceramic or porcelain. We're even using an appropriate sealer that has smaller particles (I forget the exact scientific terminogy) that allows the tile and grout to breath and evaporate water (and vapor) from behind yet still be protected (and easy to clean) so not to create any future 'vapor sandwich' effect (and therefore prevent mildew or mold). But considering the ENTIRE reason for my remodel in the first place started with repairing old and current water leaks, water damage and subsequent framing damage around the shower and tub wall, all of the extra prep is good piece of mind!!

Hope yours is going well and we can both enjoy our steam shower with chromatherapy real soon!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 4:20AM
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Cindallas -- I hear you on the necessity to size up due to natural stone. I need to get a Mr. Steam Super 4, which is enough to power a freaking gymnasium steam room, just because I'm using all marble. To do a steam shower with natural stone is definitely a HUGE luxury item. I probably wouldn't do it if I weren't absolutely hooked on the steam shower that came with the apartment I'm renting.

I'm pre-wiring my whole house, too, but based on the look my AV tech gave me when I mentioned shower speakers, I think I'll give them a pass. Do you think I'm making a mistake passing on the speakers? They just seem kind of over the top for a poor quality item -- essentially, wasteful.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 3:41PM
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Oh no, I quite agree that speakers IN THE SHOWER are pretty lame. Or the ones I have seen/heard are anyway. The ones we pre-wired for are in the bathroom ceiling and those I think are worthwhile.

You must have a really huge shower because I think ours was in the upper middle range before getting into the really large systems. Sounds like it will be very spacious. We had some framing restrictions so it's smaller than I would have liked, but we made great use of our space.

Sounds like your marble will be georgeous. Is it a white marble that is so popular now? I've used marble before and it is beautiful but has it's own set of challenges working with it. I'm using pale butter cream limestone along with Arco Iris Onyx for my master bath, so am familiar with the challenges of light natural stones! Also I know that there are plenty of people who did not recommend what I used, but we have taken precautions and did a lot of preventative work so it will function great while looking spectacular. I hope your goes as planned and is trouble free.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 11:15PM
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No, it's not a huge shower. Comfortable, but not huge. But 2/3 of it is on an exterior stone wall, and we have three small windows -- so that bears weight on the size of the generator, which I still think is insanely huge, but the worst thing would be a steam shower that doesn't get hot enough.

Planning on using calcutta marble. I thought about onyx, too. I once saw a steam shower with an entire back lit feature wall of onyx. Wow it was gorgeous. But I have a 1931 home and the style of the home lends itself more to marble -- it's timeless. And yes, I've had many people try to dissuade me from using marble. On the other hand, my contractor and installer do not seem daunted at all by it. Like you said, you have to take precautions and make sure you maintain it properly.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 9:06PM
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I don't have a steam shower but have chromatherapy in my Bain Ultra air jetted tub. I used it every night for probably 3 years. I don't use it as often anymore but I'm still glad I spent the money on this feature. So I'd put it in the middle of "grow old after the initial novelty wears off. Or if they become something you could never imagine living without again" :)

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 11:22PM
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Zagyzebra - I can see that with yours on an exterior wall plus three windows that you would need a more powerful system. And yes, a steam shower that does not get hot enough would be sad indeed! But the ability to vary it to a cool setting is wonderful too. Those small windows sound great. Natural light in a shower is such a nice effect but especially while still allowing privacy like it sounds like yours does.

The onyx I am using is a very subdued pattern and color and just a few dramatic accent areas. It is very traditional, classic and formal in an older home, but not near the age of your place. I love the feel of an older homes. They have a unique feeling and charm. Yours is about 50 years older than mine and I bet it has classic beauty.

I worked with some builders in new construction a few years ago when the Tuscan look was very popular, and the back lit onyx was just starting out. It was very dramatic but we also did it a lot of that, so I guess I grew tired of it so I wanted something different for myself, with a more subtle color scheme for my area. I was not even looking for onyx when these slabs just jumped out at me at the stone yard and was 'the one' for my Master. We used book-matched slabs which creates a symmetrical pattern from two matched adjacent slabs, that when lined up and cut properly, can meet in the middle for a mirror image from the center, which creates beautiful classical proportions. The natural light is on the front and not the back which reminds me of the delicate hand painted old book inside covers of feathered paint (can't remember what that is called). Anyway, it is very serene and classic which is the feeling I was after and the color scheme is similar to your marble only darker.

The Calcutta sounds great and I'm sure it will be beautiful. I love the subtle veining and the warm 'glow' it gives off. I bet you have all the precautions covered but if you don't mind me mentioning just a few that I've read about here on GW recently about white marbles specifically. These have mostly been regarding these marbles on the shower floors. Most came from a combination of or single problems of 1) installing directly on the mortar bed instead of a membrane (presumably like you have on the walls and ceiling), and the translucency and delicate nature shows darker if it remains wet underneath, and usually in an uneven pattern (darker = hidden moisture underneath), 2) sealing the tile with a traditional sealer (on tile and grout I believe) that holds in moisture and will not evaporate properly) and 3) using the typical grey thin-set instead of the white, so since it is translucent, will show darker than it really is. I was going to attach a link to one of those posts on the shower floor problems, but can't find them now. It was either Bathrooms, Flooring, Remodeling or Building a Home forums. Gee, I guess I'm reading too much GW! I tend to do too much research, but then again, it sure comes in handy!! These forums are a wonderful resource!

Although they caution using a regular sealer that causes moisture retention, we needed one for the high calcium stone (limestone and the onyx which marble is too), so we researched and tested A LOT to find one that would protect the grout and stone while allowing both to evaporate any moisture behind the stone. The membrane of the steam shower with the water proofing as well as vapor proofing made this more critical so this would not cause a 'vapor sandwich'. Your project may differ and you may need nothing or something else. If you are interested, it is called Stain Proof from Dry-Treat. Smaller molecules or something and my engineer DH was even impressed with the tech behind it. And no, I don't work for them or anything. Just passing along what took us weeks of research and testing to learn. I would not have felt comfortable without seeing the samples myself.

How far along are you? I know once I've gone over every decision and actually decided everything, then I'm anxious to see the final results! But I must be patient to get the best installation to match what's in my head. Hope yours will be or is going well.

Monicakm - I have the chromatherapy in my bathtub as well. I got to try this also when traveling so knew I would like it. It is always nice to know you have even though it has lost it's usefulness for you. You could always use the color(s) to perk yourself up on a dreary day!

You know, with everyone having problems deciding which features are important, or not, for bathtubs, (or showers for that matter) wouldn't it be great to have several hotel chains have different ones installed to use for real, so we could try out various tubs (and showers / steam showers) and see the sizes, configurations and special features!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 8:18AM
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Or if you want to all a lot of these features already pre-installed in a steam shower, you can just get a steam shower from somewhere like luxuryshowerroom.com. Basically you'd be getting the steam shower, music, control panel, lights like the ones that were mentioned earlier, aromatherapy, and a really gorgeous shower. I was trying to do tile work and install a steam shower in my bathroom, but the steam generator alone was more expensive the shower with all the features, and I have yet to have any problems with it.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 1:21PM
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