Bathroom lighting guide

Bathroom lighting ideas to brighten up your space.

Well-planned bathroom lighting not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your space, but also plays a crucial role in functionality and safety. Proper bathroom lighting is important to consider when remodeling your bathroom.

In this quick look at bathroom lighting, you will find tips and ideas (as well as the various types of lighting fixtures) to guide you on choosing the right lighting for your space.

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Importance of Proper Bathroom Lighting


Bathroom lighting - LED mirror lights

Proper bathroom lighting is important for creating the right ambiance in your space. Whether you prefer a relaxing bath or a energizing shower, bath sconces and bathroom vanity lighting can set the mood by providing soft, warm light that enhances relaxation or bright, cool light that invigorates.

Proper bathroom lighting can transform your space, creating the perfect ambiance for relaxation or rejuvenation while enhancing visibility and functionality.

In addition to setting the mood, proper bathroom lighting also enhances the functionality & safety of your space. With strategically placed fixtures such as LED strips and overhead lights, you can eliminate shadows and ensure optimal visibility for tasks like shaving or applying makeup.

These small changes in your bathroom lighting can make a big difference in both the atmosphere and usability of your space.

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Creating the Right Ambiance

Color temperature can help set the mood of your bathroom. Choosing warmer tones can create make it feel cozy and relaxing, while cooler tones can promote a refreshing and invigorating atmosphere. When selecting fixtures for your spa-like bathroom, consider using bath sconces or bathroom vanity lights that emit soft, diffused light to enhance the overall soothing effect. Additionally, incorporating dimmers into your lighting design allows you to adjust the brightness according to your preference and create different levels of illumination throughout the day or night.

Enhancing Functionality and Safety

When it comes to enhancing functionality and safety in your bathroom, strategic lighting choices can make a world of difference.

  • Additional lighting for areas where self-care happens
  • Installation of vanity lights to minimize shadows
  • Natural of supplemental lighting for problem areas (shower, open areas, closets)
  • Addition of accent lights to elements in the space

Types of Lighting Fixtures

Vanity lights

Vanity lights are a popular choice for bathroom lighting fixtures, providing focused illumination around the mirror area. They come in various styles and sizes to suit different design preferences.

Ceiling lights

Ceiling lights are essential for overall ambient lighting in the bathroom. Options include flush mount fixtures and chandeliers, adding a touch of elegance to the space while illuminating it evenly.

Wall sconces

Wall sconces serve as both functional and decorative lighting elements, ideal for accentuating certain areas or creating an inviting atmosphere. They can be placed on either side of the mirror or along walls to provide additional light sources.

LED lighting

LED lighting is gaining popularity in bathrooms due to its energy efficiency and long lifespan. LED light strips can be installed under vanities or cabinets, offering indirect mood lighting that enhances the overall ambiance of the room.

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Examples of lighting

Vanity lighting

Backlit Mirrors – Create a stunning focal point in your bathroom with backlit mirrors. These sleek and modern mirrors not only provide functional lighting, but they also add a touch of luxury to your space.

Vertical Sconces – Enhance the verticality of your bathroom design with vertical sconces. These stylish wall lights offer both upward and downward illumination, creating an elegant ambiance while ensuring sufficient light for grooming tasks.

Pendant Lights – Add an element of sophistication to your bathroom with pendant lights. Hang these exquisite fixtures above vanities or freestanding tubs to create a visually striking statement that elevates the overall aesthetic of your space.

Ceiling Lights

Ceiling lights are an essential part of bathroom lighting, providing overall illumination and adding a touch of elegance to the space. Here are three popular types of ceiling lights that can enhance your bathroom:

Flush Mounts – These ceiling lights sit close to the ceiling and provide a clean, streamlined look. They are perfect for bathrooms with low ceilings or limited space.

Recessed Lighting – Also known as can lights or downlights, recessed lighting is installed into the ceiling and creates a modern, minimalist aesthetic. It offers focused light without taking up much visual space.

Chandeliers – For those who want to make a statement in their bathroom, chandeliers bring sophistication and luxury. Choose from crystal chandeliers for an opulent feel or contemporary designs for a sleek look.

Wall Sconces

Adjustable swing arm sconces – These offer flexibility and versatility in directing light exactly where you need it, making them an ideal choice for task lighting in the bathroom. With their sleek design and adjustable features, these sconces provide both functionality and style.

Candle-style sconces – For a touch of elegance, these can add a classic and timeless look to your bathroom. These sconces create a warm and inviting ambiance with their soft glow, perfect for creating a relaxing atmosphere during bath time or evening routines.

Picture light sconces – Enhance the beauty of your artwork or mirrors. These fixtures are designed to highlight specific focal points in your bathroom while adding a touch of sophistication. Illuminate your space with artful precision.

LED lighting

LED lighting is a popular choice for bathroom remodels, offering both style and energy efficiency.

LED strip lights – These can provide versatile and customizable illumination, perfect for highlighting architectural features or creating a relaxing ambiance.

LED recessed downlights – Offering discreet yet powerful lighting, and are ideal for task lighting or general illumination.

LED vanity bulbs – A good choice for grooming areas. You can achieve bright and flattering light for your daily routines.

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Choosing the Right Lighting for Your Bathroom

There are several factors to consider when you’re thinking about lighting for your new bathroom. A Certified Kitchen & Bath Designer can help you make the right choices based on your needs and wants.

Bathroom size – Smaller bathrooms may benefit from recessed lighting or wall sconces to save space, while larger bathrooms can accommodate chandeliers or pendant lights for a touch of elegance.

Functionality – Task lighting, such as vanity lights or overhead fixtures, are essential for activities like applying makeup or shaving.

Ambiance – Add dimmers or lower-wattage bulbs to create a relaxing atmosphere for those long baths after a stressful day.

Style – For modern bathrooms, sleek and minimalist designs like LED strip lights or geometric-shaped fixtures can enhance the contemporary aesthetic. Traditional bathrooms can be complemented by classic choices like crystal chandeliers or ornate wall sconces to add a timeless charm.

Bathroom size

Assessing the square footage: Before selecting lighting fixtures for your bathroom, it’s crucial to accurately measure the square footage of the space. This will help you determine how many and what type of fixtures are needed to adequately illuminate the area without overwhelming it.

Choosing lighting fixtures suitable for small bathrooms: In smaller bathrooms, it’s important to choose lighting fixtures that are compact and can be strategically placed to maximize illumination. Consider options such as recessed lights or wall sconces that provide ample light while taking up minimal space.

Maximizing natural light in larger bathrooms: If you’re fortunate enough to have a larger bathroom, make the most of natural light by incorporating large windows or skylights into your design. This will not only create a bright and airy atmosphere but also reduce reliance on artificial lighting during daytime hours.

Creative Lighting Ideas for Different Bathroom Styles

Bathroom lighting for every style

Modern and Minimalist Bathrooms

Create a sleek and minimalist look in your modern bathroom with recessed lighting embedded in the ceiling, providing a clean and seamless appearance. Add wall sconces on either side of the mirror to enhance visibility for grooming tasks while adding an elegant touch.

Vintage and Retro Bathrooms

For a vintage-inspired bathroom, opt for statement pendant lights with ornate details or industrial-style fixtures that exude retro charm. Install Edison bulbs to achieve warm ambient lighting that complements the nostalgic atmosphere, illuminating every corner of your vintage oasis.

Eclectic and Bohemian Bathrooms

Infuse your eclectic or bohemian bathroom with whimsical lighting choices like colored glass pendant lights or Moroccan-inspired lanterns suspended from the ceiling. We’ve even seen people use lamps with shades! Incorporate string lights around mirrors or artwork for added enchantment, creating an inviting space filled with personality and intrigue.

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Tips for Proper Bathroom Lighting

To create a well-lit and inviting bathroom, it is crucial to use layers of lighting. Incorporating different types of lighting fixtures, such as overhead lights, wall sconces, and vanity lights, will add depth and dimension to the space.

In addition to artificial lighting sources, don’t forget to consider natural lighting options. Maximizing the amount of natural light in your bathroom can create a bright and refreshing atmosphere during the day while reducing energy consumption.

Install Dimmers

To create a versatile lighting atmosphere, consider installing dimmers in your bathroom. Dimmers allow you to easily adjust the brightness of your lights, providing the perfect ambiance for any occasion. Whether you want soft and relaxing lighting for a soothing bath or bright and energizing illumination for getting ready in the morning, dimmers offer flexibility to suit your needs.

Installing dimmers can be done by replacing existing switches with dimmer switches or using smart home technology that allows remote control of light intensity. With this simple addition, you can transform the mood of your bathroom space while also saving energy by using lower levels of light when needed. Illuminate your bathroom with style and functionality by incorporating dimmer switches into your lighting design scheme.

Natural Lighting

Natural lighting can greatly enhance the ambiance of your bathroom, creating a bright and inviting space. Consider these tips to make the most of natural light:

  • Position your vanity or mirror near a window to maximize natural light for grooming tasks.
  • Install sheer curtains or blinds that allow diffused light while maintaining privacy.
  • Use reflective surfaces like mirrors or glossy tiles to bounce natural light around the room.

By incorporating these ideas, you can create a bathroom that feels open, fresh, and filled with natural beauty.

Energy-Efficient Lighting

Opting for energy-efficient lighting is not only environmentally friendly but can also save you money on your energy bills. Here are some ideas to consider when choosing energy-efficient bathroom lighting:

  • Install LED bulbs:
  • LED bulbs use significantly less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and have a longer lifespan.
  • Use motion sensor lights:
  • By installing motion sensor lights, you ensure that the lights are only on when needed, saving both energy and money.
  • Choose task lighting with high lumens:
  • Task lighting provides focused light where it’s needed most. Look for fixtures with high lumens to maximize brightness while minimizing power consumption.

Consider these options to illuminate your bathroom space while keeping efficiency in mind.

Bathroom lighting ideas – FAQ

What wattage should I use in my bathroom lighting fixture?

When it comes to choosing the right wattage for your bathroom lighting fixture, it is important to consider both functionality and ambiance. The wattage you choose will impact the brightness and overall mood of your bathroom, so it is crucial to find the right balance.

In general, a bathroom lighting fixture should have a wattage range between 75 to 100 watts. However, this can vary depending on the size of your bathroom and the specific areas you want to illuminate.

For the main overhead lighting in your bathroom, it is recommended to use a higher wattage bulb, such as a 100-watt incandescent or LED bulb. This will provide sufficient brightness for general tasks like showering or getting ready in the morning.

For vanity lighting, where you will be doing tasks like applying makeup or shaving, it is important to have adequate lighting without any harsh shadows. To achieve this, it is recommended to use bulbs with a wattage range of 40 to 60 watts. This will provide enough light for detailed tasks while still creating a flattering and even illumination.

In addition to the main lighting fixtures, consider adding accent lighting for a more layered and luxurious look in your bathroom. Accent lights can be used to highlight architectural features, artwork, or decorative elements. For accent lighting, lower wattage bulbs between 15 to 25 watts are typically used to create a subtle and elegant effect.

It is worth noting that with the advancements in LED lighting technology, you can achieve the same brightness with lower wattages compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs are more energy-efficient and have a longer lifespan, making them a popular choice for bathroom lighting.

Should I use warm or cool light in my bathroom?

The choice between warm or cool light in your bathroom depends on personal preference and the desired ambiance. Warm light, with a color temperature of around 2700K to 3000K, creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere. It mimics the warm glow of traditional incandescent bulbs and is often preferred for relaxation areas like bathtubs or vanity spaces.

On the other hand, cool light, with a color temperature of around 4000K to 5000K, provides a crisp and vibrant illumination. It is often used in areas where tasks requiring precision and clarity, such as applying makeup or grooming, are performed.

To achieve a balanced and versatile lighting scheme in your bathroom, consider using a combination of warm and cool light sources. For example, you can install warm light fixtures for the main overhead lighting and use cool light bulbs for vanity lighting. This allows you to create different moods and adapt the lighting to various activities in your bathroom.

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How can I make my bathroom lighting more energy efficient?

Making your bathroom lighting more energy efficient is not only beneficial for the environment but can also help you save money on your energy bills. Here are some tips to make your bathroom lighting more energy efficient:

Switch to LED bulbs: LED bulbs are highly energy efficient and can last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. They consume less energy and emit less heat, making them a perfect choice for bathroom lighting.

Install dimmer switches: Dimmer switches allow you to adjust the brightness of your lights according to your needs. This can help you save energy by using less light when it is not necessary.

Use motion sensors: Installing motion sensors in your bathroom can be a great way to save energy. The lights will automatically turn on when someone enters the bathroom and turn off when there is no movement detected.

Make use of natural light: If your bathroom has a window, take advantage of natural light during the day. Keep your window treatments open to allow sunlight to illuminate the space.

Optimize your lighting design: A well-planned lighting design can help you reduce energy consumption. Use task lighting for specific areas where bright light is needed, such as around the mirror, and ambient lighting for overall illumination.

Consider light color and temperature: Choosing light bulbs with a lower color temperature (warm white) can create a cozy and relaxing atmosphere while consuming less energy. Avoid using bulbs with high wattage if they are not necessary.

Install timers: Timers can be installed to automatically turn off the bathroom lights after a certain period of time. This can help prevent lights from being left on accidentally and wasting energy.

What type of lighting is most aesthetically pleasing for a bathroom?

When it comes to creating an aesthetically pleasing bathroom, lighting plays a crucial role. The right lighting can transform a simple bathroom into a luxurious oasis, enhancing the experience in the space. There are several types of lighting options that can elevate the aesthetics of a bathroom, and each has its own unique benefits. Let’s explore a few contemporary and innovative bathroom lighting ideas that are perfect for high-end bathrooms.

Pendant Lights: Pendant lights are a popular choice for those seeking a stylish and modern lighting solution in their bathrooms. These suspended fixtures not only provide ample lighting but also add a touch of elegance and sophistication to the space. Pendant lights are available in various shapes, sizes, and finishes, allowing homeowners to choose a design that complements their bathroom’s overall theme.

Wall Sconces: Wall sconces are a versatile lighting option that can be used to create a soft and ambient glow in the bathroom. These fixtures are typically installed on the sides of the mirror or vanity, providing even and flattering illumination for tasks such as shaving or applying makeup. Wall sconces come in a wide range of designs, from sleek and minimalist to ornate and decorative, ensuring there’s a style suited for every bathroom.

LED Strip Lighting: LED strip lighting has gained immense popularity in recent years, and for good reason. These thin, flexible strips of LED lights can be installed under cabinets, around mirrors, or along the edges of the bathroom ceiling, creating a stunning and modern look.