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Lighting is an essential aspect of any room, but it’s especially important in the bathroom where it is essential for performing tasks such as shaving, applying makeup, and grooming.
It also impacts your mood and the overall ambiance of the space. The right lighting can make the space feel more welcoming and relaxing, which is particularly important in a room where you go to unwind and take care of yourself.
Additionally, lighting is essential in highlighting and enhancing the design elements of your bathroom.
For example, a beautiful tile pattern or a unique vanity can be showcased with the right lighting, creating a focal point in the space.
If you’re looking for some creative lighting ideas that are sure to make your bathroom feel warm, inviting, and luxurious, we share 20+ of them in this article. Scroll below…
You always want to make sure that any bathroom lights you choose are rated for use in damp or wet environments since bathrooms can be humid and moist.
Read our complete guide here to choosing and lighting a bathroom properly.
1. Pendant Lights
Pendant lights are a type of lighting fixture that hangs from the ceiling and typically has a single bulb or several bulbs clustered together.
They add a stylish and sophisticated touch to the space, especially if you choose a design that complements the other elements in your bathroom.
In the bathroom, pendant lights can be used to provide task lighting above a sink or vanity area, making it easier to see what you’re doing when applying makeup, shaving, or brushing your teeth.
NOTE: During installation, pendant lights should be hung at a height that doesn’t interfere with your ability to move around the space or obstruct your view in the mirror.
2. Wall Sconces
Wall sconces are a great option for bathroom lighting. Mounted on the wall, typically at eye level, they can provide both ambient and task lighting.
They can also be used to add an extra layer of lighting around a mirror or vanity area. Just ensure they are positioned at a height that doesn’t cast harsh shadows on your face or create any glare in the mirror.
You may also want to consider the spacing between wall sconces and any other lighting fixtures in the room to create a cohesive and balanced lighting design.
Read our complete guide to lighting a bathroom vanity here.
3. Black-lit Mirrors
If you’re looking for a modern and sophisticated look, then you need a backlit mirror. With built-in lighting around its edges, this mirror creates a soft and even glow that can be both functional and decorative.
One of the main benefits of backlit mirrors is that they provide excellent task lighting for activities like shaving, applying makeup, or styling your hair.
The even lighting around the edges of the mirror eliminates harsh shadows and provides a more accurate representation of your appearance.
Backlit mirrors can also add an extra layer of ambient lighting to the space, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.
They can also be paired with other lighting fixtures in the space, such as wall sconces or pendant lights, to create a cohesive and balanced lighting design.
4. Toe-Kick Lighting
Toe kick lighting refers to lighting fixtures that are installed at the base of cabinets, vanities, or tubs, illuminating the floor or “toe kick” area.
It adds depth and dimension to the space, and most importantly, acts as a night light, providing just enough illumination to safely navigate the bathroom in the dark.
You can install LED strip lights along the bottom of cabinets or vanities to provide a soft and even glow.
Puck lights can also be used for toe kick lighting to provide focused, directional lighting that can be adjusted to highlight specific areas of the bathroom.
Other lighting options include recessed lights installed in the toe kick area to provide subtle and focused illumination or rope lights that work just as LED strip lights but are thicker.
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5. Under-Cabinet Lighting
Under-cabinet lights are typically installed underneath cabinets, or shelves to illuminate the countertop or work surface below.
These fixtures come in a variety of styles and designs, including LED strip lights, puck lights, and linear fixtures.
When properly installed, they help create the desired mood or atmosphere in the bathroom. They are particularly great for dark and moody bathrooms.
Using a chandelier in the bathroom can add a touch of glamour and luxury to the space, creating a focal point that adds visual interest and depth to the design.
Choose a chandelier scaled to the size of your bathroom. Basically, a large chandelier may overwhelm a small bathroom, while a small fixture may get lost in a large space.
With a beautiful, wet-rated chandelier that suits your overall design, have it installed in a location that works with the layout of the space.
This could be in the center of your bathroom, ensuring it does not interfere with a shower or bathtub. Other good locations are above the tub or in the bathroom walkway.
Read this complete guide to choosing a chandelier for your bathroom and how to install it according to the National Electrical Code.
7. Recessed Lights
Recessed lighting provides a clean, modern look that blends seamlessly with the ceiling and walls.
If you have a small bathroom or a low ceiling, recessed lights are great because they don’t take up any additional space or add visual clutter to the design.
These lights provide general ambient lighting or focused task lighting, depending on the placement and bulb type. They can also be used to highlight architectural features or decorative elements in the bathroom.
Recessed lights can be installed:
(a) In the ceiling to provide general ambient lighting throughout the bathroom. This is a great option if you have a large bathroom or if you want to create a bright and airy feel in the space.
(b) In the ceiling above the shower or aligned in walls in the shower to provide targeted task lighting or general lighting while showering.
(c) In the ceiling above the vanity to provide focused task lighting for grooming and makeup application. You can also install them on the sides of the mirror for additional illumination.
(d) In the ceiling above the tub to create a relaxing and spa-like atmosphere.
(e) To highlight architectural features or decorative elements in the bathroom, such as a textured wall or a piece of artwork.
If you’re considering recessed lights for your bathroom, be sure to consult with a lighting designer or contractor to ensure that the fixtures are properly installed and meet your functional and aesthetic needs.
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8. Track Lights
If you have a large spacious bathroom that could use layering of lights to achieve a cohesive lighting design, you can use track lights
Because track lighting systems typically have fixed positions for the fixtures, which can limit their flexibility in terms of adjusting the angle or direction of the lights, we recommend using them for task or accent lighting at specific points in the bathroom.
Therefore, install a track lighting system above the bathtub area, and the vanity or highlight a feature wall or other decorative element in your bathroom.
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Starlights are decorative lights that are typically used to create the illusion of a starry night sky.
They can be used in a variety of settings, including bedrooms, living rooms, and even bathrooms.
If you are planning to install them in the ceiling of your bathroom, you will need to ensure that the wiring is properly installed.
You may also want to consider using a dimmer switch to control the brightness of the lights, as this can help create a more relaxing and soothing atmosphere.
Downlighting can be used when doing bathroom lighting, by incorporating pathway lighting.
In this case, not only do downlights invite you into the bathroom with a welcoming glow, but they also offer a means of safety and comfort even when walking at night so you don’t have to light the general lighting.
11. Uplights & Downlights
When using both up and down lighting together, a nice layering effect can shine through.
It is another great choice for accent lighting that plays up decorative elements and wall washing of a large space with the uplighting, while also providing the visibility needed to navigate with the downlighting.
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11. Niche Lights
A niche is a recessed area in a wall that is often used for storage or display, and it can be highlighted with lighting to draw attention to it.
If the niche is located in a prominent area, such as above the bathtub, in the shower, or near the vanity, lighting it can help enhance the overall design.
There are several lighting options to consider for a niche, including recessed downlights, strip lighting, and directional spotlights.
Choose the lighting that best fits the size and shape of the niche and creates the desired effect.
Maximizing natural daylight in the bathroom can make the space feel brighter, more inviting, and more energizing.
If possible, place your bathroom windows in areas that receive the most natural light, such as on a southern or eastern-facing wall. Also, consider adding skylights or light tubes to bring in even more natural light.
When choosing window treatments, select those that allow maximum light to enter the bathroom, such as sheer or lightweight curtains, blinds, or shades while avoiding heavy or opaque window treatments that block light.
With the right lighting, your bathroom can become a relaxing and rejuvenating sanctuary where you can unwind and recharge after a long day. Start your renovation today!