Light up Your Life With These Bathroom Lighting Ideas

When you think about setting the mood, what’s the first word that comes to mind? Was it lighting? If it was, you understand just how important lighting is for the look, feel, and vibe of any space. With these bathroom lighting ideas, you’ll soon be able to convert your bathroom into a glorious utopia.

First of all, it’s useful to approach your bathroom lighting based on the tasks that will be carried out in that space–this is aptly called “task lighting.” For example, an entrance way powder room won’t need as much bright light or consideration for design as a master bathroom does, since you won’t carry out as many tasks in that room. In such a case, task lighting is not essential in certain bathrooms, instead, one overhead light could provide sufficient lighting.

Factors you may have to consider are: general lighting for the entire bathroom, ceiling lighting above a shower or bathtub (or both, depending on the floor plan), and lighting around mirrors. Moreover, does the bathroom have natural light that you can optimize and complement?

Naturally, lighting serves a functional purpose but that doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t serve a decorative purpose as well. In fact, it absolutely should match the overall aesthetic of the entire room. Be mindful of the look you’re going for in your bathroom–eclectic, modern, traditional, etc. In this case, light fixtures can be made of varying materials to match the style of your bathroom. Several examples include:

  • Clear glass shades
  • Opaque glass shades
  • Seashells
  • Metal
  • Crystal
Bathroom lighting ideas

Now, let’s dive into what are the best bathroom lighting ideas based on needs.

Lighting for vanity

Thankfully it’s not vain to think about lighting for your vanity! If you’re going to be using your vanity mirror for tasks such as shaving or applying makeup, it’s more sensible to use brighter lighting (that is, unless you want to end up cutting yourself or with two differently shaped eyebrows). Consider using a mirror that is illuminated from behind to really amplify its practicality. Otherwise, bathroom vanity lighting ideas (ones that are placed above the mirror, sink, and counter typically) can be shaped:

  • Tubular
  • As a bar
  • Globular / Circular
  • They can also be caged (more industrial style)
  • Or shaded (adding a gentler tone)
Bathroom vanity

How do you Light a Small Bathroom? Simple–Overhead Lighting!

Particularly in smaller bathrooms, ceiling lighting is critical for amplifying the space since it’s out of the way. You can also use low-profile lighting such as tubed lights around mirrors or recessed lighting, which will be discussed in further detail below. As always, paint colors play a crucial role in the absorption or reflection of light and this is a big deal in small bathrooms. To clarify–darker shades absorb light, while paler ones reflect more of it. Consider painting your tinier bathroom in a bright shade to augment the luminous feel since it will reflect more light.

Bathroom lighting

Two types of overhead lighting include pendant lights–those that hang–and recessed (also known as flush mount).

Hanging bathroom lights

Do you want to make a statement with your bathroom lighting? Consider a regal pendant light–otherwise known as a hanging light. Imagine you enter your bathroom and see a sparkling, crystalline chandelier hanging above your incredible bathtub. Can you envision the elegance? The beauty of hanging lights is that they come in many varieties–some are more unique and artistic while others are simple and classic, yet modern. Again, consider your overall look–trendy, traditional, or totally original.

Hanging bathroom lights

Recessed lighting

Recessed lighting is particularly attractive since it provides a very clean, modern, and neat design. Since recessed lighting is more localized in its brightness, you should strategize about where to place each light so it provides ample illumination overall. For example, you can situate several above your shower and one over your bathroom mirror. Flush mount lighting especially makes practical use of small spaces such as powder rooms. Because they are built into the ceiling, you can then optimize wall space for hooks and shelving instead.

recessed lighting

Wall Lighting

If you’re going to entertain wall lighting, make sure you have enough space to accommodate it jutting out and that it’s positioned high enough to illuminate the room while not being in the way. If you have ample room, you don’t have to opt for such sleek designs. Several examples of wall lighting are:

  • Sconces
  • Glass shades
  • LED lighting
  • Metal light fixtures
  • Mirrors with built-in lights or illuminated from behind (for shaving and makeup, etc.)
Wall lighting

Glass in particular is an extremely versatile material that you find in varying shades to match the color palette of your bathroom. Moreover, it can have multiple colors blended and/or marbled together to give a unique, artistic, and even luxurious look. Bathroom lighting ideas are truly endless when it comes to wall lighting made of glass.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting usually offers uniform illumination since it tends to be placed evenly. By putting a dimmer on the switch, you can control the intensity of light. This way, you augment the versatility of your bathroom for both function and comfort.

Take me to Paradise

Look, Euphoria doesn’t need to just be a popular television show–it can also be what you feel every time you step into your bathroom. For that spa-like feel, opt for “soft white” lightbulbs–2,700-3,000 Kelvin (the packaging will usually specify this). This type of lightbulb emanates a cozy, warm hue that instantly will transport you to relaxation-ville. If you’re looking for a sepia tone (reddish brown), use 1,000 Kelvin lightbulbs.

While creating your at-home spa, incorporate these materials into your lighting or bathroom:

  • Burlap
  • Silk
  • Rattan (if you want your “spa” to have a tropical, coastal, or beachy vibe)
  • Bamboo
  • Wood
Wall lighting


Has the metaphorical lightbulb now gone off after all these bathroom lighting ideas? We hope so! Whether you were looking for vanity lighting or small bathroom lighting ideas, there is no shortage of ways to light up your bathroom. Mix and match if you must! Bear in mind the feel you’re going for (calm, bright, etc.), how large your bathroom space is, and the tasks you’ll be carrying out in order to choose what will light up more than your bathroom, but will light up your life!

Modern bathroom lighting
David Castaneda
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