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Your bathroom is one of the most used rooms in your house, which is why it’s important to make it as beautiful as it is functional. In order to accomplish this you’ll need to understand which lighting style’s the best for bathrooms of all designs. After reading this blog, you’ll have plenty of bathroom lighting ideas to get you started.

Bathroom Lighting Guide

Whether you’re completely remodeling your bathroom or you just want to change some key elements, knowing what lighting is best is imperative. The correct lighting can make or break the entire design of any room, especially your bathroom.

Continue reading to see how we broke down the most common bathroom lighting design ideas.

Bathroom Light Fixtures

When beginning to select bathroom lighting fixtures, it is best to review popular options. These light fixtures will work to complement your bathroom’s aesthetic while also providing you with the necessary light you may need to perform a variety of tasks.

Vanity Lighting

If you’re interested in bathroom lighting ideas over mirrors, you’re looking for vanity lights. These light fixtures come in a variety of styles and sizes, making them great lighting for any size bathroom. They usually come in a series of either two lights or more but are always installed above your bathroom mirror.

Typically designed as a bar, cage, globes, shades, or tubes, homeowners are attracted to vanity lights because their design options allow you to find the perfect aesthetic for your bathroom, whether it’s traditional and elegant or modern and minimalist.

These fixtures provide substantial lighting over your mirror and sink area. This can be extremely useful for many daily tasks like brushing your teeth, styling your hair, and doing your skincare routine.

Pendant Lighting

Some homeowners are searching for a dramatic accent to their bathroom, pendant lights are a bold choice for bathrooms and give an updated feel.

Pendant lighting includes fixtures that hang from the ceiling creating a focal point and making a modern design statement. Coming in a variety of sizes and styles, pendant lighting accommodates different light bulbs and bathroom aesthetics.

Besides serving as a design centerpiece, these lights are also beneficial if you’re trying to save space and illuminate specific areas of the bathroom. Most often, pendant lights can be turned on and off or dimmed by a light switch installed on your bathroom wall, meaning you can adjust the brightness depending on your needs.

Sconce Lighting

Very similar to vanity lights, sconce lighting is installed close to your bathroom mirror to provide direct lighting when standing at your sink. The difference between the two fixtures is that sconce lights are attached to the wall, directly next to the mirror, rather than above it.

Sconce lighting can also come in a variety of sizes, and styles, and are versatile with different light bulb options which give your bathroom substantial light.

Oftentimes, sconce lights come with some type of shade over the bulb, these shades can be chosen to match your bathroom aesthetic whether its metal, glass or even fabric (Note: If you choose a fabric shade, make sure it’s made for a moisture-prone environment to prevent mold or other damage.)

Recessed Ceiling Lighting 

Known for its simple, minimalist style, recessed ceiling lighting is a great option for people who don’t want their lights to be the focal point of their bathroom design. Popular bathroom lighting design ideas often include bathrooms with vanity lighting above the mirror and recessed lighting above the shower or tub area.

Homeowners tend to choose recessed lighting for small bathrooms because they are cut directly into the ceiling. In other words, recessed lighting is flush with the ceiling, providing light without taking up hanging or wall space.

They also give homeowners a lot of flexibility when it comes to turning the lights on, off, or dimming them. In some cases, recessed lighting can be separated into groups. This allows some lights to be on while the others are off.

Bathroom Chandeliers

Another bold choice when considering bathroom lighting ideas is installing a chandelier. Available in an assortment of styles and sizes, bathroom chandeliers usually hang from the ceiling in the center of the room or above the bathtub.

Their designs can vary from classic crystal fixtures to contemporary geometric shapes. Because they are larger statement pieces, people tend to prefer hanging chandeliers in master bathrooms that have more space.

Bathroom chandeliers can also be dimmed with a light switch and often come in a range of colors from gold or silver to black or brass. While they can be more pricey, homeowners find that these types of fixtures are worth it for their eye-catching designs.

Fan Lighting

One of the most common bathroom light fixtures is fan lighting. This happens when an exhaust fan is combined with a lighting fixture. Homeowners are attracted to fan lights because of the wide variety of styles and sizes they’re available in. Fan lighting mixes beauty with functionality and can also be considered one of the more cost-effective options.

LED Strip Lighting

Easily comparable to recessed lighting, LED strip lighting provides a simple and minimalist style to any bathroom. Their bulbs are energy efficient and come in a variety of color temperatures.

They can be installed anywhere in your bathroom, and are most often used along with other forms of lighting. LED strip lights are also flexible, making them great choices when installed under floating vanities or inside drawers.

A common question that comes up when looking for bathroom lights is, are LED lights safe in bathrooms? Generally speaking, the answer to this question is yes. LED lights are great options for energy-efficient lighting.

However, while these bulbs are often long-lasting and easy to install, it’s important to note that if you find LED lighting that is very cheap, it may be a sign that the lights could be easily damaged or unsafe. When considering LED lights, we recommend asking a professional for their opinions on the best types.

Modern bathroom with sconce and vanity lighting.

Types of Lighting in Bathrooms

The next piece of our bathroom lighting guide will help you decide what role your light fixtures will play. There are three main types of lighting in bathrooms: task, ambient, and accent. Some homeowners will choose to use one of these types while others will choose to incorporate all three.

Task Lighting

Task lighting is meant to illuminate your space to make your daily tasks easier. As a result, this type of lighting is best achieved in bathrooms when it’s installed next to, above, or below your mirror and sink area.

Having your lights in close proximity to your mirror will allow you to complete detailed tasks like shaving or putting on makeup without the issue of shadows covering your face. When it comes to task lighting, we recommend using the following light fixtures:

  • Vanity lighting
  • Sconce lighting
  • LED mirror lighting

Since brightness is important to task lighting, it’s best to opt for bright bulbs in the white or yellow color family that have a high wattage.

Ambient Lighting

Conversely to task lighting, ambient lighting is meant to fill your entire bathroom with light rather than a specific area. This type of lighting is a popular choice for homeowners who want to produce a calm mood in their bathroom space.

Most often, ambient lighting will come with the option to use a dimmer. This will allow you to keep the lights lower when you want to relax, and brighter if you need to focus on more detailed tasks. Ambient lighting is best achieved with light fixtures such as:

  • Recessed lighting
  • Bathroom chandeliers
  • Pendant lighting
  • LED strip lighting

Ambient lighting is meant to generate a softer light, which is why using daylight or general bulbs with warmer hues are the best choices for this type of lighting.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting falls between task and ambient lighting. It’s designed to highlight a feature of your bathroom, whether it’s a piece of artwork, architectural pieces, or simply the area above your shower or tub.

Its purpose is to draw a person’s eye to the area where it’s installed. Similar to ambient lighting, accent lighting can usually be controlled by a dimmer switch. Because of their role in creating a focal point, the best light fixtures to use for accent lighting are:

  • Recessed lighting
  • Pendant lighting
  • Vanity lighting
  • Bathroom chandeliers

Depending on the needs of the homeowner, accent lights can range anywhere from bright bulbs with high wattage to softer, warm hues found in daylight bulbs.

Modern bathroom with vanity lighitng.

Bathroom Light Colors

The last piece to consider when researching bathroom lighting ideas is the light’s color temperature. This decision can vary greatly from person to person because it comes down to personal interior design style and preference.

In some cases, people want their bathroom to be as bright as possible, making it easy to get ready for any occasion. On the other hand, many people choose to create a calm and relaxing bathroom space where they can unwind. Before you begin choosing what color light is best for your bathroom, there are a few key things you need to know.

It’s important to know that color temperature refers to the appearance of the light, which is measured in degrees of Kelvin. The scale ranges from 1,000 to 10,000. On this scale, the lower the Kelvin degrees, the warmer (redder) the color of light will appear, while the higher the Kelvin degrees, the cooler (bluer) the color of the light will appear.

To help you understand this better, we’ve outlined the seven most common color temperatures you can find when looking for bathroom lights.

  • Warm Glow: 2,000K – 2,499K
  • Warm White: 2,500K – 2,999K
  • Soft White: 3,000K – 3,499K
  • Neutral White: 3,500K – 3,999K
  • Bright White: 4,000K – 4,449K
  • Cool White: 4,500K – 4,999K
  • Daylight: 5,000K – 5,500K

We recommend a temperature of about 3,000K – 4,000K. It’s also important to note that the color temperature of your lights is different from the brightness.

For example, if you include task and ambient lighting in your bathroom, we recommend matching the color temperature but not necessarily matching the brightness. You’ll want the fixtures installed for task lighting to be brighter than those installed for ambient lighting.

Modern bathroom with recessed ceiling lighting.

Remember, when choosing what lighting is best for bathrooms, you need to first figure out what your wants and needs are specifically. Doing research is always helpful, but reaching out to an interior design professional can be even more beneficial in the end.

Interested in making your bathroom beautiful? Check out our bathroom design gallery to see how we can bring your bathroom remodeling dreams to life.