One ceiling light in the bathroom won’t cut it. Not if you want a really comfortable and convenient space. There are a few areas that need specific lighting, like around the mirror or in the shower. Lighting can also help make your bathroom space feel larger. Here are the bathroom lighting ideas that will help create a well designed space.
The Power of Natural Lighting
Try and bring as much natural light as you can during the day. This means making the best use of windows just like the bathroom in picture (1). But be careful not to over do it as you don’t want to feel exposed. Frosted glass is a good idea, or using a skylight (2).
Another natural lighting idea is to use solar tubes. These are tubes that are fitted from the outside of your roof to inside the room. Sunlight is then reflected down the tube and into the bathroom in the day. You can find solar tubes that have LED rings in them so they can be turned on at night.
A Brighter Room
Make the most of your mirrors to create a bright and spacious feeling bathroom. Try and use a large one (3) or a group of small ones. Mirrors add depth to a bathroom and reflect light around – making the space feel larger. Another idea is to use glossy textures – like glossy tiles. These also help reflect light.
Ambient Bathroom Lighting
You want to have as much lighting as possible – making the bathroom a comfortable, bright and spacious place. Recessed bathroom ceiling lights are the way to go as they create a modern look. Other options include wall lights and pendant lamps.
A mini channeller is another ceiling light option. The traditional styled chandeliers will look great if you want to create a more classical or shabby chic style in your bathroom. There are also simple and modern styled chandeliers available.
If you want to go for modern light fixtures, use chrome or stainless steel. Fixtures with simple designs, with no decorative shapes or designs. Find light fixtures that are similar in style to the faucets to create a well designed bathroom.
For other design styles have a look at these mood boards for inspiration:
- French Style Bathroom Decor and Designs
- Zen Style: Japanese Bathroom Design Ideas
- Rustic Bathroom Ideas and Decor Tips
- Shabby Chic Bathroom Decor and Design Ideas
Bathroom Vanity Lighting
The mirror area is an important part of the bathroom. This is where all the grooming takes place. Lighting plays and important role here. When it comes to mirror lighting, also known as vanity lighting, you don’t want to have shadows casted across the face. You want even lighting. And there are a few ways to do that.
You want to have lights that are specifically for the mirror area. Fit lights close to the mirror and around as many sides as possible. One option is go the hollywood route. In makeup rooms, and backstage you’ll see mirrors that have light bulbs going all around the mirror. This creates even lighting on the face making it easier to see what’s going one.
A second option for bathroom vanity lights, and a more popular option, is to go the 2+1 route. This is when you have one light on each side of the mirror and then one light fitted right above. The side lamps are usually vertical sconces, while the one above is a horizontal sconce. The bathrooms in photos (4) and (5) have well lit vanities, even though they are only using two side lamps.
Picture (6) shows a bathroom that has soft mood lighting. Lights fitted behind frosted glass by the mirror creates a soft glow around the the space.
Another area that could do with specific lighting would be the shower. Here you can have bathroom lights fitted in the ceiling (7). Use a glass shield to prevent glare, versus a plastic one because they will yellow over time.
Other shower lighting ideas include having a modern LED shower head. Or a recessed shelf can be fitted into the shower wall to add storage. This shelf can have a light fitted in the top. For more shower lighting ideas have a look at my mood board post here: Bathroom Shower Lighting Ideas.
There are times when you want to create a more relaxing spa like setting in the bathroom. For a relaxing soak in the tub maybe. To do this you want to dim the lights as much as possible. Avoid using ceiling lights, or have them on a dimmer switch if you can.
Nothing beats the flickering flame of a candle. Scented candles add another dimension of relaxation. If you are worried about the fire hazard, fill up a bowl or glass vase with water and use floating candles.
If you want to avoid the mess that comes with using candles, then use spa lights seen in picture (8). These are waterproof LED battery powered lights. You can stick them to the walls of the tub, or they can just float around in the water.
Bathroom Lighting Fixtures For The Kids
Here are some fun things you can do for your kids during bath time:
- There are glowing ducks which can found here
- You can get floating lights that will create a light show under the bath water
- How about throwing some glow sticks into the tub (9)
One of the problems I mentioned in my Kids Bathroom Decor and Design Ideas post is that kids have trouble reaching for things in the bathroom. One of these things is the light switch. One solution is to use a stool that can be moved over from the sink to the light switches. Or the light switch can be rewired so that a cord hangs down from the ceiling that the kids can reach. One other option is to have a portable bedroom night light. These lanterns can be taken with the kids when they go from the bedroom to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Light Safety in the Bathroom
Safety precautions need to be taken when it comes to lighting in the bathroom. Different countries have different rules – so you’ll need to check up on the rules for your local area. You’ll need to use light fixtures that are rated for the bathroom – because of the dampness, moisture and possible water contact. In the UK there are specific lighting zones in the bathroom. Bathroom light fixtures have IP ratings so you know where in the bathroom they can go. There are also specific rules on where you are allowed to have the light switches. 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9
For a beginner’s guide to home lighting design, have a look at my post here: The Simple Guide: Home Lighting Design Basics.
More bathroom mood board posts:
- Bathroom Mood Board Collection Page
- The Upgrade: Top 8 Bathroom Remodeling Ideas and Design Tips
- Bathroom Color Ideas: Palette and Paint Schemes