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Bathroom Lighting: Everything You Should Know Before You Update Your Bathroom Lights

The right bathroom lights can not only illuminate but amplify your bathroom and create a more relaxing atmosphere. Today, we will show you how to make the most of your lighting and what you should expect from your bathroom’s lighting setup.

Goals of getting the Best Lighting Out of Your Bathroom 

  • Produce a safe lighting layout
  • Ensure equal light distribution
  • Minimize accidental shadows or bright spots
  • Work with true or warm light colors
  • These goals are possible without industrial fluorescents and glaring reflective surfaces. The bathroom, just as any other room in the home, should have a comfortable, welcoming character all its own. The mirror may reflect your face, but the rooms of your home should reflect a little of the whole household’s personality.

Benefits of great bathroom lighting

Reduces energy bills

The goal of bathroom lighting is to create an efficient system that not only provides illumination but helps to reduce energy bills. With proper layering and intelligent use of the space, you can easily achieve both of these. 

Emphasizes the features of a space

Great lighting can help amplify the features of your bathroom, making them focal points. In turn, this helps to elevate your bathroom’s theme and make it more attractive.

Better safety

Good bathroom lighting helps to illuminate your bathroom, making it easier to navigate, especially at night. In addition, bathrooms can be slippery, and there are many fall dangers present, so having proper illumination helps to keep you safe.

High illumination

Good bathroom lighting ensures high illumination, which amplifies the features of your bathroom, making it more inviting. 

Increases the value of the home

Proper lighting will make guests feel more welcome, increasing the resale value of your home as the space feels large and attractive.

Bath lighting styles


Ambient lighting provides overall illumination and creates a uniform lighting level. The first layer is soft and often dimmable to adjust to day and night settings. Ambient lighting is common in orientation areas such as stairs and hallways and is essential in large rooms such as kitchens or home offices. Floor lamps, wall sconces, and ceiling-mounted fixtures are common examples of ambient lighting. However, ambient lighting is not recommended for task work or to showcase home elements.


Task lighting provides direct, intense illumination of an area and is highly suited for detailed work such as reading, writing, making up, and cooking. The benefit of task lighting is that it’s focused on a given area and is much brighter than ambient lighting. In addition, task lighting is glare-free and maintains a light level that prevents eyestrain. 


Accent lighting is designed to highlight a specific object or area. The lighting strength is similar to ambient lights. It is meant to draw attention to a particular feature such as architecture, furnishings, or artwork, converting them into focal points in your bathroom. Recessed spot, track, and wall-mounted picture lights are all examples of accent lighting. The primary role of accent lighting is to create a point of interest for the viewer, so these lights are highly directional. 

Bathroom Light Fixture Types

Light fixtures come in many types, offering different lighting styles:

Vanity lights

Vanity lights help to highlight the face for grooming and makeup application. In addition, these lights eliminate shadows and throw a balanced light tone on the face that reduces glare.

Ceiling lights

Ceiling lights provide general ambient lighting. In addition, many ceiling lights are tuned to give your bathroom a “warmer” ambiance. 


Pendant lights are fixtures that drop from the ceiling and can provide both task lighting or ambient light depending on it’s orientation. Pendant lighting is unique in that the design is highly varied, giving you a large room for customization. 

Wall Sconces

Wall sconces are decorative ambient lighting that is mounted flush to a wall. 

Shower or Bath Lights

Shower lights are installed in the vicinity of the shower to help illuminate the specific area with ambient lighting. The lighting is generally soft to create a more comfortable bathing experience. 

LED Lights

LED lighting provides an efficient and versatile directional light source that lasts much longer than incandescent and fluorescent.

Toilet Lights

Toilet lights are functional lights that help to illuminate the toilet area when it’s in use. 


Chandeliers are fixtures that also provide ambient light. Chandeliers are decorative elements, so their design is usually ornate and vibrant to evoke a sense of luxury. 

Light quality

Light quality describes the intensity and brightness of the light in a room. Hotter temperatures are referred to as “cool” light, which is ideal for active uses such as task lighting, workspaces, desks, offices, and hospitals. Colder temperatures are referred to as “warm” light, making it ideal for ambient and decorative lighting.

For your bathroom, you want a color temperature around 2-3000k which would be a warm color, making it ideal for relaxation. For this reason, both LEDs and dimmer switches are recommended to help keep the room in a “soft white” range of 2700-3000k.

Lighting size

When selecting your lights, remember that bathrooms are tight spaces, so you want double check all your measurements and space appropriately. For example, chandeliers may look nice, but if you’re in a half-bath, it makes little sense to install them as they will take up the majority of the bathroom. For this reason, recessed and wall-mounted lights are great choices for a bathroom as they do not conflict with the existing space. 

Moisture rating

A light’s moisture rating refers to its ability to withstand moisture environments, specifically condensation. These lights have a seal that prevents excess moisture from entering the light fixture, but achieving a high moisture rating can be difficult and expensive. That is why we recommend using proper ventilation such as a fan or window to deal with condensation.

Additional considerations

Dimmer switches

Dimmer switches allow greater control over the brightness and intensity of your lights. Consider installing one, as in addition to having more control, a dimmer switch will make your bulbs last significantly longer. 

Safety First 

Regardless of what light setup you are looking for, always prioritize safety. Make sure your setup conforms to all safety standards, and be mindful of all your electrical connections. Also, since you are installing lights in a bathroom, moisture will be involved, which can increase the chance of danger, so it’s important to be cautious. 

Consider LEDs

LEDs offer a more efficient and safer light alternative. They have a heavy initial cost, but LEDs will last significantly longer in the long run, so the price balances out. 

5 bathroom lighting ideas

  • 2 Chandeliers-Having two chandeliers double the ambient lighting amount and can help create a nice sense of symmetry. 
  • Candlestick sconces-Candlestick sconces can establish a classic environment for your bathroom.
  • More Wall art-Having more wall art creates more focal points in your bathroom while creating a theme for your bathroom.
  • Layered lighting-Layer your lighting to get the most out of your bathroom. The combination of accent, task, and ambient lighting can make your space seem more vibrant and open.
  • Use mirrors to reflect light-Install a large mirror and use lighting to amplify the edges of the mirror to make your bathroom appear open and spacious.

Common questions

Do I need a specific light for my bathroom?

No, you do not need specific lighting for your bathroom. Which lights you use are up to you and your preference, as long as they satisfy your needs.

How do I light a small bathroom or large bathroom?

Although it may seem challenging, lighting a bathroom is the same, regardless if it’s small or large. First, you need to measure the space and divide it into individually lit sections. This method allows you to layer light differently and understand how much light you need or don’t need in the space. 

Choosing the best lighting for your bathroom

  1. Measure your bathroom
  2. Utilize different styles and layer your lighting
  3. Consider your light quality and keep it within 2-300k
  4. Select lighting that will compliment the features of your bathroom
  5. Divide your bathroom and provide lighting for each section to ensure maximum coverage

Bathroom lighting can greatly transform a small bathroom into a spacious retreat. Don’t be afraid to experiment with various light sources to see which one fits your home. Then, when you are ready to shop, you can find a wide selection of lights in retail stores and online vendors.

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