Lots of us prefer to shower before we leave the house in the morning. Or sometimes, we get home from work and want to wash off the stress of the workday. Meaning we mostly use the bathroom in the dark (pre-dawn or after sunset). Plus, many bathrooms have small windows.
They’re often positioned in the parts of the house that have no view. Textured windows make the bathroom even dimmer. Given all this info, your decisions on bulbs and fixtures are crucial. Both functionally and aesthetically. So let’s check out some bathroom lighting ideas.
1. Behind the Crease
Even in a bathroom with this much natural light, a few corners will fall into the shadows. The bathroom uses large windows and white marble to brighten the space. But notice the edges between the ceiling and the walls. Recessed down-lights are mounted in the false ceiling. You can also use LED strips. More bulbs are concealed under the floating vanity and bathtub.
2. Triplets and Tunnels
This bathroom is filled with diffuse layered light. And this type of layering is attractive, affordable, and effective. Start with large windows, massive mirrors, and strategically positioned skylights. Add sun tunnels to let outdoor light pass through the thick ceiling. To finish off, two racks of ‘triplet’ mirror lights are mounted above the vanity in sets of three.
3. Clean and Clear
Bathrooms have tons of glass and tile. So glass lampshades are just one more thing to clean. In this bathroom, the mirror lights are arranged in pairs and enclosed in see-through cylinders. The lampshades are fitted with incandescent bulbs so you may experience heat and glare. The shower cubicle is fitted with colder ceiling lights recessed into to roof.
4. Just Hanging …
Contemporary electricians are drifting away from suspended light fixtures. Can lights and LEDs use way less energy and fewer chances of accidents. Especially in homes where space is a premium. But if your bathroom has high ceilings (and is never used by the kids), pendant lights are a stylish choice. This bathroom has four cylindrical ones hanging over the vanity.
5. Ceiling Strips
Puck lights are the most common form of recessed fixtures. They might sit flush against the ceiling or they may project slightly off the surface. But not everyone wants to see buttons of light dotting their bathroom ceiling. Here, a slightly different idea is at play. A see-through glass strip is mounted on the roof. Under the glass, mount a fluorescent tube as a down-light.
6. Backlit Mirrors
Backlit switches are crucial tools for dark corridors and en-suite bathrooms. They offer stress-free illumination for late-night bathroom trips. In this case, the backlit control panel supports the backlit mirror. This mirror has backlights installed a few inches from its perimeter. The lights run along all four sides of the mirror, creating a ‘frame made of light’.
7. Light the Back?
We’ve looked at a few bathroom lighting ideas that involve backlights. Here’s one with a twist. The lights here hit the back of the mirror … but they’re not conventional backlights. Instead, the mirrors lean forward. Yellow decorative lights are mounted over the mirrors in sets of three. White ceiling lights (and a large skylight) offer ambient light as a back-up.
8. Low-Hanging Brightness
The color scheme in the bathroom is white and baby blue. So it could be a kids’ room. And while the lights pictured here are pretty, you don’t want them hovering in a bathroom full of grabby hands. The two pendant lights have long, slim cables that sink almost to shoulder height. Their snow-globe appearance and decorative bulbs are great for bathroom aesthetics.
9. Copper Accents
Apart from the concrete countertop and the decorative wall disc, this bathroom is mostly white. So the light fixtures introduce a touch of color. The clear cylindrical lampshades have a retro design, echoing old-school gas lamps. But they’re fitted with yellow incandescent bulbs. The base of the lampshade has copper housing and a nostalgic copper rack.
10. Maritime Lighting
Whether you’re raising a sea scout or recalling your sailing days, this marine-themed bathroom is an ode to seaside living. The anchor and vaulted ceiling are simulations of crowded boat cabin bathrooms. With limited space, the lights are mounted over the mirror. The set of three has vintage funnel lampshades. Their insides are painted a reflective white.
11. Boxy and Beautiful
This is a really pretty bathroom. And it has tons of little touches that stand out. Like the transparent vessel sinks. They have a green tint that accents the olive green walls. The bathroom has a square ceiling light and four mirror lights. The lights are housed in ‘square bell’ lampshades made of misted glass. They sit on a glossy chrome rack above the mirror.
12. Mix and Match
Earlier on this list, we looked at retro ‘funnel lights’ that resemble those stereotypical interrogation lights from old spy movies. The lights here have a similar shape, but the curve is more bell-shaped. These bell lights are mounted directly on the mirror in pairs. The bathroom also has wall sconces over the top and puck lights built into the shower ceiling.
13. Hotel Lighting
We often wish we could live in fancy hotels. So we may be tempted to bring those ideas home. This bathroom uses hotel-style lighting, but it does have a few drawbacks. It’s a single fluorescent positioned in the middle of the room. So it causes blinding arches of light around the mirror … but dark spots elsewhere in the bathroom. And the black glass doesn’t help.
14. Tubes of Light
A bathroom clad in white tile is an excellent lighting fix. The floor-to-ceiling tile is brick-pattern with white grout. The floor is distressed chevron timber and a large window floods the bathroom with daylight. After sunset (or on cloudy days), a series of low-hanging pendant lights are draped above the bathtub. The bath lamps have cylindrical lampshades.
15. Location Location Location
This bathroom is remarkably elegant for something so simple. It’s done in gray and white with black accent framing. An accent wall matches the gray floor and a double-slipper claw-foot tub provides a centerpiece. For lighting, try pendant lights with deep bowl lampshades. Place four behind the tub for night baths. Add a fifth one by the mirror to light the vanity.
16. To the Side
If you love your pastels but you don’t want your bathroom too ‘soft’, try this. The shared bathroom mixes pale pink and slate gray, keeping both partners happy. Recessed lights are arranged along the sides of the ceiling. They form a right angle, four on each side. More natural light comes through a large window opposite the twin mirrors. The floor is reflective too.
17. Vibrant Vaulting
Let’s step away from the pink and slide into the green. This attic bathroom has several shades of mint and a ceiling with multiple vaults. That makes interior décor tricky – all those awkward angles and endless surfaces. Layered lighting is the simplest solution. The four slanted surfaces all have puck lights. Two wall sconces sit between the three windows.
18. Bold and Brown
A couple of hot-buttons are messing with this bathroom. It has large windows but they’re fitted with Flemish glass. So limited daylight filters through them and a lot of that light gets lost amid the brown bathroom décor. Above the mirror, five bell lights glow down on the counter. Skylights and a few sun tunnels sit on the ceiling, bringing in more natural light.
19. A Good Kind of Blue
Colour – like beauty – is often in the eye of the beholder. So you may describe this bathroom as cerulean, cobalt, or even lavender. The ‘blue’ is semi-glossy and contrasts the three textures of white (cork flooring, wood panel walls, and brick-pattern backsplash). Three high windows work with three boxy vanity lights that point at the skylight directly above them.
20. French Diffusion
Ceiling lights are great for bathrooms because there are no hanging wires to snag. The absence of cables also reduces the risk of electrocution via condensation. (Steam could slip into the cables and cause problems.) This bathroom has French windows, so your night-time lights should be diffuse (like the ceiling lights here) to avoid spotlighting your bathtub.
21. One Point of Light
Creative architecture can elevate your bathroom, even with limited space. Here, the master en-suite is tucked into a nook. The wall-to-wall mirror runs the width of the nook. It’s also the only light source for the bathroom. The mirror has backlights all around its perimeter, forming a faux frame full of bulbs. The glossy wood, tile, and glass help reflect the light.
22. Sidelights not Sidelines
In contemporary bathrooms, wall-to-wall mirrors are often horizontal. They elongate the room and make your bath-space seem bigger. But this bathroom has a vertical mirror from the vanity to the ceiling. Wall sconces flank the mirror with tall cylindrical lampshades. A single recessed light in the middle of the bathroom offers more generalized lighting.
23. Perfect Reflections
Reflective surfaces are the ultimate tool for bathroom lighting ideas. Use them strategically and your guests won’t even be sure where the lights are. Thus bathroom does that perfectly … can you see where the vanity lights are mounted? They bounce off the mirrors, the skylights, and the shower doors … but the two sets are installed above the bathtub, near the window.
24. Bathtime Chandeliers
Chandeliers are pricy and ornate. And with all those embellishments, they’re tougher to clean. There are so many intricate bits where dirt and dampness can hide. But if you’re okay with that, they can lift your bathroom to immense levels of sophistication. In the bathroom, a central chandelier is complimented by wall sconce lights on either side of the mirror.
25. Up Above and Down Below
Bathroom lighting ideas don’t get more contemporary than this. The copper vessel sink is lit from below so the sink seems to glow. Above the vanity, LEDs are mounted on futuristic glass panels that hang perpendicular from the mirror, forming a kind of folded lighting shelf. The shelves of light point down at the countertop, bouncing beams off the glass shower door.
26. Heavenly Bathroom
You know those stereotypical shots of celestial spaces? Where golden rays of light seem to shine from unseen spaces? You can use LEDs to achieve that exact effect in your bathroom. Here, the shower wall has three split levels. LED strips are fitted between those levels. The result is light seems to glow through ‘cracks in the wall’. A ceiling light completes the look.
27. Retro Refurb
The chevron backsplash behind this round mirror gives the bathroom a vintage feel. A foot in front of the mirror, a quirky light hangs low on a braided cable. The lampshade is a conical model in clear glass. The lamp has an old-school switch that simulates gas lights. In the shower cubicle, concealed LED strips send light through the border of the wall and the roof.
28. Sideways Lighting
Hybrid devices let you enjoy the best of both worlds. And in this case, the bathroom light is the love-child of fluorescent tubes and wall sconces. Instead of ceiling mounting, the tube light is laid laterally and secured by a wall sconce. It sits above the mirror on either side. A third dome light sits on the ceiling for broader beams of illumination. The window helps too.
29. Seamless Shine
During the day, this bathroom gets all the light it needs. The deep oval bathtub has French windows on either side so its sides in a huge beam of light. But for darker days, focus on the wall behind the tub. The joint between the wall and the ceiling has a gap in it. Recessed LED strips are fitted into the seam, allowing light to filter through that subtle slot in the roof.
30. Blue and White Puck Lights
This bathroom is on the smaller side. But the window is positioned opposite a reflective wall with white tile. So you’re fine during the day, even with the teal tile accents. But at night, you’ll need help keep the shower cubicle lit. A row of recessed ceiling lights fill the bathroom with diffuse light without crowding your limited space. A ladder rack saves even more room.
31. Mellow Yellow
A lot of us are drawn to white bathroom lights. But you can still infuse that yellow glow. This bathroom is a mellow mix of browns, creams, beiges, and yellows. You can follow the sunset theme by installing warm ceiling lights. Two large ones are recessed on either side of the bathroom. Above the twin vanities, a yellow bell light lets you shave, brush, or do make-up.
What bathroom lighting ideas have you upgraded? Show us some photos in the comments!