October 3, 2022

Bathroom lighting is often woefully overlooked in the world of interior design. Ideally, a bathroom would have multiple types of lighting for each section – and each with multiple settings to account for natural lighting changes throughout the day. A well lit bathroom will appear cleaner, bigger, and more inviting. Lighting choices are a pivotal part of bathroom design and the ideal lighting system for your bathroom will largely depend on the size, style, natural light, location, climate and purpose of your bathroom.

Lighting the bathroom with respect to your individual habits is an easy way to avoid over or undersaturation. One of the simplest ways to discern what type of lighting you are likely to benefit most from is to take mental stock of the times that you use the bathroom. Do you prefer morning or evening showers? How bright is it outside when you wake up? Will the bathroom also need to accommodate for grooming processes like for makeup application? The answers to these questions should help to inform you about the intensity your lights should be. Consider forming a Pinterest board to help compile the lighting ideas that you like best.

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Ceiling lights are without a doubt the most popular choice of bathroom lights, often with two settings; heat and light. The former will usually be a paler, softer light while the former is rather intense and will radiate heat into the room. A heat lamp like this is designed for bathroom use as it helps to evaporate excess water after a shower. This is likely what has caused the design to become so popular over recent years – but it is not the only option, nor is it the only popular choice.

Bathroom lighting trends are versatile and innovative. Lighting systems are of course always subject to technological advancements, and intelligent lighting systems are not far away. Already there has been a huge rush towards ‘smart lighting’, lighting systems which work on timers and have multiple settings (i.e. soft, harsh, stage, coloured etc).

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Though such systems are far more popular in bedrooms – where they have the added benefit of improving sleeping habits – they have been making their way onto the bathroom scene as well. A recent tiktok trend has seen users sharing the futuristic, coloured LED lighting systems in their bathrooms. While this is still far from the mainstream, it is a fun prompt for speculation about the future of bathroom lighting.

In the wake of all this, choosing your bathroom lighting might appear a daunting task. To help you narrow down some of the better available options, here is a list of the best bathroom lighting ideas, their applications, and cost estimates. 

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Best Lighting for Bathrooms: 6 ideas to keep your bathroom bright and open

6. Vintage

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Vintage bathroom lighting has a simple romanticism that is difficult to outdo. Lighting fixtures such as wall sconces or hanging lamps are perfect to create the traditional atmosphere of a vintage bathroom. Luxurious materials like marble are traditional choices for a bathroom like this. A vintage lighting system can usually be installed in addition to the existing ceiling lights, so you can potentially save money by avoiding rewiring.

Vintage lighting is typically soft and understated. Try to find warm bulbs as a fluorescent or cool tone is likely to wash out the bathroom and contrast with the overall style of the bathroom. Read more about popular 19th century bathroom design here.

5. Ceiling lights

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The most popular fixture of all bathroom lighting, ceiling lights have a number of benefits. Ceiling lights are versatile and can come in a vast range of styles – including more decorative options such as pendant lighting.

The popularity of ceiling lights is due in large part to their efficiency. Ceiling lights are simply better at lighting a room because their placement allows the light to reach from the ceiling to the floor without being blocked by other furniture pieces or limited by height. Ceiling lights also typically take up the least space, as they are recessed into the wall. This makes them a great option for small bathrooms.

4. LED

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While LED lights are perhaps not the most popular choice for bathrooms yet, there are considerable advantages to getting in early. LED lighting has a tremendous economic benefit. For one, LED lights are incredibly durable and will last 25 times longer than a traditional bulb. They are also far more energy efficient and can save up to 80% of traditional lighting costs.

3. Fixtures

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Lighting fixtures can be installed in addition to pre-existing lighting systems. There is a huge variety of available styles, guaranteeing the ideal fixture for your home and colour scheme.

Popular styles of lighting fixture include vintage (as above), farmhouse, modern, industrial, provincial, Scandinavian, and minimalist. Depending on the stylistic décor layout, you may choose to have multiple lighting fixtures in the one room or a single, standout feature piece.

2. Vanity lights

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Vanity lighting refers to lighting installed around or inside of a vanity cabinet. These lights are often fluorescent and always bright enough to aid with makeup or shaving. Most of the time, vanity lights will only be used for specific purposes – general wash lighting is provided by the overhead ceiling lights.

Vanity lights are extremely helpful for undertaking daily tasks and they minimize the shadows cast by insufficient lighting. They are a way to brighten a room without taking up much space, because most vanity lights are tucked neatly into the furniture or mounted onto the wall.

1. Above Mirror Lighting

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Installing a lighting fixture above a mirror is one of the most efficient ways to make a room feel brighter, bigger, and more inviting. This is because mirrors will bounce the light around the room, making them a favourite choice for areas with little space as it greatly enhances the interior atmosphere.

Placing a mirror near a light source is an interior design technique which has been in use for decades – and here is your chance to engineer this strategy by installing your own wall lights. A lighting fixture above a mirror will also help you to better examine your reflection while preparing for the day or beginning to unwind from work.