In addition to the tub, toilet, and sink, picking out bathroom lighting fixtures seems obvious and straightforward. And yes, you can select fixtures that simply serve the practical purpose of illuminating your space, like recessed can lights, but what if you took that a step further and chose lighting that elevated your bath with gorgeous design details and attention-grabbing finishes? The right pieces can complement the rest of your decor and could potentially make your bathroom the most stylish area in the house.
Here, we've laid out the different styles and types of lighting that you can consider, as well as a few other tidbits that you should ponder while you shop. For example, you'll need to consider the layout. While some washrooms have space alongside or above the mirror for wall lights or a bath bar, in a tight squeeze, you may need to entertain alternative options, like a sleek pendant light in a corner or a flush mount on the ceiling.
Next, you should contemplate your lighting needs and think through your daily routine. If you're a person who doesn't love bright lights in the morning, install a dimmer switch; just make sure the lighting you select is compatible with that dimmer. For applying makeup, you may want to use fixtures with warm white LED light bulbs. In some cases, you may need to hire an electrician to install your bathroom lighting. This is especially the case if you've moved into an older home and are unsure about working with dated wiring, or if you're installing an authentic vintage fixture that could use some extra care.
Lastly, when you have a budget in mind, consider a bathroom lighting design that won't break the bank. Shop online, keeping an eye out for sales, coupon codes, or plan your shopping spree to coincide with holiday sales like Black Friday. Don't spring for real-deal materials, like solid brass or crystal, when a standard, less expensive material will look just as stylish. And remember that simpler is always better when it comes to staying within a budget — skip over-the-top, artistic details in lieu of something minimal.
Now that we've given you plenty to think about, here are all of the different styles and types of bathroom lighting to consider, plus some of our favorite shopping destinations.
Bathroom Lighting Styles
For every style bathroom out there, we guarantee that there's a lighting idea that will match. When searching for fixtures to enhance your space, and add that finishing touch, there are certain details you should look for.
In a modern bathroom, clean lines and unfussy details with a nod to the past, are signature characteristics.
Or, for a truly contemporary bathroom lighting idea, go toward fixtures with linear accents, polished finishes, and on-trend hues.
Farmhouse bathroom lighting ideas feature brass finishes, industrial metals like iron, warm wood accents, and silhouettes reminiscent of life on a farm — like a barn light.
When shopping for coastal lighting, think: light and airy. Fixtures showcasing natural materials like seashells, beads, and rattan are shoo-ins.
Industrial bathroom lighting doesn't stray all that far from farmhouse. In a space marked by dark colors, worn woods, and raw materials, install cage lights or fixtures with exposed bulbs or wires.
On the other hand, bohemian bathroom lighting ideas are warmer and less edgy. For this aesthetic, you want a fixture flaunting natural materials and woven details.
When designing a midcentury modern bath, keep your eyes peeled for lighting silhouettes that are curvaceous, globe-shaped, sputnik-inspired, and sleek.
If a clawfoot tub and penny mosaic floor tile is calling your name, you'll need some vintage lighting to match. Here, you'll want to incorporate milk glass, retro motifs, well-loved brass, or even a fixture discovered at a flea market. Just make sure you work with an electrician to ensure the wiring is safe and up to code.
Similar to farmhouse and industrial styles, rustic lighting tends to favor raw materials — like wrought iron and wood — and simple silhouettes. Wagon wheel candelabras, lanterns, and faux antler-inspired fixtures would look right at home.
If clutter-free spaces are your jam, then it's probably safe to assume your beautiful bathroom is no exception. Continue that theme when it comes to your lighting to really drive the minimalist look home. Look for fixtures sans fussy details with clean lines, simple designs, and sleek finishes. Perhaps a mini pendant or two, with glass shades, over the vanity area is all you need for a little extra illumination.
Also characterized by clean lines, simple designs, and neutral palettes, Scandinavian style is as dreamy as it gets. Whether you decide to frame your bathroom mirror with a stylish vanity light or hang an eye-catching pendant in the middle of the room, Scandi-chic fixtures will go a long way to transforming your space without distracting from the overall design.
If you've been dreaming of a crystal chandelier shimmering over a freestanding tub, let us introduce you to traditional lighting fixtures. From grand candelabras to sconces with pleated fabric shades on the bathroom wall to old school lanterns, there is just something so charming about classic-looking fixtures.
Types of Lighting to Consider
You'll also have no shortage when it comes to the type of lighting for your bathroom. Whether you have low or lofty ceilings and ample or zero wall space, there is a fixture or combination of fixtures that will work beautifully in your space.
Want to flawlessly frame a wall mirror (or two)? Opt for wall sconces. And bonus: Not only do they look good but they also provide bonus task lighting for makeup and self-care rituals.
A relatively new option for modern baths is pendant lighting, and we for one could not be happier. You can hang one directly over your bathtub, or place one or two over your vanity cabinet for extra illumination.
And if you're really looking to up the wow-factor in your bathroom, chandelier lighting is definitely the way to go. Since this type of fixture is generally on the larger size, they tend to work best in spacious bathrooms with higher ceiling heights.
A flush mount ceiling fixture in the bathroom is a smart pick if you're dealing with a small space or low ceilings. This way, you won't bang your head against the fixture as you get out of the tub (ouch!) and it won't compete with the rest of your decor. Plus, you can always mix a flush mount with other types of lighting for additional illumination and visual interest.
If you like the idea of a flush mount, but you're looking for a little extra flair, opt for a semi-flush mount fixture instead. Also a good option for low ceiling heights and small bathrooms, a semi-flush mount has a short drop, unlike a flush mount.
Where to Shop for Bathroom Lighting
With all of this information in front of you, you might be wondering where to go next. That's where this list comes in handy. From modern wall sconces to pendants to traditional ceiling lights, these are our favorite destinations for bathroom lighting ideas.
Circa offers a clever mix of surprising, contemporary styles (hello, wall sconces that look like little works of art) to traditional finishes (brass and chrome and iron, oh my!).
For a near-dizzying array of options that are priced right, head to AllModern, one of our fave online marketplaces. You're sure to find bathroom vanity lighting, wall sconces, and flush mounts that will fit the theme of your space.
Looking for a touch of throwback glamour for your space? Then look no further than Shades of Light, which specializes in chic, gleaming light fixtures that will transform your bathroom into a vintage dream.