If you're someone who likes the idea of having a personal sanctuary that looks and feels like it's from a different era, then a traditional bathroom is definitely worth considering. Like any bath, a traditional setup is really only complete when it has lighting that perfectly complements the aesthetic.
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When shopping for classic bathroom lighting, think tried-and-true finishes (like brushed nickel, antique brass, or pewter), subtle silhouettes that have been in favor for decades, and an elegant vibe reminiscent of a sophisticated, bygone hotel.
Even though traditional bathroom light fixtures don't represent the latest trends, you can still take advantage of 21st century technology by opting to use dimmable light bulbs or LED bulbs if you want to be friendly to the environment and your budget.
Scroll on for 11 traditional lighting ideas that make the case for adding a sense of history to your bathroom.
1. Incorporate an industrial touch.
Just because a bathroom is top-to-bottom traditional doesn't mean you can't nod to other design aesthetics. For example, industrial style can easily fit into a traditional design, by using Edison bulbs or by hanging polished chrome factory-style pendants above the vanity, something that Kelly of Lily Pad Cottage did in her washroom.
Get the look: Quorum International 1-Light Chrome Pendant, $259
2. Go ever-so-slightly modern.
Traditional bathroom lighting doesn't always have to look vintage. If you want to create a bit of juxtaposition in your traditional bath, follow the lead of Jean Stoffer Design and opt for a light fixture that looks a tad modern. Here, the team chose to go with an eye-catching pendant, flaunting a brass finish, that beautifully complements the wall lamps, bath fittings, and cabinet hardware.
3. Don't forget picture lights.
You may think that picture wall lights are only reserved for places like dining or living rooms, but actually, they work quite well in traditional bathrooms, too — especially if you want to highlight a special piece of artwork. Anastasia of The Identité Collective paired an adjustable arm picture light with an additional bathroom wall light, for extra illumination at the vanity.
4. Match the other finishes.
If you want to keep the visuals looking clean and sophisticated in your traditional bath, adhere to the same finishes throughout — from the vanity lighting to the drawer pulls to the shower fixtures. Polished brass is clearly a theme in this setup styled by Alisa from A Glass of Bovino.
Get the look: IlluminateVintage Modern Globe Sconce, $175
5. Be a little playful.
Guess what? We're here to tell you that traditional style doesn't mean stuffy. In fact, it can even be a little playful and whimsical at times, as proven in this space by Katherine of Hausmatter Interiors. The designer incorporated a fun and unexpected snake-patterned wallpaper and a curvy bathroom vanity light that mirrors the print.
Get the look: DLIGHTstore Gold Vanity Lamp, $230 - $305
6. Opt for a milk glass shade.
When it comes to ceiling lights, you can never go wrong with milk glass, particularly in a traditional bathroom. While clear glass looks timeless as well, white glass shades have a throwback quality that looks right on time. Seen here with a bronze finish, a single pendant takes center stage in this stylish refuge belonging to Ashley of The Gold Hive. The single vanity fixture is a perfect match that blends in seamlessly.
Get the look: Rejuvenation Rose City 6-inch Fitter Chain Pendant, $379
7. Or, mix it up with an alabaster diffuser.
Whether you're talking about flooring, wall tile, or countertops, natural stone looks spot-on in any bathroom. But have you considered using the material when it comes to lighting fixtures? Yes, believe it or not, you can transfer that same gorgeous veining we all know and love to lampshades, of all things. For example, Erin Kestenbaum topped off this verdant space with a gorgeous flush mount flaunting an alabaster glass diffuser. Swoon!
Get the look: Hudson Valley Lighting Greenport LED Flushmount, $350 - $590
8. Channel Versailles with brass sconces.
Yes, you can absolutely channel the grandeur of Versailles in your bathroom. It's as straightforward as attaching a three-light vanity wall sconce to the bathroom mirror, just like Tamara of CITRINELIVING did in her bath. Paired with classic wall paneling, a Roman shade, and a matching Victorian faucet, the end result is oh-so-regal.
Get the look: Hudson Valley Lighting Palmer 2-Light Wall Sconce, $366
9. Make good use of high ceilings with a chandelier.
Traditional bathrooms have an element of luxury to them, so it goes without saying that the bath fixtures should be equally luxurious. Think head-turning, sizeable chandeliers. You can always go with something slightly more traditional, but we're partial to classic crystal designs like the one seen in this dreamy setup by Kate Marker Interiors. Complete the look with simple vanity lights and a double slipper tub.
Get the look: Visual Comfort Aerin Jacqueline Chandelier, $2,092.38
10. Lean into vintage aesthetics.
Vintage home decor always looks stunning in a traditional space. For some retro flair, consider a flush mount that looks as if it was transported from another time, something that Kim and Scott of Yellow Brick Home did in this bathroom. The black and white mosaic floor tile is a nice touch, too.
11. Consider an updated take on the traditional shade.
Fabric lampshades instantly communicate a traditional vibe, from pleated to tailored designs. Shea of Studio McGee updated the classic look in this stunning bath, opting for a simple tapered shade made with natural paper.
Get the look: McGee & Co. Dalston Hanging Shade, $1,250