Not to be too dramatic, but we've all been in a situation where bathroom lighting has either enhanced or diminished the quality of our day. It's that important. The fixture (whether it's a modern-style vanity light, dimmable chandelier, sleek wall sconce, or pendant light with aged brass accents) gives off the glow you see first thing in the morning or last thing at night. And if you're into clean lines, modern design, and a splash of matte black, then a minimalist bathroom light fixture that's both stylish and subtle is probably the best thing for you.
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Interior designer Marie Flanagan recommends incorporating lighting fixtures that blend in with the architectural elements of your bathroom design, so they feel like they were made for the space. She notes that there is a myriad of ways to keep the light understated, starting with where you place it — like hanging from the ceiling or flanking a vanity mirror — the size, finish, and style.
Ready to swap out your existing ceiling light? Us too. Read on for seven ways some of our favorite interior designers incorporated minimal bathroom lighting, even in maximalist rooms, and learn how to do the same like a pro.
1. Let another design feature, like tile, be the star.
With such standout patterned tile — from the floor to the ceiling! — interior designer Claire Zinnecker smartly went the simple route for lighting in this bungalow bathroom that showcases a minimalist, modern design. One simple wall mount fixture hangs above an equally minimal bathroom mirror, while the pink rug adds a pop of color. The wooden touches, in the vanity and accessories, bring it all down to earth.
2. Don't shy away from a hint of glamour when it comes to vanity lighting.
Who said minimalist lighting had to be black and boring? Designer Victoria Sass of Prospect Refuge Studio introduced a touch of gold in this bathroom through the sleek, cylinder light fixture, and that same color is evident in the towel rack and drawer pulls, too. Even though the space as a whole isn't classically minimal, the light is, and that's what counts. If you're not a fan of color, though, a bathroom wall light with brass accents will work just as well in a white room.
3. Go for a pair of slim, sleek fixtures that frame the bathroom mirror.
Don't you feel a little more zen just looking at this white bathroom? Designer Shannon Eddings went minimal with a major impact here. Slim wall lighting fixtures flank either side of the modern bathroom mirror, while a classic white oak cabinet is dressed up with semicircle drawer pulls and a warm white counter.
4. Think old Hollywood vanity lights, but subtle.
While Black Lacquer Design is known for ultra-glam spaces, this bathroom proves even the glitziest of areas can pare it back with minimalist lighting. The rest of this washroom is far from minimalistic: The lovely lilac vanity is complemented with floor-to-ceiling backsplash tile, which extends into the shower. However, placing the vanity light fixture relatively high makes it feel even more subtle.
5. Remember there are multiple ways to get a minimal light look.
Designer Marie Flanagan is no stranger to minimal light fixtures. But she notes that "just because a light fixture is minimal, doesn't mean it can't be impactful." Flanagan went on to say, "Whether [you install] the light directly into the mirror ... or [hang] it delicately from the ceiling, there are an infinite amount of ways to keep things subtle." In this rather glam washroom, she chose a simplistic three-bulb fixture with glass shades and a modern look to tone down the rest of the small space.
6. Install pendant lights, but skip the lampshade.
Edison bulbs with filaments meant to capture the look and feel of a vintage fixture are Exhibit A of minimal bathroom lighting. Here, Michelle Lisac Interior Design installed a three-arm pendant with no lampshades to create visual interest without overwhelming this modern white and black bath. If you're worried uncovered lights might be too harsh, go for LED bulbs and put them on a dimmer.
7. Don't feel confined to a modern addition.
Don't be fooled by the common misconception that minimal = modern. While that's often true, even if your style veers more traditional or coastal, you can be part of the minimalist bathroom lighting club. For example, KT2 Design Group paired these petite and sweet brushed nickel fixtures with a half-white, half-wallpapered bathroom that gives off serious seaside vibes. The fixtures have a classic look but still feel minimal.