There's no denying it: Bathroom lighting can be tricky, especially if you don't have many (or any) windows. You'll need fixtures that will illuminate the vanity, tub, and shower area. Not only can this get pricey, but it can also be challenging to select designs that will work with your decor style and get the job done.
From bohemian pendants to midcentury sconces, there are fixtures for every bathroom. We're somewhat partial to the simple sophistication of Scandinavian-style bathroom lighting. The Nordic aesthetic has won hearts all over the globe thanks to its compelling mix of clean lines, functionality, and craftsmanship. Rooted in minimalism, Scandi style favors simple construction over ornate details and manages to exude warmth thanks to the inclusion of natural materials such as reclaimed wood, leather, patinated metals, and glass. And due to the long winters in this part of the world, plenty of artificial lighting is a necessity — but that doesn't mean glaring spotlights overhead are the way to go. Instead, opt for fixtures that offer a soft, relaxing (not to mention flattering) glow.
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"Scandi lighting in a bathroom should be simple and soft. No sharp edges and natural, raw materials are present in most Scandinavian designs, so light fixtures should keep within those elements as well. Pops of color are sometimes present but tend to be on the softer pastel end of the spectrum," says interior designer Shoshanna Shapiro, founder of Sho and Co. "Consider adding pendant lighting on each side of the mirror instead of wall-mounted units. The more sculptural and straightforward in nature the better when it comes to Scandi style."
Fixtures that illuminate while still embracing the pared-down ethos of Scandinavian design will integrate seamlessly into a less-is-more look. Think: muted tones, wood details, glass shades, and earthy materials like rattan and rope. Now that you are well versed in all things Scandi, take stock of your space. Do you have existing fixtures that don't quite fit the bill? Is there a corner of your bathroom that looks a little too dark? Also, take note of the ceiling height and door swings. Do you have room for a pendant or chandelier? Or would a ceiling-mounted fixture work better? And don't forget to factor in the cost of installation.
1. Go for an understated vanity bar light.
It's all about simplicity when it comes to Scandinavian decor, and this vanity bar light fits the bill and then some. The wall-mounted fixture flaunts a nickel finish that doesn't compete with the white backsplash, while the three-light design provides ample illumination for primping.
2. Hang a simple woven fixture.
Scandi home decor incorporates natural materials into minimalist spaces to add warmth. For example, the woven raffia rope pendant in this modern sanctuary proves that you only need to add a touch of nature to take a white bathroom to the next level. Plus, who doesn't love to see a pretty light fixture hanging over the tub?
Get the look: Joss and Main Simon Dimmable Pendant, $280
3. Work in recessed lighting.
If you hit the interior design jackpot and have a skylight in your bathroom, or perhaps you're planning to include one in a remodel, we recommend going with recessed lighting. The simple fixtures won't disrupt the clean lines or minimal aesthetic. Not to mention, they also happen to be super practical.
Get the look: Halo Multiple Fittings Recessed Light Kit, $24.98
4. Welcome a bit of glamour with brass.
Nothing says oh là là quite like lustrous brass details, such as lighting. In this swanky bathroom by Sarah Sherman Samuel, a pair of simple mini pendants with exposed bulbs and a brass rod flank a matching round vanity mirror. The warm metal finish adds just enough sparkle and warmth to the subdued all-white space. Note: Edison bulbs will work for this, but you could also try using frosted LEDs that feel a little more understated and Scandi.
Get the look: Cedar and Moss Terra Pendant, $299
5. Keep it light and airy with white light fixtures.
Signature characteristics of Scandinavian design are simplicity, neutral color palettes, and understated sophistication, and that applies to lighting, too. That's why the pill-shaped white sconces in this light-filled space work so well above the vanity mirror. Polished chrome fixtures reflect the light and add a sleek touch.
Get the look: CraftThink Wall Sconce, $59.99
6. Celebrate curves.
Contrary to popular belief, Scandi-inspired bathrooms don't have to be all-white with straight, clean lines — you can actually still embrace the Nordic aesthetic with warm, earthy shades and curvy silhouettes. In this petite space, two simple globe lights, an oval mirror, and a floating petrified wood sink are visual treats for the eyes. The tan plaster wall finish is a stunning accompaniment and pairs beautifully with the natural materials and lustrous brass fixtures.
Get the look: Crate&Kids Greyson Globe Sconce, $39.99
7. Try a wood pendant.
Since nature is a huge part of Scandi design, organic materials like wood are a no-brainer. For instance, all it took was a wooden pendant light with a geometric silhouette to transform this bright, white space into a relaxing spa-worthy sanctuary.
Get the look: Nick Sheridan Cerno Calx LED Pendant Light, $795 - $3,440
8. Showcase an unexpected color.
While white, black, and neutral hues are super Scandi, that doesn't mean you can't throw in any other colors. Take this green flush mount ceiling light: The classic round shape gets a stylish update thanks to wood details and a lovely seafoam finish. It's the perfect way to add a vibrant twist to classic Scandinavian decor.
Get the look: Litfad Iron Drum Flushmount Nordic Green Ceiling Light, $55.04
9. Consider glass.
Scandi design puts a premium on pared-down interiors. Keep visual clutter at bay with glass light fixtures like the globe-style pendant that Chango & Co. placed over the freestanding tub in this soothing bathroom. A brass band adds an understated elegance and visual weight.
Get the look: Arteriors Garrison Round Pendant, $640
10. Don't center your fixture.
When you consider hanging a pendant light in your bathroom, your first instinct is probably to center it over the tub or vanity. However, that's not the only option as beautifully demonstrated by this design from HÛT Architecture. Here, the pendant hangs slightly off center from the vanity cabinet, resulting in an artful and unexpected solution that won't block the mirror.
Get the look: Flos IC Lights S Pendant Light, $675
11. Try a unique material.
The color gray is featured prominently in Scandinavian design, often through paint and textiles. However, you can also incorporate the moody hue with lighting. The concrete-cast pendant byrdesign selected for this petite powder room has a modern sensibility and balances the heft of the floating sink, offering subtle contrast.
Get the look: Luca Pevere Aplomb Pendant, $732 - $897
12. Infuse drama with sculptural fixtures.
Scandinavian design is big on textural moments, but bathrooms don't offer many opportunities to incorporate them. Except for the lighting, of course. Depending on the fixtures you choose, you can highlight woven materials while also adding softness and warmth to the inherently cold materials typically used in a bathroom. In this elegant setup by Amber Lewis, wall sconces with gooseneck arms and curved shades frame the vanity, while a sculptural pendant anchors the tub.
Get the look: Artemide Logico Single Pendant, $1,175 - $1,285
13. Welcome contrast.
While you don't want the lighting in a Scandinavian bathroom to detract from the overall aesthetic, it's okay to include options that pop. Black wall sconces will offer high contrast and visual weight to a neutral scheme, as proven by this well-appointed space from Heidi Caillier. And bonus: The metallic finish on the interior of the shade coordinates with the surrounding nickel hardware.
14. Maximize lighting with a double bulb sconce.
Capitalize on much-needed artificial bathroom lighting by selecting a fixture that has more than one bulb. For example, this bathroom by Jersey Ice Cream Co. flaunts a pair of two-light wall sconces above each vanity mirror, which provide ample illumination for primping. The well-placed window, allowing natural light to flow in, is an added bonus.
Get the look: Apparatus Studio Trapeze 2, Pricing upon request
15. Go for a minimal design.
A pair of black mini pendant lights bookend a wood-framed mirror in this bathroom by Elizabeth Roberts, creating an eye-catching juxtaposition with the muted background and brass faucet. Barely-noticeable electrical outlets sans backplate are a graceful addition to the minimal design.
Get the look: Cedar & Moss Fjord Cord Pendant, $289
16. Flaunt symmetry.
Despite Scandinavian design's affinity for subtlety, you can still make a dramatic statement with the help of symmetry. This all-white bathroom packs quite the punch thanks to the well-thought-out scheme that celebrates balance and simplicity. From the wall sconces to the mirrors to the faucets to the sinks, every element is in perfect harmony, resulting in a focal point that doesn't command too much attention.
Get the look: Hudson Valley Lighting Baird Bath Wall Sconce, $192
17. Opt for something with an industrial vibe.
Scandi interiors tend to shy away from finishes that are overtly flashy, but aged brass with its warm patina is an exception. The lustrous metal finish adds an undeniable dash of character and warmth, as proven by the caged sconces used in this charming bathroom. The fixtures are elegant additions with industrial references that look simply sunning alongside a dusty pink and navy blue color scheme.
Get the look: Litfad Coastal Caged Wall Lighting Fixture, $83.19
18. Mix and match.
Although Scandi interiors practice restraint, there's still an opportunity to express personality by mixing and matching various lighting styles. A scaled-down three-bulb wall light is a modern take on the once-popular multi-bulb vanity bar. It's a retro-inspired look that mingles perfectly with a bohemian woven pendant. E + D Design brought the two fixtures together while maintaining a serene and cohesive bathroom escape.
Get the look: Schoolhouse Harlow 3 Sconce, $499