What Lights Should You Use in Your Bathroom Renovation

Don't let bathroom lighting be an afterthought. Use layers of light to make the space an inviting and revitalizing place to begin and end your day.

Bathroom lighting is often an afterthought. As far as investments go, most clients are more interested in tile walls and heated floors. While both are nice, a single overhead bulb can cast funky shadows and quickly make your bathroom feel like a cave. That’s hardly the relaxing environment you want for the start and end of your day.

The most essential element of good bathroom lighting is layers. Layering light in your bathroom with multiple light sources helps improve the mood of your bathroom and makes your space feel larger.

4 Layers of Bathroom Lighting

1. Natural Light

Natural light (light that comes from a window or skylight) is the crème de la crème of bathroom lighting. It creates a calming environment that can boost your mood and reduce anxiety. Plus, it’s good for your complexion. If your bathroom has windows or a skylight, make sure to take advantage of these light sources. Rather than cover your windows with blinds to keep our prying eyes, consider alternative privacy solutions.

These might include top-up bottom-down blinds. This allows a portion of your window to be uncovered while not allowing the whole world to see your birthday suit. You might also like frosted or beveled glass, which lets natural light to enter your bathroom, while still keeping you hidden.

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2. Task Lights

Tasks lights refer to lights which help you do a specific task. Your vanity is the hardest working area of your bathroom. It also happens to be the hardest area to properly illuminate.

The most tempting place to place vanity lights is directly overhead. The problem with placing lights directly over your vanity is this casts shadows on your face and makes daily tasks, like applying makeup and shaving, more difficult.

When possible, it’s best to place lights on either side of your mirror. This casts an even glow across your face.

The second hardest working area of your bathroom is your shower. Proper lighting in your shower is essential for safety. The more difficult it is to see, the easier it is to have an accident. If your shower has a clear glass door, the light from your bathroom may be enough. If not, recessed overhead lighting can provide the extra light needed. But it’s important to keep in mind these light fixtures will be exposed to a large amount of moisture. Making sure all electrical components are properly sealed is essential.

3. Accent Lights

Accent lights are ideal for illuminating a specific piece of decorative art. Similar to the recessed lights you may use in the shower, these fixtures are small and can often be angled to spotlight an item or fixture.  

4. Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is considered ‘fill’ lighting. It’s particularly ideal for those bathrooms that don’t have a large amount of natural light, if any. Ambient lighting is often created with a surface-mounted ceiling light. Pendant lamps or a chandelier are another good alternative.

View past bathroom remodels to get ideas for how to incorporate lights in your bathroom renovation.