Utilize thoughtfully chosen and carefully placed lighting to create a bathroom space that is ideal for makeup application, styling your hair or simply unwinding from a long day. Here are some tips to ensure that you design smartly so that your lighting in your bathroom fits your personality and lifestyle.

Overhead lighting

Consider ceiling-mounted or recessed lighting to brighten up your bathroom space. Avoid installing lighting that points directly down on your head as it is harsh and unflattering and creates shadows. Point the overhead light over the walkway area so that you are lit from behind instead of from above.

Task lighting

Task lighting assists with everyday grooming routines such as shaving or applying mascara. Although meant for function, task lighting can also be seamlessly incorporated into the design of your space. Choose fixtures that fit well with your style and put one fixture above the mirror or consider placing sconces on both sides of the mirror at eye level.

Accent lighting

The use of accent lighting can help you create an atmosphere that is a relaxing retreat, as if you were at the spa. The right accent lights can add depth to your space and make ornate fixtures, intricate tile work or a piece of art stand out in the room.

Natural light

Overhead, task and accent lights are only complements to the most important light of all- natural light. There is no such thing as too much natural light. If you are designing your home from the ground up, include space for many windows and place your bathroom facing north. Your north-facing bathroom will give indirect, soft, natural light that’s great for getting ready in the morning and can help improve your morning mood.

Dimmer switches

Different parts of the day call for different amounts of lighting. Install light dimmer switches to control the amount of lighting in your bathroom and the overall mood of your space. Lower the lights when your eyes are still adjusting in the morning or when you’re trying to wind down in the evening with a bath. Also, opting for less light uses less energy which means savings on your monthly electric bill.

Shower and bathtub lighting

Your overhead lighting might be too far away from the tub to provide adequate visibility for bathtime with your child. It’s best to install one fixture at each end of your bathtub so that it is equally lit. If your shower is 3×4 feet or less, one fixture will do the job, but you’ll need more light if it’s a larger space. Install lighting directly above your shower and bathtub so that you can see what you’re doing- you don’t want to slip and fall!

LED bulbs

There are many light bulb options on the market but LED bulbs seem to check off a lot of boxes. LED bulbs are great for energy-saving efforts and rank high on the list of convenience as you don’t have to replace bulbs for many years. Due to their small size, LED bulbs work well with clean lines in modern spaces.

Fixture finishes

Stay away from fabric shades on bathroom fixtures due to the effect of moisture accumulation following a long shower. Bronze and brass tend to corrode rather fast so it’s best to stick with brushed chrome, nickel or stainless finishes for your bathroom design.

Backlit mirror

Create a halo effect around your bathroom mirror by utilizing backlighting. Used mainly for the design effect, backlighting does not replace functional task lighting which is necessary for everyday grooming.

Light your footpath

Install toe kick lighting under your base cabinets to illuminate a footpath for the nighttime shuffle. Toe kick lighting is not only functional but can provide a pretty cool design element, too.


Your bathroom lighting is not only necessary for the functionality of your morning routine but it is also part of the design, just like paint color, granite countertops and custom flooring. Explore lighting options such as strip lighting under your cabinets or an elegant crystal chandelier. Tie your lighting into your current design scheme for uniformity and cohesion. If you are remodeling your space, you’d be surprised at what new fixtures and added lighting can do for your bathroom.


Don’t overlook your lighting as you begin your bathroom design project. The right type and appropriate amount of lighting can impact your bathroom’s functionality and design.