Your bathroom lighting should serve more purposes than just helping you see around the space. They’re important for illuminating your face properly for applying makeup, shaving, tweezing your eyebrows, or any other grooming tasks that require strong, steady, and focused lighting. But that bright light isn’t the best fit each and every time—a relaxing bath doesn’t precisely go hand in hand with bright task lighting.
To cover as many scenarios as possible, you may want to consider different bathroom lighting setups to ensure you have the proper lighting for each task. The 12 best bathroom lighting ideas below can help you as you plan the right setup for your home.
12 best bathroom lighting ideas
Among the best bathroom lighting ideas for half-baths, full baths, and master baths alike are:
1. Ambient lighting
You come across ambient lighting nearly any place you go indoors. Ceiling lights, floor lamps, chandeliers – those are all ambient lighting. In bathrooms, this type of lighting serves two key functions, the more obvious of which is that it lets you see in the first place.
The other function is to provide the foundation for the color temperature in your bathroom, which is important when putting on makeup or shaving. We’ll explain this more when we discuss task lighting, but first, let’s discuss some types of ambient lighting that work great in bathrooms.
2. Recessed lighting
Many, if not most, ceiling lights are recessed lights. If you look up at your ceiling and see that its light bulbs are housed within, not outside, the ceiling, then you’re looking at recessed lights.
Recessed light bulbs are so common in ceilings because they can provide powerful ambient lighting that eliminates shadows and dim spots from the vast majority of the room. As such, they’re a great starting point for setting up the best bathroom lighting possible. However, many bathrooms use a different type of ambient light as their lighting foundation: flush mount lights.
3. Flush mount lights
If you get up, walk to your bathroom, and look at the ceiling, you might notice a single light fixture sticking out from the ceiling but not quite hanging down from it. These lights are called flush mount lights.
Flush mount lights function similarly to recessed ceiling lights, but they add more of a decorative touch. Additionally, semi-flush mount lights with space between the light and your ceiling can help more light shine directly on your ceiling. You can also go beyond semi-flush lights and try fixtures that hang a full foot or two (or three if your ceiling is especially tall) below your ceiling.
4. Pendant lights
Pendant lights, which include chandeliers, are the most decorative type of ambient lighting. Placed directly in the center of your ceiling, these eye-catching fixtures can both fully light your room and make it look like something out of an interior design magazine or an HGTV show.
That said, if your bathroom ceiling is on the lower side, pendant lights might not be right for you. The last thing you want is to bop your head on your pendant every time you step out of the shower – relaxation ruined! That said, if you still want something that’s not quite in your ceiling, you have one final ambient lighting option.
5. Track lights
Track lights are unique among the best bathroom lighting types in that you can use them either as ambient or task lights (which we’ll discuss below). To use track lights as ambient lights, install them on your ceiling and align the track’s center light with the center of your bathroom ceiling. To use track lights as task lights, hang them over your mirror or vanity and point the lights downward. Speaking of task lights...
6. Task lighting
Task lighting is a broad bathroom lighting category designed to deliver additional brightness that can help with tasks such as applying makeup or shaving in your bathroom mirror or vanity.
If you shave or do anything else in the shower that might require extra lighting, you can use task lights there too. However, shower task lighting introduces some safety concerns that we’ll discuss later. These concerns rarely matter with track lights and wall sconces.
7. Wall sconce lighting
A pair of wall sconces placed evenly on either side of your bathroom mirror adds lighting to fill in any shadows that your ambient lighting might leave. It can also concentrate light of a more appropriate color temperature in your mirror or vanity than ambient lighting, and this concentration can help you determine the best makeup colors for you. Speaking of looking good, there’s one final lighting type that especially strongly emphasizes your bathroom’s charm.
8. Accent lighting
Accent lighting is the final layer of a standard three-layer bathroom lighting approach, with ambient and task lights comprising the first two layers. Accent lighting fixtures focus on your space rather than your tasks – if you want to emphasize the part of your bathroom where the tile backsplash meets your pitch-black painted wall, use accent lights.
You can also use accent lights to fill in shadowy corners that your ambient and task lights can’t reach. This way, your bathroom will be fully illuminated and all its most appealing decorative features will stand out – an excellent touch for an at-home spa day or date night. How fully your bathroom is illuminated is a question of the light bulbs you use.
9. LED lighting
LED lights are ideal for bathroom lighting since you can often control their brightness and color with a remote. In an LED-lighted bathroom, you can dim the lights for your next relaxing bath or turn them bright white to make sure you’re applying your makeup in exactly the right shades. Other LED bulbs don’t come with remotes because you can control them from something you already have: your phone.
10. Smart lighting
Remotes, though convenient, are easy to lose. Smart lights solve this problem since you’ll control them not from a remote but a phone app. LED smart lights are especially common, and from your phone, you can set LED smart lights to thousands of different shades, dim them or brighten them, and turn them on or off. That said, if you’re looking at smart lights solely for color and not for function, other options might save you some electricity and look prettier.
11. Laser lights
Like LED lights, laser lights are more colorful than your average bathroom light. They’re also similar in that they’re both energy-savers compared to your standard incandescent and fluorescent bulbs.
To use laser lights in your bathroom, you can replace one of your standard bulbs with a laser bulb such as the BlissLights BlissBulb. Alternatively, some portable laser lights such as the BlissLights StarPort USB plug right into your waterproof mobile charger. This way, you can bring your dazzling laser show right to the bathtub.
12. Galaxy lights
Add galaxy lights to your bathroom lighting design to make your evening soaking up the suds and enjoying your avocado face mask especially relaxing. These lights project softly moving galaxies and thousands of laser-generated stars onto your ceiling and walls, adding to the calming vibes of your self-care night.
The BlissLights Sky Lite Laser Galaxy Projector is perhaps the most popular galaxy light. It’s all over TikTok, and you can get it too! But before buying it, consider some important bathroom lighting tips.
Tips on choosing bathroom lighting
For the best bathroom lighting design possible, keep the following tips in mind when deciding which of the above light types you’ll use in your bathroom:
- Layer your lights. As discussed earlier, ambient lighting isn’t always enough when you’re shaving or putting on makeup – an additional lighting layer of task lights will prove more helpful. And to illuminate that pesky dark corner that ambient lights leave behind, turn to accent lights.
- Color temperature matters. Perhaps you’re putting on makeup because you’re going out. That means your face will be seen in natural light – and not all bathroom lights equally replicate this lighting. That’s why you should find lights that can emit cool white light of 3500K to 4100K or daylight temperatures of 5000K to 6500K.
- Place your sconces correctly. You should place your wall sconce task lights 60 to 70 inches above the floor and 36 to 40 inches apart. Additionally, the centers of your sconces and your mirror should be in a perfectly horizontal line.
- Light your shower or tub. Many bathroom lighting designs focus on overhead lights outside the shower and task lights near the mirror or vanity. This focus makes it easy to neglect your shower or tub. Of course, some overhead lights are powerful enough to reach your shower or tub, but if not, you’ll need additional lighting. However, water and electricity don’t quite mix, so you should consider several special safety needs.
- Stay safe. To prevent electricity and water from reacting in your bathroom, you should install damp-rated fixtures outside your shower and wet-rated fixtures inside it. These fixtures are specially designed to withstand water impacts and keep you safe whether you’re rushing a shower before work or enjoying a calming bath afterward.
- Use dimmers. For that calming bath, dim lighting can be a true mood-setter. For a good shave, you’ll need far brighter light. If you install dimmers for your bathroom lights, you can get both.
- Have fun with colors. No, we’re not saying to put on makeup or shave in blue light, but we are saying that spa days and baths are better under unorthodox lighting colors. Red starry-sky lights, green aurora lights, and blue galaxy lights all make for a fun and unusual bathroom experience – and with BlissLights, you can get them all.
Enjoy the best bathroom lighting with BlissLightsBathroom lighting doesn’t have to be just ambient, task, and accent lighting. It can also include colorful, eye-catching, calming laser light displays perfect for warm baths, spa days, and more. Here at BlissLights, our laser bulbs, projectors, and portable lights provide exactly this touch for your bathroom, and you can just as easily use them outside your bathroom too. Browse our collection to find the perfect lighting for not just your bathroom, but your whole home.
BlissLights has been a leader in the laser lighting industry since the company was founded in 2006. Our team of experienced engineers and technicians helped create award-winning special effect lighting for major theme parks before minaturizing our patented technology for home use. BlissLights is dedicated to laser safety and education, and is registered with the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH).