Bathroom Lighting Ideas for Every Budget and Lifestyle

Bathrooms need ample light. Here are several different bathroom lighting ideas for bathrooms of all shapes, sizes, and budgets.

By Tamara Gane


The lighting in your bathroom needs to be functional, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Your bathroom lighting can be practical without sacrificing your style and personality. These eight bathroom lighting ideas will help inspire you to create a powder room that’s unique and truly your own.


1. Go Dramatic

Showcase your dramatic flair with a jaw-dropping light fixture, such as an oversized chandelier mounted in the center of the room or above the bathtub. Install a dimmer so you’ll be able to control the level of illumination and set the mood.




Tip: A chandelier will work best if you have a large bathroom with high ceilings. Make sure you arm yourself with the knowledge of how to buy, measure, and hang a chandelier first.


2. Go Subtle

If being dramatic isn’t your thing, use recessed lighting in your bathroom for a modern look. Recessed lighting hangs flush against your ceiling, which makes it perhaps the most subtle, unobtrusive option for lighting a bathroom. An additional benefit of recessed lighting is that you can install multiple recessed lights in areas you wish to direct focused lighting, such as above large mirrors. Damp rated light fixtures can even be installed above your bathtub or shower. (Read about recessed lighting to learn more.) Recessed lights are also easy to combine with other bathroom lighting ideas for a bigger design impact.




3. Go Focused

Track lighting is extremely popular in bathrooms, particularly above oversized mirrors that can be difficult to light due to the fact they cover such a large expanse. The focused lighting from track lighting can aid with tasks like daily hygiene regimens and makeup application.




Tip: The best bathroom lighting for applying makeup is very bright. Install track lighting on a dimmer or a separate switch so you can revert back to less-intense lighting once you’ve completed your morning routine.


4. Go Old School

Who says lights have to have bulbs? Adding candles to your vanity or the ledge of your bathtub can add just the right touch of glamour and turn your next bubble bath into a spa-like experience.




5. Go Small

If the bathroom you have in mind is a powder room that’s primarily for guests, bright light may not be important since there won’t be a great deal of personal grooming taking place in there. For this situation, a small lamp will emit a soft, romantic glow across your vanity, and create a calm, relaxing mood for your guests. This is also a great option for lighting your bathroom on a tight budget since small lamps are generally less expensive than mounted light fixtures or recessed lighting.




Tip: Since small lamps tend to be inexpensive, you can use them to capitalize on popular colors and design trends, and replace them when next fad comes along.


6. Go Sideways

If your mirror is small enough, you can install lights on each side of it. Light sconces can be mounted on the wall, or for a more modern effect, pendant lights can be dangled from the ceiling. This will create a beautiful, balanced effect, and spread even light across your bathroom mirror, which is ideal for when you’re putting on makeup or styling your hair.




7. Go Large

If your bathroom mirror is on the larger side, you’ll need a light fixture capable of illuminating the entire surface. A long light fixture mounted above your mirror can work well in this situation because it will light your mirror from above, and ensures sufficient lighting for grooming, shaving, or makeup application. There are above-mirror light fixtures available in nearly every price range, making it another budget-friendly bathroom lighting idea.




8. Go Crazy

That’s right. Mix it up. There’s no reason you have to stick to one style. Try combining recessed lighting and track lighting or a chandelier with candlesticks. Ideas for bathroom lighting are only limited by your imagination.




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