The Top 5 Bathroom Lighting Ideas for 2022

Achieving the right lighting for your bathroom is easier than you think, read on for the best tips

Bathroom lighting is an integral design element that should be planned at the start of any renovation project. Whether you love traditional design, contemporary design, or a mix of both, it’s important to choose lighting fixtures that not only provide bright, general light but also ambient light for mood.

Luckily, upgrading bathroom lighting is a relatively budget-friendly affair compared to renovating the entire room. So, whether you’re envisioning a tranquil, spa-inspired bathroom or a minimalist getting-ready space, there's no shortage of sconces, pendants, and flush mounts to suit your personal style.

Today, we’ll focus on the best bathroom lighting ideas and give you expert advice on how to achieve the right balance of beauty and practicality. Our lighting ideas will help inspire a stylish and practical space. Try out one of these five lighting ideas and transform your bathroom’s look and feel.

1. Add Sconces for Accent, Task, or Ambient Lighting

Wall sconces originated from Tiki torches and the old burning torches used during medieval times. One of the best ways to use them in your bathroom is as accent lighting. Install them under pieces of art or use them to turn an architectural feature into the room’s focal point. Sconces provide accent lighting with effortless elegance. And oftentimes, when twin sconces are used to highlight a design feature, they lend visual balance to a room.

You can also use sconces as dazzling pendants to create task lighting. But make sure you position them well. Sconces can be placed above or beside the bathroom mirror. When installed beside the mirror, they should be at the same level as your face. Properly installed sconces prevent unflattering shadows and harsh glares.

A colorful and light bathroom.  The vanity has a round sconce on each side of it, adding to the lighting.
Photo by Grace Kelly on Unsplash

Sconces can also be used to enhance the ambiance of a bathroom. When paired with other lighting fixtures, they create several layers of illumination. Use sconces and recessed lights to get the best possible balance of light. The light fixtures can boost the appeal of a bathroom in more ways than one, creating a warm, inviting aura in the space.

When choosing sconces, make sure they match your bathroom accessories and other hardware. If you illuminate your bathroom with complementary sconces, the decor and color scheme will seem more appealing.

2.   Choose the Right Vanity Lighting Fixtures

A light and airy bathroom with a shower is lit by both sconces and recessed ceiling lights.

Bathroom vanity lights bring task lighting to the area over your vanity and ensure your face is beautifully illuminated every time you use the mirror. Since the lights complement the vanity mirror both functionally and aesthetically, it’s important to think about the design of the mirror when selecting them. Vanity lighting casts flattering light on your face and provides a decorative element for your bathroom.

Sconces or vertical light fixtures mounted on either side of the vanity mirror are best for casting even light across the face. They provide ample light for important grooming tasks such as shaving or applying makeup. Avoid installing recessed ceiling fixtures directly over the vanity mirror as they will cast shadows on your face, making daily grooming rituals difficult.

3.   Use a Chandelier for Focal Point Lighting

A clawfoot tub sits before a large double window with a lit chandelier majestically hanging above the tub.

Besides adding a marble tub or a chrome rain showerhead to your bathroom, you can mount a chandelier to make it feel more luxurious. If you're exploring bathroom light fixture ideas and wondering whether installing a chandelier might be a good idea, it is! The light fixture can make a style statement and elevate the look of your bathroom. It adds an air of sophistication to any bathroom.

When choosing one, consider how it will interact with the rest of the room and the slope and height of the ceiling. The grandiose design of chandeliers works best in larger rooms as they don’t impose on the rest of the fixtures and fittings. Also, make sure the chandelier matches your bathroom’s style. In a minimalist bathroom, an elaborate light fixture can stand out for the wrong reasons.

4.   Focus on Shower Lighting

Recessed lighting is providing a well-lit shower area an additional wow factor.

The shower is often a secluded area in a bathroom, recessed into a wall of the space or tucked into its own corner. In most cases, the space needs its own light–especially if it’s enclosed or separated by a shower curtain. A curtain can block out the light from the rest of the room and create a dark, unwelcoming space. A shower light makes your bathroom bright, welcoming, and serene.

Recessed lighting, which can be easily sealed from moisture, is the most practical choice for shower lighting. Look for recessed lights that are resistant to moisture or dampness. They have specialized trim that keeps water out and extra features like rubber gaskets which minimize damage. The lights work well with any bathroom design. If you want something different, you can install LED light bars or custom lighting solutions.

5. Bring the Outdoors in with Natural Lighting

A window brings natural light to the bathroom, illuminating the tub area.

Natural light can make a bathroom look bright and inviting. It can transform a regular bathroom into a magazine-worthy room. Windows or a sliding glass door can add lots of light and also open up the space, making you feel somewhat connected to the outside world. A foggy window limits the amount of light coming in, so replace it. Casement windows are the best option for bathrooms because they add precious natural light.

Mirrors also reflect light, and a strategically placed mirror can make a world of difference. Install a mirror on the wall adjacent to the window. It will light up your bathroom by reflecting the sunlight streaming in. Adding reflective surfaces is a great way to spread light throughout the room.

Create a Functional Lighting Plan This Year

A sketch planning a bathroom visualization before it is created.

Most homeowners don’t give a lot of consideration to bathroom lighting when updating the room. Often, there's just a single ceiling light fixture in the bathroom that's supposed to illuminate everything. But good bathroom lights can help create a place to relax and recharge. And when they are well positioned, the payoff is great. You start and end your day in your bathroom, so draw inspiration from these bathroom lighting ideas and create a dreamy space.