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How to light a bathroom

Bathroom lighting is often overlooked when planning a bathroom renovation. The bathroom should be a place we can take time out to relax. It is generally the only room in the house with a lock on the door which we have permission to lock ourselves in, and shut the world out. For this reason, we should plan our bathrooms to allow us to truly enjoy our time out. Hence this blog post: how to light a bathroom. 

Bathrooms like kitchens require multiple layers of lighting to create a truly usable space. These layers are task, decorative and accent. A single pendant light is not going to cut the mustard. 

Task lighting

bathroom task light


Task lighting in the bathroom is extremely important. We need to be able to see properly to shave and apply makeup without shadows being cast. 

Using the wrong type of lights in our bathrooms could end up causing unflattering shadows, or could add ten years to our appearance. Which we certainly don’t want to do! If we are unhappy with our appearance we will not be setting ourselves up for a good start to the day and confidence will be lacking. 

To achieve ideal task lighting in the bathroom, side lights either side of a mirror are an option. This will provide an even spread of light across.  Downlights are a great lighting choice, and one we recommend. But just remember to avoid them shining down directly onto your mirror as this will create shadows. We suggest installing narrow beamed low glare down lights at a 40-60 degree angle to flood the mirror with light. Switch have some great option for this – we love

Back lighted bathroom mirrorthe Dlightz series.  A real statement piece for your bathroom and very on trend at the moment is a backlighted mirror, but again you wouldn’t want to solely rely on this as a lighting source.

Accent lighting


Accent lighting is used to highlight features in your bathroom that you want to stand out. Think photos or artwork. This type of lighting will make a real feature and add visual appeal. An option for accent lighting is to use LED strip in alcoves and or under vanities. These also work great as a night light on a sensor.  

Accent lighting

Decorative lighting


Decorative lighting sets the tone and theme of your bathroom. You can make a real statement with decorative lighting. Think pendants or chandeliers. Decorative lighting is so important to the overall look of the room but you shouldn’t rely solely on this type of light.  Be careful with the height of your pendants and remember to think beyond aesthetics. Too high and the pendant will become lost and too low, you risk bumping your head on the fitting. decorative bathroom lighting



When planning for your bathroom lighting (and other electrics) it is worthwhile being aware of the legislation regarding electricity in damp areas. The legislation sets the bathroom out in zones. Ensure that the fittings you are using are IP rated for use in damp areas and are safe to use in the specific zone intended. 



Don’t forget to think about what you want to turn on with your switching. It would be pretty annoying having your fan turning  on in the middle of the night with your lights and do you really want all of your lights to turn on together?! 



Don’t forget a dimmer switch! Dimmers are perfect for creating a lovely relaxing ambience in your bathroom for downtime. 

Consider tread lights. These are perfect for night time use and are particularly great for families. We recommend Halcyon for this.

Have you thought about automation? Learn more here: What is home automation 

So to summarise how to light a bathroom, effective lighting is achieved by layering different forms of lighting to create a truly usable space. These layers are task, decorative and accent. Bathroom lighting is often left as an after thought, but the bathroom is an important room in the house and the lighting has a huge impact on the overall result, ambience and feel.

Thank you for reading how to light a bathroom. If you are planning a full home renovation have a read of how to light a kitchen too.

Kimberly Kelly

Author Kimberly Kelly

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