Tips To Lighting Your Bathroom Right

We spend a lot of personal time in the bathroom – from personal grooming to preparing yourself for special occasions. It is usually the first area in the house we go to the moment we wake up and the last one we visit before we go to bed. So, you would agree that this refuge would need to have different feels depending on your purpose for going in there at different times of the day.

The best way you can transform your bathroom into a relaxing and functional haven with lighting is to have all the four types of lighting present – task, accent, decorative, and sparkle. Read on to get familiar with each and learn how everything should be coordinated in your bathroom.

Ambient Lighting

This type of lighting functions as fill light. In bathrooms with taller ceilings, a cove or cantilever details, ambient lighting fixtures can be mounted along the perimeter of the space. Architectural details like these are able to hide the fixture and provide indirect lighting.

Task Lighting

Task lighting allows you to see yourself really well when you are shaving, putting on makeup, tooth care, or cleansing your face. Proper placement of task lighting at the mirror is very important. You can install a pair of wall sconces or slim mini pendant lights at eye level on both sides of the mirror to provide shadowless illumination.

Avoid mounting a light fixture, such as recessed lights, above the mirror. That would throw strong light onto your forehead and cast deep shadows beneath the eyes, nose and chin, making you look ten years older. Proper lighting in the bathroom should show your best reflection and make you feel better about yourself and confident all throughout your day.

Put bathroom task lighting on a dimmer to allow your eyes to adjust in the morning and to help you wind down at night. Recommended wattage for light fixtures in the master or guest bathrooms is 75 to 100 watts. You can also get these wattage equivalents in a 24 to 26-watt CFL bulb or 20 to 25-watt LED bulb. For powder rooms, you can use 45-watt lights, to provide a softer, relaxing ambience for guests.

Choose a color temperature that will make this space feel inviting and illuminate your guests in the most flattering way.

Accent Lighting

If you have art displayed in your bathroom, accent lighting is necessary to draw attention to it and highlight its beauty. Recessed directional lights will provide focused illumination for every piece of art.

Decorative Lighting

Add visual sparkle in your bathroom with pendant lighting to add sophistication to this space. You can also opt for a chandelier for a more ornate look in a larger bathroom.

Putting It All Together

The key to having a well-lit bathroom that will enable you to efficiently perform your personal activities while at the same time providing you with the mood that you need at any given time of the day is to have the appropriate fixtures in place to layer light. Positioning wall sconces on both sides of a mirror at the sink vanities will provide functional task lighting.

These also function as additional ambient lighting as well as decorative light. For ambient lighting, install recessed cans on dimmers to create whatever mood is desired. Dimmers are particularly useful in the tub area, for relaxation and romance.

Joan Silver is a known lighting expert from Capitol Lighting ( and a fan of all things “lighting”. She currently provides customers and designers with robust information on their lighting needs.