Design Center - Bathroom Lighting

Bathed in the right light

It's a misconception from years past that bathrooms must be brightly lit. Bathrooms do require a certain amount of practical light to support practical activities that are performed in the bathroom, such as styling your hair or applying makeup. However, layers of light can be most effective in the bathroom because it can provide the ability to control the lighting depending on the task at hand.

Task lighting is one of the most important types of lighting for the bathroom, and should be addressed with a lighting scheme for the vanity.

Task Lighting

The best vanity lighting utilizes cross illumination, which provides shadow-free lighting. In other words, you need a lighting solution over the vanity, as well as on both sides of the vanity, which lights the face evenly, and achieves the "cross-illumination" effect.

By introducing some lower-level ambient lighting into the bath it's less likely to cause glare by reflecting off of shiny surfaces, which creates a more pleasing and relaxing environment.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is typically provided by ceiling fixtures, and is especially important in the bath because of varied mixtures of materials and finishes, many of them shiny surfaces like wall tile, floor tile and chrome faucets.

bathroom sparkle

Add sparkle to your bathroom. When considering the lighting plan for you bathroom, consider complimenting your choices with mirrors. Mirrors can make a space look larger and lighter; they can increase the impact of anything they reflect; they can change the contours of a room; and multiply and divide the effects of light.

Another way to add sparkle is with a chandelier. The chandelier originated as a device to hold multiple candles, basically introducing more light when each individual source was of limited power. Over time, refinements were added to chandeliers, such as tiers of cut glass and crystal, primarily for the practical purpose of fracturing and multiplying the light further. Chandeliers can add these reflective properties to the bathroom creating depth and drama.

layering light in the bath

Layering light in a bathroom is the best way to provide task lighting as well as ambient lighting, striking just the right balance of function and mood.

In days gone by, bathrooms were often rooms that had only one central overhead light shining down from the ceiling. Because bathrooms are typically not overly large (compared to other rooms in the home), they sometimes get short-changed in the number of lights allotted them.

Try these layering options


These days there are many options to compliment or supplement your overhead, central lighting source. Chandeliers are being introduced in the bath, adding a touch of glamor.


Flush ceiling mounts are still an ideal choice, especially if installed with a dimming option.


Above the sink, decorative sconce lighting fixtures are popular and are available in a variety of sizes (2-light, 3-light, etc.). Single-light sconces on either side of the mirror help to even out task lighting in this area, as well as to accent other areas of the bathroom.


Mini-pendants are even gaining popularity as an alternate option of side-mirror lighting, and can be used above the bathtub for a dramatic effect.

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