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Ten different ways to light your bathroom

Today’s bathroom has to be hard-working – efficient for those early mornings, but also a calming retreat where you can relax at the end of the day. Lighting plays a big part in both the mood and efficiency of a bathroom, so if you’re planning a revamp, be sure to spend some time thinking about it.

Even if you aren’t getting a new bathroom, still consider updating your lighting scheme – whether you add a striking pendant, improve your mirror lighting or fit a dimmer switch, you can give your room a whole new feel. Here are some ideas to get you started.


Pack a punch with pendants

We’re more used to seeing pendant lights over kitchen islands and dining tables, but they can work wonders in a bathroom. Here, four-well placed, etched-metal pendants add a designer note while providing good task lighting over the basin area.

Find more bathroom ideas by browsing these photos

Create a cluster

Pendants can also look striking grouped together and are a great way to add a sculptural touch to your bathroom. These small orbs add atmosphere to the bathing zone and help the freestanding tub take centre stage. You could buy a set that come together, or mix and match your own for a unique feel.

See more ways to give your bathroom a dash of designer style


Use spotlighting for a different effect

Rather than the tried-and-tested use of recessed spots in a ceiling, do something different and sink them into the floor to highlight a particular feature, or perhaps create a walkway. Here, the oval freestanding bath is picked out with spots, which create a gorgeous glow for night-time soaks.

If you want to do this, it should be planned early to ensure all the necessary wiring is in place in the floor.

Flatter with glamorous side lights

Create an old-fashioned Hollywood dressing room feel by installing strips of bare bulbs around a mirror. Lights like these look as good turned off as they do on, when they cast a flattering, shadow-free reflection for anyone getting ready for their close-up.

If bare bulbs aren’t for you, consider installing a pair of elegant wall lights either side of the mirror for the same shadow-free results.

Check out 10 mistakes to avoid when designing a bathroom

Opt for concealed lighting

Concealed lighting – when you can’t see the source, but can still see the light it emits – is the perfect way to add atmosphere to a bathroom. It offers the chance to get much more creative with your lighting and give your room a real wow factor.

Concealed lighting is architectural lighting, as it’s worked into the fabric of the building, so this is definitely one you’ll need to plan for.

Zone with colour

There are few areas in your home where you can use coloured lighting to such good effect, as zones are so clearly defined in the bathroom. Emphasise the zones by using different lights in each – bright and white for high-use areas, and something a little calmer, such as this blue, for the bath and shower.

Continue a theme

If your bathroom has a particular theme, then continue this in the lighting. The cage pendants here complement the mirror and taps wonderfully and help give this bathroom a nautical edge. Details are key to a cohesive design, and lighting is a brilliant way to add another layer to your bathroom scheme.


Focus on a feature

Bathrooms are by no means solely functional spaces, and your choice of lighting should reflect that. So as well as focused task lighting over a basin, for example, think about positioning your lights to showcase a statement piece, such as this beautiful stone.

Highlight a niche

Sometimes, just a little subtle lighting can work wonders. Try illuminating an inset shelf to transform it from something utilitarian into an attractive feature. Here, the lighting picks out a section of patterned tiles in the otherwise plain room, but it could equally highlight beautiful lotions and potions or some leafy houseplants.

Try out a dimmer switch

Try fitting a dimmer switch to your main task light, as this will let your eyes adjust first thing in the morning and help you wind down in the evening. Dimmers are available for halogen and LED lights, so you can control the intensity of all your bulbs.

Check out more bathroom lighting including wall lights

Lara Sargent, Houzz Contributor

About our expert View all posts by this expert

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