The Ultimate Guide to Choosing New Bathroom Lights


Choosing the perfect bathroom lights could make all the difference when trying to create a space that is not only functional but also relaxing and stylish. With so many options available, it can become overwhelming to decide which light fixtures are best suited for a bathroom. This guide will shed light on the bathroom light selection process, covering different types of bathroom lights, some things to keep in mind, and a step-by-step approach to selecting the perfect lighting for your bathrooms. 

Types of bathroom lights 

  1. Bathroom downlights

Bathroom downlights, also known as recessed lights, are installed flush with the ceiling, providing a sleek and unobtrusive lighting option. They emit focused light downwards, making them perfect for general illumination or highlighting specific areas, such as shower enclosures or over bathtubs. Downlights can create a modern look in your bathroom and are especially useful in rooms with low ceilings where headspace is a concern. 

  1. Bathroom ceiling lights

These lights are mounted directly onto the ceiling and come in various styles, including flush mounts that sit close to the ceiling and semi-flush mounts that drop down slightly, allowing for more decorative options. Bathroom ceiling lights are ideal for providing overall ambient lighting, ensuring the entire space is evenly lit. They range from simple, functional designs to elaborate, statement pieces that can serve as the focal point of the room. 

  1. Bathroom wall lights

Bathroom wall lights are mounted on the bathroom walls and can provide both ambient and task lighting, depending on their placement. They are commonly found on either side of the bathroom mirror to offer even, shadow-free lighting for grooming tasks. Bathroom wall sconces come in a range of designs, from modern to vintage-inspired, allowing them to complement any bathroom decor while adding a touch of elegance and sophistication. 

  1. Mirrors with lights

Mirrors with integrated lights combine functionality with modern design. These mirrors provide clear, direct lighting for tasks like shaving or applying makeup, eliminating shadows and ensuring a well-lit reflection. The built-in lights can be LED strips or bulbs, often featuring options for adjustable brightness and colour temperature to suit different needs and preferences. This type of mirror adds a sleek, contemporary look to any bathroom, enhancing convenience and style. 

  1. Vanity mirror lights

Designed to frame or sit atop vanity mirrors, these lights provide optimal task lighting, ensuring even and flattering illumination. Vanity mirror lights help in performing precise tasks such as applying makeup or skincare routines by reducing shadows and offering a clear view. They are available in various styles, including bar lights that stretch across the top of the mirror and individual bulbs that can be placed around the mirror for a Hollywood dressing room effect. 


Things to consider 

  • Size and layout of your bathroom

In a compact bathroom, a single, well-placed light source may suffice, particularly if it’s a combination of ambient and task lighting.But larger bathrooms may benefit from a mix of lighting types, including downlights for ambient light and wall sconces or vanity lights for task lighting near the mirror. Consider zones within your bathroom that require focused lighting versus those that need general illumination. 

  • Natural light availability

Bathrooms with ample daylight may require different lighting solutions than those reliant entirely on artificial light. For instance, a bathroom with large windows might only need supplemental task lighting around the mirror or vanity. Bathrooms with little to no natural light will need a thoughtful combination of lighting options to brighten the space adequately. 

  • Bathroom decor and style

Whether your bathroom features sleek contemporary lines or classic traditional details, there’s a wide array of lighting styles to match. Consider fixtures that echo the finishes of your taps and towel rails for a cohesive look. Modern bathrooms might look best with chrome or brushed nickel fixtures, while a more rustic bathroom could be enhanced with lighting in warmer tones or materials. 

  • Energy efficiency

LED lights are a popular choice due to their longevity and lower energy usage compared to traditional bulbs. They are available in a range of colour temperatures, allowing you to choose a warmer or cooler light according to your preference and the ambiance you wish to create. This consideration not only impacts your carbon footprint but can also significantly reduce your utility bills over time. 

  • Safety and regulations

Bathrooms are classified into different zones with specific requirements for the types of lights that can be safely installed based on their proximity to water sources. Make sure the lighting fixtures you select are suitable for the bathroom they will be placed in, with appropriate Ingress Protection ratings that indicate their resistance to moisture and water. 


How to choose the perfect bathroom lights 

Step 1: Evaluate your space

Begin by taking a close look at your bathroom's overall dimensions, layout, and existing natural light. Consider areas that are darker or require more focused lighting. Measuring your space can help you understand the scale of lighting fixtures needed, preventing the installation of lights that are too big or too small for the area. Note any existing fixtures and decide whether you're replacing them or adding new ones. 

Step 2: Determine your needs

Think about the primary functions your bathroom serves. If you often find yourself applying makeup or shaving in the bathroom, task lighting around the vanity becomes crucial. For general use bathrooms, ambient lighting that fills the entire space evenly may be more important. Consider adding accent lighting to highlight architectural features or decor if you're aiming to create a spa-like atmosphere. 

Step 3: Choose your style

Your lighting should not only be functional but also reflect your personal style and complement the bathroom's design. Modern bathrooms might benefit from sleek, minimalist fixtures with clean lines, while traditional spaces can be enhanced with classic designs featuring ornate details. Don't forget about the finish of your fixtures; chrome, brushed nickel, and matte black are popular choices that can tie the room together. 

Step 4: Consider energy efficiency

LED lighting is highly recommended for its energy efficiency, longevity, and range of colour temperatures. LEDs come in various hues, from warm yellows that mimic incandescent bulbs to cool whites that resemble natural daylight, allowing you to tailor the ambiance of your bathroom. Also, consider looking for lights with adjustable brightness levels or dimming capabilities to create different moods and save energy when full brightness isn't necessary. 

Step 5: Consult with a professional

Even with a clear idea of what you're looking for, consulting with a lighting designer or an electrician can provide invaluable insights. They can help you understand the technical aspects, such as wiring requirements, IP ratings for water and moisture resistance, and the best placement for fixtures to achieve optimal illumination. They might also suggest options you hadn't considered, ensuring your final selection is both beautiful and functional.

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