Updating the Lighting in the Bathroom to Improve Functionality and Ambiance

A gloomy bathroom can be nice at the right moment, but most of the time, you can’t really do your makeup, hair, or even skincare in there. And that’s not good if your bathroom has the only big enough mirror in your apartment.
So, the lighting in your bathroom should do the job it’s supposed to do: show what you look like and help you maintain hygiene. Wondering how to improve the functionality and ambiance of the lighting in your bathroom? Let’s dive right in.

What Is an Excellent Bathroom Lighting Layout?
Your bathroom lighting should help you get whatever you’re doing quickly. It shouldn’t take you a million years to get ready for the day or night out because you can’t see what you’re doing.

Your bathroom should not be burning bright, but nor should it be so dim that you can’t see. To achieve that kind of brightness, you need to position your lighting fixtures along your bathroom walls instead of the ceiling.
But too many lights can also spoil the look of your bathroom, so keep these tips in mind when designing your bathroom lighting plan:

  • Bright task lights around, above and below, or on the sides of the mirror
  • Soft, warm lighting from overhead fixtures
  • Accent lighting around or above decorative fixtures
  • Light layers throughout the bathroom.
  • But you can’t decide anything without knowing what fixtures are available to you, so let’s look at a few.

6 Types of Bathroom Fixtures
There are dozens of lighting fixtures you could use in your bathroom. Here are some of the best ones:

1. Ceiling Lights
Ceiling lights are general lights located in the bathroom ceiling. You can have one centered ceiling fixture or several in a row. Often, a ceiling light is the only light source in a bathroom because it can provide sufficient illumination for tasks at the mirror or countertop.

2. Recessed Lights
If you aren’t a fan of protruding lighting fixtures, recessed lights are going to be your best friend. They can illuminate bathrooms without getting in the way. Recessed lights are usually installed within holes cut into the ceiling, saving space and making your bathroom look sleek.

However, they’re a form of general lighting because they’re mounted too high to provide proper illumination. So, if you have a darker corner in your bathroom where your ceiling and vanity lights don’t illuminate, recessed lights will make it shine.

3. Wall Sconces
Wall sconces come in pairs and are mounted on the wall on each side of your bathroom mirror. They are covered by decorative shades that stop the light from shining in your eyes. These lights are mounted at or just above the head level.

Sconces provide an excellent source of illumination and visibility than other types of bathroom lighting. Why? Because they shine directly on your sink and countertop, helping you see what you’re doing whenever you visit the bathroom.

4. Vanity Lights
Vanity lights are usually located above your bathroom mirror and are considered the workhorse of the bathroom. Why? Because typically, people rely on these lights for all their bathroom lighting needs.

These lights illuminate the sink and the countertop, helping you do your makeup and skincare routine easily. However, if you’re using them without a shade, vanity lights can make your eyes water, so think about getting a shade when you’re in the planning stage.

5. Mirror Lights
Ever seen those gorgeous designer bathrooms with mirrors that seem to float off the walls? Mirror walls create that ethereal effect.

If you want your bathroom mirror to look like it’s floating off the wall, you should use a light behind your mirror. The mirror light is going to cast a soft, warm glow around your mirror, giving it a mysterious and ethereal effect.

Typically, mirror lights are LED light strips stuck around the edges of a mirror. However, you can get pre-built LED perimeter bathroom mirror lights from various lighting companies for as low as $300.

6. Pendant Lights
Pendant lighting showers specific or direct light over essential areas in your bathroom. It’s usually positioned at head level or just a bit higher, illuminating areas like sinks. However, since it’s positioned so low, it’s usually used in larger bathrooms.

If you’re using pendant lighting to make a decorative feature stand out in your bathroom, use it in conjunction with another light because it can’t provide enough illumination for the entire bathroom.

3 Tips to Update Bathroom Lighting for Ambiance and Functionality
Now that we’ve taken a look at the types of fixtures you can use in your bathroom and the effects they would have, let’s figure out how to update your bathroom lighting for functionality and ambiance.

1. Layer Your Bathroom Lighting
Layering your lighting is crucial if you want your bathroom to look good and feel good to use. Because honestly, if you can’t see yourself — or anything else, for the matter — in your bathroom, what’s the point of wasting money on lights?

So, instead of only using a ceiling light to illuminate your bathroom, use several lighting fixtures in your bathroom. For example, use vanity lighting to illuminate your sink and countertop and recessed lighting to light up your shower area.

2. Use Vanity Lighting
As mentioned above, vanity lights are excellent for all your mirror- and sink-related tasks. They can help you do your makeup, wash your face, and take care of your skin without needing to stick to the mirror.

Vanity lights also divert attention from other areas in the bathroom because of their brightness. So, if you want visitors to look in the mirror instead of the shower, vanity lights are going to do that for you.

3. Surround Your Bathroom Mirror with Lights
If you only have a ceiling light in your bathroom and want more light to see your face, you should go for bathroom mirror lights. These can be stuck behind your mirror, giving it an almost floating look that draws all the attention and helps you see what you look like.

3. Use Recessed Lighting in Corners
Recessed lights don’t take up space, so you can’t put them anywhere you want. However, they work best in areas your primary light can’t reach, such as bathroom corners or shower areas.

So, always place a few recessed lights above your shower area so that you can see what you’re doing and find things that fall to the floor.

The Bottom Line
Bathroom lighting can be tricky to nail, but if you stick with your lighting plan and layer all your lighting fixtures, you can create an ambient and functional bathroom space that meets all your needs.

If you live in New York, you can start your bathroom renovation journey by talking with an NYC bathroom remodeling contractor. But if you don’t, you could always look up local options and shoot them a message.

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