How to Choose Lights for a Bathroom

Bathrooms require appropriate lighting so that people can see what they are doing while showering, bathing, brushing teeth, shaving and attending to other matters of personal care and hygiene. The best way to light a bathroom depends on the shape and size of the room, and whether there is any natural light from windows. Choose lights for a bathroom that are functional and consistent with the design in the rest of the bathroom.


  1. Image titled Choose Lights for a Bathroom Step 1
    Assess the size of your bathroom. A small bathroom may need only a single overhead light. Larger bathrooms might need vanity light fixtures over sinks, or a separate overhead light in the shower.
  2. Image titled Choose Lights for a Bathroom Step 2
    Decide where light is most important in your bathroom. Lights over the mirror may be important for grooming, or a well-lit tub could be essential if you have children to bath.
  3. Image titled Choose Lights for a Bathroom Step 3
    Determine if you have any natural light. If you have windows in your bathroom, decide if you will keep them uncovered, to allow sunlight into the bathroom. Natural light will cut down on energy costs.
    • Consider installing a skylight. This will provide a natural light source and give you an interesting design element in the bathroom.
  4. Image titled Choose Lights for a Bathroom Step 4
    Prepare for nighttime illumination. Use a nightlight in the bathroom or the hallway right outside the bathroom to assist you when you are making your way from the bedroom in the dark.
  5. Image titled Choose Lights for a Bathroom Step 5
    Find fixtures that provide light without shadows. Arrange light fixtures around the mirror so that they will not throw shadows on you while you are grooming.
    • Choose a strip of lights that stretch across the top of the mirror horizontally. This will provide consistent and bright lighting for everything you do at the sink or in front of the mirror.
    • Place 2 small lights on either side of the mirror if you have the wall space. This will prevent shadows.
    • Use halogen or fluorescent bulbs to increase brightness. These types of lights are also more energy efficient.
    • Match your fixtures to your other bathroom hardware. Most fixtures come with bronze or silver plating, or with a variety of metal and wood finishes.
  6. Image titled Choose Lights for a Bathroom Step 6
    Choose recessed or overhead lighting for areas above the shower or the toilet. Only the trim of the light fixture and the bulb will be visible, so it will not be difficult to match this type of lighting to your other bathroom fixtures.
    • Use a waterproof fixture over the shower. This will add to the brightness of the light.
    • Choose a glass lens rather than a plastic lens over the shower. This will prevent yellowing and wear.
    • Include an exhaust fan with your overhead lighting if you want that option for your bathroom. You can also install a separate light switch to turn the fan on and off.
  7. Image titled Choose Lights for a Bathroom Step 7
    Choose hanging lights if you have a high ceiling in the bathroom, and you are looking for a modern and contemporary style.
  8. Image titled Choose Lights for a Bathroom Step 8
    Consider using a dimmer switch if you want to customize the amount of light you are using in the bathroom.


  • Use design magazines and websites to get ideas on how to provide light in your bathroom. You can also talk to experts in lighting centers and home improvement stores to get advice and ideas.


  • Consult an electrician before installing or changing any electrical outlets or energy sources.

Article Info

Categories: Bathroom Decorating