How to Choose Bathroom Lighting

bathroom lightingBathroom lighting is very important. The bathroom is where we all prepare for each day and where we check that we look good and healthy. The bathroom lighting you choose can make all the difference. But although the bathroom is such a special part of the home, it’s one that can too often get overlooked.

The primary bathroom is the central hub for many important parts of our daily self-care. It is the true workhorse for some of our most important routines.

For this reason, bathrooms need well-selected lighting. It has to live up to its full potential. But, remember electricity and water don’t mix.

This can make the task of buying bathroom lighting far from straightforward. It can even feel overwhelming. The vanity, tub area and shower all need different lighting choices. But the bathroom’s design still needs to feel stylish and cohesive.

Once you have selected the most stylish fittings, hire a qualified, experienced electrician. With tough safety regulations, it’s advisable.


Each light has an IP rating. IP stands for “Ingress Protection”. It shows each light’s level of resistance to water. The higher the rating, the better the protection.

Each IP rating has two numbers. The first demonstrates the level of protection from foreign objects. The second number demonstrates the light’s resistance to moisture.

Bathroom lighting calls for specific IP ratings. The best is IP65. The first number indicates the light protects against dust harming the equipment. The second shows protection against water spray that could come from any direction.

bathroom lighting ideasA good example of a light that is ideal for any bathroom is the Mullan Lighting Kyla Pendant Light. It is ultra-modern. This pendant has an IP65 rating.

The Kyla has a glass lampshade shaped like a teardrop. Inside a water-resistant enclosure, this protects an LED tube bulb. The metal components come in antique, polished or satin brass or antique silver colour.

Bathroom Lighting Types

To be functional lighting in a bathroom calls for fixtures that have a semi-opaque shade. This gently diffuses the light. Opaque shades tend to completely block light from travelling forward. With semi-opaque shade, light reaches your face. It doesn’t only hit the room’s surfaces.

Some people make a statement with the striking Verpan Moon Lamp as the main light in their bathrooms. Verpan’s XXXL Moon Chandelier has fanned reflectors. These diffuse light around the bathroom. Designed by Verner Panton in 1960, it consists of ten ring-shaped discs. These suspend around the inner bulb. They are adjustable to give whatever the aesthetic.

To provide your bathroom with more even light it’s good to choose fixtures that use multi-bulbs. These generate light from many angles and better cut shadows. A stylish example of this is the Fritz Hansen Bulb Fiction Pendant Light. Designed by KiBiSi, this has become a 21st-century design classic. It works well with every type of décor. Humble in shape the shade embodies modern Danish design.

Bulb Fiction works as a single lamp, but it looks even more impressive when hung as a set. It can be in a cluster or a straight line and is often found in staggered formations. You can play with the design by tying knots in the cord.

An iconic incandescent bulb inspired the Bulb Fiction’s design. Nowadays, the socket and bulb come in a single shape. This creates the illusion of a classic incandescent bulb. It also hides a low energy light source and ensures a comfortable, soft light. The pendant has an acid-treated opal glass shade. There are an aluminium suspension and an extra thick silicone cord.


Sconces are light fixtures hung on a wall. The light is often directed upwards and outwards but can also point down. Sconces are very old types of fixture. In the past, they housed oil lamps and candles.

Situate sconces on either side of the mirror or onto the mirror. When the shades are at eye-level, try to:

  • Mount the backplate of any vertical, tube-shaped fixture at eye-level
  • Sit the shade of down-lights a little below eye-level
  • Place the shade of up-lights a bit higher than eye-level.

vanity light to mirror ratioThe Mullan Lighting Brent Wall Lamp has a traditional flair. Its construction is of cast brass for excellent durability. Its classic shape creates a soft lighting effect. The lamp looks great when lit with an Edison-style bulb. This gives a softer and more inviting look.

Side-mounted sconces can be beautiful. They are also very functional and don’t tend to take up much space.

Modern sconces come in various forms. They should provide appropriate light. The light is a bathroom is different from, say, the lighting in a narrow hallway or an intimate dining room.

A more modern wall light design is the Beadlight Stratus Wall light. This is slim and elegant and designed with a pivot and swivel directional mechanism. This makes it possible for people to choose the best direction of the light. It is available in many finishes.

The mirror is for tasks like applying makeup, shaving or putting in contact lenses. This means that it’s important the fixtures light the face. Lighting the space is not enough.

Good bathroom task lighting should light the person and not the wall or the mirror. Often sconces are in pairs so they sit each side of a mirror. Together, the pair light the face from the sides. This avoids harsh shadows.

Mirror Lighting

If the mirror is in a central position above the sink, mount fixtures as close to your face as possible. This means a few inches to the mirror’s left and right.

Sconces are ideal for creating a special ambience in tub areas. They can add to the soothing atmosphere. This can be difficult overhead fixtures.

It is good to choose sconces above your mirror if the glass is quite wide. If the mirror is 150cm or more, a sconce on each side could be too far apart. This would not give you a strong and even light when you stand in the middle.

This is particularly the case with double vanities. When two people are not able to stand in the centre and have to stand on one side and the other. This is where a series of lights over the mirror will provide more even light, wherever a person is standing.

Sconces mounted over the mirror can also work well in bathrooms with tall ceilings. They can play into the vertical space and draw the eye upward.

Use a single sconce above the mirror if you:

  • Don’t have room on one or both sides to fit a pair of sconces
  • Have a wide mirror with no breaks between
  • Have a tall space and want to stress the height.


Pendants are elegant lighting options. They can function as ambient or accent lighting.

To maintain unity in a bathroom’s design it’s a good idea to stick to the same finish family. It’s stunning and versatile if you choose brass or chrome. They complement other bath accessories.

Pendant lights or chandeliers can make a bathroom feel very palatial. If you select the correct fixture, it can make a statement. It will also set a tone for the bathroom’s design.

The Mullan Lighting Ren Pendant Light produces a soft warm glow. With its downward lighting, it’s ideal for small areas. It’s a ceiling light fixture. And it would enhance any residential space. But it is particularly good in the bathroom because of its IP65 rating. It would look great when lit with a warm bulb for soft lighting.

Downlighting & Spotlighting

A modern choice for many bathrooms takes the form of downlights. This style of light is discreet. It enables even illumination across a whole room. Take the Original BTC Sopra Downlight. This elevates the humble recessed downlight into a standout decorative feature. It is very effective, particularly if you have a small interior with a low ceiling. Our range comes in a choice of three textured finishes – plain, quilted, ridged. They all enhance the translucent qualities of the bone china finish. They may need more installation work than a single lighting outlet. But the effect is stunning.

Wall Lights

If you want to create a more subdued mood, wall lights are an ideal choice. Wall lights provide extra illumination where you decide you need it most.

We have many to choose from like the Kairi Wall Lamp. This item has a slim profile. It creates a warm diffused glow. It’s a coolie wall light that is perfect for a bathroom. It offers an unobtrusive yet effective light source.

An example of wall lighting with a simplistic and classic industrial design is the Mayim Wall Lamp. This exudes vintage charm with an exposed bulb. Made from brass, the Mayim hangs from an open hook. It attaches to a brass sleeve projecting perpendicular to the wall. There is a range of finishes that include antique, satin or polished brass and antique silver.

Other Considerations

Switches: Bathroom lights are often operated with a cord hanging from the ceiling. An alternative is a wall switch outside the bathroom. In both cases, make sure they are convenient for ease of use.

Saving energy: The majority of modern bathroom lights have energy-saving features. To be even more energy conscious turn off the bathroom lights when you leave the bathroom. You can also use LED lights, which are more energy-efficient. Plus it’s a good habit to replace old bulbs with new energy-saving alternatives.

how to choose bathroom vanity lightingLayers of light: Layers of light enhance how bathrooms look. This boosts a space’s beauty. For even light to be distributed, combine:

  • The ambient light of chandeliers or pendants
  • The second layer of task lighting to illuminate grooming activities
  • The third layer of accent lighting. This highlights the bathroom’s architectural features and decor.



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