Bathroom Lighting Ideas

Creative Director Sally Storey gives her top inspirational bathroom lighting tips and ideas along with products on how to achieve the best bathroom lighting. Bathroom lighting can change the look and feel of a bathroom at the flick of a switch. It can allow you to achieve a get up and go feeling in the morning to a more "spa-like" feel for relaxing in the evening. Here we will give you some top bathroom lighting ideas and tips to ensure you make the most of your bathroom with great interior lighting.

First you will need to assess your bathroom lighting needs: Think about when you use the bathroom and how much natural daylight is there? Do you want mood bathroom lighting? Which features do you want to enhance, and where will you need task lighting to see really clearly?

  • lighting grazes down the back of the shower reflecting in the mirror

    1.General lighting

    Downlights are a practical consideration for general bathroom light, but forget the concept of a grid of lighting. Instead highlight the finishes by locating the LED Waterspring close to the tiled or stone wall, providing streaks of light almost like running water. Position another to direct towards the basin and another above the WC or towel rail will provide the perfect balance.

    If you are unsure of the IP Zones in a bathroom, take a look at our handy guide: Bathroom IP Rating and Zones.

  • hanging pendants and floor lights light up a modern basin unit

    2.Task lighting

    This relates to lighting around the mirror as you will need task lighting to shave, wash and put make-up on. The best way to achieve this is with a light either side of the face. There is a trend now for pendants either side of the mirror instead of wall lights. Pendants, such as the Grissini or Penne, are one of the best bathroom lights you can consider installing. You can also consider wall lights or frosted strips integrated into mirrors. Another way to achieve this is with a backlit mirror. Use the Contour HD27 strip to light behind the mirror which will create a floating effect.

    Always avoid a downlight straight above your head which causes unflattering shadows and is a far from ideal task light.

  • a free standing bath is lit with both up and downlights

    3.Spa magic

    To create the magic and spa quality, the  best bathroom lights are to use one watt low level LEDs which will make all the difference. Consider Lucca 30 uplights when lighting a stone or tiled wall behind a freestanding bath or set into a windowsill to light shutters. This effect is almost like putting nightlights around – it is the instant candle. Combine these with floor washes under the sink on the side wall to wash the floor using the Sirolo or Cazalla reflects the light off the floor and creates another layer!

  • white bathroom with layered lighting

    4.Additional impact

    Why not add another layer of lighting to add more drama and interest into your bathroom.  Consider the addition of lit niches either in the shower or above the bath. These can be lit with a Contour HD27 LED strip or Etta Eyelid under cupboard light as shown here in this display unit.  This also adds depth to your bathroom.

  • Floating basin unit with back lit freestanding back

    5.Night light

    The addition of low level lighting which comes on automatically as you enter provide ideal lighting for night-time visits to the bathroom.  Consider the addition of low level floor washing which comes on with a PIR (Presence Infrared) automatically. The Sirolo or Cazalla floorwashers make great night lights or place a Contour LED strip under a floating basin.  This also washes light across the floor showing off your choice of floor surface.

  • marble basin unit with lit shelving and under lit basin


    The finishes can play a big part in how you choose your bathroom lighting.  If you are adding a low-level floating effect under a vanity unit and have a shiny floor, you would see the dotty reflection which would ruin the illusion.  In this instance you would need to position your LED strip carefully and use a frosted profile.  You might also consider using a single point light source like the Cazalla instead.

  • silhouette created with uplights to this free standing bath

    7.Lighting control

    To create the perfect balance to the layers of light, dimming control is essential. For a simpler effect, consider two dimmed circuits one for the general light and one for the task/ mirror light and the lower level effect light. A perfect solution is to use a control system as this will give you four scenes to allow greater flexibility.

  • contemporary bathroom with floating basin and back lit bath with large decorative pendant

    8.Zones and IP Ratings

    For any lighting within the bathroom you would need to consider if you require any IP rated fittings.  The rating will vary based on proximity to water sources.  In a shower you should be looking for IPX4 and above.  If your ceiling heights are above 2.25m, you do not need an IP rating fitting everywhere.  Read more about your bathroom lighting zones.