For many of us, the smallest room in the house is going to be the bathroom, and if it is poorly lit, it will not only appear even smaller but also lack functionality. Even though it’s an important room that most of us use at least twice a day, morning and night, it is often neglected. If you want to transform your bathroom into a more pleasurable space to spend time in and retain its practical use for grooming, hair styling, and other more focused tasks, then having optimal lighting is crucial.

Modern bathroom lighting solutions are numerous, and with all the choices available, we can be creative with our arrangements, even if we have a small space to work with. Here are some great small bathroom lighting ideas that can make a significant impact.

How To Get the Best Lighting for a Small Bathroom?

To maximise the effect of the lighting in a small bathroom requires both creativity and careful planning. As the bathroom is an area that requires both ambient and task lighting, you’ll need at least two light fixtures. Below are some bathroom lighting ideas that will provide you with the best illumination for a small space:

Layer Your Lighting

Many small bathrooms will make do with a single overhead light or some lighting around the bathroom cabinet, but even if space is at a premium, it won’t be sufficient. A light in the middle of the ceiling won’t provide the more focused light you need for shaving or putting on your makeup. On the other end of the spectrum, if you just have task lighting, then the lack of ambient bathroom light is going to make it look dim and gloomy and could even be a potential health and safety risk.

The way to avoid this is to layer your bathroom lighting, using multiple lighting at different levels. Maybe you would use a flush mount ceiling light for general illumination, wall sconces on either side of a mirror for task lighting, and a pendant light as a statement piece over the bath. You don’t want to clutter your bathroom, so think about the types of light you are going to use: ambient, task, and accent lighting.

Focus on The Bathroom Mirror

If you read a lot of articles about lighting ideas for bathrooms, the style gurus often suggest that the primary focus is the mirror and who we are to disagree!

The mirror is likely the most used area in a bathroom, being used for applying makeup, grooming your hair or beard, and all sorts of other tasks that require focused light. If you want to see a clear representation of your face in the mirror and not have dark shadows cast over it, there are plenty of great solutions for bathroom task lighting rather than relying on your ceiling lights.

Wall sconces installed on either side of a mirror are a great cross-lighting solution and ensure that you have shadow-free lighting so you can carry out your grooming regime easily and look your best. To give the ceiling the illusion of extra height, then using wall sconces for uplighting works well. If wall space is limited, a pendant lamp will perform just as well. If the ceiling isn’t too low, you’ll need to be sure about the measurements to ensure that it isn’t an obstruction.

Improve The Natural Lighting

When it comes to ideas for bathroom lighting, you shouldn’t just rely on light fixtures but consider natural lighting as well. If you aren’t making the best use of a bathroom window, then it’s probably time to remedy it. If a window is hidden behind dark curtains, painted over, or dare we say just plain dirty, then it’s time to change things up. Natural light is always going to trump artificial light, so go for sheer curtains or replace your clear windows with frosted glass if you value your privacy.

Choose The Right Colours

The colour scheme of your bathroom has a significant influence on how its size of it appears. Dark colours will make small spaces feel even more cramped. Paint or tile your bathroom with light colours, which will better reflect the light and make it seem larger. It is recommended to keep things simple and to stick with just two colours of paint.

Patterned fabrics and too many accessories will clutter the room, so avoid the patterns without having too many unnecessary decorative items in a small bathroom. One or two house plants are an appealing look in small bathrooms, and they usually love the humidity, if you can afford the space.

Install Dimmers In Your Bathroom

Many people don’t consider dimmers when it comes to bathroom lighting, and some also believe that they are only suitable for areas such as the living room or bedroom. They can be just as versatile in the bathroom. For instance, before you go to bed, you might prefer more subdued lighting while you brush your teeth so that you can prepare for bed without disrupting your circadian rhythms. Dimmers also save on energy, when you dim a light bulb, it will last a lot longer than when fully bright.

What Is The Best Lighting for a Small Bathroom?

Depending on the shape of your bathroom, most types of lighting are fine for a small bathroom. If you have a low ceiling, chandeliers are going to be a no-go, and while pendant lights might work, you should check your measurements precisely.

Bathroom Ceiling Lighting

Ceiling lights are the best way to illuminate the bathroom with ambient lighting. Bathroom light fixtures that are too large are best avoided. If you have a low ceiling, we suggest flush mount ceiling lights as they take up little space producing minimal bathroom clutter.

Recessed Bathroom Lighting

Recessed lights can offer ambient lighting to a bathroom and are sleek and streamlined even more than flush mounts. Recessed lights are often placed around the perimeter of a bathroom. If combined with LED light bulbs, you’ll find recessed lighting low maintenance and an excellent option for small bathrooms.

Pendant Lights for Bathrooms

Pendants are light fixtures that are suspended from a ceiling by a rod, chain, or cord. They look great and are available in many different styles, so you can find a pendant light that fits in with your bathroom decor. They can be used for ambient lighting in the centre of a ceiling, or task lighting when installed close to a mirror. If you are limited to wall space instead of wall sconces, mini-pendant lights make an excellent, stylish alternative.

Bathroom Wall Sconces

Wall sconce lights can add a stylish look to a small bathroom as well as provide excellent task lighting. Usually, they will be situated on either side of a sink or bathroom mirror.

Under-Cabinet Bathroom Lights

The area under bathroom cabinets or shelves is another area where some extra light can be of benefit. If these undersides are lit up rather than being left dark, a small bathroom will seem much larger. It can also serve to make the space much more functional. As they are a form of bathroom lighting that is hidden away, they don’t add to any extra clutter.


Last but not least, a form of lighting that has been with us for centuries is the humble candle. Who can’t resist soaking in a bath by candlelight? Maybe you considered the idea but were put off it by the idea of wax dripping all over your bathtub. If so, then forget the old-school wax candles and opt for some modern LED candles, you’ll get the same benefits without the mess.

Final Thoughts

You now have plenty of bathroom lighting ideas, even if your room is small. With a little careful planning, you can make some amazing improvements that will result in a bright, stylish, and functional bathroom.


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