Bathroom with claw foot tub and spike chandelier with tile walls

Brighten Your Mood: Refresh Your Bathroom Lighting Design

Feb 11, 2019

It is easy to forget the importance of bathroom lighting design. We pour our time and attention into more public spaces, like our living rooms and kitchens, but leave the bathroom feeling “blah.”

We’re here to make a case for this often-forgotten room. It’s probably where you spend the morning getting ready for the day, and guests are likely to use a powder room when they visit.

How do you feel when you walk into your bathroom? Does it make you feel happy? Anxious? At peace?

If the answer leans toward the unpleasant side, don’t worry. You don’t have to take on a full bathroom renovation to brighten the mood of your morning routine, impress guests, or wind down for the night.

A lighting refresh is the quickest way to transform the overall feeling of your bathroom. Below, you’ll find everything you need to create a lighting plan that will have you, your family, and your guests feeling serene, lifted, and bright.

Three Essential Types of Lighting

Ask any lighting designer, and they’ll tell you a room needs three types of lighting to feel complete:

  • Task lighting
  • Ambient lighting
  • Accent lighting

This three-tiered rule of thumb does not disappear when it comes to bathroom lighting design. A thoughtful combination of task, ambient, and accent lighting, in addition to any natural light from windows or skylights, is the best way to achieve layers of light.

When light is layered, you can change the feeling of your room to match any moment or mood.


Task Lighting

It’s hard to set a positive mood if your bathroom lighting is impractical. You’ll want to make sure you have proper lighting when you light the vanity. Focused activities, like putting on makeup or shaving, benefit from thoughtful task lighting.

One type of light fixture that meets this need is a good set of wall sconces, mounted on either side of the mirror at about eye-level. Wall-mounted sconces on the left and right reduce the risk of creating shadows under your eyes and cheeks, making for a clearer view of your face.

When choosing light bulbs for your wall sconces, it’s a good idea to choose a dimmable bulb, so you can adjust depending on the time of day. No one wants to stare into bright lights first thing in the morning, but they might be helpful after your first (or second!) cup of coffee.

Practical and Trendy

It’s important to include task lighting as a functional element of your bathroom, but it’s just as important that you like the way they look. After all, if you don’t like your sconces, how positive can you really feel while using them?

Remember when we said task lighting was best kept on either side of the mirror? Let’s break that rule. When overhead task lighting is kept simple, it can create a minimal, calming effect in your bathroom. Just be sure to keep the light proportional to the bathroom mirror, so it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

If you’re using LED light bulbs in your sconces, why not take your environmental savviness to the next level with reclaimed sconces? Vintage sconces paired with LED filament bulbs create a warm, old-world feeling. Can’t find vintage sconces? Search for new ones with distressed metal in copper and gold tones, or line your mirror with bare filament bulbs.

bathroom with clawfoot tub, tile walls, and spike chandelier

Ambient Lighting

It is also important to provide ambient lighting, a broad wash of light throughout the whole room. This includes lighting fixtures that shine from above, like recessed lights, ceiling lights, and even chandeliers.

This type of lighting should be indirect—not a spotlight, which can be harsh without providing useful task lighting.

If your bathroom doesn’t have much natural light, ambient lighting can make up for it when you choose bulbs with a natural color temperature.

Show Off Your Style with Accent Lighting

If you’re looking to bring bold trends into your bathroom, accent lighting is the easiest place to do it. Since accent lighting is usually fairly easy to swap out, you can keep up with more dramatic trends without worrying about their long-term staying power.

For style inspiration, you can read about 2019’s most popular lighting trends.

While you’ve probably thought about table lamps for your living room side tables or beside your bed, have you considered them in your bathroom? A small, sleek lamp can make a big statement while occupying relatively little countertop real estate. Use the lamp to pick up on an accent color for the room, or to echo the metal from your sink and tub faucets.

Consider investing in a quality accent lamp base and light bulb, then switch out the lampshade as your preferences change, or when you’re in need of a change.

If you have a painting or print hanging in your bathroom, don’t forget to light it. A well-placed ceiling light will draw attention to your art. Chances are, you put a lot of thought into where you hung it, so don’t let it fall into shadow!

Accent Lighting

Do you cringe at that dusty, tucked away corner in the bathroom? Brighten it with an accent light! Is your wall art feeling stale or lackluster? Use accent lighting to draw attention to it. Accent lighting is there to brighten, feature, or create points of interest within your room.

This is where you get to have a little fun. While accent lighting is probably the most overlooked type of lighting in bathrooms, it can be the one that takes an average bathroom to a great one.

The right accent light can become a conversation piece in itself, so let your personality and style shine through.

The Right Bulbs

Another overlooked way to create a great mood in your bathroom is the light bulb itself. LED bulbs are environmentally friendly and use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Their color temperature ranges from very warm to very bright. LEDs are an excellent choice for mimicking natural light in darker areas of the home.

For versatile bathroom lighting, install dimmable LEDs. You can leave them bright during practical tasks the of the day, but turn them down to a soft glow during your morning routine or relaxing evening bath.

When you choose LED bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs, you’ll feel calm knowing you’re helping the environment, saving big on your energy bill, and investing in versatile, attractive bathroom lighting. View bulbs perfect for your bathroom from TCP.

TCP offers total, end-to-end residential lighting solutions.

TCP understands sourcing and installing the right commercial lighting from start to finish. That’s why, from the first design consultation to the post-project follow-up, we’re there, offering our expertise, helping you capitalize on efficiency rebates, and ensuring your commercial lighting project turns on.

But seeing is believing. That’s why we’re offering free samples of any of our lights. That’s right — we’re so sure we’re the right solution for your commercial lighting needs, we’ll give you lights so you can see how good TCP is for yourself.

Just tell us about your lighting application and we’ll send you free sample products to test. No strings attached.

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