Bathroom Light Fixtures – Eight Different Light Fixtures That Can Be Used in Bathrooms

Because you have probably already read the article about bathroom lights, you know that light layering is important in bathrooms as well as in other rooms. In this article we will move a step further – I would like to present to you different types of light fixtures that can be used in your bathroom (bathroom light fixtures for short).

After reading this article, you will know how to use vanity lights in your bathroom, how recessed lights can make your bathroom look better, why people use wall sconces, whether a chandelier is an appropriate choice for your bathroom, and the benefits of wall torchieres in bathroom lighting. At the end of the article I will also give you hints on how to get the most out of your exhaust fan and heat lights. You are probably curious by now, so let’s start with bathroom vanity lights.

1.) Bathroom vanity lights

Vanity lights are commonly used in bathrooms for task lighting (for tasks like shaving, brushing teeth, washing hands, etc.), and they are usually installed above the sink. If you have a mirror above the sink (and who doesn’t?), I don’t recommend installing just one vanity light above the mirror – you will have trouble with unpleasant shadows. It’s much better to install two vanity lights, one on each side of the mirror (preferably at eye level). This way you will make the best use of the vanity lights.


Picture 1: A simple example of vanity light installation

2.) Recessed lights

Recessed lights can look really good in your bathroom if the room is big enough and you install them in the right spots. Recessed lights should be installed in places where you don’t need as much task lighting as you generally need at the sink. Ideally, recessed down-lights are installed above the bathtub, which guarantees enough light during bathing and showering. Recessed lights as a type of accent lighting (in this case) will also make your bathroom look better. I’ve seen many bathrooms with recessed lights above baths and they look fantastic, especially if there is some ambient light as well (we’ll come to that in the next paragraph). But I don’t recommend installing recessed lights above the toilet, because they can create unpleasant shadows (especially shadows from the toilet paper holder). Now it’s time to take a look at another type of bathroom light fixture – the wall sconce.

3.) Wall sconces

Wall sconces can be used in bathrooms as well – their main job will be ambient lighting. Before you run to the (online) store and buy them, you should ask yourself if your bathroom is big enough for all those lights. Luckily for us, most modern bathrooms are big enough for ambient lighting, so most of you can start thinking about where you are going to install wall sconces (if you don’t decide on another type of ambient lighting, such as cove lighting, which will make your bathroom really distinctive).

Some people use wall sconces instead of vanity lights above the sink – I can’t say that you shouldn’t do that, but the problem with wall sconces is that they direct light upwards; at the sink, you want the light directed downwards.

4.) Chandeliers

Nowadays, chandeliers are very popular in bathrooms as well, especially among people that like luxury design. I have two tips for people who want to use chandeliers in their bathrooms. My first tip is to make sure that your bathroom is big enough and high enough for a chandelier. You probably don’t want to focus all of a visitor’s attention on a single light, and you also don’t want to be hit in the head by a chandelier every time you forget to duck. My second piece of advice is to make sure that you have other types of bathroom light fixtures in your bathroom as well. No matter how glamorous chandeliers look, if your bathroom is big enough for a chandelier, you definitely need some wall sconces and/or vanity lights as well.

5.) Wall torchieres

Wall torchieres are another interesting bathroom lighting option – they look more antique and if they match your bathroom style, they can be a perfect choice. You should install them instead of wall sconces and their function is more or less for ambient lighting.


Picture 2: An example of a (really nice) wall torchiere (source:

6.) Exhaust fan lights

If your bathroom doesn’t have windows, you probably need an exhaust fan to allow steam and odors to escape. You can buy exhaust fans with lights attached. The primary role of these lights is to make the exhaust fan look better and not for room illumination. That is why I recommend hiding the exhaust fan from the eyes of everyday users (and visitors). Only when you can’t do that do I suggest attaching a light fixture to it to make it look better. If you decide to add a light to an exhaust fan, make sure you have separate switches for the fan and the light (the fan is often left on when you leave the bathroom, whereas lights should always be turned off when you aren’t using them).

7.) Bathroom Fluorescent Lighting

Fluorescent lighting in your bathroom is fast becoming more than an option; in many areas it is becoming mandatory as forced conservation pushes us all to become more “green”. Fortunately, bathroom fluorescent lighting does not have to cast ugly shadows or make our skin look unsightly, as it did just a few short years ago. Just because your fluorescent light will last three times longer does not mean that it has to give your complexion the color of a corpse! New advances in light technology enable even fluorescent lights to flatter, not spatter, your skin tone. Because of this improvement, as well as reduced noise levels as these lights hum quietly, bathroom fluorescent lighting is growing in popularity by the day. That’s good, because it soon might become mandatory. Don’t forget that fluorescents often take a few moments to get to their maximum strength after they are turned on. Don’t let that discourage you from installing them; it is a minor inconvenience for helping our planet.

8.) Bathroom Heat Lights

Another excellent bathroom lighting idea is a heat light. These lights can be mounted alone or, more often, in combination with fans that are mounted in bathroom ceilings to eliminate steam and odors. These lights, too, have enjoyed a recent wave of technological improvement. They have been made to be more effective and smaller so that they do not dominate your bathroom lighting scheme. They can even be set to different temperatures. Obviously, these lights can add to the comfort of your bathroom’s interior during cooler months. As you exit the shower or bath, it could be a nice change to have your bathroom well heated without turning up the thermostat for the rest of the house. You might get so addicted to your bathroom heat light that you might have to be dragged out to face the world. Seriously, an hour after your shower is probably enough time to get dressed and get on with life!

So, we’ve moved from the abstract to the concrete level when it comes to bathroom light layering. You are now familiar with different types of bathroom light fixtures, and you should be able to figure out which ones are appropriate for your bathroom. If you would like to find out more about bathroom light fixtures, you can read other articles about lights on Have fun!

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