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Bathroom Lighting 101: Considerations for Selecting the Right Lighting Type

Two white vanities with wood countertops

Getting bathroom lighting right is essential when designing a luxury space. The bathroom is where you prepare for the day, perform personal grooming, put on makeup, and wind down in the evening. Lighting from multiple sources, including the mirror, should be designed with the end user in mind.

Bathroom Lighting Strategy

Every element of your bathroom lighting should work together to create the desired effect, whether it’s applying makeup, taking a relaxing soak, reading in the tub, or making guests feel comfortable. Consider these key lighting strategy elements as you design your luxury bathroom.

Layer Up

Plan for layers of light so you can customize the effect depending on the function you need. These might include:

  • Overhead lighting for daily use
  • Adjustable inner cabinet lighting to match your personal preferences
  • Backlit or lighted mirrors for ultimate functionality and style
  • Natural lighting through skylights or windows
  • Reading lights in key areas
  • Dimmable fixtures

The ideal lighting temperature for each layer will depend on the intended use, so bear this in mind when selecting each layer.

Keep It Consistent

Consider multiple types of lighting with similar finishes for a cohesive aesthetic. Although you want to accommodate various needs and the lighting temperature might vary from fixture to fixture, the overall effect should be seamless.

Shape and Size Wisely

The dimensions and shapes of light sources impact the aesthetics of the space. For a minimalist aesthetic, look for subtle, streamlined fixtures that are almost invisible or integrated into the space. For a more opulent look, lush lighting fixtures can take center stage. Who says you can’t put a chandelier in the bathroom? With modern lighting technology, small fixtures can pack a big punch, so you have total design flexibility when choosing lighting products.

Bathroom Mirror Lighting

Lighted mirrors create an elegant effect in a luxury bathroom and also deliver on functionality with shadow-free lighting. Mirrors with lighting can be backlit, frontlit, or both. The difference is that backlighting has LED bulbs behind the mirror and frontlighting integrates them into the frame of the mirror.

No matter which type you choose, some of the benefits of lighted mirrors include:

  • Diffused light that illuminates without creating harsh shadows
  • Soft secondary lighting that creates a calming effect
  • Making a small space feel larger and brighter

Many lighted mirrors also include features such as dimmable lighting, night-lights, integrated shelving, magnifying mirrors, defogging, motion sensors, adjustable light temperatures, and more. You can’t count on the mirror to light the entire room, but they provide elegant ambiance, gentle illumination, and make a nice night-light for kids and guest bathrooms.

When making decisions about shape and dimensions for mirror lighting, think about how it blends into the space. The backlit Loop mirror is an elegant accent in a simple, modern space. An optional magnifying mirror enhances functionality while creating a unique look.

The backlit Loop mirror

The Urban Framed Mirror offers ultimate design flexibility because it can be configured in endless ways. The mirror itself can be frontlit or backlit, and the materials and finishes can be designed to match your vanity and wall storage solutions. Integrated shelving can also be customized to suit your needs.

The Urban Framed Mirror

The Punto mirror, which has an oval shape and is frontlit on the sides only, can be mounted on the wall or hung from the ceiling. The sleek, narrow look is great for powder rooms or smaller spaces.

The ceiling mounted Punto Mirror.

Bathroom Lighting Temperature

Measured in Kelvins, the color temperature of lighting has an effect on the mood of a space and impacts functionality. For example, you might want a bright, cool light for certain grooming activities and a softer, warmer light for soaking in the tub.

Use the Kelvin scale to choose the bulbs and fixtures that will work best in your space:

  • 2,700-3,000 Kelvin: Has a warm tone and is good for ambient light, typically from incandescent and Edison bulbs
  • 3,000-4,000 Kelvin: Creates a yellow, white light that is not as warm; typically found in LED bulbs, this range is good for bathrooms because it provides ample light without being too harsh
  • 4,000k-5,000k Kelvin: This neutral white light with more blue tones is found in halogen and LED bulbs and is best for applying makeup
  • 5,000+ Kelvin: Created by daylight lighting or LED bulbs, this bright white with sometimes cool, blue tones is good for high-detail visibility

When designing your space, make sure you have a mix of lighting types and temperatures to meet all of your luxury bathroom needs.

Select Your Modern Mirror Lighting

Hastings offers a broad range of modern mirror lighting solutions that you can customize to match your style preferences and functional lifestyle needs. Our team is here to help you select and design the mirror that makes the most sense for space and your overall lighting strategy.

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