What size is your room?

When you select your bathroom lighting there is one factor which will influence you more than any other - the size of the room.

Most bathrooms do not have adequate lighting.

By that I mean there isn't sufficient lighting in the areas where it's most needed. As with all rooms, think about the two main types of lighting.

Background lighting - lets you see where everything is and so you can move around.

Task lighting - in specific areas, such as over a shower unit or over the washbasin.

Single light

If your room is small, then for your bathroom lighting consider having one central light fitting on the ceiling. This can be any type, but a recessed fitting in the center of the ceiling, or a diffuse light (where the bulb is hidden by a white glass cover) are the most common and effective.

But make sure that you really do get enough light by using this method, especially when standing in front of a mirror to shave or apply make-up.

If you can only have one fitting (as opposed to a number of ceiling lights - see below) then consider using a fitment which directs light in different directions. This will light up more areas of the room, and give an overall lighting effect rather than just one bright central light.


inset lighting

Although the walls of this bathroom are relatively dark, plenty of light is provided by the wall lights and the light set into the alcove. The effect of using many smaller lights as opposed to one or two large lights is a feeling of comfort and intimacy.


Shaving/Make-up lighting

Many bathrooms will need additional light, especially by the mirror over the washbasin. If the light is just needed for shaving, then one light above the mirror will be enough. You can get lighting units which combine a light and a shaving socket.

For applying make-up you'll need to have a light either side of the mirror. The usual solution here is to fit wall lights either side of the mirror. They should be placed so the light falls on your face, and doesn't reflect in the mirror.

Alternatively, you can buy mirrors which have lights set into them, usually down either side. Most of these consist of squares or circular sections which have not been silvered, and allow the light from a fluorescent tube to shine through.


mirror light in bathroom

This is a classic way of providing plenty of light in front of a mirror. Some units used three or four separate lights in a row, or you can buy fittings such as this one which has a single long shade containing a number of bulbs.


General lighting

One of the best methods of bathroom lighting is to use down lighters - small (maybe low voltage) lights which are recessed into the ceiling. You can fit as many of these as you think necessary. Make sure you have one fitted over the bath and one over the shower.


Combining electricity and water can be lethal! Always get a qualified expert to install light fittings for you. You may also find there are strict rules about electrical fittings in bathroom - which types can be used safely, etc. - so always make sure you comply with the rules.

These rules are made for your own safety!


small bathroom lighting

This bathroom is modern and not too large, yet still manages to combine all the necessary elements. The large mirror is ideal for both tall and shorter people, and the lighting over the mirror gives light both above and from the sides. The use of open glass shelves gives space for practical and decorative objects, but doesn't encroach into the room as would be the case with a wall mounted unit with doors.


Smaller bathrooms can actually require more thought and consideration than larger rooms. There are situations where if you don't plan your lighting, you can find that by standing in front of the mirror you can block out the light provided by a central fitment in the ceiling.

Play around with ideas, and you'll always find solutions to small rooms.



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