LED bathroom lighting ideas are the perfect choice for the room, illuminating it for every task and mood, and reducing energy use and therefore its cost.
It’s enormously flexible, too, able to fit in with all your bathroom ideas. There are LED uplights, downlights, strip lights, wall lights, and pendants, so LED lighting can provide overall illumination, what’s required for completing specific tasks accurately, and feature lighting that makes the room a stylish space.
A successful lighting design for any room involves layered lighting and these LED bathroom lighting ideas can inspire a successful project.
LED bathroom lighting ideas
‘Good bathroom lighting ideas can transform the look and feel of a bathroom and this is because lighting is an integral part of the design of the room,’ explains Chris Jordan, managing director at Christopher Wray.
Opt for LEDs throughout to make the room both beautiful and a pleasure to use, as well as energy efficient.
1. Flood the space with soft, indirect light
Employing smart bathroom ceiling lighting ideas and washing the walls with light gives softer illumination and can highlight a leading feature, such as a stone wall or statement bath.
This softer, indirect light is also useful for subduing glare. After all, who wants to be in the full beam of a spotlight while soaking in the tub?
2. Choose sleek task lighting
Tasks such as applying makeup or shaving are made easy with great LED bathroom lighting ideas.
‘It’s important that the light in the mirror area doesn’t create shadows or glare,’ explains Lucy Searle, global editor in chief of Homes & Gardens. ‘Opt for a design with diffusers and position above the mirror – or as a pair on either side – for comfortable indirect light that allows accuracy.’
3. Keep it on the down low
‘Consider low level lighting, such as uplights, behind a bath to emphasize its form. Or low-level lighting, such as our Sirolo floor wash, to wash light across the floor, giving a sanctuary or spa-like feeling,’ advises Luke Thomas, Design Director at John Cullen Lighting.
‘Make sure everything is dimmable and that you have the flexibility of having a couple of different circuits as well.’
4. Maximize the glamor
LED bathroom lighting ideas can sometimes be subtle – but they can also boost the opulence of the room and make a fabulous feature. In this bathroom, gold framed mirrors are complemented by LED wall scones in a gold finish maximizing the luxe look, while the rounded glass diffusers light up the double vanity to provide excellent illumination for this area.
5. Layer your light sources
Using smart small bathroom ideas can open up the space. A large expanse of mirror will not only help boost size but can amplify light levels, too.
This bathroom by Barlow & Barlow, using Drummonds fittings, has a layered approach with small ceiling spots, uplighters and downlights washing across walls and LEDs in the niches to create a restful, sophisticated scheme.
6. Create eye-catching effects
Uplights focused on the sides of the bathtub are an alternative way to make a focal point of a freestanding design.
‘Recessed floor lights enable beautiful effects to be created and they don’t present a trip hazard,’ says Sarah Spiteri, editorial director at Homes & Gardens. ‘Look for a version that is designed to direct the light towards a specific feature rather than in all directions if you want to highlight a tub or a wall.’
7. Use it to highlight and pull focus
In long narrow rooms, lighting can be used to lead the eye through the space.
This bathroom by Lighting Design Studio has several zones but the eye always finds its way through thanks to well-planned general lighting running the length of the corridor. The double band of ambient light on the far wall also acts as a beacon.
8. Go contemporary
For clean-lined modern style, consider a bathroom mirror with built-in LED lighting. A circular design adds softer lines to the room that can complement a curvaceous basin or bathtub.
Look out a dimmable illuminated mirror to allow changes of mood in the same way as with other types of lighting. This design also allows the LEDs to produce either cool or warm white light.
9. Pick a stylish pendant
In recent years, bathroom lighting trends have included the use of pendant lighting in the bathroom, often taking the place of wall lights.
It can create a great focal point and design feature but it also puts task lighting where it is needed on the countertop of a vanity, brightening skincare rituals.
10. Match faucets with LED bathroom lighting
Selecting an LED wall light with the same finish as the faucet will create a pulled-together look in the bathroom.
‘A black faucet has understated modern style and looks great teamed with a wall light in the same shade,’ says Lucy Searle. ‘Make sure it’s not just the color that’s repeated; a matte tap requires a matte light.’
11. Consider clever strip lighting
LED strip lighting at a low level is great at lightening the load, giving the impression that furniture or even walls are floating. But it can also help get you back to sleep swiftly if you need the bathroom at night.
Chris Jordan of Christopher Wray advises illuminating your small bathroom flooring ideas with low wattage floor lighting.
'This will help you see where you are walking without having to turn on the main lights, which can be difficult for your eyes to adjust to and may inhibit your ability to return to sleep.’
‘Motion sensors are particularly handy in the middle of the night and in the morning too,’ he adds.
12. Try installing a warmer glow
Not so long ago there was frustratingly little choice in bathroom light fittings but we take our bathroom design seriously and there are now great wall lights to suit all styles.
When fitting LED lamps, consider the temperature of the light opting for warm light for a flattering reflection.
13. Hide your light out of sight
LED strip lighting is a versatile choice for bringing a soft glow to cabinets, niches, shelving and under counters, and is doubly effective here, shining above and below a long mirror and providing a floating effect under the basin.
‘Finishes play a big part,’ emphasizes Luke Thomas of John Cullen Lighting. ‘A shiny floor can ruin the illusion of floating vanity as you see the reflection of the lamps. In this instance, you need to position your LED strip carefully and use a frosted profile or consider using a single point light source instead,’ he suggests.
Is LED lighting good for bathrooms?
Yes, LED lighting is good for bathrooms, especially those lacking in natural light.
‘Think about what times you generally use your bathroom and whether natural light is available,’ says Chris Jordan of Christopher Wray. ‘Are there any features that you wish to highlight and are you looking for mood or ambient lighting for when you take a relaxing bath?'
'Use different circuits for feature, task and mood lighting wherever possible,' he continues. 'Dimmer switches are also very practical, allowing you to regulate your lighting to your exact requirement.'
A layered scheme in the bathroom puts light where you need it. A professional lighting designer will use a combination of sources to provide general lighting, task lighting and accents to highlight features such as a stone wall or statement bath.
Conventional dimming isn’t always suitable for LEDs but a lighting control system such as Lutron can be programmed to change the mood at the press of a button.
Is LED lighting good for applying makeup?
There's no denying it looks very cool, but is LED lighting good for applying makeup? The short answer is yes, as it's the closest alternative to natural sunlight.
‘When thinking about lighting, your key consideration is how you approach your task lighting to the face,’ says Luke Thomas of John Cullen Lighting. 'The best way to achieve this is with a light either side of the face. It could be a wall light or frosted strips integrated into mirrors or even a back lit mirror.'
'There is a trend now that uses pendants either side of the mirror instead of wall lights. Always avoid a downlight straight above your head which causes shadows,' he adds.
Even the simplest lighting scheme will demand a couple of light sources – ceiling spotlights will not be enough. Dedicated lighting above or to the sides of a mirror will provide bright, shadow-free light for shaving, applying make-up and flossing teeth.
Traditionally this type of lighting has been fluorescent but compatible LED tubes are available.
What LED bulbs are best for bathrooms?
If you've decided to take the plunge with LED lighting, it's important to consider which bulbs are best for bathrooms.
‘LED strips or directional downlighters work well in highlighting a feature whereas downlighters or wall lights are great for ambient lighting,’ says Chris Jordan of Christopher Wray.
Make sure any light you select is suitable for the area of the bathroom in which it will be fitted. Ask your supplier or, in the UK, select a light with an IP rating that corresponds to the zone of the room. Chris Jordan explains the zones:
- Zone 0 is inside the shower or bath and any light fitting here must be low voltage and a minimum rating of IP67, which is completely immersion proof.
- Zone 1, directly above the bath or shower, demands a minimum IP65 rating, meaning the fitting is dust-tight, protected from low pressure jets and no water can seep into the fitting itself.
- Zone 2 is either side of the bath or shower or a radius of 60cm from the sink. Any lighting fitting here must be a minimum rating of at least IP44, which will protect from splashes of water.
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Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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