26 Elegant Bathroom Lighting Ideas to Enjoy a Sophisticated Ambiance

Hang a chandelier over the tub for added elegance and lighting.

Elegant bathroom lighting can transform a tired outdated bathroom or add the finishing touches to a new bathroom.

Where To Start

The first thing you need to do is analyze your lighting needs. Once you've made a list of each light fixture you need to purchase for each area, you can begin browsing through the various selections. You'll want to decide on an appropriate style to go with the overall design of your bathroom.

Daytime Vs Nighttime Lighting

It's always best to take full advantage of natural light. First determine how much natural light you have in your bathroom and where additional lighting is needed.

Many people don't consider two kinds of lighting in their bathrooms usually opting for a single type. You don't have to fall victim to a one size fits all lighting solution. Brighter lighting is needed for evening applications of makeup in the dressing area of your bathroom whereas less lighting is required for the same area during the day when there's natural light filling your bathroom.

Nighttime lighting typically serves two purposes. The first is utilitarian to provide ample lighting to function with ease in the bathroom. The second is to create ambiance.

Dimmer Switches

There are solutions for the varying needs of lighting. A dimmer switch is ideal for the times you need to lower or raise the intensity of your lighting.

Another advantage is being able to set the mood when you wish to soak in the tub with candlelight but require a little more light than the actual candles provide.

If you don't want to put your lights on a dimmer switch for some reason, you can wire two light fixtures separately and then use one or both whenever needed.

Lighting Each Area

You'll want to draw a layout of your bathroom and define the individual areas where light fixtures are needed. Consider the tasks being performed there and how often the area is used.

Elegant lighting can brighten dark corners which in turn adds to the warmth of your bathroom. Shape, size and color all matter in your choices.

Shower Area

You may wonder how a shower area can be an area for elegant lighting. Typically, the shower area is limited in the kind of lighting you can use because of the element of water, unless your ceiling is higher than standard homes. If you have a high ceiling in your shower stall, you can take advantage of it and use a fixture that is steam and moisture resistant. Recessed or cove ceiling lights are the most common choice. You may also wish to install a heat light just outside the stall area for extra luxury.


You can install a crystal chandelier suspended over the tub as an elegant bath design. There are all kinds of choices available from extravagant to simple. You could opt for recessed lights on a dimmer switch and add a couple of heat lights to keep warm while soaking in the bath tub. Wall sconces can be electric lights or you can purchase ones that serve as candle holders for scented candles. If remodeling, you can have wall niches built into the wall space surrounding your tub and place candles inside them. Add mirror tiles inside the niches to reflect more light.


You can add elegance with wall sconces outside the entrance into your sauna.


Give subtle lighting with dimmers, wall sconces and chandeliers in addition to brighter traditional lighting when more light is needed.


Chic lighting for a vanity can also serves a utilitarian purpose. Install special lighting for extra brilliance for nighttime makeup application and hair styling.

Water Closet

Don't scrimp on this area just because it's behind a door. Carry your theme of elegant lighting into this area as well.

A chandelier can add an elegant touch to your bathroom.

Elegant Bathroom Lighting Choices

Some of the popular choices in bathroom lighting come in multiple finishes.

Lighting Finishes

  • Polished
  • Antique
  • Rubbed
  • Patina


  • Brass
  • Bronze
  • Chrome
  • Nickel
  • Gold-Plated
  • Patina
  • Pewter
  • Cooper

Lighting Styles:

  • Overhead fixtures such as sparkling crystal chandeliers will reflect light throughout the ceiling and room.

Unique Lighting Options

There are a few dramatic touches you can select for your lighting options.

  • Interior lighting for linen closets and cabinets. This is an unexpected surprise and serves to give an added touch of luxury as well as being very functional.
  • Tube lighting or neon lighting can create a unique look when hidden along the tray ceiling molding. Use different colors that can be changed to suit your mood.
  • Under cabinet lighting can illuminate counter surfaces and reflect light without being too harsh on the eyes.
  • Don't forget the exotic range of candles available to add light and scent to your new bathroom.
  • Table lamps - Use small lamps on the vanity or dressing area to give warmth and additional lighting.
  • Floor lamps - A unique addition to any bathroom. Works well with large spa bathroom, especially those with bathroom seating or lounge areas. Torchiere lamps reflect light onto the ceiling and help create a romantic mood.

Other Lighting Tips

  • Experiment with different lamp shades for table lamps
  • Change the glass shades or globes on vanity and wall sconces
  • If you can't afford to install dimmers, try using a lower wattage light bulb. A 35-watt bulb will create a softer ambiance than a typical 60-watt bulb.
  • Add colored light bulbs to create moods. Amber lights give a wonderful golden glow to your bathroom.

Some great sources for elegant lighting choices:

Creative Lighting

You can combine function and style with elegant bathroom lighting for a wonderful bathroom design.

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26 Elegant Bathroom Lighting Ideas to Enjoy a Sophisticated Ambiance