The Importance of Bathroom Lighting

It’s a small room with a big impact.  For homes, the main-floor half-bath, or powder room, is often one of the highest-traffic spaces in the house.  For businesses (especially restaurants), the bathroom can determine customer satisfaction, serving as the tipping point between a customer who won’t return and a customer who will recommend to others.  Businesses that consider bathroom design to be an expendable overhead cost may be making an expensive mistake.  A recent study by Cintas Corp. found that 95% of customers would not return to a restaurant if they had a bad experience with the restroom.  The study found that customers use these types of small details as indicators of how the business handles other back-end operations.

That being said, the guest bathroom for homes or businesses is a valuable space to remodel.  Because it’s so small, it’s also a less expensive project to take on.

Lighting Tips:

Start with the vanity. You’ll want the space to be style-consistent.  It’s a good idea to choose vanity lighting first since this will probably be the brightest and most important light.  You can decide which accent/ambient lighting will go best with the vanity later.

Layer the light. Recessed lighting is not recommended as the prime light source because it creates shadows on your face.  It’s important to have a few different levels of light; this will also reduce glare.

Use design tricks to enhance the space. To make a room appear larger, try up-lighting the ceiling with over cabinet lights, wall sconces, or cove lighting.  This will create the impression of higher ceilings and a more expansive space.

If you already have a high ceiling and you’re looking for a more intimate feel, make sure light sources don’t extend any higher than a regular lamp would.  If a room seems too narrow, illuminating one wall with light will also give the illusion of a more open area.

Think dimmers. The general rule for bathrooms is that it’s better to over-light than under-light, and dimmers are essential for creating the exact level of light that you’re looking for.  They are perfect for mood lighting and night lighting as well.

Accent with wall color. Consider choosing a dramatic shade of paint for the walls or ceiling to set off the room.  Feel comfortable being as creative as you want, it will create a striking impact for the room.

If you’re thinking about remodeling a bathroom, feel free to ask any bathroom lighting questions by simply commenting on this post.

Emily Widle

Emily Widle

Emily graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism. She enjoys scouring the news to report on the latest in the lighting industry as well as bringing valuable remodeling tips and exemplar home projects to light.

  • Carolyn R

    I love the paint color of the bathroom, what color is it?
    The bathroom design is beautiful.

    • Chris Johnson

      Unfortunately I do not know the paint color of this bathroom. Sorry about that.

  • LigHt aT HeaRt

    I do believe the bathroom makes a huge impression on restaurants. Especially if I am a guest at someone’s home. The hygiene and look of the bathroom should be on point. It can tell you a lot about the people living there. You gave some good pointers on bathroom lighting. Bathroom lighting is very particular just like any lighting in a house. But since a bathroom is so compact in size, you better make the most of it–but not go overboard!