Bathroom lighting falls into two categories: task lighting, and ambient, or general lighting. For smaller bathrooms, ambient lighting can be supplied by a ceiling fixture. In a large bathroom, you may need a combination of recessed lighting and ceiling fixtures.
Decorative Bath Lighting
Add style to your bathroom with decorative ceiling fixtures, wall sconces, or even a chandelier. Be sure to check your local building codes – hanging light fixtures should never be installed over a tub.
Recessed ceiling fixtures provide good general lighting, but they’re not effective task lighting
Bathrooms need even, shadow-free lighting around mirrors for grooming and makeup. Light fixtures mounted above the mirror save space, and provide plenty of illumination. Choose a fixture that’s a few inches shorter than the with of the mirror, and hang it so the light bulbs are just above the mirror frame.
For more stylish task lighting, a pair of wall fixtures installed on either side of a mirror creates even lighting. For a powder room, wall fixtures or sconces can have decorative shades; but for a main bathroom, you’ll need brighter lighting. Place wall lighting about 6” away from each side of the mirror.
Tub and Shower Lighting
The best lighting for tub and shower enclosures is an enclosed, recessed downlight in the ceiling. Be sure to use a light that’s rated for damp locations, and check your local building codes to make sure you follow all regulations.