1 February 2016

A Guide to Bathroom Lighting Design

The lighting plan is key in any interior space, but especially for bathrooms. Take a look at how we plan to light three bathrooms with zero natural light!

When designing interior spaces, and particularly bathrooms, the lighting plan is key. Especially in many urban apartments where there’s often little or no access to natural light, the choices made for ambient (softening), task (functioning) and decorative (embellishing) light are all really important. While we often work from a reflected ceiling plan, the basic premise of good lighting design is simple: a combination of practicality and good design should prevail. As many bathrooms these days are equipped with an abundance of marble slab, marble tiles or ceramic tiles, we find that a carefully selected accent light, or a curated pair of sconces can go a long way to making the room feel softer and more welcoming. The best scenarios are always when all of the lighting for a project can be selected in unison. In the photo below, from a brownstone in Brooklyn we designed, the pairing of function, form and creativity come together to create a lovely room.

A pair of new mirrored glass sconces marry well with a vintage silver plate mirror.  The client’s black and white photos are the icing on the cake.

Here, in a plan for a powder room of the loft apartment, we chose a ceiling fixture that is quite plain, except for its dressy polished nickel finish to pair with a chic single swing arm lamp above the sink in the same reflective silver finish. This same flush mount fixture will show up in other less conspicuous places in the apartment including the  guest bath, laundry room, and master walk-in closet. It’s a workhorse!

LT-01 Rejuvenation - Eastmoreland Flush Mount LT-04 Circa Lighting - Boston Functional Light
LT-04 Detail

In this master bath, with no natural light, we’ve assigned locations for several ceiling recessed lights. These lights have come a long way in their ability to be discreet and provide lighting that is universally flattering. The sconces are largely decorative, but very impactful, as they add some whimsy to a bathroom design which is quite dressy.

LT-04 Waterworks - Blue Note Sconce
Master Bathroom Lighting Detail LT-04

In a guest bath, we combine recessed lighting and our favorite pendant with the simplest of double pendant sconces above the mirror. You can see how the lighting in this room lends a hand in making the room feel classic and unfussy, but not plain.

LT-04 Waterworks - Cole Double Sconce
Guest Bathroom Detail LT-04

Do you feel challenged when making lighting decisions for bathrooms? Comment below with any questions and we’ll try to lend our advice. You can also see the final images in our featured projects section by clicking here.

— Lauren & Suzanne
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the sconces on either side of the mirror for the brooklyn brownstone are gorgeous. would you mind sharing a source for these?
Looks great so far. Looking forward to part 2 & 3. Nice choice on the pendant lighting. Simple and elegant.
Why are the flush mounts in both the powder room and guest bathroom not centered on the room itself and instead centered between the toilets and wall?
    There is no rule of thumb for where to locate ceiling fixtures as there are so many unknowns. Ductwork for air-conditioning, ceiling fans, and door openings all pay a part.
I second that request. Exhaust fans are not attractive.
I'm curious if you've seen any exhaust fan/flush mount combos that are actually reasonably attractive. We have two in our master bath that I'd love to switch out for something more polished, but haven't found a solution yet.
    Try Ventline.
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