How To Choose Your Bathroom Lighting

Written by: Erica Spangler

Design Specialist
Learn how to find the right bathroom lighting by shopping for the correct type and lighting direction.

Find the perfect bathroom lighting by following the steps listed in this guide.

Bathroom Light Types

Bath Bar

  • Defined by its single bar light
  • Meant be installed above or to the side of a mirror

Bath bar lights offer a more contemporary look to your bathroom.

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Bath Strip

  • Defined by its single strip with exposed bulbs
  • Also known as Hollywood strip lights

These are great for a retro look and are typically more affordable.

Vanity Lighting

  • Defined by multiple light options
  • Most traditional bathroom lighting style

No matter your bathroom’s style, there will certainly be a vanity light you can enjoy.

Ceiling Lights

  • Defined by being installed on the ceiling
  • Ceiling light must be UL-rated for damp or wet locations

Ceiling lights add an extra touch of light and style, and work great with other bathroom light fixtures.

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Lighting Direction

Up Lighitng

  • Light casts upward
  • Typically vanity lights

Provides the traditional vanity light feel but with a softer lighting experience since the light is not pointing down on a mirror.

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Down Lighting

  • Light casts downward
  • Typically ceiling lights or vanity lights

Down lit ceiling lights offer a soft and overall lighting experience. And vanity lights that point down offer a brighter experience because they typically reflect more on your mirror.

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Ambient Lighting

  • Casts light in all directions
  • Typically bath bars, bath strips, and ceiling lights

Both bath bars and bath strips point lights in nearly all directions, which offer a nearly even lighting experience in your bathroom. Ceiling lights can offer ambient lighting experience because they tend to illuminate an entire room’s space.

Shop All Ambient Lighting


Ceiling Fan Terminology

UL Listing

Bathroom lights must be UL-listed for either damp or wet locations. Damp rated lights may not be installed over a shower where it will experience the most moisture. There are wet shower recessed lights that can sustain the higher moisture content.