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Thrifty Bathroom Lighting

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Lighting can make a world of difference in the beauty and usefulness of your bath. Update your lighting as an affordable, easy way to liven up a tired bathroom.

Bathrooms with sconce lighting fixtures flanking a vanity mirror.
Bath vanity with sconces beside mirrors.

Start with Task Lights

Overhead fixtures provide ambient lighting for any room, but task lighting beside mirrors takes top priority in the bathroom. There is where you need strong but gentle light for your head and shoulders for grooming tasks. Avoid recessed lighting over vanity mirrors—light that casts shadows makes grooming more difficult. Instead, use sidelights or sconces for even lighting on your face. Some of these side-lighting fixtures can even mount on mirrors.

Bath vanity with sconces beside a mirror.

Choose Complementary Lightbulbs

The selection of lightbulbs may seem daunting, but taking a moment to match the right option to each need will pay off daily. Traditional incandescent bulbs produce a soft, warm glow for ambient lighting, while compact fluorescent bulbs last longer and provide cooler ambient lighting. LED and halogen bulbs with their stronger, direct light are better suited to task lighting. LED bulbs also come in different color ranges for warmer or cooler light.

Light Bulb Buying Guide

Candles burning beside a white towel.

Decorative Lighting Sets a Mood

Bathrooms are functional spaces, but they are also a place to relax and recharge. Transform your master bath into a spa-like setting with a touch of decorative lighting. Use small tea-light candles or votive candles with soothing aromas like vanilla lavender for a calm setting. Sweet floral aromas, like gardenia or peony, lend a spring flair. Pair the candles with a small mirror to double the flickering effect.

Use Bulbs of Uniform Warm

As you add smaller fill and accent lighting within a bathroom, make sure you choose bulbs with the same hue for a consistent look. Light sources, measured in Kelvins, can be divided into three main groups: warm soft light, cool white light and cool daylight. Soft white light is yellowish with a relaxing feel and comes closest to traditional incandescent bulbs familiar to most people. Cool white light is a bit brighter and generally good for bathrooms. Daylight bulbs have a bluish hue and are the brightest of the three categories.