7 Bathroom Lighting Ideas: Traditional vs Modern

bathroom lighting ideas

Are you struggling with bathroom lighting ideas? Maybe you’re not sure whether to go down the modern route or the traditional route? Or perhaps you’re worried about what the space in your bathroom will allow for when it comes to lighting? If you have found yourself unsure of where to start when it comes to bathroom lighting, allow our team at Moonlight Design to help you.

Bathroom interior design has been dominated by the modern and contemporary aesthetic for years now, and there’s a reason why it works so well. Contemporary lighting is often minimal and sleek, giving a clean and pared-back look that works well with the smooth tiling and neutral colours applied in most bathrooms. But that’s not to say there’s no place for traditional, vintage-style or ornate lighting designs in modern bathrooms. These traditional styles are making quite the comeback in the lighting trends arena and can work really well in any bathroom.

But what styles should you choose, and where should you place them? Let’s take a look at a few of the best bathroom lighting ideas to satisfy both the modernist and traditionalist.

Note: Before you start, take a look at our post on bathroom lighting zones and regulations for important information on the types of lightbulbs you can use in certain areas of your bathroom.

Modern Bathroom Lighting Ideas

For those of you who love nothing more than smooth lines, sleek chrome and minimal design, there’s a whole world of bathroom lighting ideas out there for you to choose from. From futuristic shapes to hidden lighting, we’ve got some modern bathroom lighting inspiration for you here:

1. Futuristic Shapes

modern bathroom lighting ideasLeft: Kichler Mona 2 Wall Light, Top Right: Endon Lighting Ikos 5-Light Fitting, Bottom Right: Kichler Zolon Linear Wall Light

Combining contemporary chrome finishes with unique and unusual shapes, a touch of futurism in your lighting is the perfect way to achieve a modern bathroom aesthetic. The bright, cool colour of chrome will harmonise perfectly with absolutely any colour scheme, so no worries there, while the extraordinary shapes and designs will add a dynamic element that will draw the eye even when the lights are not in use. Try placing pairs of futuristic wall lights either side of a classic bathroom focal point such as a mirror, shower stall or cabinet for a symmetrical statement with a modern twist.

2. Lit Reflections

modern bathroom lighting ideas mirror lightingLeft: Endon Lighting Milos Shaver Cabinet Mirror, Right: Endon Lighting RIFT RGB Shaver Mirror

Doubling up as accent lighting and task lighting, a sleek LED mirror is an often-overlooked source of modern bathroom lighting. With tiny-yet-bright LED lights merged seamlessly into the flat surface of the mirror, these sleek statement mirrors make great wall space-savers as well as stylish interior design pieces. Whether you choose a mirror or mirror/cabinet combo, these super contemporary light sources will help you carry out important bathroom tasks such as shaving and make-up application while also providing an attractive ambient light source for bathrooms of all sizes.

3. Hidden Glows

modern bathroom lighting ideas strip lighting

Continuing down the path of concealed accent lighting, our next modern bathroom lighting idea is all about LED striplighting. This highly underrated and overlooked light source is ideal for use in bathrooms of all sizes, but particularly in smaller bathrooms where space is at a premium.

bathroom lighting ideas striplighting

While it wouldn’t do for task lighting or as a main light source, LED striplighting can be concealed beneath or above cabinets, mirrors and shelving to complement your main light sources and provide a soft, attractive glow. This minimal light source is perfect for creating instantly contemporary interior themes and is incredibly easy to install thanks to its self-adhesive strip design.

Traditional Bathroom Lighting Ideas

Modern and contemporary bathroom lighting isn’t for everyone, so let’s take a look at a few of the more traditional avenues you could explore.

4. Industrial Chic

Left: Elstead Lighting Morvah Wall Light, Right: Davey Lighting Pillar Offset Wall Light, Bottom: Davey Lighting Ship’s Double Well Wall Light

The industrial look has remained top of the trend charts for several years now and it’s not going anywhere any time soon. Old is brand new again, with weathered glass and austere metal fittings creating highly sophisticated and surprisingly warm-looking atmospheres in our bathrooms. Match up your chosen industrial traditional bathroom lighting with subway tiling, wood floors or exposed brick (if you’re lucky enough to have it) for a complete industrial finish.

5. Ornate Elegance

traditional bathroom lighting ornate

Top: Hinkley Lighting Francoise Three Light Fitting, Bottom Left: Elstead Lighting Blake Single Wall Light, Bottom Centre: Endon Lighting Tabitha 3 Light Crystal Glass Chandelier, Bottom Right: Elstead Lighting Carroll Single Wall Light

If you’re a fan of the classically ornate lighting styles of stately homes and the living rooms of yesteryear then you’re in luck; this type of design has also seen something of a resurgence in recent times. We are all falling back in love with the intricately detailed brass mounts, cut glass and classic shaping of ‘old fashioned’ lighting and the subtle grandeur it brings to a room. Even chandelier-style light fittings have found their way back into traditional bathroom lighting setups, which can work beautifully in bathrooms with elegant roll-top baths. The only thing to bear in mind when choosing such highly decorative lighting is its planned position in the bathroom and the IP rating of your lights, as not all decorative lighting is suitable for installation near water sources.

Bathroom Lighting Ideas for Small Bathrooms

6. Light Up Your Vanity

If you have a smaller bathroom, then you know how important it is to make the most of your lighting options to create the illusion of more space. At Moonlight Design, we think one of the best ways to light up a small bathroom is to make the most out of the space surrounding your vanity area. This area is often overlooked in fear that the space will begin to appear cramped, but by filling the wall with light, you can create a larger atmosphere. Like our LED embedded mirrors we mentioned earlier, you could frame your existing mirror set up with LED strip lights or linear lighting to add more softer touches of glow to complement your ceiling lighting.

7. Flush Ceiling Lights

Another way to make your small bathroom appear larger is to create the illusion of a higher ceiling. The best way to do this is to choose flush ceiling lights and to avoid any hanging designs. Flush ceiling lights draw the eye upwards and make walls appear taller without any hanging obstructions cramping the space. Which style do you prefer? Modern or traditional? Explore our full range of bathroom lighting here at Moonlight Design and be inspired with even more amazing bathroom lighting ideas.

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