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What are the Different Types of Bathroom Light Fixtures?

Bathroom lighting is essential for both functionality and ambiance. From sleek vanity lights to moisture-resistant recessed lighting, each fixture type serves a purpose. Pendant lights add elegance, while LED strips offer modern efficiency. Wall sconces provide soft, diffused light, perfect for a relaxing soak. Curious about which lighting will transform your bathroom experience? Let's explore the possibilities together.
S. Mithra
S. Mithra

Bathroom light fixtures, along with other hardware flourishes like doorknobs, cabinet knobs, and faucets, can establish an entire mood or style in one decorating accessory. The different types of bathroom light fixtures are designed to give you focused task lighting at a mirror, diffuse lighting above a shower or bathtub, or overhead lighting for the entire room. They come in several distinct designs, with an almost endless number of variations on finish, color, glass, and size.

One of the different types of bathroom light fixtures is the bar light. Bar lights are a series of small torchieres mounted on a metal bar that attaches to the wall above your sink and counter top. These versatile lights hold either upward or downward facing glass shades, so the lamp might flood a mirrored cabinet or bounce light off the ceiling. Since there can be two to six shades mounted on the bar, they can stretch over double-sinks as well, eliminating the need to have two separate fixtures. Of course, you can find the shades in white, frosted, or translucent glass. The metal parts are available in shiny chrome, polished brass, nickel, or antique finishes.

A light bulb.
A light bulb.

One variation on bar lights is vanity globes. These round, white, glass bulbs completely encase the light bulbs. You frequently find them topping mirrors in movie star dressing rooms. Again, this option gives a strong, wide, diffuse light that is perfect for close-up primping. Globes look best over a narrow sink, vanity, or in a guest bathroom where their fun, Hollywood style fits with the decor.

A bathroom with a bar light fixture.
A bathroom with a bar light fixture.

Sconces are another one of the different types of bathroom light fixtures. The sconce category includes fixtures that hold only one shade and one light bulb. These are similar to wall lamps found in other rooms of the house, such as a library or hallway, although bathroom lights tend to be less extravagant. A sconce could be placed in an area away from the sinks, such as in front of a closet or inside a separate room for the commode.

Recessed lighting may be used in a bathroom.
Recessed lighting may be used in a bathroom.

Finally, recessed lighting is a popular choice for ceiling illumination. Since the bathroom receives so much moisture, it is not common to find crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling! A great alternative choice from among the many different types of bathroom lighting fixtures is to go with recessed lighting. These are simple, circular lamps that lay flush with the ceiling, so they don't have any hanging parts to collect condensation and dust. Of all possibilities, they may be more difficult to install and wire, however, since they are located inside the ceiling.

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Discussion Comments


I added recently re-did my basement into a game room/television room. I finished the concrete floor with a grey-brown concrete paver to give the floor a look similar to a cobblestone street. I painted the walls a dark mottled brown. Old movie and theater posters were then wallpapered on the wall. I ripped some of the corners off the posters to give the wall a tattered London street look. I installed rustic bathroom and gameroom light fixtures that looked similar to an old street lamp or gas lantern. When it was all finished, the room looked great. It is like walking down into a dark alley to play pool or watch a movie.


I was touring open houses, and one bathroom lighting design that I particularly liked was completely hidden from view. The bathroom vanity light fixtures were hidden behind part of the wall above the vanity. The vanity was built recessed into the wall, and the wall above the vanity was hollow. If you put your face on the mirror and looked up, you could see five or six lights.

It focused the light on the mirror and vanity area without washing out the entire room with light. The rest of the lights in the bathroom were recessed into the ceiling. I thought this was a nice feature, but the home was too far out of our price range. I hate when agents show you one of those houses that only an impulsive person would go for.

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    • A light bulb.
      By: tr3gi
      A light bulb.
    • A bathroom with a bar light fixture.
      By: pics721
      A bathroom with a bar light fixture.
    • Recessed lighting may be used in a bathroom.
      By: Elenathewise
      Recessed lighting may be used in a bathroom.