Best Lighting for Small Bathrooms – How to Brighten Up Small Spaces


Anyone living in a small space knows all too well the importance of making the most of every square inch. A living room becomes a multi-purpose room; under a bed becomes a storage closet; the patio becomes an herb garden. The list goes on, and there are so many solutions and functions for a small space that can make the best of everything you’ve got. 

Small bathrooms follow a similar rule. Every possible corner of a small bathroom should be used to its full extent, with nothing going untouched or under-utilized. A small bathroom can feel cramped, but with the right lighting solutions, the room can open up and feel airy and bright. 

To make your small bathroom feel more open, follow these tips for the best bathroom lighting for small spaces. 

Use White Decor

Small bathroom with white sink, vanity, and walls

Using primarily white decor in the bathroom provides that light and airy feel in a small space. If you’re designing your bathroom from scratch, look for a white-colored porcelain sink, bathtub, and toilet. White is a neutral color that matches the rest of your bathroom furnishings and decor. 

Also, white naturally reflects light, so any light from any light source, whether it’s the ambient light from the window or another light fixture, like a pendant light, wall sconce, or vanity lighting, will reflect around the room, making the bathroom feel bigger. 

If you’re changing bathroom vanity counters and furnishings, opt for white, light grey, marble, or light wood materials. Any one of these has a bright feel, especially marble, which has a glossy texture that can naturally bounce off light. Marble tiling works great in the shower, and a lighter wash helps open a small space.

It doesn’t stop at the furnishings. Check your bathroom floor as well. If you’re not able to change up the flooring, then add in a white bathroom rug. This helps tie in the whole place, keeps the floors dry, and adds a pop of brightness to the flooring. Get a non-slip microfiber rug, like this one, that is easy to incorporate into your decor and fits perfectly for the bathroom. 

Make Use of Natural Lighting

If you’ve got a small bathroom, then make sure to utilize natural lighting wherever possible. If there’s just a small window, you can accentuate it and reflect the light off surfaces in your bathroom. 

To maximize small bathroom lighting, don’t cover windows with blinds or curtains, as this can block natural light from entering the room. Instead, use privacy film on the window to ensure that you have as much natural light as possible while maintaining privacy in the bathroom. 

Backlight the Mirror

Round backlit mirror in small modern bathroom

If you haven’t got much space in your bathroom to add additional lighting beside the mirror or cabinet, why not behind or above it? Using LED light strips, line your bathroom mirror, and voila, an easy way to add lighting to the space. Light strips are a huge space saver, as they are discreet and easy to install. 

Or, if you’re really looking to save space, why not combine the mirror and bathroom vanity light? Install a bathroom mirror with a built-in light, like this smart LED bathroom mirror, and it can add that extra light to the room. Plus, it’s useful on the day-to-day when you need to use the mirror for styling. 

Create Even Lighting

Small bathroom lighting is often only installed on the ceiling. If you’re decorating your own space, you have more creative freedom where you want additional lights installed. 

For a small space, a single ceiling light can wash out the room and only provides one direction of light. This leaves other bathroom areas, like the mirror and shower, less illuminated. A single light is often just for function and not for ambient lighting. 

Create even lighting in the bathroom by adding vertical lighting where possible. This could be around the mirror, on a wall, on a shelf, above the toilet, or in cabinet drawers. Anywhere you can sneak a light into a space that isn’t well-lit, you create an evenly lit room. 

Don’t forget about lighting in the shower as well. Often, showers are hidden behind a curtain or in a nook. If this is the case, light the shower with overhead lighting, and make sure the bulbs are the same color temperature as the rest of the bathroom.

Use Light Dimmers 

Light dimmers can come in handy for a more controlled lighting environment. Install these in the bathroom above the sink and bath or shower, and you’ll be able to adjust how bright your bathroom light bulbs are. 

This is a great lighting idea if you want to create a calm environment, especially at night. While getting ready for bed, you want to start winding down, and the lighting around you can play a significant role in that. A light dimmer in the bathroom for a vanity light or wall light fixture allows you to adjust an incandescent bulb to a lower level, providing a relaxing atmosphere for your nighttime routine.


Incorporating storage solutions and using a cohesive design style can bring the bathroom’s look together. Consider everything from drawer pulls to the best shower system to install. 

Every little thing you can change in the room makes all the difference for small bathrooms. An extra LED light in a warm color temperature lining a vanity mirror can illuminate a dark corner and brighten a space. A light dimmer can add brightness during the day to a dimly lit room and then provide a subtle glow during the night when you’re ready for bed. 

The bathroom is where you spend a lot of time getting ready and winding down for the day, so it is an important part of the home. Tackling space and lighting issues with easy solutions can help you feel more at home in the bathroom and ease the stress of navigating a cramped interior. Through decluttering and using accent lighting to illuminate dark corners of the bathroom, the space feels more open and airier.