When it comes to bathroom ceiling lighting ideas, don't be held back by convention - style-wise, anything goes. Lighting in certain areas in the bathroom (closest to water sources) needs to adhere to IP rating rules (more on that later), but outside of these zones, you can be as creative as you please.
Hollie Moreland, Creative Director at David Hunt Lighting, says: 'Bathrooms are often small, dark rooms, so bathroom lighting ideas play a key part in making them feel warm and welcoming.
'For me, layered lighting is key, a pendant or ceiling light combined with wall lighting around the mirror is the perfect combination.'
Whether you're working with a small bathroom you want to make feel bigger and brighter or have the luxury of space, there's a host of pendants and flush mounts to suit any space.
Bathroom ceiling lighting ideas
From Art Deco curves to modern industrial chandeliers, see our roundup of on-point bathroom ceiling lighting ideas from the experts below...
1. Opt for a vintage schoolhouse look
A glass pendant works perfectly against deep hues walls in a dark bathroom, creating a seamless and soft-focus look.
'Depending on your ceiling height you can incorporate either a flush ceiling light or a pendant,' says Hollie Moreland, Creative Director David Hunt Lighting (opens in new tab). 'The Rydal Bathroom Pendant (above) is a great solution for small bathrooms, providing a design impact without taking up too much space.
'Reminiscent of iconic schoolhouse pendant lights, Rydal works in contemporary, more classic or industrial interiors, and combines either clear or opal glass with a polished chrome finish, which looks fantastic in bathrooms with polished chrome hardware.'
2. Incorporate a rattan pendant for a boho bathroom
Relax in your very own boho-inspired retreat by adding warm, textural materials like rattan
'The use of rattan is on the rise within interiors and what better way to bring it into the bathroom than as a ceiling light?' says BC Designs (opens in new tab)' Barrie Cutchie. 'It's a material that has naturally occurring gaps, helping to create a softer glow rather than harsh ceiling lights that are often found in bathroom design.
'Rattan is a great material for texture but also has eco-credentials as it's environmentally friendly and sustainable, too.' The perfect option if you are trying to live more sustainably and make more eco-conscious choices.
3. Use metallics to add glamor to modern farmhouse styling
A sculptural bathroom ceiling light can add an architectural edge to an otherwise rustic space, while a splash of metallics injects the glamor.
Kate Marker, of Kate Marker Interiors (opens in new tab), says: 'This sculptural new pendant from Circa Lighting makes a modern statement in a refined primary bathroom of natural oak vanities, vintage-style soft furnishings, and brass accents.'
4. Keep it flush for clean lines and small bathrooms
A flush pendant is the perfect small bathroom idea but can work wonders in any space.
'Lighting should be beautiful and functional no matter what room in the home you are shopping for, and we pride ourselves in offering bathroom lighting that means you’ll never compromise on form for function,' says Rohan Blacker, Founder of Pooky (opens in new tab).
'Brass is our favorite material to use in the bathroom – it doesn’t fog up no matter how steamy your shower is, and you can ensure you select a finish that suits your other bathroom fittings. Our expanding collection of Roddy bathroom lights (above) combine Art Deco influences in brass and glass, and are IP rated ensuring both safety and style.'
5. Add edge to a glamorous marble bathroom with a black box pendant
Glamorous marble bathroom ideas are a beautiful thing. But if you want to add a little gritty energy to the space, an industrial black pendant is the ideal addition.
Charlie Bowles, Director at Davey Lighting (opens in new tab), says: 'Usually seen in their smaller form flanking period properties, classic box lights combine clean, pared-down looks with a refined simplicity.
'The Hex pendant (above) creates a strikingly architectural yet stylistically neutral silhouette that stands out against the marble backdrop.'
6. Choose a cluster of pendant lights for atmospheric ambience
'Selecting lighting for your bathroom is just as important as for your kitchen or home office,' says Claire Wilks, Senior Buyer at Garden Trading (opens in new tab).
'You want to ensure there is plenty of light if you use the space to get ready in the morning, but an aspect of ambient lighting to enjoy a relaxing soak in the bath in the evening as well. This dual functionality is created using multiple light sources, and through layering the lighting.
'A statement-making addition could be a cluster of pendants above the bath. Practically, pairing with wall lights flanking the mirror works well to ensure plenty of visibility.'
7. Work soft, fluid lines with a teardrop glass pendant
A timeless yet modern look, you can never go wrong with glass pendants. The Bulbus style by Pooky (opens in new tab) (above) adds a contemporary nuance to a classic style, and can be used to add a fluid flow to any style of bathroom.
The large size makes a statement, while the clear nature of the material ensures the oversized piece is not overpowering in this all white bathroom.
8. Install a modern industrial take on a bathroom chandelier
Toughen up a pretty freestanding tub with an oversized industrial quad pendant, like this statement piece by Davey Lighting. It's a modern take on a chandelier, giving you added drama without any fuss, for a contemporary, clean-lined, no-fuss finish.
Charlie Bowles, Director at Davey Lighting (opens in new tab), says of choosing your bathroom chandelier ideas: 'When you’re choosing bathroom lighting, pay attention to IP ratings to ensure your fitting meets the legal safety requirements. ‘IP’ stands for Ingress Protection and refers to the degree of protection of the light fitting’s electrical components against water ingress - in layman’s terms, this means whether the light is likely to get splashed.
'Bathrooms are divided into zones, also related to the likelihood of splashes. These zones include above the basin, in the shower, over the bath, and so on.'
9. Hang statement Art Deco mirror lights for a design-driven aesthetic
While sconces make fantastic bathroom mirror ideas, they certainly aren't the only option. A pair of hanging ceiling lights can offer the practical function needed while also being a strong style focal point that frames the space.
The Art Deco-style Turner Suspension Lamps by DelightFULL (opens in new tab) show how lighting can be used in conjunction with other design features to display flair, personality, and creativity in the bathroom.
We adore the brooding dark walls, which act as the perfect backdrop for the brass pendants, patterned flooring, and rich red vanity unit.
10. Go retro and white for a cool bathroom ceiling light
A white pendant creates the perfect visual statement when paired against a dark wall (in this case, Little Greene (opens in new tab)'s Vulcan).
The spherical shape offers a lovely retro look and is a timeless yet modern finish. We also like how the white picks out the rim of the bath, standing out perfectly against the beautiful deep green of the bath and the bathroom flooring.
'Our IP44 rated Hampton pendant is made from opal glass and bone china, creating a soft yet dramatic focal point with a sophisticated Art Deco flavor,' says Charlie Bowles, Director at Davey Lighting.
11. Create a cozy atmosphere with a fluted fabric pendant
As the popularity of Cottagecore soared, so did the use of fluted fabric lights – from table lamps and wall sconces to ceiling pendants. And the look is still going strong.
When it comes to bathroom ceiling lighting, it's easy to think you have to stick to a certain rigid style that's more function than form. But by using lighting that you'd usually find in the living room, it adds instant intrigue as well as upping the cozy factor tenfold.
The beautiful image by HAM Interiors (opens in new tab) above shows how fabric lighting can work beautifully to soften a functional room.
Kate, of Kate Marker Interiors (opens in new tab), suggests: 'Be creative in your selection for bathroom lighting- it doesn't necessarily have to be bathroom sconces or pendants specifically, but instead can be metal, wood, or woven to add texture and dimension.'
12. Let your powder room shine under the spotlight
Small bathrooms and powder rooms will need to have enough light to ensure you - we well as your guests - can use the mirror without squinting. Spotlights are a great function to have, and can often be layered with other, softer, lighting so there's a choice for different uses.
'For small bathrooms, we recommend recessed or small surface-mounted spotlights which are directional and dimmable,' say the experts at interior design studio Kitesgrove (opens in new tab). 'This allows versatility to adjust and soften the light levels, alongside other lights which may be in the room, and direct them towards areas to highlight such as niched shelving.
'In small bathrooms, it is important not to crowd the ceiling with too many lights as this can look busy and make the room too bright. There is a wide range of subtle recessed lights or surface mounted options that can often be nice to match with the bathroom sanitaryware.'
What is the best ceiling light for a small bathroom?
'Lighting is vitally important in any bathroom, but more so in small bathrooms as light can create a sense of space, especially if it is bounced around,' says Barrie Cutchie, Design Director for BC Designs (opens in new tab). 'They are also a great tool for highlighting features of your bathroom, so think carefully about the placement.
'For small bathrooms, where there is only space for one light, it has to work extra hard and needs to be both practical and stylish. The perfect choice for this is a pendant, in particular, glass as it works for the space, you’ll notice it yet it doesn’t overwhelm, either.
'You can also choose where to hang it, perhaps putting it closer to a small vanity unit or the mirror where light is required.'
And Marie Flanigan, of Marie Flanigan Interiors (opens in new tab), adds: 'There are plenty of beautiful flush mount lighting options that are perfect for smaller spaces with lower ceilings.'
Can you put any ceiling light in a bathroom?
'You can’t just add any ceiling light in a bathroom,' says Hollie Moreland, Creative Director at David Hunt Lighting (opens in new tab). 'Due to the moisture in a bathroom, it’s important to look for bathroom-specific collections that carry approved IP44 rating finishes, making them safe and suitable for bathrooms.
'As well as ensuring your finishes are approved for bathrooms, consider matching your lighting finishes to your taps and other bathroom hardware for a cohesive look.'
Barrie Cutchie, Design Director for BC Designs (opens in new tab), agrees, exclaiming: 'The simple answer is no! You cannot put any ceiling light in a bathroom. There are strict regulations when it comes to lighting in a bathroom and you’ll need to check they are certified for use in a bathroom. You’ll need to look at the IP rating; IP44 is for general use in bathrooms and IPXX for areas where there will be excess water such as shower enclosures.
'When it comes to bathroom lighting, it is best to use a qualified electrician to install them as they will ensure they are fitted to professional safety regulations.'
And top interior designer Marie Flanigan (opens in new tab) adds: 'I would not put any ceiling light in a bathroom. I think if you have a large bathroom, chandeliers are certainly a great option, as are sconces, pendant lights, and recessed lighting.
'However, if you have a small space or low ceilings, chandeliers are typically not very functional. In those spaces I would stick with lower profile fixtures.'
Explaining the safety regulations a little further, Pooky (opens in new tab)'s Rohan Black elaborates: 'It’s fine to use standard light fittings in some areas of the bathroom, but there are safety regulations covering the installation of electric light fittings in certain designated ‘zones’.
'So the short answer is yes, any ceiling lighting can be used in a bathroom as long as it's not too close to water sources. If, as in many cases, you’re fitting your pendant lights outside the designated zones, it’s fine to use non-IP rated fittings so you can choose any pendant you like. Brass pendant lights are a good choice for adding warmth to a bathroom setting, while glass pendant lights bring a sense of elegance.'
Ruth Doherty is a lifestyle journalist based in London. An experienced freelance digital writer and editor, she is known for covering everything from travel and interiors to fashion and beauty. She regularly contributes to Livingetc, Ideal Home and Homes & Gardens, as well as titles like Prima and Red. Outside of work, her biggest loves are endless cups of tea, almond croissants, shopping for clothes she doesn’t need, and booking holidays she does.
What different styles of living room are there? Here's how to pick the right look for your home
From Scandi schemes to the industrial aesthetic, these designs will inspire your living room makeover
By Oonagh Turner • Published
What are the latest wallpaper trends? New styles, colors and prints designers are predicting for 2023
Find out what's next in wallpaper trends as the soothsayers of design list explain what is going to make waves next year
By Aditi Sharma Maheshwari • Published