21 Bathroom Ceiling Lighting Ideas: Elevated Style for Your Sanctuary

Bathroom ceiling lights often get cursory style attention. You choose recessed lights or a simple fixture without much thought before shifting your designer's eye to vanity lights and wall sconces.

We suggest taking some time to include ceiling lights in your bathroom design, whether it's a full remodel or an accent refresh. Super simple or luxuriously ornate, ceiling lights impact the overall look of your bathroom and contribute to light layering. Their location can also place you in your best (or worst) light.

Explore these 21 bathroom ceiling lighting ideas to inspire the lighting design of your sanctuary. Then read on for essential tips to achieving the perfectly lit bathroom—from the top.

Bathroom Ceiling Light Design Inspiration

  1. Recessed ceiling lighting around the bathroom perimeter. Create a frame of ambient light with recessed lighting in the ceiling near the bathroom walls. This creates a 'daylight' experience in the bathroom that gives you enough light for tasks and an accurate reflection of your clothing choices. Choose ceiling lights with a dimmer option if you prefer low light as you wind down for bedtime.
  2. Directional ceiling lights for targeted illumination. Perhaps you've got a bathroom that's L-shaped or features unusual recesses and corners—a common issue in older homes. Strategically placed directional ceiling lights can ensure you illuminate the entire space. They are also perfect for large bathrooms with full-length mirrors. Adjust the light angles until you are happy with the coverage.
    Directional Ceiling Lighting
  3. Clustered, multi-level clear pendant lights. Create a modern chandelier effect with the installation of clustered pendant lights. You can choose a single fixture with a cluster of pendants, or use individual pendants. The benefit of multiple pendants is the ability to vary their shape and style for a distinctive look. Just be sure all the pendants share a feature or two, such as matched stems or Edison-style light bulbs for a cohesive look.

    Clustered, multi-level clear pendant lights.
  4. Modern and minimalist ceiling fan lights. Give your bathroom a sleek, modern look with a metal ceiling fan light. Depending on the style of fan you choose, the look can be futuristic or retro. Pay attention to the finish when choosing other fixtures for the room and keep in mind that ceiling fans shouldn't replace bathroom exhaust fans for moisture control, especially in bathrooms with no windows.

    Modern minimalist ceiling fan light
  5. Recessed lighting in formation. Install four or more recessed lights in a row for a simple and modern look. They can be centered in the ceiling, at an angle, or across the juncture of an L-shaped bathroom. For home decorators with an adventurous sense of style, recessed lighting creates a well-lit canvas for other design features and bathroom accessories.
  6. Playful and bright island chandeliers. Part chandelier, part linear light feature, an island chandelier creates a unique, check-me-out look. You'll find island chandeliers in styles ranging from whimsical steampunk to country chic to urban refinement. Island chandeliers can overwhelm smaller spaces, so be sure it fits the dimensions of your bathroom.

    Steampunk Chandelier by ELK Lighting
  7. Recessed eyeball lights above the sink. Though installed above the sink, this idea isn't a substitute for vanity lighting. Instead, you'll install a neat row of eyeball lights and aim them into the center of the space to fill the bathroom with light. If your bathroom has an unusual shape, include an extra eyeball light on either end to direct towards corners that need more light.
  8. Eclectic pendant lights. Is your aesthetic a mix of antique shop and grandma's attic? Some people love a hodgepodge look, and choosing a mix of pendant lights hit this style sensibility in the sweet spot. Just make sure your choices don't clash with your existing (or new) vanity lighting.

    Eclectic Pendants
  9. Graceful track lighting. Track lighting doesn't have to be utilitarian. Choose track lighting with a curved track or distinctive shades for a unique take on this modern style. Track lighting is wonderfully versatile, giving you the option to shift the location of bulbs on the track as well as their angles.
  10. Versailles-ready chandeliers. Create a regal, luxurious sanctuary with intricate crystal chandeliers. They lend your bathroom a delicate sophistication and a hint of grandeur. Installed with a dimmer, crystal chandeliers are the perfect accompaniment to a relaxing bath.

    Versaille-worthy Chandelier
  11. Understated craftsman-style flush mount lights. A simple square flush mount earns an artisan vibe with the clean corners and simple lines of craftsman-style construction.
    Craftsman-style Flush Light
  12. Low-profile square or circular flush lighting. Choose lights that sit close to the ceiling for a sophisticated and subtle look. If you have space for three, consider choosing different lights from a single collection--their slight differences add a layer of interest without looking mismatched.
  13. Rustic outdoor pendant lantern. Bring ever-popular rustic style indoors with a hanging lantern. You can even place the mount off-center and use a hook to center and elevate the lantern, giving it an outdoorsy charm.
    Outdoor Hanging Lantern
  14. Contrast recessed light fixtures. Rather than classic white-on-white, create a bold look with recessed lighting frames that contrast with your bathroom ceiling paint. Consider a chrome or matte nickel finish against a dark ceiling for a uniquely elegant washroom style. Or, set a dark bronze finish against eggshell white ceiling paint.
  15. Industrial-chic chandeliers or pendants. Look for fixtures with glass and metal caging around the bulbs, or with a lightly distressed industrial hood. These lights—reminiscent of a warehouse or factory—create a striking look when contrasted with feminine or modern accents.

    Industrial Pendant
  16. Vintage Tiffany-style flush mount. Art glass shades add instant sophistication and a welcome dash of color. Choose a geometric pattern for a more formal style, or an intricate floral design to give your bathroom an artsy flair.

    Tiffany-style Flush Mount Light
  17. Art deco sphere trio. Clean lines and symmetry define the art deco style. Install three simple glass spheres in a row or to create the points of an imaginary right triangle, depending on which shape works best with your bathroom ceiling. The key here is choosing a light with a frosted ball glass cover and a simple bronze base that covers almost half of the glass orb.

    Art Deco Sphere Light
  18. Smoked glass and brushed metal semi-flush lights. The combination of smoked glass and brushed nickel is another clean and simple look, but with modern finishes. To achieve the sleek design style, make sure both the glass and brushed metal elements are prominent and balanced.
  19. Contemporary art-inspired ceiling light. Search for semi-flush or pendant lights reminiscent of your favorite contemporary art style. Bauhaus. Abstract. Architectural. Pop art. You can find fixtures that call to mind the art you love, and then drive home the style with accents and wall art.

  20. Easy-going backyard bulb cluster. Bring the look you love on your back porch indoors year-round with this laid back look. Clear glass pendant clusters with visible vintage-style bulbs achieve the ultra-relaxed style you want.
  21. Single ceiling lights with big style. Perhaps you live in an apartment and can't add additional wiring for multiple ceiling lights in the bathroom. Or, you don't want to hire an electrician for your home bathroom project. That's okay. But, if you're going with one ceiling light—choose wisely! Pick a light with an elegant frame and an opaque cover in a warm tone. Or, opt for a minimalist low-profile flush light and go big with your creative décor ideas.
    Kitchler Two-Light LED Linear Wall/Ceiling Fixture

7 Top Tips and Tricks for Choosing Bathroom Ceiling Lights

Now that you've got plenty of inspiration, these tips will help you choose the perfect fixtures and light placement for your bathroom project.

  1. Take pictures of your bathroom from all angles. As you search for fixtures, reference these often. Some gorgeous bathroom light fixtures won't be a good match for your space. A large chandelier will overwhelm a small bathroom, while a few small recessed lights in the master bath may look like design afterthoughts.
  2. Avoid a single ceiling light immediately above the vanity. This is going to create unwanted shadows beneath your eyes, chin, and nose. Remember to use sconces, pendants, and vanity lights to layer the lighting and reduce shadows.
  3. Focus on your other bathroom fixtures when selecting ceiling lights. Does your shower showcase chrome and frosted glass? Bronze fixtures may clash. Does your bathroom wallpaper feature a bold pattern, or is your bathroom vanity lighting highly ornate? Consider understated ceiling lights that let these big design elements shine.
  4. Keep your ceiling light lumens low. Your bathroom ceiling lights provide ambient light for the entire space, so aim for about 20 lumens per square foot. This creates a soft and inviting light throughout the day and night.
  5. Consider damp or wet location-listed ceiling lights if your bathroom gets steamy. This isn't required, but it's a wise choice if someone in your household takes long, hot showers that create steam and condensation in the bathroom. Look for UL or CUL on the product description details, which means the fixture can withstand humid or moist environments.
  6. Make sure the lights directly over your tub or in the shower are wet location listed. Above your shower or tub is where the moisture in your bathroom is most concentrated. This demands specialty fixtures designed for wet environments.
  7. Consult a professional electrician for your project. Always prioritize safety for any lighting or electrical project in your home.

Start exploring bathroom light fixtures and soon you'll transform your creative ideas into a bathroom you love.