A bubble bath surrounded by lit candles and dim lighting sounds pretty relaxing, but outside of this euphoria, a dark bathroom is not all that pleasant. Darkness can make a large bathroom feel small. Limited lighting even causes certain tasks to be downright dangerous — applying mascara or shaving in the dark can be treacherous! If you’re working with a dark or windowless bathroom, here are some ways you can lighten up.
If your walls are covered in light-absorbing dark paint or — gasp! — wallpaper, add a few coats of a perky paint color. It doesn’t necessarily have to be stark white; there are many tints of blues, yellows and reds that reflect light and make the space feel sunnier.
Struggling to see the bottle labels in your shower? It’s time to add some lighting. If you can’t add natural light, add recessed lights in the ceiling of your shower. Get help from an electrician—trust us, it’s worth it. You’ll feel more awake during your morning scrub and avoid frustrating shampoo and conditioner mix-ups.
For a bathroom mirror to serve its purpose, it should be well lit. How else are you supposed to notice the cracked pepper in your teeth from lunch? If your reflection is dim, add some sconce lighting on each side of the mirror. They’ll cast light on your face, making primping and pruning a more precise task.
One of the simplest and least expensive ways to illuminate your bath is to replace your light bulbs. Look for “cool white,” “bright white” or “daylight” bulbs that minimize shadows for the greatest output around your vanity. For bathing spaces, opt for ambient light.
Adding reflective surfaces is a great way to spread light throughout the room. You likely already have one over your sink for practical purposes, so consider adding a mirror on the opposite wall so you can see the back of your head. You could add a side mirror or two, or even a full-length mirror if you have room.
True, it’s easiest to plan for a skylight when you’re building a house, but it can be retroactively installed. Some skylights even offer venting that would work well over a shower. Natural light is ideal for brightening up a bathroom and will create a sense of larger space even without direct sunlight.
A casement window is another great option for adding precious natural light. Hinged at the side, casement windows open outward like a door to vent steam. Plain or decorative film can be added to the glass to ensure privacy while allowing plentiful light to pass through.
Adding light to a dark bathroom will make a dramatic change to the space not only aesthetically, but also in how you feel in the space. Even if your bathroom is windowless, there are many options for adding lighting to the ceiling and walls, or using vivid paint to make the space feel expansive. There’s no substitute for ample natural light, so consider adding a window for your next home improvement project.