How to Get Light Into a Windowless Bathroom

Emily Pate

A tiny half bath or guest bathroom can seem dreary without adequate lighting. Many smaller bathrooms, especially in apartments, may not have a window to cheer the room with natural light. You can use artificial light to reflect and intensify existing light. Full-length mirrors can open up a windowless bathroom and provide a larger feeling.

Bringing in Light

Bring in mirrors to reflect and intensify light.
  1. Install a skylight to instantly flood the room with natural light if your bathroom ceiling makes direct contact with the roof. This option saves money, since you don't have to turn on lights during the day, and natural light typically gives the best ambiance.

  2. Shop for a quality skylight. Avoid the cheapest units with plastic glazing, which can eventually leak, costing you more in the long run. Curbed skylights with energy-efficient glazing work well.

  3. Check your bathroom for adequate ventilation to prevent condensation on the skylight during showers. Consult an installer to see what size works best for your bathroom.

Artificial Light

  1. Place different types of lighting in several places in your bathroom. Even smaller rooms benefit from focused and ambient light. Consult an electrician about proper wiring to install sconces or vertical fixtures on either side of the vanity mirror or above, at 75 to 80 inches above the floor. Recessed ceiling fixtures cast shadows on the face, so make sure the fixture extends beyond the wall once installed. Use a 150-watt bulb or its equivalent.

  2. Place lighting in the shower. Install a recessed light with a glass lens to prevent yellowing. Install a similar light over the tub, if you don't have a freestanding shower.

  3. Bring in ambient lighting in lieu of natural light by installing a surface-mounted ceiling fixture. Use a chandelier or pendant lamp for an eye-catching piece that adds style and elegance to the bathroom. You can also install cove lighting, a rope of lights hidden behind crown molding, to light the perimeter of a tiny room.

  4. Install accent lighting to highlight a piece of art, basin or other attractive feature in your bathroom. If your bathroom is too small to add accent or ambient lighting, tilt the shower light at a 35-degree angle to accent attractive tile work.

  5. Bring mirrors into the bathroom to reflect existing light. A full-length mirror on one wall, a small cosmetic mirror on a stand or even a smaller framed mirror intensify light and make the bathroom seem more spacious.