Daylight Vs Soft White For The Bathroom

In lighting your bathroom, getting the brightness right is essential — you don't want it to be too bright or too dim. There are some things for you to take note of before purchasing a new set of bulbs or lighting fixtures, and we're here to help you with that.

The appropriate lighting for your bathroom depends on different factors such as the bathroom's location, size, and how much natural light it receives.

  • If your bathroom has big windows and is strategically placed where it gets a decent amount of sunlight during the day, a soft white bulb is your best choice.
  • For bathrooms with little to no light, daylight-colored bulbs are perfect as it can provide you with an ample amount of faux natural light.

The best bathroom lighting has the range of 2700K to 5000K, which is common for daylight and soft white. This color temperature is best for applying makeup, shaving, and other bathroom activities. While it's definitely up to you on which one to go with, it's still essential to know you have a ton of options and some tips to make your bathroom a cozy spot. We've got some of them for you in this post, so keep reading for more.

photo of a two bathroom styles collide in one picture, Daylight Vs Soft White For The Bathroom

Daylight vs. Soft White — What's The Difference?


Like the name suggests, daylight features a cool, white glow that mimics natural lighting. It's commonly used for vanity and study areas. As mentioned above, daylight is ideal for bathrooms that receive little to no sunlight, which is usually the case for small-scale bathrooms found in studio-type apartments and homes. Furthermore, if your bathroom walls are of a cool color, it's best to go with a daylight bulb, so great lighting is still available to you regardless of the natural light situation outside.

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very clean looking white modern elegant bathroom of the hotel room

If you tend to do your makeup in the bathroom, daylight is your best choice so you can get decent illumination that will let you see the product's true shades, even when there's not enough natural light within your working space.

Furthermore, fluorescent lamp in daylight can also help in reducing moisture and humidity as they only produce low heat.

Check out this pack energy-efficient daylight LED bulbs from Amazon.

Soft White

daylight scene of a clean modern bathroom of the modern house

Soft white bulbs emit a warm white glow with hints of yellow typically utilized in bedrooms and big bathrooms. This is because these areas often have windows sized enough to let the light in, reducing the need for ultra-bright lighting. It also induces a cozy and inviting feel to the room, making it another good choice for study areas.

If you have warm colored bathroom interiors, soft white lighting is the ideal pick as it can help make the colors more lively and vibrant. Incandescent light and halogen lamp fixtures are perfect for this. Plus, a warm bathroom lighting is perfect for selfies as it can help provide an effortlesly fresh, natural glow.

Most task lights also come in soft white because they are more energy and cost-efficient. As such, soft white task lights make for a common choice for kitchen aisles, reading nooks, and vanity areas.

Check out this soft white lamp from Amazon.

Lumens, Watts, and Color Temperatures


In simple terms, lumens are the measurement of the brightness of light. Higher lumens equals brighter light, regardless of the light bulb type. However, newer LED light bulbs are better measured using lumens since they're made to save on energy, which makes measuring via watts a little unnecessary, unless you're going for traditional incandescent and fluorescent lamps.


The wattage determines how much power the light bulb requires to operate it. Incandescent bulbs are often measured using watts, as they light the bulb by heating a filament, unlike LED bulbs which run on microchips to use less energy. The most economical choice for a bathroom would be anything within 100 watts or less, because they're not too bright or too dim. You don't want your bathroom to be so bright that you're constantly squinting, but you also don't want it to be so dim that you can't see what you're doing.

Color Temperatures

On the other hand, color temperatures define the intensity of the color brightness and can be measured in Kelvins (K). This determines how cool or warm the light will be. The color temperature for daylight plays around 5000K to 6500K, which is on the cooler side of the spectrum, while soft white is on the warmer side, ranging from 2700K to 3000K.

Unsure? Maybe a Smart Light Bulb is For You

If you want to take out the hassle in picking the right lighting for your bathroom, perhaps it's time to opt for a smart light bulb. This handy tool offers excellent versatility and control in switching up the color intensity of your lighting, whether you're looking for a subtle change or something more drastic. With just a few taps on your smartphone, you can adjust the ambiance of any room to suit your mood. You can also link it to your smart home devices so you can control its settings using your voice.

Check out this smart light bulb from Amazon.

What is a good wattage for bathroom lights?

warm lit bathroom, wooden drawer on the sink, rectangular mirror

The ideal wattage for bathroom lights range between 75 to 100 watts for an average sized bathroom, while smaller ones can already benefit from 45 watts. This will ensure that the bathroom is sufficiently lit without being too bright.

What light bulbs are best for bathroom vanity?

LED light bulbs are your best choice for a bathroom vanity because they're cost-efficient and aren't too hot even after long hours of use. When it comes to choosing the color temperature, it's best to go with the one you use for the main bathroom lighting — daylight LED bulbs for small areas and soft white for vanities placed near a bathroom window receiving an adequate amount of sunlight.

  • When choosing the right light for your vanity, there's no need to prioritize a high lumen count, as you will only be illuminating a small area and you will be using a cluster of bulbs.
  • Also, make sure to consider the size of your vanity area. You don't want a huge scale lighting fixture if your vanity countertop is small as it can be overwhelming.

Check out this pack of LED bulbs from Amazon.

Dimmable LED lights are also a nice touch so you can adjust them according to your task. This also makes it an ideal choice if you plan on upgrading from a small corner to a full-fledged vanity station.

Check out this set of dimmable vanity lights from Amazon.

How can I make my bathroom brighter?

Aside from incorporating good lighting, there are a couple of things you can do to improve illumination in your bathroom.

  • Add accent lights, big mirrors (if the space permits), and shiny surfaces to aid in making the light bounce around the room. Frameless mirrors also create an illusion of a larger space.
  • If you're still in the midst of building your bathroom, consider having large windows and painting the walls a clean, neutral color such as white, nude, or light gray.
  • Opt for reflective tiles, including, but not limited to porcelain, ceramic, or glass.
  • Consider incorporating layered lighting to your setup to balance the space; not too bright and not too dim.
  • Add a few indoor plants — succulents, cacti, and more that will thrive even with the lack of sunlight. This can provide a fresh touch to your bathroom space and get rid of any dullness.
  • Install some brightly colored wall decors, such as wallpapers or framed paintings.
  • You may also go for white colored recyclable bottles if you use one for your essentials.

Check out this cool backlit bathroom mirror from Amazon.

In conclusion

photo of a two bathroom styles collide in one picture

Choosing between daylight and soft white depends on different factors, such as the size, location, and interiors of the bathroom, but making it your own is still possible. If you wish, you can mix both daylight and soft white LED bulbs or lighting fixtures in order to create a cozier ambiance. It's also good to note that keeping your bathroom clean and sanitized can help in making your bathroom a comfortable personal space.

Bathroom lighting doesn't have to be a daunting task, especially when you have the right information at hand. If you're still unsure, you can go ahead and do a trial and error to see which one works for you and your space.

If you enjoyed this post, check out these articles before you go:

What Is The Best Color Temperature For Bathroom Lighting?

11 Bathroom Recessed Lighting Ideas

Where To Place Light Fixtures In Bathroom

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