A simple guide to getting your bathroom lighting right

bathroom lightingWhen it comes to interior lighting, bathrooms are often overlooked. Homeowners tend to spend a lot of time planning out lighting for kitchens and living rooms while failing to give any love to the bathroom.

Bathroom lighting really does matter. It eases your daily shift from asleep to awake, escorts you through morning grooming routines and helps you unwind after a rough day at the office.

In this article we’ll help you to get yours right.

Work in layers

The biggest mistake frugal bath designers make is attempting to light the entire room with a single fixture. Designers recommend separate fixtures for each of the three major light components which ought to be considered for the bathroom.

Task, ambient and accent each represent one layer of the lighting experience.

See what you’re doing

In the context of the bathroom, task lighting refers to the vanity, where you do your morning grooming, and the shower.

A well-lit mirror is one that does not create shadows on your head and face. We avoid this problem by using vertical or sconce lighting both to the left and right of the mirror installed at eye level. Only in cases of very wide mirrors is an overhead fixture recommended.

In the event overhead lighting must be used, steer clear of ceiling-mounted fixtures and instead go with a horizontal bar placed 75 to 80 inches above the floor. Do not install “warm” bulbs for vanity lighting. Daylight bulbs with a minimum of 75 watts of power will best illuminate your full face.

Additional lighting may or may not be required in the shower depending on your layout. Often times a strong overhead fixture may be sufficient if the shower enclosure is created with glass doors, but be prepared to install a recessed lamp with glass lens should the area feel dark.

Don’t hide that first light switch

Most bathrooms include at least one central ceiling-mount light which can be turned on from just inside the door. The primary purpose of this fixture is to create ambient lighting—just enough light to move about the room safely.

Properly lighting your important “task” areas frees up more leeway with your ambient fixture. As long as your vanity is well covered, feel free to use a crystal chandelier or stunning antique lamp for your ambient light—but be sure the circuit runs to an easily accessible switch near the entrance. It’s never a good idea to ask visitors to the bathroom to step inside and find the switch in full darkness.

Get groovy and artistic

Accent lighting is all about creating a warm, inviting space.

Fairy lights, LED candles, and recessed spotlights can illuminate your bathroom and turn it into a work of art. Accent lights need not focus on any function other than creating a space that is as relaxing as it is rejuvenating. Today’s bathroom is an escape from a hectic world. Get creative with things that twinkle to top off the ultimate bathroom experience.

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