Bathroom lighting is an important but often overlooked aspect of any quality bathroom remodel. It’s very common for bathrooms to be inadequately lit, which makes the space visually smaller and also makes the bathroom harder to use. Whether you’re interested in a full bathroom renovation or are after a simple touch up, these bathroom lighting tips will help you make the most of your bathroom.
A good bathroom lighting scheme is comprised of a series of layers, in which ample lighting is placed where it is needed, such as in the vanity or shower, and additional lighting enhances the room’s overall ambiance.
Vanity task lighting is a top priority, as it is needed to illuminate the head and face for shaving and grooming. A very common mistake is to place a single ceiling fixture directly over the mirror. This casts shadows on the face and hair, making grooming very difficult.
Vertical fixtures mounted on both sides of the mirror are best for casting an even light across the face and hair. If mounting lighting to the side isn’t an option due to space constraints, lighting can also be placed above the mirror. Be sure that the light source spans the width of the mirror for nice, even lighting.
It’s also worth noting that fluorescent bulbs may make the skin tone appear washed out or drab. Soft incandescent lighting may be the best choice for vanity lighting, as it efficiently illuminates the face and hair without inordinately washing out the complexion.
Shower lighting is another priority for task lighting. In small bathrooms with clear shower doors, a dedicated shower fixture may be unnecessary. However, in larger bathrooms or if frosted or opaque curtains or doors cover the shower, a dedicated fixture may be appropriate. A recessed light with a glass lens works best here, as it is more durable and will not yellow, unlike plastic.
Ambient Bathroom Lighting
Ambient lighting substitutes for daylight, which bathrooms often lack. Ambient lighting is typically supplied by a central fixture, which is ordinarily a surface-mounted ceiling light. However, you can also get creative with options like pendant lighting or even a small chandelier.
Keep in mind that water and electricity are a deadly combination, and that the bathroom brings water closer to electricity than any other room in the house. Be sure to consult with a certified electrician before beginning your bathroom lighting project, and discuss these concerns with your bathroom renovation contractor.
Fixtures that are close to the shower or tub must also be “wet” or “shower-location” rated. Remember that this rating differs from the “damp” rating necessary for outdoor lighting.
Have you recently embarked on a bathroom lighting project, or are you upgrading your lighting as part of a bathroom remodel? If so, please share your own bathroom renovation ideas and lighting insights in the comments section.