Make your bathroom into a sanctuary of relaxation. You can achieve this with the right bathroom lighting.
Bathrooms are no longer just functional rooms with harsh light and cold tile, but have become warm, stylish, inviting retreats.
The introduction of warmer materials and colors call for softer, more sophisticated bathroom lighting.
With a lot of effort and money being spent on beautiful materials and wonderful luxuries, you of course want to be able to see the beauty of your bathroom not only during the daytime.
Keep in mind, that only the right lighting will be able to fully show the colors and textures of the beautiful stone, glass and wood that make your bathroom special.
A good lighting plan asks for layers of light: placing ample direct light where it is needed for showers, shaving, or putting on makeup, while other light sources enhance the overall mood of the room.
Task lighting around the vanity must be bright enough to do its job, but the addition of indirect accent pieces provides a glow that softens the more direct task lighting.
Good, functional bathroom lighting is needed for the area around the vanity mirror and sink. These light fixtures need to be gently flattering, yet bright enough so you can see to shave or apply makeup.
Wall sconces mounted on either side of the mirror or vertical strip lighting fixtures or are best for casting an even light across the face.
In addition to adding a decorative touch to the bathroom and vanity area, wall sconces help evening out the light by eliminating shadows.
The best vanity lighting surrounds the face with light.
Light from all sides minimizes shadows under the chin, eyes, cheeks, and forehead.
A wall sconce on either side of the mirror is ideal for lighting your vanity area.
Rule of Thumb: Normally you want the center of the fixture at 60-66″ above the floor and the sconces should be least 30″ apart
With the size and positioning of some vanity mirrors, sidelights can, however, sometimes be a challenge.
This is where a fixture for over the mirror might be the only solution unless you opt for the elegant, but costly solution of mounting the wall sconces directly onto the mirror.
A vanity light fixture above the mirror should be placed 75-80 inches above the floor and ideally hold 150 watts, spread over a fixture that’s at least 24 inches long so that the light will wash evenly over the person in front of the mirror.
Shower lighting is another area that often gets neglected.
In smaller bathrooms a fixture may not be necessary in the shower stall itself, if it has a clear glass door – but it is nice!
A recessed downright wet location makes it easier to read shampoo bottles, and just adds extra sparkle and a welcoming atmosphere.
Recessed fixtures also work well over a freestanding tub.
In most bathrooms a surface-mounted ceiling fixture is used to provide ambient light.
Be creative: A pendant lamp or a charming mini-chandelier can take the place of the more inconspicuous recessed down light and add sparkle or character to the bathroom.
Another interesting option is cove lighting or other indirect concealed light sources, which can add a soft glow around the perimeter of the room.
In this oasis of a bathroom the architect Hugh Jefferson Randolph also created a backlit mirror by simply placing fluorescent tubes behind the mirror and sandblasting part of it off in rectangular patterns. Beautiful in its simplicity!
A small recessed spotlight can be directed at a beautiful powder room basin or highlight the tile work and at the same time create another layer of light in the bathroom.
Think about using dimmers in your bathroom. They can make you control the light level in your bathroom from a gentle night light to bright task lighting when needed.
A bathroom makeover doesn’t have to break the bank.
So, you are stuck with a single fixture over the mirror and one utilitarian ceiling light. Make the best of it!
You can use lighting to make your bathroom look larger and elegant, serene, or comfortable and cozy.
Add a small table lamp on a counter, an inexpensive portable up light on the floor behind a plant or a Soji screen and voila! Instant added atmosphere.
A linear fixture above the mirror or a fixture with several shielded bulbs will give sufficient light for grooming. Granted, it’s best with the light coming from the sides, but if you use a mirror that’s as large as possible over the vanity area, a long light strip will give a good amount of light and make the room appear larger.
Depending on your personal style the ceiling light can be replaced with anything from a contemporary spotlight cluster to an ornate mini-chandelier for added pizzazz.