Home lighting means providing beauty as well as light, but unlike other rooms, your bathroom lighting should be first and foremost designed for function. But keep in mind that it can be beautiful as well.
The bathroom is where you and your family prepare yourselves to greet the world and so it needs the right kind of lighting . At the same time the modern bathroom is also a place to relax and where you go to read a book or simply to lie and wash away the cares of the day. Doing it right means achieving a balance between these two things – on the one hand a bright light for practical uses and on the other a softer light for more relaxing moments. In other words, combine task lighting for those practical moments, ambient lighting for general use and accent lighting for when you want to highlight certain areas.
This article will focus only on the task lighting in a bathroom. In the bathroom, especially around the vanity mirrors, task lighting is critical. When shaving, preening or plucking, you want the light to be bright enough to reveal even the sneakiest of chin hairs, yet natural enough to avoid those embarrassing makeup muck-ups.
Here are some suggestions to improve your bathroom lighting:
1. Remember you don’t want your lights to be too strong or too dim, and lighting that comes from the sides is generally more flattering than lighting that comes from above (there’s a reason lights run up and down the side of mirrors in Hollywood dressing rooms!). It will cast an even light across the face and eliminate shadows.
And, consider installing a small lit concave mirror near the main vanity mirror. The concave curvature of the mirror will magnify what you see in the mirror and the additional light will help improve the lighting for special tasks such as shaving or applying makeup.
2. Whether you choose incandescent, LED or even fluorescent bulbs, make sure the light they emit is within the natural daylight spectrum. Bulbs that are mostly yellow or white will not reflect your natural skin tone.
It is recommended that special neodymium light bulbs be used in the vanity fixtures since they provide excellent light that very closely simulates sunlight. A neodymium light bulb is an incandescent light bulb that has a slight bluish tint to it. The bluish tint, created by a thin coating of neodymium inside the glass envelope, will cause the light bulb to provide less yellowish light like a standard incandescent light bulb and, therefore, be more like the sun.
3. Recessed lighting is an excellent choice for lighting up showers, tubs and toilet areas. In the shower and tub, recessed lighting can be angled to bring out tile design, stone inlays and other decorative design features in those areas. And anyone with a full magazine rack next to the stool can imagine what a recessed light overhead can do for that space as well.
4. In the mood In the bathroom, your ambient (or general) lighting should be soft, warm and relaxing. A lot of the time, if the bathroom isn’t very big, the vanity lighting will be the lighting solution for the whole bathroom. If this isn’t sufficient, low-lying LED strips or step lights will give the room a soft, candle-like glow and create the perfect atmosphere for those long, luxurious soaks in the tub. These can be recessed into the wall under a floating vanity, or incorporated into some joinery.
For pure mood lighting, here I suggest wall-mounted fittings. These will give just a nice, overall glow to the bathroom but not necessarily be aimed at anything in particular. However, sticking with a discreet fixture that emits white rather than coloured light. It’s best to keep bathroom lighting fixtures as simple as possible, so they’re easy to combine with other things in the room, adding I normally recommend a chrome finish or brushed nickel to match the tapware.
5. If you dread the blinding glare that greets you on a 2 am toilet run, consider connecting your ambient lights to a lighted switch. It makes late night trips to the bathroom a lot easier, since you won’t have to swing your arm up and down the wall like a bird in flight to find the switch.
And a dimmer switch isn’t a bad idea either, so you can set your bathroom lighting to the proper mood. This way also makes you won’t have to fumble for switches or light up the entire house every time nature calls every night. Also making sure you look presentable Monday morning takes a lot more light than that Saturday evening soak in the tub. A dimmer switch gives you the best of both worlds.
6. Splash out Just because the bathroom is primarily a place of function doesn’t mean you can’t inject it with a bit of fun and funk as well.
It is suggested using accent lighting, such as spotlights, to highlight any interesting tiling or artwork. This will help create an interesting focal point and give the room some depth. If it’s a larger bathroom you might also want to incorporate chandeliers to add that glamorous, decorative touch.
It is important to check the regulations that apply if you have a hand shower and the types of lighting you can install, and where.