Bathroom Lighting: A Guide

When it comes to a bathroom remodel, lighting is probably the last thing on your mind. Whether you’re remodeling an existing bathroom or building one from the ground up, natural light is at a premium – if natural light is minimal or non-existent in your bathroom, you’ll want to find lighting that suits your style, budget and bathroom space. If done poorly, lighting can produce unwanted shadows, glare, and can create an unpleasant ambiance. Explore these bathroom lighting ideas and get ready to create a welcoming, well-lit, and functional bath space in your home.

Choose a Style

Before moving a step further in exploring bathroom lighting options, you’ll want to decide on a preferred style of lighting. If you’re matching the lighting to theme or style of the rest of your home, this is as simple as choosing contemporary or traditional elements to match. Some lighting options, like classic wall sconces, can work in any style bathroom – especially as they���re now available in both contemporary and traditional styles. If you’re on the fence, a transitional style strikes the perfect balance between traditional and contemporary.

Use Daylight as Model

The true color of our face, clothing, hair, and makeup is best represented in daylight, so this is the quality of light you should try to mimic in your bathroom. This can be achieved by installing bathroom lighting fixtures with white shades, and using bulbs that render colors appropriate for the room. Although incandescent bulbs and LEDs are popular choices, compact florescent bulbs can be a good choice too – as long as their CRI is 90 or above. For more information on picking the right light bulb for the type of lithe you’d like to achieve, visit a lighting professional in your area.

Consider Dimmers

Dimmers are your best friend because they give you absolute control over the lighting and mood of the room. Whether you’d like to relax in the tub with minimal lighting or apply make-up with the lights blazing on a mirror, you can achieve both by using dimmers. An added bonus: dimmers conserve energy. The total savings depends on how much the bulb is dimmed, but one bulb dimmed just 10 percent will last twice as long as a bulb used at full brightness. Modern day dimmers can work for every kind of light source, though you’ll need to know what to ask for.

Pay Attention to Safety

Although paying attention to the aesthetics of a bathroom is important, it doesn’t diminish the importance of safety. The incorrect combination of electricity and water can be lethal, so consult a certified electrician before tackling even the smallest lighting project in the bathroom. The National Electric Code has specific requirements which must be met, including the requirement that all fixtures within a certain distance of the tub or shower must be “wet” or “shower-location” rated. An electrician who understands these codes can help ensure the lighting in your bathroom adheres to all standards.

Ambient vs. Task vs. Accent

Did you know there’s actually three types of light in the bathroom? Ambient lighting illuminates the entire bathroom with the majority of the light directed towards the floor, task lighting provides visual clarity and shadow-free light so tasks like shaving and putting on make-up are easier, and accent lighting draws attention to specific areas or decorative objects in your bathroom. Most bathrooms include all three, so all three should be kept in mind when shopping for lighting in your own bathroom.

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