Gone are the days when bathrooms were used primarily to shower and brush your teeth; nowadays they are a personal place for relaxation and romance, a place where shaving and applying makeup is done. So, lighting is of crucial importance in the bathroom, both in terms of functionality and esthetics, as well as for safety reasons.
Primarily, maximize the amount of the available natural daylight – if there’s a window, keep the window treatment plain, a frosted glass pane or a roller blind for privacy, for example; opt for light wall and tiling color, and large mirrored cabinets that bounce light around the room, especially in small spaces to add a feeling of more space, light, and freshness.
As for lighting, here are some basics that could help you make the bathroom a place to relax and recharge:
- Layer the light
For adequate lighting, as in all other rooms, you need to apply different types and sources of light:
1. General/ambient lighting, usually achieved by a ceiling-mounted fixture;
2. Task lighting – for shaving or applying makeup, accomplished with a pair of fixtures mounted on the wall, flanking the sink;
3. Accent lighting – for highlighting a plant, a beautiful tile, a piece of art; it adds depth, dimension, style, and elegance to the décor;
4. Decorative lighting – hang an eye-grabbing fixture to add luxury to the space
- Place the light right
Consider carefully the position of the fixtures to eliminate casting shadows and create a balanced lighting scheme with a soft and dreamy glow.
For example, there are several options to achieve the ideal lighting for the mirror zone that minimizes shadows and provides even illumination: fixtures can be placed beside the mirror, above it, on it, or in the ceiling. Vertical sconces or strips/at about 60 to 65 inches above the floor/flanking the mirror afford the greatest light coverage. As for above the mirror, opt for a completely enclosed fixture or one with open diffusers, the latter can be mounted with the open end of the glass either up or down; it should be placed 75 to 80 inches above the floor and, like all vanity lighting, contain at least 150 watts.
For extra light in the shower area consider adding shower lights, usually recessed spotlights are used, specially waterproofed to protect them from shower spray; another great option for this particular area is tile lights, it definitely creates a wow effect.
- Other considerations
Think about using dimmers; this technique is a powerful tool to control any lighting scheme and alter the mood of the space, not to mention that they save energy.
Consider carefully about choosing the bulbs: since a white crisp light tends to render skin tones most accurately, opt for halogen bulbs, especially the compact low-voltage varieties (with a built-in transformer that converts 120 volts to 12 volts); another good option is the newest compact fluorescent bulbs, their light is up to 10 times more efficient than regular incandescent bulbs.
Keep in mind that the bathroom is a place with high humidity. So it is important to choose the right kind of material for bathroom fixtures.
Safety First, electricity and water are lethal companions, and nowhere else do they mingle more closely than in the bathroom. So, always consult a certified electrician before tackling even the simplest lighting project in your bathroom.
You might need to consult a lighting designer, but yet it all depends on your creativity, inspiration, style, and taste to create your dream oasis where to start and end the day.