Light It Right

The Evolution Of The Bathroom

The bathroom of today is a place where we can relax and recharge - often containing a soaker tub, Jacuzzi or steam shower as well as the basics. Since it is the place where we begin and end the day, lighting should be well thought out in order to optimize the use of the space.

How many women have put their makeup on in the bathroom only to emerge and notice that it just doesn't look quite right? Men, too, have often been confronted with a strip of whiskers that eluded the shaver because the light cast a shadow in the wrong place.  A good lighting plan is developed by layering types of lighting. Having ample light for the vanity and shower areas is important, and the subtle use of light can enhance the mood and atmosphere of the room.

Task Lighting - The Vanity Takes Priority

The top consideration when deciding on lighting goes to vanity lighting because that is the place where lighting is most important for head and face grooming. A recessed ceiling lamp, frequently the lighting of choice, is a mistake as it casts shadows on the face, making grooming difficult. The best bet for lighting at the vanity is vertical fixtures or sconces which can be mounted on either side of the vanity mirror for casting even light across the face. If sidelights are not practical due to a large mirror, then a fixture for over the mirror is an option. There are some distance and size considerations which will make the use of such a fixture effective. It should be mounted 75 to 80 inches from the floor and should also be about 24 inches in length. Use 150 watt bulbs in order to provide adequate light to wash evenly over hair and face.

In Second Place, The Shower Or Tub Area

The shower area is another place where task lighting is important. If the bathroom is small and clear doors are being used on the shower, then there may be adequate light in the room and the use of a dedicated light may not be necessary. If lighting is needed, a recessed bulb with a glass lens works well over the shower or tub. Plastic lenses tend to yellow with time, so glass would be a better choice.

Ambient Lighting Sets The Mood

To fill in the spaces in terms of lighting, ambient light can be provided by a central fixture. Don't be confined to a ceiling light with a flat cover - think outside the box a little and you will be able to bring some romance or glamour to your room. A chandelier or pendant lamp may be the perfect choice for your decor. Another option is cove lighting which involves the use of rope lights hidden several inches below ceiling height. The glow around the perimeter of the room is both subtle and soft.

Focus on a special piece of pottery or decorative art with a recessed spotlight or a recessed shower fixture can be tilted to accent and show off beautiful tiling. Proper lighting in the bathroom can transform it from basic to beautiful and increase the functionality at the same time.