Lighting Style and Trends Blog

Tips for Lighting Up Your Bathroom

Posted by Gavin Martin on Sun, August 16, 2009

Bathroom LightingBathrooms have evolved over the last decade from simply functional rooms to mood setting and relaxation rooms. They used to be small and bright and sterile. Now homeowners are turning their bathrooms into private retreats or home spas. New lighting is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to upgrade the most used room in the house. Bathrooms are more spacious then ever and that added space leads to more functional areas to illuminate. From a lighting standpoint in the past, it was thought that bathrooms had to have bright lighting with high wattage bulbs and vanity strips so one could properly use the bathroom and see themselves in the best light. Bathrooms still require a certain amount of functional light to support daily activities in the bathroom, such as brushing your teeth, shaving, styling your hair or applying makeup. However today, the technique is to use layers of light to effectively light your bathroom based on the different tasks areas around your bathroom. Bathroom Lighting is now more complex as bathrooms need many levels of lighting with different functions such as showering, bath area, styling and the sink area for daily tasks.  A good lighting design requires multiple lighting types and styles for the highest impact. 

Task Lighting around Vanity and Mirror
Bathroom LightingTask lighting is the most important bathroom lighting and consists of vanity lighting and wall sconces to help you with your daily tasks.  Vanity Lighting consists or a horizontal illumination, across the top of the mirror. This provides shadow-free lighting to work on your face or hair. The same effect can be achieved with wall sconces on each side of the mirror.  Large vanities should be illuminated by multiple light sources. Pendant lighting is also becoming popular on each side of the mirror in modern bathrooms. There are some modern mirrors now that have lighting built into the outer edge of the mirror.  Lighted magnifying mirrors are also becoming popular for make-up and facial close-ups mounted to the wall over a vanity.  Add a dimmer switch to your vanity lighting for mood or relaxation purposes.

Ambient Lighting for Center of Bathroom
Ambient lighting (general) is typically provided by ceiling fixtures in the center of the ceiling or with recessed lighting. Bathrooms are becoming increasingly larger so general lighting such as recessed lighting is needed to light these larger spaces.  Decorative ceiling mount fixtures, mini-chandeliers, decorative exhaust fans with lights are some of the more popular lighting fixtures in today's bathroom to blend with your décor.

Lighting the Shower
Great way to light the shower is with multiple recessed can lights. Make sure they are designed and labeled for wet areas.  Small shower stalls may only require one in the center. Many new showers are tiled for the designer look with clear glass instead of privacy glass. This allows homeowners to show the tile work off with lighting.

Lighting the Bath Tub
Lighting over the tub should be bright enough for cleaning purposes or reading product labels around the tub area. You may choose recessed can lighting for general lighting.  Ensure it is designed and labeled for use in wet areas. Wall sconces or candle lights can add a romantic or relaxing effect. A great way to add a touch of elegance or romance is with a chandelier. Crystal chandeliers are a very fashionable and can create a great sparkle effect. Add a dimmer switch to change the mood for the spa effect.  Many local building codes may prevent lighting hanging over the tub so check your local building codes for any special requirements or to see if it is prohibited.

Accent Lighting and Night Lighting
Add a lamp on a larger vanity to provide some décor and accent lighting. Low-voltage linear lighting underneath your bathroom vanity is a great accent lighting to light up your bathroom just enough to find your way around in the dark. There are even a few high end faucets that have a night light built into the faucet which light up the water.

Types of Lighting
 Vanity Lighting  Wall Sconce  Chandelier

Wall Lighting 

 Wall Sconces


 Recessed Lighting  Beauty Mirror  Exhaust Fan

 Recessed Lighting

 Magnifying Mirror

Exhaust Fans 

 Ceiling Fixture  Pendant Lighting  Vanities

 Ceiling Fixtures



Take a look at some of our featured brands for bathroom lighting such as Hudson Valley Lighting, and Progress Lighting with their matching Delta Faucet Finishes. Check out cyrstal chandeliers from Crystorama and chandeliers from World Imports Lighting for the bathroom or over the bath tub. 

Tags: Wall Sconce, Exhaust Fan, vanity, Chandelier, Bathroom Lighting

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