Since your bathroom is where you prepare to meet the day, good bathroom lighting is essential to looking your best. Here’s how to illuminate this important part of your home.
Areas to be lit
Three areas in your bathroom need appropriate lighting. The most important is the vanity. Good lighting is crucial here, since the vanity is where you shave, apply makeup, fix hair and brush your teeth. Vanity light fixtures should cast light evenly without creating shadows.
The shower and bath are next in importance for good lighting, followed by the water closet-toilet area. While not essential, additional accent lighting can add ambiance.
Vanity task lighting
If space allows, the ideal light fixtures for the vanity area are wall sconces set on either side of the mirror at eye level. These cast light evenly on each side of the face. If a sconce’s shade opens downward, the opening edge should be positioned just below eye level. If the shade points upward, the edge should be positioned just above eye level. Avoid shadows by using a frosted shade with clear bulbs or a clear shade with frosted bulbs.
Sometimes space does not allow for side sconces in the bathroom. In other situations, sconces on either side of a wide mirror over a double sink vanity will be too far apart. Your best option in these situations is over-the-mirror lighting.
Shower, bath and toilet
The most common bathroom lighting fixtures for the shower and toilet areas are overhead recessed lights. Where the bathtub is separate from the shower, you can illuminate it with overhead recessed lighting or wall sconces. A chandelier over the tub or centered in the bathroom can provide both drama and pleasant ambient lighting.
Light fixture materials
Brass, brushed nickel and chrome are popular choices for bathroom lighting fixtures and work with a wide range of design styles. For the sake of continuity, light fixtures should be made from materials that match or coordinate with other metal finishes in the bathroom.
When choosing bathroom lighting, look for “damp-rated” fixtures made to withstand the humidity of a bathroom.
Fluorescent and LED light bulbs will generate little to no heat, and the cost of using them is less than half that of incandescent bulbs.