How to choose your bathroom lighting

The ultimate lighting guide

The bathroom is the first place we go to in the morning and the last one before we go to bed. When done right, the bathroom lighting should help us feel good and ready for the rest of the day, as well as help us relax and wind down for the night.

Many designers say that bathroom lighting is one of the most important decisions to make. Spotting the perfect lighting can transform a bathroom without a full renovation and make a small space feel open and spacious, but also bad bathroom lighting can ruin even a perfectly remodeled space. So, you need to consider the natural lighting that is available and then create the ideal lighting layout.

Creating The Ideal Lighting Layout For Your Bathroom

Layout your bathroom lighting to create a space that feels comfortable and right. When it comes to bathroom lighting there are many styles, shapes, and sizes to choose from. There are endless choices and ways to customize your space so the decision can feel overwhelming. Listed below are the 4 main types of lighting you can use in your bathroom.

1. Ambient Lighting

Ambient Lighting is considered your standard, general light that illuminates the entire space. The most common bathroom ambient lighting is ceiling lighting. What kind of ceiling lighting is best for your space?

  • Recessed Lighting

A modern or larger bathroom may do best with a handful of can or recessed lights to cast away any shadows in the corners and brighten up the space. A general guide for recessed lighting is to divide the ceiling height by two to decide how much to space each light apart.

  • Flush Mount Lighting

If you opt for a flush mount, choose a stylish design with an opal or alabaster shade to give your space a soft, diffused glow. For added character and dimension try one of our semi-flush fixtures with show-stopping shades or a design with slender, elegant arms, a drum flush mount, or a schoolhouse-inspired future with exposed lighting.

  • Pendant Lighting

An overhead pendant in the center of your bathroom could help rejuvenate a tired powder room or a modern chandelier can take a standalone tub and create a spa-like feel. Adding one can be a great way to create a focal point in a larger bathroom and upgrade your space without a lot of effort.

2. Vanity lighting

Great for task effectiveness, this is focused illumination that is meant to specifically help you accomplish some of the daily routines in the bathroom including washing, shaving, grooming, and putting on make-up. These are tasks that require good lighting for accuracy and effectiveness. This is the task lighting that you will use most often and where you will find the most variety.

Consider first how large your vanity is and how much natural light you already have. A vanity placed right next to a window can get away with something closer to a 45-watt bulb and a fixture that throws a little less light while a double vanity in a room without much natural light should focus on brighter, more exposed lighting.

TIP: Vanity lights mounted either above or on both sides of the mirror will prevent shadows from falling on the face.

  • Sconces

Is the most common form of vanity task lighting. For the most light without any unflattering shadows, we recommend two sconces at or right above eye level to the side of your mirror. This allows you to frame your mirror and your face to highlight your reflection perfectly.

Your choice will also ultimately depend on the shape and size of your mirror. A round mirror in a small powder room may only have space for a sconce above while a double vanity may have room for multiple eye-level sconces.

  • Bath bar

These lights offer a more contemporary look to the bathroom. They diffuse the light over or alongside the mirror, offering the perfect width for illumination of the face.

  • Bath strips

For a great retro look at an affordable price point check out the bath strips. The exposed bulbs offer bright light and a characteristic design with a simple installation.

3. Shower Lighting

Task lighting is typically around your shower to help you with tasks such as shaving or conditioning. Here you will want to use either damp-rated that are made for high-moisture environments or wet-rated lights designed to handle direct contact with water

Your choice will depend on whether water will directly hit the light or if it will only be exposed to humidity. When deciding how much lighting you need in your shower, consider adding at least one overhead light in a single shower and two in a double. Some owners even add task lighting in the shower niche to illuminate their bath products.

4. Accent Lighting

The final type of lighting. It’s there to add a certain feel to your bathroom or highlight a specific corner or cove in your space. It won’t light up your entire room, but it can help create a mood and is a great opportunity to be a little more experimental with your picks.

This is a great opportunity to showcase an architectural feature such as an archway or a built-in cabinet using a sconce or down lighting. Install your accent lighting in a place that highlights the most flattering details of an object.

The bathroom, just as any other room in the home, should have a comfortable, welcoming character all its own.  It should reflect a little of the whole household’s personality and if you follow this helpful guide, you surely will accomplish that.

Extra TIP: A good rule of thumb when it comes to electrical lighting in a bathroom is to aim for around 50 lumens per square foot to mimic natural daylight. The exact lumens you need will depend on your square footage, but you want enough lighting to help you get ready in the morning but not so much that you feel blinded when you first wake up.

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