Ways to Improve Your Bathroom Lighting
There are three basic types of lighting that should work together to light any room, including a bathroom: Task lighting, general lighting, and accent lighting. Because what is a functional bathroom without functional lighting? And what is a luxurious bathroom when the lighting is harsh and abrasive?
It’s a good idea to choose your vanity lighting first since this will probably be the brightest and most functional light in the room. You can decide which accent/ambient lighting will go best with the vanity later. Tips for bathroom vanity lighting:
- Install lights either above or on both sides of the vanity mirror. Overhead lighting should not be your only source of light while standing at a mirror because it will cause too many shadows on your face.
- Make certain that the vanity light fixtures you select provide more than enough light. One of the simplest techniques that you can use to ensure that you will always have enough light is to "over light" the space and then use dimmers to control the amount of light that you want or need at any given moment.
- Consider installing a small lit concave mirror near the main vanity mirror. The concave curvature of the mirror will magnify what you see in the mirror and the additional light will help improve the lighting for special tasks such as shaving or applying makeup.
Shower & Tub Lighting
An area of bathroom lighting that is often overlooked is the shower, tub, or Jacuzzi. It is suggested that one or two recessed downlights with special shower trims be used to illuminate each of these areas. If the bathroom is already finished, a remodel, recessed housing can be used for this purpose. A shower trim, with a glass diffuser and a special gasket, should be used in these areas. You may want to consider selecting a shower trim with a domed glass diffuser because this shape often gives the most uniform distribution of light.
When you’re taking a tranquil soak in the tub, or just waking up in the morning, you don't always need (or want!) to operate your bathroom at full brightness. By controlling your lights on a dimmer, you get to customize your bathroom’s light level, and also save energy. When you dim a light source by 50%, you’ll save 40% of what it costs to power that light at full brightness. They are perfect for mood lighting and night lighting as well. Decorative night lights are another affordable way to add some style to your bathroom while providing a soft glow at night. If you don’t want to lose access to a power outlet with a plug-in night light, here’s an easy solution: Replace your outlet's face plate with a night-light integrated wall plate.
Simple Bathroom Lighting Design Techniques
Use lighting design tricks to enhance your bathroom. To make a room appear larger, try up-lighting the ceiling with over cabinet lights, wall sconces, or cove lighting. This will create the impression of higher ceilings and a more expansive space.
If you already have a high ceiling and you’re looking for a more intimate feel, make sure light sources don’t extend any higher than a regular lamp would. If a room seems too narrow, illuminating one wall with light will also give the illusion of a more open area.
Commercial Restroom Lighting
For a business, the restroom is a small room with a big impact. The bathroom can determine customer satisfaction, serving as the tipping point between a customer who won’t return and a customer who will recommend to others. Businesses that consider bathroom design to be an expendable overhead cost may be making an expensive mistake. A study by Cintas Corp. found that 95% of customers would not return to a restaurant if they had a bad experience with the restroom. The study found that customers use these types of small details as indicators of how the business handles other back-end operations.
For bathrooms in office buildings or commercial settings, occupancy sensors can mean substantial energy savings. Using these, the lights will come on automatically when you need them, but when nobody is around, they won’t waste energy by remaining on.