Bathrooms are almost notorious for their poor lighting. Almost any bathroom you walk into is too bright with light reflecting off the mirror, tiles and counter. Some older style homes and offices are plagued by a blue or green light that makes you look like you just got off a three hour boat tour. But it doesn’t always have to be this way, bathroom light fixtures can make a huge difference in the look and feel of the room.
The first thing you want to remember when lighting your bathroom is what you’ll actually be doing in there. Grooming by itself isn’t the easiest task, let alone doing it in a dark or shadowy room. Recessed lights will cast shadows on your face so try vanity lighting installed on the wall instead. Ever shaved with a shadow across your face? Applied makeup when you can barely see? At the very least, the mirror area should have multiple light sources, spaced apart to minimize any shadows on the face.
This is generally about how far the average home builder gets when planning their bathroom lighting. But there’s so much more to consider. Take a moment and think about everything you do in your bathroom. It seems to me that every one of those activities should be well lit.
Consider a small recessed light above the toilet. The ‘throne’ has long been known as a place for people to read while they get their other business done. Neither of these tasks should be attempted in a dimly lit room. Two heads to that coin though, you also don’t want this area feeling like ‘the hot seat.’ Some toilet shy tinklers may already have trouble as it is, no need to make it more difficult for them.
When you’re scrubbing down and getting sudsy in the shower you also don’t want to be taking any chances. I recommend recessed lighting above the shower as well. But make sure any coverings are glass and not plastic. The steam from your shower will turn plastic a gross yellow color.
Try something new:
Get funky, get creative. Try something new in your bathroom. Rope lighting under counters and around floorboards make interesting accent pieces and are sure to spark conversation amongst your remodeler friends. But why stop there, tray a lamp. A desk lamp can make a unique accent to a large counter.
Some faucet companies have even come up with faucets with built in LEDs that show you the temperature of the water coming out with a color coded system. Red water is hot while blue water means cold. Obviously lighting like this won’t help you shave in the morning or apply that facial mask at night, but modern choices are fun. Maybe get really funky and try hanging a chandler or paper lantern (keep that away from water and even steam.)
The lighting in your bathroom should not only be aesthetically pleasing, it should also be safe and functional. And like always, function should be your first concern over form. Remember the basics, don’t put anything electrical somewhere that it may come in contact with water. Don’t blind someone when they walk into your room, and vice versa, don’t force them to strain their eyes.
While the first bathroom is estimated to have originated around 3000 BC, your commode doesn’t have to feel like it came right out of the Stone Age. It’s easy to take your bathroom from something plain and boring to something fresh and fun that will make your friends jealous and your family want to keep coming back, time and time again, even if they don’t ‘have’ to.
Ross Donald is a stay at home dad and interior design junkie with a bad writing habit. His free time is often spent wandering the aisles of home improvement stores and day dreaming about DIY projects. Ross writes for the ceiling fan supplier LightingSale.com.