Solving Your Bathroom Lighting Dilemmas

When it comes to bathroom remodeling, enhancing the lighting is one of first steps to take to produce a well-manicured change. A well-lit bathroom accents the décor, feels inviting and complements your reflection in the vanity mirror. Once just a mere washroom the size of a closet, bathrooms today are multifunctional and are considered a place of personal retreat. With the use of visual magic, a bathroom makeover that includes ideal lighting can create the feeling of a larger space and add interest to the room in which you start and end your day.

Task Lighting

Task lighting in a bathroom refers to the type of light most appropriate to help you get specific “tasks” done. Examples of tasks include applying makeup, shaving and showering. Task lighting is one of the most essential types of light in a bathroom.

The most important task lights are those that illuminate the bathroom vanity. They help you groom yourself and apply makeup appropriately. The biggest mistake to make when it comes to lighting a bathroom vanity is to place a single light directly over the mirror, which will cast misleading shadows on your face. Instead, place vanity lights all around a vanity mirror, Hollywood-style, or install sconces on either side of the mirror so the light casts evenly across your face. If you do not have enough room on the wall to install lights on either side of the mirror, install the lights either directly over the mirror or at the top of it.

If you have a large bathroom, place a recessed light above the shower and/or tub. However, make sure any light you choose to illuminate your shower with is waterproof.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting creates the “feel” of a bathroom and is used as a substitute for natural light. This light can come from a lamp on the ceiling, a window, a skylight or a chandelier. Additionally, you can create a soft glow in a bathroom by hiding rope lights behind a molding that sits up to six inches below the ceiling around the perimeter of the room.

If you are lucky enough to have a window in your bathroom, consider removing the blinds and curtains so more sunlight enters the room. If you need additional privacy, frost the window’s glass so no one can peek inside.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting serves to highlight an element you want to show off in your bathroom. This element can be a piece of art, elegant tiles in a shower, a beautiful tub or an interesting sink. Add accent lights in your bathroom by installing a recessed spotlight whose beam shines on the object you want to highlight.

Bathroom Remodel Ideas

While light can make a big different in your bathroom remodel, do not neglect the use of color and decorative items, which can enhance the room’s lights. For example, place a large mirror above the sink in your bathroom to reflect light. If you are taking on a small bathroom remodeling project, arrange a collection of small mirrors in an artistic manner if you cannot hang a large mirror in the room.

Walls and floors that are a soft, light color will also reflect the light in a bathroom. If you cannot replace the floor in your bathroom because of a rental agreement or budget restrictions, place a light-colored rug in the room instead. Also, instead of painting the walls of the bathroom, you can place light-colored, removable wallpaper on the walls or a framed picture that looks like a window overlooking a natural landscape.

Maintain total control over your bathroom’s lights by attaching the lighting elements to different light switches that also serve as dimmers. A daylight-like setting may not be ideal when you want to relax after a hard day at work or have a migraine that causes bright lights to be your enemy. Moreover, using a dimmer switch can help save energy and lower your utility bill.

Bathrooms are one of the most neglected rooms when it comes to lighting, even though light is one of the most important elements. When dreaming up ideas for your bathroom remodeling project, make sure you include the one element that will help make the space look its best – and make you look fabulous.

~Flora Richards-Gustafson, 2010