Shed a Little Light

by J on March 26, 2010

When it comes to remodeling a bathroom, most of us tend to think of replacing or refinishing the tub, installing new flooring or adding a few luxury amenities. One area that may get overlooked is the lighting. If you’ve ever had to shave or apply your makeup in a dimly-lit bathroom, you quickly come to appreciate the convenience of a well-planned lighting scheme. Having the proper lighting in a bathroom is important not only for personal grooming, but also for esthetic reasons.

When assessing your lighting needs, you’ll need to take into account a few factors.

  • The size of your room. Naturally, a larger room will need more fixtures than a small room.
  • Natural daylight. Is there a window in the bathroom? If so, you can probably get away with fewer fixtures than if there is not.
  • Your decorating style. Choose a fixture that blends well with your décor.
  • Nighttime light. If you have small children, an elderly person or a chronically ill person in your home, you may want to install a fixture that has a dimmer switch to provide a low-light setting for the evening hours. Under-cabinet lights are also a good option when you need low lighting.

Once you have figured out your lighting needs, you have to decide how you will place the lights. When installing lights around your main mirror, it is important to place the lights so they are not casting shadows on your face. In most bathrooms, this means installing the lights above the mirror. To provide consistent lighting, install a strip of lights the same length as the mirror. Additional wall lights installed at the sides of the mirror helps to even further reduce shadows.

Once you have your grooming area properly outfitted with lights, you need to consider the rest of the space. You will probably need a fixture in the middle of the ceiling. Also, if your shower or tub does not have a clear door or curtain or is a darker color, most likely you will want to install lighting above the shower. Recessed lights are an ideal solution for above a shower or a tub, because they are tucked into the ceiling and can provide either a soft or bright light depending upon the type of bulb you choose. You can also angle them to use as accent lights if you have a new gleaming tub from a recent bathtub refinishing project.

Finally, if you have a large bathroom with high ceilings, you may want to add hanging lights for their esthetic appeal as well as for additional lighting.

Remember, bathroom remodeling is more that installing new flooring or undertaking a tub refinishing project. A properly lit bathroom will make for an efficient and safe place.

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