Lighting is a basic yet essential part of any bathroom remodel plan ? whether you need task lighting at the mirror in order to get ready in the morning or you want to set off your new decor to its best advantage. Even just a fixture or two situated in the right place can make a world of difference in your bathroom?s usability, appearance and even its energy-efficiency.
Avoid Casting Shadows
One of the cardinal rules of lighting in the bathroom is to avoid casting shadows around the mirror. While many bathrooms utilize a row of bulbs or a light bar above the mirror for illumination ? light coming from above and in front of you can cause your chin, nose and brows to cast shadows on your face while using the mirror. Ideally, a light fixture should be placed on either side of the mirror to provide light from both sides and prevent shadows.
Recessed lighting is also not recommended for use around the mirror since it has a tendency to cause deep shadows if not placed properly. If you wish to use recessed lighting at the mirror, it should be placed as close to the mirror as possible and not directly above where you would stand in front of the mirror. Recessed lighting can also be placed elsewhere in the bathroom as an auxiliary light source for other fixtures that don?t give off very much light, but careful placement is a must.
Take Advantage of Natural Light
While bathrooms aren?t always constructed with natural light in mind, bringing natural light into your bathroom is a great way to set it off to its best advantage as well as reducing the need to turn on lights every time. While a window isn?t always desirable in the bathroom due to privacy and the cost of adding a new window ? there are other great options for utilizing natural light in your bathroom. You might install translucent glass blocks in the wall in a row or pattern.
Another possibility is installing a solar light tube in the ceiling. Unlike a skylight which can require extensive modification to your roof, a solar light tube is designed to pass between the roofing beams, minimizing the hassle of installation. Sunlight is reflected down the tube and through a diffuser in the ceiling, providing a good deal of soft natural light during daylight hours.
Combine Lighting Types
Ideally, your bathroom should have a balanced mix of different lighting types that are suited to different purposes ? whether you?re getting ready for a busy day or you want to come home and relax in the tub after a long day. The four different types of lighting typically recommended in a bathroom remodel are as follows:
Task Lighting: Bright lighting for applying makeup, shaving or other daily routines you perform in the bathroom. (Example: Placing fixtures on either side of the mirror)
Ambient Lighting: Soft lighting that is dispersed throughout the room by directing it towards the ceiling. (Example: Placing crown molding along the wall just below the ceiling and concealing rope or strip lighting behind the molding, allowing for soft lighting from around the edge of the room)
Accent Lighting: Lighting used primarily to set off architectural features or decorations in the bathroom. (Example: Track lighting utilized to direct light towards artwork you?ve placed on the walls in the bathroom)
Decorative Lighting: Lighting used simply for aesthetic reasons rather than to provide illumination (Example: An attractive chandelier or pendant light suspended from the ceiling)
In addition, hooking up your lighting to dimmer switches is an effective way to control the lighting in your bathroom ? allowing you to turn the lights down to the minimal amount needed to see at nighttime or to set a relaxing mood, for instance.
Consider Energy-Efficient Lighting
For many homeowners, saving money is the first thing on their minds when it comes to home improvement. Energy-efficient lighting is another possibility to consider for your bathroom remodel ? although you may pay more for the initial installation, the long-term savings can offer a great return on your investment. CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) can take the place of incandescent bulbs in various fixtures, but LEDs are also an attractive option to replace some of the fixtures in the bathroom. In particular, LEDs are outstanding as a nightlight since they consume very little energy and will last for at least 10 years before requiring replacement.
Justin Krutz writes about a wide range of home improvement-related topics for Palatin Remodeling, Inc., a Carlsbad bathroom remodeling company which provides a complete range of home remodeling services to homeowners throughout the Southern California area.