When designing a bathroom renovation, it’s easy to get excited about a new vanity, tub or shower and overlook the impact that lighting plays in making a bathroom both functional and beautiful. But when you think about all the things you do in a bathroom, the importance of lighting becomes evident. Here are some things to consider.
Even if you have plenty of windows in your bathroom, you still spend most of your time there in the early mornings or evenings, so don’t count on nature to light the room, especially in the winter months. You want enough illumination to move around and see things easily without creating so much light that you need sunglasses to cut the glare. Forty lumens per square foot is a good general rule for overall lighting. You can accomplish this with several types of fixtures, depending on the style, size and height of the room.
Recessed lights work well with most décor themes and are a good choice for rooms with low ceilings. Surface-mounted fixtures come in many different styles and work well in any size room. If you have higher ceilings, pendant lights and chandeliers can add lots of character.
Task-Oriented Light Placement
Just like your kitchen, bathrooms are task-oriented. Whether you’re applying makeup, shaving, showering or reading the Sunday paper, proper lighting makes the jobs easier and safer. Since most of the work takes place at the mirror over the sink, vanity lighting is especially important.
You should have about 1650-1700 lumens at the vanity to illuminate your hair and face properly. This can come from side fixtures at eye level (about 60 inches from the floor), ones above the mirror, or a combination of both. Side lighting eliminates shadows under the chin and eyes, and top lighting is good for hair styling. That’s why the Hollywood-style makeup mirrors have 3-sided lighting. Avoid placing a light above the vanity that casts shadows on faces.
You may know where all your parts are, but do you want to wash your hair with shaving cream? A dark shower makes it hard to read labels, shave, or detail your feet. A ceiling fixture rated for use in wet areas will solve the problem. If that’s not practical, a glass shower door lets you use the room light to tell the shampoo from the conditioner. Depending on the layout, fixtures over tubs may need to be “wet-rated” too.
Switches and Dimmers
All bathroom circuits must be protected by GFCI breakers. Consider putting different areas on separate switches, especially in larger bathrooms. Dimmers can let you change the mood of the room as well, from bright and task-oriented to soft and relaxing. And households with forgetful people might want motion-detecting switches to save energy—both electrical and verbal.
Night Lights and Fan Fixtures
If midnight visits to the loo are commonplace, consider a low-energy LED night light or rope lights under toe kicks or crown molding.
Moisture not only fogs lights and mirrors, it can also cause rust in fixtures and outlets. An exhaust fan can be combined in a fixture with a light, wired into a light switch, or switched separately if you prefer. Just be sure to use it whenever you’re steaming up the room.
There’s more to consider in bathroom lighting than just a couple of fixtures. Let the pros at Allstar Electrical Services recommend ways that you can use light smarter and attractively in your bathroom remodeling project.
No matter what your project, Allstar Electrical Services is ready to help. A thorough, professional assessment of your home’s electrical service should be one of the first steps in your remodel planning. We will gladly inspect your service and give you a thorough, professional assessment of your lighting and wiring needs.
Allstar Electrical has served the Front Range for over 15 years and is top-rated by the BBB and Angie’s List. We offer homeowners reliable remodeling and repair work that is safe and up to code.
Why risk annoying problems, mistakes and costly re-dos? Before you start your project, call Allstar Electrical at 303.399.7420 or visit our website. Besides a thorough explanation of our services and information about our company, you’ll find timely articles about the latest developments in the ever-changing world of electronics. Then use our handy online forms to request an estimate or set up an appointment.