6 Ideas To Spruce Up Your Bathroom (using lights)

Bathroom Lighting Ideas

Beyond just being the place where the beauty of you comes out, it’s also your inner sanctum, your sanctuary, and a relaxing refuge of relief. It’s the first place you see yourself in the morning and the last place you’ll see yourself at night – and for that reason, it deserves to be the place where you’ll see yourself in your best possible light.

The bathroom is also the room of your house where your guests will go to be alone. Here, they’ll take their time and have the chance to muse on their surroundings. As a host, you’ll want them to be impressed.

For these and other reasons, how you choose to light your bathroom is crucially important. Even if you’re only looking to upgrade for a sell, bathrooms can influence your home’s resale value.

Here are some suggestions on how to make a relatively small investment can make a big impact:

1. Start with bathroom specific lighting:

Not all lamps, chandeliers, pendants, sconces and flush-mounts have the features necessary to withstand the moisture and temperature changes that happen in the bathroom. Bulbs and electrical components will need to be totally enclosed. If you aren’t shopping specifically for bathroom fixtures, think about choosing materials like glass and steel, which won’t rust, wrinkle, or crack when exposed to years of steam.

2. Task lighting to make you shine:

Bathroom Vanity Task Light

The first rule of thumb for bathroom lighting is the brighter the feel of the room, the bigger it looks. Light paint on the walls also helps. So too will lighting from a combination of sources. A Task light is the source that illuminates when you’re standing before the vanity mirror. Traditionally, vanity mirrors are lit from above. It’s a low cost and easy way of providing light from a single source. For this, Lamps Expo offers a variety of possible decorative options:

LED lighting, as seen in the left and right images above, allows for a linear and clean-lined appearance – a shape not possible with incandescent bulbs. LED’s also save energy and are long-lasting – making it so bulbs won’t have to be replaced for years. Modern LED’s have evolved with improved wattage and warmer light qualities. When combined with incandescent bulbs, they can provide a cohesive look to your design.

One of the drawbacks of overhead vanity lighting is the deep shadowing it casts on the eyes, nose, and chin. An alternative solution would be a pair of sconces mounted at eye level at either side of the mirror. Cross lighting can also minimize glare.

For master or guest bathrooms, we recommend fixtures that provide 75 to 100 watts. You can get these wattage equivalents in a 24- to 26-watt compact fluorescent or 20- to 25-watt LED. Also, putting task lights on a dimmer allows you to adjust your lighting to your needs, day or night.

For a powder room where you won’t intense lighting for grooming tasks, lower wattage is recommended – think in the 45-watt range. Lower wattage provides a softer, more relaxing ambience appropriate for guests.

3. Accent lighting for creating drama and dimension:

Bathroom Vanity Accent Light

Accent lighting is perfect for showing off accents such as art, flowers, other decorative elements or architectural features such as a bath or shower. It can add depth, dimension, and layers to your room’s composition. Wall sconces, ceiling lights, perimeter lighting, or recessed directional lighting are especially effective for this. For more sparkle, you can add crystal or glass.

4. Decorative lighting for a visual pop and sparkle:

Bathroom Decorative Vanity Lights

If you have the luxury of spacious rectangular bathroom, two to three fixtures along the ceiling plane can offer glowing grandeur. You can add candles for an enticing sparkle and a relaxing, romantic tone. If your bathroom doesn't provide a lot of space to work with, there are still ways you can get the most out of the limited space you have.

For a square-shaped bathroom, a single pendant may provide just the right effect you’re looking for:

5. Ambient lighting for a soft and dreamy glow:

Bathroom Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting acts as fill light. In bathrooms with taller ceilings, a cove or cantilever details, ambient fixtures can be installed along the perimeters. Lights can be hidden to shine indirectly and provide mystery and mood. Pendant fixtures with translucent shades are another option for both decorative and ambient light.

6. Angles, switches, and bulbs, oh my!

Angles: If the light source for your vanity is diffused – enclosed with clouded glass or a shade – then the angle isn’t so important. But if the light is direct and focused, angling the light toward your face at 45 degrees will provide the best coverage.

Bulbs: For non-LED lighting, you can select bulbs specially designed for specifically for vanity illumination. They generate light in the daylight spectrum. Bulbs that are too white or too yellow will produce light that won’t reflect how you’ll appear in light outside the bathroom.

Also pay attention to a bulb’s CRI (Color Rendering Index) and color temperature. Your best choice will be bulbs with a high CRI (90+ is preferred). Incandescent and halogen light sources always have the best CRI at 100. This means they’ll render colors most accurately. For energy-efficient LED or fluorescent light sources, make sure you also choose a CRI of at least 90. This will ensure the best color renderings facing back at you in your vanity mirror.

Different types of bulbs may also be used as a design element. For example, when paired with diffused overhead light, swirly Edison-style light bulbs shining out through clear glass shades add another layer to your bathroom decor. Most decorative bulbs give off a warm glow that provides just the right cozy vibe for unwinding with a nice tub soak.

Switches: If you have the option, put your fan and lighting on separate switches. This will keep you fan from going off every time you go in just to wash your hands. By putting each light source, or a logical combination of light sources, on different switches you’ll be able to choose what you want lit and when.

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