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Professional Tips for Bathroom LightingYour home renovation is an exciting project, and beyond the wood, nails, and drywall you've also got features like lighting, fixtures, and appliances. Choosing appliances and fixtures isn't too difficult, but choosing your lighting style and design takes a little more work. The wrong choices in bulb choice and placement may result in a poorly lit area, particularly in the bathroom.

Placement of bathroom lighting is one of the most complex areas of a nicely designed bathroom. Even if your bathroom remodeling plans don't include major rearrangement of features like the bathtub, toilet, and vanity, you can still make dramatic changes with your lighting design.

Layering Your Lights

A single, solitary light installed in the ceiling isn't enough for your bathroom, even if it's a very small space. When you choose new lights for your bathroom, you'll need to consider the three traditional features of any good lighting scheme:

  • Accent lighting
  • Ambient lighting
  • Task lighting

Sometimes one fixture can serve more than one lighting need, but it's usually a good idea to examine how you use the bathroom and how each style of lighting will serve a specific need.

Ambient lighting is the light you'll use when you're not in need of the mirror during your morning routine and don't need focused lighting. Accent lighting is usually a stylish type of lighting that boosts the style of the room. Task lighting is usually around the mirror and is what illuminates your face as you get ready for work in the morning.

In addition to basic functionality, you'll also want to think about how those lights offer transitional lighting. For example, bathroom lights are often the first lights you see when you get up in the morning.

According to Better Homes & Gardens:

"Lighting serves many purposes in a bathroom. It eases the transition from asleep to awake, guides you in your daily grooming routines, and helps you unwind after a long day."

So, it's not just about being able to see your makeup or razor in the mirror each morning.

Getting Task Lighting Right

You have some leeway with ambient and accent lighting, but your task lighting choices require the most thought. Most schools of thought regarding your task lighting suggest placing the lights on each side of the mirror and about face level.

This placement helps eliminate shadows on your face when you look in the mirror, so you don't have to tilt your head to see a darkened area on your face.

According to This Old House:

"Vertical fixtures or sconces mounted on either side of the mirror are best for casting an even light across the face."

If the size and placement of your mirror makes a pair of sconces impractical, you can also think about an overhead light. Design experts recommend more than one light so that the mirror doesn't look like it's under the beam of a spotlight.

Thinking about Style

Beyond ambient, accent, and task lighting decisions, it's also important to think about how your lights will complement your bathroom's style. Sometimes a pair of wall sconces on either side of your mirror will look best for your bathrooms' style.

Other bathrooms may look great with lights integrated into the surface of the mirror or medicine cabinet. It all depends on the overall style of the bathroom and how the fixtures, lampshades, and placement can influence the appearance of the room.

Bathroom Extras and Additions

Some features in your bathroom may be tied to the lighting scheme, and you'll want to design them accordingly to fit with your lighting scheme. For example, most bathrooms have a fan that will come on via a switch. There are some combination switches that turn the fan on each time you turn on the lights, but not every homeowner needs this feature.

A quote from Forbes suggests:

"Putting each light source — or a logical combination of light sources — on different switches allows you to choose what you want lit when."

You'll usually want to make sure your ambient lighting is on a separate switch from your task lighting. So, one switch would turn on the ambient lighting overhead, and a different switch would turn on the task lighting next to the mirror.

Get Expert Advice on Lighting for Your Bathroom

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