Bathroom lighting is often considered very little or not at all, but it can make a substantial difference for the people utilizing the bathroom. A larger remodel project is the perfect time to think about updating your existing bathroom lighting, but it is never too late to improve the lighting in your bathroom.
There are different layers of lighting to consider. Most bathrooms start with a source of ambient light, which fills the whole room. This is especially important in bathrooms with little or no natural source of light via windows or skylights. The central fixture mounted on the ceiling is the most common type of ambient lighting in the bathroom. Other options include a small chandelier or a pendant lamp.
Task lighting is the most important consideration in the bathroom, especially at the vanity where most grooming occurs. Avoid putting a recessed fixture in the ceiling right above the mirror, as this can cause shadows on your face. Instead, use two sconces or vertical fixtures on opposite sides of the mirror placed at around 75 inches above the floor. It is also important to make sure that this task lighting has sufficient wattage (at least 150 watts), and is at least 24 inches long. If it is not possible to put lighting on either side of the mirror, on the wall above the mirror is the next best option. Other possible locations for task lighting in the bathroom are in the shower, over a freestanding tub, or over the toilet.
Don’t forget about the possibility of accent lighting as part of your overall bathroom lighting. This lighting could highlight a design feature, like decorative tile or artwork on the wall. Other considerations include installing dimmers, which can save energy and money.