How to Choose the Right Lighting for Your Bathroom

How to Choose the Right Lighting for Your Bathroom

The light fixtures and placements that came standard in your bathroom likely aren’t doing a great job of enhancing the look and feel of your bathroom. In fact, they may not even be doing a great job at their job, which is to light the bathroom. One ceiling fixture isn’t going to shine light in all the necessary places of the bathroom. And it certainly isn’t going to help to create a relaxing oasis, which is where bathroom design is headed.

Use these tips to light your bathroom.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is the starting point of light in a room; it’s like the base. A central fixture in your ceiling often does the trick, and was probably installed when the house was built. Don’t think you have to stick with whatever the builder installed, however. This is a great place to add style to your bathroom with a chandelier or other attention piece.

When installing a ceiling light, position it over the walkway area instead of directly above the spot where you’ll stand. Light above your head will be unflattering, while light from behind will help you see yourself in your best light.

Task Lighting at the Mirror

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Your bathroom mirror is where you see what face you’ll be showing to the world each day. And if the only lighting you have in that location is recessed ceiling fixtures, you’ll be battling face shadows as you attempt to groom and beautify for the day.

To create an even light for your face, install sconces or vertical fixtures on either side of the mirror 36 to 40 inches apart. Keep the center of each light fixture at about eye level.

If you don’t have space for lights on the side of the mirror, choose a fixture for above the mirror that is 24 inches long or longer. Mount it 75 to 80 inches above the floor. And choose bulbs that are at least 150 watts.

Task Lighting for the Shower

You may or may not need separate lighting for your shower. If you have a glass door, you can probably get by without an additional fixture. But if you don’t, a recessed light in the shower will help you see what you’re doing.

Accent Lighting

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The right accent lighting can really enhance the spa-like quality of a bathroom. Strip lighting under wall-mounted cabinets creates a beautiful floating effect. Focus a light on a piece of art to create an elegant feel in the bathroom.

What Bulbs Should You Choose?

White light is best for seeing your skin tones accurately. Halogen bulbs are more expensive, but last longer than standard incandescent bulbs. Choose opaque or frosted bulbs instead of clear bulbs to avoid shadows.

LED bulbs are durable and use less energy than other bulbs. They’re great for a bathroom because humidity doesn’t affect them, and they don’t emit a lot of heat. Choose cool white/bright white or daylight bulbs.

Consider a Dimmer

You may have a dimmer in your living room, dining room, or bedroom, but have you ever thought to install one in the bathroom? Dimmers allow you to control the feel and mood of the room. If you’re stumbling to the bathroom bleary-eyed in the middle of the night, a dimmer can be very practical so you don’t assault your eyes with too much light. If you’re unwinding in the tub after a long day, a dimmer can give you a relaxing mood and feel to enhance your experience.

How About a Skylight?

A skylight adds natural daytime light that may mean you don’t even need to use your bathroom lights during certain hours of the day. A skylight or an additional window can flood the room with light, while visually opening up the space.

New Life Bath and Kitchen in Solvang can help you choose the best lighting for your bathroom and the way you use it. Give us a call at (805) 586-6814, or contact us online for a free bathroom remodel consultation. first appeared on

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