When shaving, styling your hair, and applying makeup, what is the most important consideration (in addition to a steady hand)? Adequate light. When planning the optimal bathroom design, think about the lighting. It is every bit as important as the other elements of your makeover.
After all, you want to step outside with your best face on! Besides adequate task lighting, other considerations are safety and decor.
Layering Light: This is a popular concept in kitchens that homeowners are applying to bathrooms. Ambient light is created by bouncing light off the ceiling or by using a single centrally located fixture. Task lighting focuses on specific areas. You’ll need task fixtures over the mirror and sink and a recessed fixture over the shower or tub. Create additional layers using wall sconces and even small chandeliers, which are popular in bathrooms today.
Energy Efficiency: In the past, many homeowners avoided fluorescent lighting because it created a harsh, greenish glow. Today’s compact fluorescents come in a wide variety of hues, some quite natural looking. You can even regulate brightness by connecting to a dimmer switch. Now you can take advantage of fluorescent’s energy efficiency without sacrificing the look you want. Some states like California are even requiring such energy efficient fixtures in new homes.
Natural Light: While you’re thinking about efficiency in your bathroom design, don’t forget about natural light, the most efficient and cheapest source around. Maximize brightness from the windows and consider installing a skylight; some tubular models can be installed even if there’s an attic above the room.
Ambiance: In the morning you might want bright light for stimulation and to see what you’re doing. In the evening you might prefer a softer, more diffuse glow to create a relaxing, spa-like ambiance while you’re soaking in the bath, or you may need directional lighting while giving yourself a pedicure.