Best Type of Lighting for a Bathroom
When performing a bathroom remodel, there can be unique challenges with lighting. Always consider “What is the best type of lighting for a bathroom?”
Bathroom lighting is critical. This is usually the first room we enter in the morning, setting the mood for the remainder of the day. It is also the room we enter when we are half asleep in the middle of the night.
Washing, putting on make-up, shaving, grooming, and taking medications are but a few of the daily routines in the bathroom. There is no other room in the home where optimizing both daylighting (natural outdoor light) and artificial light (electric light fixtures) is more critical.
Daylighting is important for our overall health and emotions as it sets our circadian rhythms (how natural light affects and resets our biological clock and consciousness). Lighting is also critical for our safety (80% of all falls for older adults occur in the bathroom) and personal grooming.
When thinking about the best type of lighting for a bathroom, don’t forget nothing comes close to beating the warmth, beauty, and emotional value of windows and skylights. These brighten your mood helping you feel more refreshed and energized. They make a smaller bathroom look much bigger. They also have the added value of fresh air and help reduce moisture levels (high levels of moisture can create harmful levels of mold and bacteria and destroy your walls and ceilings).
Natural light is the best for applying makeup. Ask any makeup artists and they will agree that natural daylight is the clear winner. It is evenly diffused and clear, so you can easily see when something is not blended properly.
Windows provide free, energy efficient, cost effective lighting and ventilation. They are actually good for you. It has been shown in several prominent studies that daily exposure to natural light can enhance mental and physical well-being, boost concentration and energy levels, and offer a variety of other unexpected perks.
Multiple windows allow for balancing the natural light, cross ventilation, and “opening” the bathroom to the outside. Larger windows can have bottom-up / top-down shades for privacy. They can also have privacy glass. Windows can also open in various combinations. Skylights, especially the tube type, offer tremendous opportunities for natural light in small spaces where a traditional window is not practical. A 10” tube type skylight lets in at least 5-10 times more light than a typical 2×3 sliding bathroom window. A 10″ tubular skylight illuminates up to 150 sq. ft. with an output equivalent of up to 300 watts. That is the same as a 4,000 lumen LED light. And it is all free, beautiful, 100% natural sunlight!
Recess lights, especially LED, are terrific for adding task lighting in the general space, including the water closet (where the toilet is located). For most bathrooms, LED recess lighting on a dimmer is best. It is always better to “over light” and use dimmers to adjust. Never use fluorescent lights – the bathroom is not a warehouse.
A light over the tub and shower is ideal for providing both mood and grooming lighting. Shaving legs is so much easier when you have overhead lighting.
For sink cabinet areas, wall sconces mounted either overhead or on the sides of the mirror are best. This removes shadowing on the face which makes applying makeup much easier and gives definition when applying lines. Combining both wall sconces and recess lights within the cabinet area solves both the shadow and task concerns. Putting on makeup and doing your hair is much easier when combining the two. If you cannot have natural daylight for applying makeup, a natural white light is the next best thing – something in the 5,000K to 6,500K range (see Figures 1, 3 and 4 below).
Always use multiple switches and dimmers for lighting. This permits a vast array of possibilities for everyone who uses the bathroom. Everyone has different needs and the value of doing this cannot be over stressed.
When considering the best type of lighting for a bathroom, there are some less obvious areas. An LED receptacle type photocell nightlight is perfect in the water closet area. It is ideal when using the facility at night without having to turn on the bedroom or bathroom lights – blinding you and waking your partner. It is much safer, uses less energy than a plug-in type nightlight, and since its photocell activated, you will never need to remember to turn it on or off. Moreover, it does not take up valuable receptacle (outlet) space on the bathroom counter. These are much safer around small children (there is no bulb). Since there is no bulb or separate devices that can be easily removed or fall out, the chance of an accidental fire or electrocution is essentially zero.
For LED lighting, the color temperature and lumens are very important. Temperature does not refer to degrees. Rather, it refers to the color – reddish to blue sky (Figures 1, 3, and 4). Lumens refer to the amount of visible light or brightness (Figure 2). Compared to incandescent bulbs, LED lighting uses 70-90% less energy, saves an enormous amount of money over their life span, last up to 50 times longer (32 years or more; 70,000 hours), and helps to protect the environment.
I hope this article helps when considering the best type of lighting for a bathroom remodel.
If you would like more information on enjoying the best bathroom, kitchen, and interior remodeling experience, call DAD at (949) 380-0177 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free in home consultation (DAD’s serves all of South Orange County California including Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Foothill Ranch, Portola Hills, Ladera Ranch, Irvine, San Clemente, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Santa Margarita, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Newport Beach, and Aliso Viejo).