The Best Bathroom Lighting

Within any room, your lighting should be made up of layers.  The bathroom is no different than any other room in the house regarding lighting. 

While one light source can handle more than one of the light layers, don’t rely on a single light source in the bathroom.   Lighting layers for the bathroom, along with other rooms in the house:

  • Ambient or general lighting – normally an overhead light;
  • Task lighting – lighting that focuses on a particular action, such as a table lamp use when reading a book;
  • Accent Lighting – Directional lighting used to create a focal point and highlight or emphasize a particular object, such as a picture light, which can turn a regular painting into looking like it belongs in a museum.
  • Decorative lighting – lighting sources used as part of the décor itself.

A good lighting plan for the bathroom:

  • An overhead ceiling fan and light fixture for ambient and decorative lighting;
  • Sconces on either side of the bathroom mirror for decorative and task lighting when using the sink;
  • Recessed lighting on a dimmer over the tub to provide accent and task lighting; and
  • An attractive table lamp on the vanity or a side table for decorative and accent lighting.

By the way, with any overhead, recessed or sconce lighting, dimmer switches make a huge difference, without making much of a dent in your decorating budget.  Other tips for bathroom lighting:

  • For perfect vanity lighting in the bathroom – use too much light, over-lighting the vanity and then finding the perfect lighting level with the installed dimmer.
  • Use special bulbs for the vanity.  Neodymium bulbs have a light coating of a blue tint which filters out the yellowish cast of normal light bulbs.  They are more expensive, but well worth it for makeup application and when you need a more natural light.
  • Don’t use recessed lighting as task lighting at the vanity.  The light shining down on you will cause too many shadows on your face for proper lighting.  Thus, sconces, with lighting aimed up, are a better choice for vanity and sink lighting.

Frank Lloyd Wright once said “More and more, so it seems to me, light is the beautifier of the building.”.  This is true for both the interior and exterior, and all rooms of the house.