Bathroom remodels are one of the most popular home improvement projects and they provide impressive return on investment. While plenty of focus goes into selecting the perfect tile or ideal shower surround, there’s one critical area that too often is overlooked: the lighting.
For homeowners to make the most out of your remodel and ensure a space that is as functional as it is fashionable, it’s important to understand the purpose of different types of lighting and how each influences the style and usefulness of the bathroom. A surprising number of bathrooms have critically poor lighting that not only detracts from their design, but makes it more difficult to do daily tasks.
Whether you have a petite powder room or a grand master bath, there are four main types of lighting you should consider: ambient, task, accent and natural.
Ambient lighting is the main source of illumination and is fundamental to a solid bathroom lighting plan. Also known as general lighting, ambient lights are typically installed overhead and provide lighting for safety and overall comfort. Recessed lights, wall-mounted fixtures and small chandeliers have become popular options for bathroom ambient lighting. Many people choose to install dimmers for the main source of lighting so they can adjust the illumination depending on what they are doing; brighter is used for quick showers and softer lighting is used for soaking in the tub.
Task lighting is absolutely necessary for daily grooming activities like putting on makeup and shaving. Typically located by the mirrors, quality task lighting is free of glare and shadows, and it will never strain the eyes. Certain high-end mirrors feature built-in premium task lighting. These mirrors generally feature fluorescent vertical task lighting at an ideal light value that simplifies grooming tasks. By coordinating finishes, lighting and design aesthetics of different pieces, orientations can be created to meet specific functional needs for the ultimate in bathroom
To add dramatic visual interest and call attention to certain objects in the bathroom, use accent lighting. These types of lights artistically highlight special objects, like paintings, plants, sculptures or architectural detailing. Accent lights are typically smaller and include a shield that allows you to direct the light on the desired object. Wall-mounted picture lights, halogen spotlights and table lamps are a few examples of accent lighting.
Due to privacy concerns, many bathrooms do not have any natural light sources. Fortunately, thanks to ambient, task and accent lighting, natural light is not a necessity. But some homeowners may like the option of natural light and a skylight can be a simple solution. Skylights allow sunlight in during daylight hours without jeopardizing any privacy, plus they can be installed with shades for optional closure if desired. Natural light from sources like skylights can be particularly inviting near the bathtub.
If you plan to remodel your bathroom soon, you can take your upgrades to a whole new level with the right lighting. Consider how you will use the space, what you want to highlight, and your personal preferences to create a bathroom lighting plan you’ll love for years to come.