Today’s bathrooms are private retreats designed for relaxation and escape, and the lighting should underscore the mood. Bathroom lighting should be both attractive and highly functional. It needs to be bright enough for grooming, but also soften the room’s ambiance and provide a warm glow.
There are two “must-haves” for proper bath lighting, points out the American Lighting Association, an industry trade group: an ambient light source and task lighting. The task lighting must be bright enough to do its job, but must also work well with indirect accent lighting.
This is a great time to buy a decorative ambient light fixture, because manufacturers have created fixtures that are both elegant and highly functional. Trends include soft, contemporary styles with bronze finish, as well as ornate, sophisticated fixtures.
While you’ll need task lighting around your mirror, your choices vary based on the mirror size.
Small mirror – Decorative wall fixtures placed on each side of the mirror provide the even, shadow-free facial illumination you want for grooming tasks. For best results, mount the fixtures at least 28 inches apart and 60 inches off the floor. If you have a recessed light over your sink, it should supplement the wall-mounted lighting – don’t use it as the primary light, because it will create shadows on your face.
Large mirror – A strip of horizontal vanity lights, mounted 78 inches off the floor, ensures that each person has sufficient light. The best lighting solution includes a shade for each bulb.
The ALA suggests also adding a dimmer to your vanity lights. You’ll be amazed how often you’ll use it, and how much comfort it adds to the use of your bathroom, say the ALA experts. Being able to adjust the light levels for different situations is amazingly practical.