Shared by Andrea Langford Designs on February 7, 2013
The current trend in bathroom lighting is toward larger, sunnier baths, and today’s top bathroom designers are placing more emphasis on artificial lighting as well. A single, small lighting fixture protruding from the middle of the ceiling doesn’t suffice by today’s standards. Alternative sources of general lighting include recessed ceiling fixtures or indirect lighting that bounces off the ceiling or walls. In addition to good general lighting, adequate task lights are a must.
How the bathroom lighting is selected and placed depends on the size and layout of your bathroom. It also depends on the color scheme—bright colors reflect and enhance lighting effects; dark hues absorb and subdue them.
Lighting a Mirror
Small or large, a bathroom typically functions as a grooming center. For this reason, the area in front of the mirror should be evenly illuminated and free of shadows.
Experts’ Insight for Bathroom Lighting
When planning a lighting design for your bathroom, follow these guidelines to ensure adequate general lighting.
Light sources should be placed so that light emanates from above, below, and both sides of the mirror. This technique, called cross-lighting, effectively eliminates shadows. If you have light coming only from above, it hits your eyebrows, causing shadows beneath your eyes—not an encouraging sight first thing every morning.
The first consideration should be a fixture that casts light just over the front edge of the sink and counter top. If you choose a light-colored counter top, more light will reflect up onto your face. Then add more lights centered on each side of the mirror.
If fluorescent fixtures are selected to illuminate a mirror, tubes designed for vanity illumination or tubes that produce daylight-spectrum light is ideal. The light from standard fluorescent tubes can be cold and harsh—acceptable for office or shop lighting but not for makeup application. Use one 24-inch, 20-watt tube on each side of the mirror. Two 24-inch, 20-watt tubes mounted above the mirror or a 32-watt circle light on the ceiling will offer adequate lighting to this space.
If fixtures are selected that require incandescent light bulbs, one option is to mount one wall fixture or pendant lamp on each side of the mirror. These side lights each should contain two 60-watt or 75-watt bulbs. If the ceiling fixture is round, it should be at least 12 inches in diameter and contain a bulb or bulbs rated at a total of 100 to 120 watts.
Larger mirrors that are 36 inches or more in width may require a different approach. If standard guidelines are followed, the center of the mirror may appear a bit dark. To avoid this, more powerful overhead light fixtures should be selected, and full coverage over the width of the mirror should be ensured. One effective option is a double row of recessed ceiling fixtures over the vanity.
Small powder rooms typically require one light above the mirror, a fixture on each side of the mirror, and one ceiling light directed toward the front edge of the vanity counter top.
“This article is courtesy of the National Kitchen& Bath Association”
Post Script by ALD: LED lamps are quickly replacing fluorescent and incandescent light fixtures. They are very energy efficient and long lasting. Consider using warm Kelvin color rendering temperature LEDs that are closest to incandescent lights.