Bathroom Lighting

Bathroom lighting is often the least adequate in the home as this room may receive the least natural light from windows. It is easy to brighten up this space, though, with a little ingenuity and electrical knowledge.

Types of Bathroom Lighting

Bathrooms have different requirements than other rooms, as all installations must be vapor-proof. Lights installed as flush mounts in ceilings are rated "wet-location recessed."

Typically, two types of lighting are needed for most bathrooms:

  • General
  • Task.

Well-placed general lights are the source of overhead and backlighting that complement the focal units. General lighting should never be subdued for safety purposes.Task lighting will provide the brightness needed for up-close grooming.

In addition, accent lighting in the form of lamps can soften the harsh tones and add to the decor. These are especially desirable in larger spaces and in guest baths.

Types of Bulbs For The Bathroom

Regardless of which model is chosen, there are generally three styles of bulbs:

  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Halogen.

Fluorescent is the most energy efficient, while incandescents cast a yellow light that may be unflattering. Compact fluorescent bulbs do not emit heat, but be sure to choose those that shed warm, white tones. Halogens emit the most heat but also produce the brightest light. They are also the most expensive and require special fixtures.

Other Bathroom Lighting Options

There are numerous options to incorporating new, replacement, or additional lighting in a bathroom.

Recessed canisters are one popular type. Most units come ready to mount in the ceiling and are easiest to install as an update for older fixtures.

Combination infrared and lighting units are also a nice amenity in spacious rooms. However, they may be too efficient in a smaller area and become uncomfortable quickly.

Vanity bulbs, usually attached in multiples to a rectangular unit, are essential for applying makeup or shaving. Avoid the clear globes, which will cast hard shadows. Matching strips on either side of a mirror are not only decorative, but will offset the glare from overhead lights. Vanity strips are reasonably easy to install and wire into an existing light switch.

Downlights are directional canisters - either recessed or on tracks - that can be installed in the tub, shower, or sauna area. Tracks can be hard-wired through the ceiling or even be plugged directly into a wall socket, which is an attractive option for some.