Let There Be Light -- A Remodeler's Quick Guide To Bathroom Lighting

Are you renovating your bathroom? One of the least-understood aspects of many remodels is how to properly light the space. Many bathrooms come with only one or two lights, which can limit the functionality of the room and detract from its beautiful aspects. Here is a quick primer on how to understand and use the three major types of bathroom lighting. 

Task Lighting

Task lighting is placed specifically to light well a particular spot where tasks are repeatedly performed. The most common task lighting areas in the bathroom are the vanity or sink and grooming mirrors. Generally, it's best to light these spots by using wall sconces placed on the sides of the mirrors, so you can see yourself well without a lot of shadowing. While it's common to mount lights above the vanity sink, this can actually cause more problems because it creates shadows on the sides and bottom of your face. Such bad lighting even ages your appearance in the mirror. 

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting provides the general "background glow" in the bathroom. Ambient lighting is generally achieved by installing lighting around the perimeter of the room and/or in the ceiling. If the bathroom is small, a single pendant light fixture hung from the ceiling may provide sufficient ambient light. In larger spaces, make use of different sources for ambient light. This should include natural lighting from skylights and windows as well as multiple sources of recessed or complementary lights (such as recessed can lights, LED string lights or even track lighting). Be sure to include dimmers so you can control the ambiance in the room. 

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is the least valued of the three types. But accent lighting can add visual interest to any space, turning a dull room into something that wows guests. Look for places where you can use beautiful, eclectic or otherwise-interesting lamps or light fixtures. A well-planned accent light not only does its job of lighting up an area, but it also gives you a big decorative bang for your buck. A pendant light over the soaking tub, for example, can create a spa-like feeling. If you have particular artistic flourishes you want to highlight, try adding directed lighting below it to point soft up-lighting on the artwork (or behind other objects to provide back-lighting instead). 

Choosing the right lighting plan for your bathroom may be something you can do yourself for a small room, or it may call for working with a qualified contractor or electrician, like K & W Electric Inc, with experience in bathroom remodels. Whichever you choose, if you plan well in advance, the proper lighting style can help create the bathroom of your dreams no matter what its size.