Light Up the Bathroom Creatively

Specific tasks require distinct types of lighting in the home's haven.

The master bath serves many purposes — at times a place of refuge to soothe the soul; often a work place to pamper and prepare; other times a showplace that must sparkle and dazzle. Lighting is the one of the tools a remodeler has to create these various moods through the use of a variety of spotlights, mood lights, task lights and indirect lights.

Today a well-lit bath depends on a mix of different types of lighting. Bath areas are becoming larger, so general lighting, such as recessed fixtures, is needed to illuminate these areas. Controlled lighting is used to establish the proper mood. Overhead lighting should be a minimum of 75 watts per partitioned area of the bath.

Yet another type of lighting is recommended for the dressing area, which needs eye-level lighting fixtures at least 30 inches apart with a minimum of 60 watts per light. Wall sconces or chain hung (pendant) fixtures can provide this type of lighting. This technique lends a balance of light on both sides of the face for applying cosmetics and grooming without producing a glare from light reflected in the mirror.

The Dallas-based American Lighting Association offers plenty of information to help remodelers determine the correct lighting. The association offers these tips to lighten up your next bathroom project:

  • Lighting in the shower should be bright enough for the tasks at hand. Choose light fixtures designed for use in wet areas.
  • Tubs and showers need good general light, which can be provided by a recessed fixture. To avoid glare, aim the light's beam at the outside edge of the tub.
  • Windows provide natural light and can supplement or replace artificial lighting, particularly during the day.
  • Create a night light by illuminating the floor in the toe-space area below vanities and cabinets with a linear lighting system.
  • Indirect or cove lighting can add a soft, warm glow to the bathroom.
  • Good mirror lighting, provided by warm fluorescent vertical wall sconces, provides even facial illumination.
  • A halogen light above the vanity provides cross illumination when used with wall sconces.
  • Table lamps add a soft touch to bathrooms. Place them away from water sources.
  • A decorative light fixture suspended from the ceiling provides an elegant touch while adding extra light.
  • Focused flood or halogen fixtures over the commode provide good light for water-closet reading.

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