Bathrooms are weird places, aren’t they?
We don’t spend a lot of time in them, but when they start to look a bit faded and boring it can really get us down.
But spritzing up a bathroom can be tricky because it’s usually such a small space that it’s hard to know what to do with it.
This is where cleverly thought-out lighting can be a bathroom-beautifying winner!
Tip 1: Make a plan
As we mentioned in our last blog, getting the layers of light right is hugely important. Even though a bathroom is small, there are still lots of different lighting choices you could choose for the vanity/sink area, the bath area, and the shower area. You also have to consider how much natural light comes in through the window. Because the windows are usually frosted glass or treated to prevent people from outside seeing in, the light is generally more hued or subdued than in other parts of the house.
However, don’t go so crazy with your choices that each separate area looks like its own individual zone. The trick is to make the areas distinct but cohesive, so everything works together, and it doesn’t look like three different people arranged the lighting!
Tip 2: Think about the layers of light
When you layer light properly, you’re enhancing your bathroom’s beauty and subtly playing down the areas you don’t want to be too noticeable. Start by thinking about the ambient light, which is the main ceiling-based light that will cast most illumination around the room. Then, depending on the décor you have, a chandelier, pendant, or carefully arranged series of recessed lights are the most popular ways to go.
Where the vanity, mirror, and shaver point are, think about the kind of task lighting you’ll use so you can easily see everything you’re doing in that area. This part of the bathroom can be the most daunting for many people because badly-placed light can be unforgiving when we’re looking in the mirror, applying our make-up or tweaking that troublesome hair off the end of our nose. Under-counter LED lights along the top and bottom of your cabinets are one way to go, but make sure they’ve got a splashproof IP rating of at least IP44.
Alternatively, depending on the amount of space you’ve got to work with, you might consider an illuminated mirrored cabinet (for a smaller space), LED bulbs framed around the mirror like you’re an old-time Hollywood movie star (for a bit of glitz and glam) or stylish wall sconces arranged symmetrically on either side of the vanity area.
Finally, think about the kind of accent lighting you’ll use to highlight your bathroom’s architecture and décor. Small spotlights and strip lights are one solution, or maybe a wall uplighter for a larger bathroom?
Tip 3: Some advice about side-mounted sconces
If you’re going to use a side-mounted sconce, making sure it sits at precisely the correct height is key.
The shade opening of a glass down-light should sit a little bit below eye level.
The shade opening of a glass up-light should sit slightly above eye level.
If you’re mounting the sconces on either side of the bathroom mirror, make sure there are a few inches of clearance on the left and right of the mirror. If you’re lighting a master bathroom, 100 watts per fixture is enough to create the right amount of cross-illumination, whereas a smaller bathroom/powder room might only require 40 watts per fixture.
Tip 4: Smart LED lighting can make all the difference!
When you use Smart LED to control the brightness of the lights, it means you can put them up high when you need to or bring them down to a relaxing low glow to make bath night more peaceful. In other words, at just the touch of a button on your iPhone or tablet, or a simple command to Alexa, you can turn your bathroom from a conventional utility area into a soothing hideaway. You could even program the lights so that only one part of the bathroom is illuminated while the rest is in darkness, or use colour-changing bulbs and truly get creative!
Tip 5: A few other useful tips to consider
LED bulbs with a CRI of 90 or more and a colour temperature of between 2700K and 3000K are perfect for bathrooms. 2700K light tends to be more flattering and gives the bathroom a warmer feel.
Vertical lights on either side of a mirror (like that old Hollywood look we mentioned a moment ago) are fabulous for applying make-up because they provide maximum light coverage without casting shadows. Also, when natural light isn’t an option, LED is the best kind of lighting to use for applying make-up because it projects evenly across your face. Never use yellow, rose, or fluorescent lighting when you’re putting your slap on!
Want to make the tub area special? Use a sconce, because the light from an overhead fixture can often be too harsh if it isn’t diffused or directed carefully.
Always stay safe and keep to the electrical safety regulations. All bathroom fixtures must be waterproof, and the IP rating for each fixture can be different according to where in the bathroom it’s going to be used. (IP means ‘Ingress Protection’ and is the level at which the fixture is protected against moisture and dirt.) For example, only full submersible IP67 fittings must be used inside the bath or shower basin; the area directly above the bath or shower requires IP65 fittings, and fittings placed outside the perimeter of the bath or shower and to a certain height from the floor must have a rating of at least IP44.
Please note, this advice is for rough guidance only because standards and requirements change all the time. Always seek the advice of a qualified electrician before installing new lighting fixtures in your bathroom.
And there you have it – Oliver Lamps’ top 5 tips for awesome bathroom lighting! I wonder what room we’ll be looking at next time? You’ll have to come back in a couple of weeks to find out!
In the meantime, don’t forget Oliver Lamps are always here with the best lighting and home furnishings deals and the friendliest expert service. To find out more, give our friendly team a call on 01328 855028, drop us an email at [email protected], or, even better (because we’d love to meet you in person!), pop into our showroom at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, NR21 9DY.
Stay safe and see you again soon!