by Giorgina Devereaux
Lighting, especially bathroom lighting, is one of the most important aspects of home decor.
Oddly enough, bathrooms are generally given the least consideration of all the rooms in the home when lighting decisions are made.
The reason for this is that the focus is typically on the living room or kitchen.
Since the bathroom is the place where one gets ready and unwinds after a long day at work (not to mention getting ready for work), it’s important to consider various types of lighting options.
Bathroom Lighting Options
The bathroom requires two types of lighting, which is task lighting and ambient lighting.
Task lighting is necessary in the bathroom because it is lighting that is
focused on a specific area making the completion of visual tasks easier.
Ambient lighting refers to light that comes from all directions. This lighting is important since it provides lighting throughout the whole bathroom.
Aside from the lighting aspect, the fixtures provide that extra decorative touch because of the ornate and stylish details. It is the combination of the two that creates a spectacular and alluring ambience in the bathroom.
A fantastic way to create another layer of light in bathroom lighting is by installing a small recessed light directed at a specific piece of decorative art or a powder room basin. You may also wish to include a recessed fixture in an angled position to highlight elegant tile work, bathware, or special features in the bathroom.
Types of Bathroom Lighting
Bathroom lighting fixtures are available in the following:
Bathroom Lighting Styles
Bathroom lighting is available in the following styles:
Putting it All Together
The vanity requires the right amount of illumination. Since many individuals
are highly critical of their appearance, it is important that mirror lighting be
bright and flattering, but not glaring.
A functional and decorative choice for vanity lighting is topping your mirror with mirror lighting. Try to remember to purchase vanity light bulbs that have a lower wattage or frosted glass to minimize overbearing light. In doing so, you will have an even distribution of light.
Sconce height should be eye level. When standing and looking at the sconce,
you don’t want to be able to the see the light bulb itself. Yet, in some cases,
the size and positioning of various vanity mirrors make sconces impractical.
Shower/Bathtub/Toilet Closet Lighting
A secondary area for task bathroom lighting is the shower. In
bathrooms that are
smaller in size, if the shower has a glass door, then an additional fixture may
not be necessary.
Recessed fixtures work well over a shower, bathtub, or in the toilet closet.
If your bathtub is independent of your shower, you will typically be using recessed lighting. It is not necessary to have water rated fixtures and light bulbs in this area. Consider positioning one or two recessed fixtures aimed at the outside of the tub in order to cut down on any potential glare.
If you are fortunate enough to have high ceilings in your bathroom, then
consider a decorative fixture, such as a small chandelier or a ceiling mount.
Color Rendering Index
Color Rendering Index (expressed as CRI) is a quantitative measure of
the ability of a light source to reproduce the
colors of objects accurately in
comparison with an ideal or natural light source.
Natural daylight is assigned a CRI of 100. When choosing lamps for a bathroom lighting installation, those with a CRI of 70 or higher should be used. This will ensure that colors and skin tones appear natural to the people in the space.
When choosing a fixture style, opt for one that has a translucent lens. If the lens is clear then the fixture may be glaring. Also, if the lens is opaque (metal or ceramic), it will not allow enough light to pass directly onto your face.
Types of Light Bulbs
Incandescent bulbs produce a steady warm, light, and are commonly used in
Due to the filament's high temperature, the tungsten tends to evaporate and
collect on the sides of the bulb. The imperfections in the filament causes it to
thin unevenly and when a bulb is turned on, the sudden surge of energy can cause
the thin areas to heat up much faster than the rest of the filament.
A standard incandescent bulb can last anywhere from 700-1000 hours, and it can be used with a dimmer. Soft white bulbs have a special coating inside the glass bulb, which helps diffuse the light while keeping the color of the light unchanged.
Halogen bulbs are also known as “white light” since it provides the closest approximation to natural daylight. These bulbs are available in various shapes, sizes, and are energy efficient.
A variation of the incandescent bulb technology, halogen bulbs work by
passing electricity through a tungsten filament, which is encased in a tube
containing halogen gas.
Although halogen bulbs have a longer life span than the incandescent bulb and are compatible with a dimmer switch, it is more expensive and burns at a much higher temperature.
Fluorescent bulbs are considered the most energy efficient since it produces very little heat. These bulbs pass a current through a tube filled with argon gas and mercury, which produces ultraviolet radiation that floods the phosphorous coating causing it to emit light. It lasts about ten times longer than incandescent bulbs with a bulb life anywhere between 10,000 to 20,000 hours.
These bulbs offer a good color rendering ability of as high as 95 and are excellent for lighting large areas where minor detailed tasks will be undertaken. Unfortunately, most fluorescent bulbs cannot be used with dimmers.
Lighting dimmers enable absolute control over lighting and in creating the
mood of the room.
A 120-volt incandescent or halogen light source will require an incandescent dimmer, while low-voltage and fluorescent fixtures require their own compatible dimmers.
Sometimes, dimmed bulbs will make a slight buzzing sound as the filament vibrates. To reduce or eliminate the noise, consider switching to a lower-watt bulb (which has a smaller filament).
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