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8 Tips for Planning your Bathroom Lighting

When it comes to creating your dream bathroom, it is easy to underestimate the importance of lighting.  Lighting can be the difference to creating a functional, yet stylish, bathroom.  To help you create the bathroom of your dreams, we have put together our top tips for planning your bathroom lighting.

Types of Lighting

There are four basic types of lighting, and in a good bathroom lighting scheme, all four of these will be used.

  1. Ambient lighting, or general lighting, is used to provide the overall illumination within your bathroom.  Downlights are a perfect example of an ambient light source in your bathroom.
  2. Task lighting is the functional, practical lighting necessary for completing tasks.  In our bathroom, this might be lighting the mirror where daily tasks such as shaving or applying make-up occur.
Include task lighting in your bathroom lighting plan
  1. Accent lighting, also known as feature lighting, is used to draw attention to certain architectural, or design, features in your bathroom.  A great example of accent lighting in a bathroom might be strip lighting under a vanity unit to provide the appearance of a floating vanity, or spotlights that illuminate the wall of the shower and give the effect of water cascading.
  2. Decorative lighting is becoming a popular choice for bathrooms, particularly, with the range of bathroom rated options now available.  Think statement pieces, such as chandeliers or pendant lights.

Tips for Planning your Bathroom Lighting

Start your bathroom lighting plan by asking yourself how you use the space

On the surface, there are some pretty obvious answers to this question, but it is worth taking a little time to look at things like:

  • how much natural lighting you have available to provide ambient light?
  • what times of the day you use the space, and, therefore, what additional lighting you may need to supplement your natural light source?
  • what mood you want to create in the space.  Do you want your bathroom to be a relaxing haven, or do you want a more energetic space?
  • what décor scheme do you see for your bathroom?  A great way to create cohesiveness in your bathroom, is to say, match finishes on your light fittings to finishes on your tapware.
  • what space do you have to play with to create an impact with decorative lighting?
  • what features can you highlight in your bathroom with accent lighting?

Split your bathroom into zones

Your bathroom zones might be the vanity area, the bath, the shower, and the toilet.

By making the distinction between zones, you can start to better see where the different lighting types might be more appropriate.

Select your bathroom lighting according to bathroom zones

Prioritise task lighting

First and foremost, our bathroom is the place where we perform essential practical tasks, like shaving and applying make-up.  The bathroom of your dreams may create the perfect mood, but is useless without practical lighting to complete these tasks.

The main area of your bathroom requiring task lighting is the vanity area, in particular, the vanity mirror.  A great tip for lighting your vanity mirror is to place wall lights either side of the mirror.  This will create a shadow free, flattering light.  Strip lighting behind your mirror will also create the same effect if you are short on wall space.

Don’t forget your ambient light source

Your bathroom may be flooded with natural light through the day, but don’t forget your bathroom use after dark.  While you may be tempted to opt for a soft moody light for that tub soak after work, don’t forget that an overall light source is needed.

A great way to balance practicality with mood in your bathroom is to install dimmers.

Layer your lighting

Another way to achieve that balance between practical use and relaxing oasis is by layering the lighting in your bathroom.  By utilising the different types of lighting in your bathroom, you can ensure sufficient lighting to complete tasks, as well as lighting that will turn your bathroom into a relaxing oasis.

A great example of a bathroom with a good layered lighting scheme may have downlights for general overhead lighting, teamed with wall sconces for task lighting, and the addition of a pendant light, or even chandelier, to make a real design statement.  Turn on all at once to create a lighting display, or light separate zones within your bathroom to enhance mood.

Investing in a multi light switch is another great tip to help you balance practical and mood lighting.  Think of it the same way you would switching on a lamp in your living room.

Use downlights for ambient bathroom lighting

Ensure your lighting selections are IP rated for bathroom installation

Water and electricity … not a combination we want to mess around with!  To ensure your bathroom lighting is compliant with regulations, always check the IP rating of the light fitting.  IP rating stands for “Ingress Protection”, and is a rating that measures how water and/or dust can get into the fitting. 

A great tip, and one that is being used more and more, is to select outdoor light fittings for bathroom use, as their IP rating will often meet IP rating standards for bathroom use.  It’s also a great way to bring a little of the outdoors into your bathroom! 

It is always best to consult with your electrician on the IP rating of fittings required for specific zones in your bathroom.

Don’t forget ventilation

While it might not be specific to your bathroom lighting, ensuring adequate ventilation of your bathroom through all seasons is important.  It’s important for structural and aesthetic longevity of your bathroom, but also your health.

A great way to ensure adequate ventilation is to consider installation of a 3-in-1 bathroom light, exhaust and heater unit.  It is also a great way to get the ambient lighting you need for your bathroom, as well as providing warmth during the cooler months.

Ventilation important in bathroom lighting scheme

Make a statement with decorative lighting

Gone are the days of purely practical lighting in the bathroom!  Pendants and chandeliers are now seen in many a bathroom, and are the perfect way to add a decorative element, and to enhance or compliment your bathroom design.

A good tip … stay away from fabric or other materials that will not hold up to moisture!  Other than that, decorative lighting is your chance to really let your bathroom shine!

Enahnce bathroom lighting with a decorative pendant

From wall lights next to the vanity, to statement pendant fittings, the possibilities are endless when it comes to being creative with your bathroom lighting.  Follow our few simple tips to create something really special in your bathroom, or chat to one of the lighting experts at Rovert Lighting & Electrical, who can help you find the balance between practical and mood lighting in your bathroom.