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Bathroom lighting - Things to consider

Bathrooms and ensuites come in all shapes, sizes, and functions. What is appropriate with respect to lighting depends largely on the layout, whether or not it is a wet room, and who its intended users are. Things you need to consider include:

  • Task lighting. Very good task lighting is needed in bathrooms, particularly if they are being used when applying makeup etc. You need to make sure that task lighting is particularly good over showers, baths, toilets, and wash basins. Ceiling recessed downlights are a very good source of lighting in bathrooms but they do need to be positioned carefully so that the light is not masked. Particular care is needed at wash basins where the use of just downlights can create harsh and unflattering shadows on the face. Where possible you should consider using wall lights either side of the bathroom mirror or lights built into the mirror (but make sure they are functional rather than decorative lights)

  • Ambient lighting. The ambient or background lighting does not need to be very bright in a bathroom and often the task lighting alone will provide sufficient lighting levels. This does however depend very much on the layout of the space.

  • Decorative/mood lighting. If the bathroom has a bath that may from time to time be used for a long leisurly soak you might like to consider adding some mood lighting. This could simply be provided by having some of the lights in the bathroom dimmable or by having another layer of lighting provided. For example, by small decorative wall recessed lights along the base of the bath, in the floor, in the tiling, in wall recessed niches, or elsewhere.

  • Night time lighting. When using a bathroom in the middle of the night it is nice to have a very low discreet level of light that is kind on the eyes. One way to provide this is to have some of the decorative/mood lights on a separately switched circuit.

  • Integrated lighting. If at all possible you should consider how the bathroom is to be lit alongside the design of the bathroom. Working with your bathroom designer and, if you have one, your lighting designer, you can consider options for lighting built into cupboards and into tiling.

  • Candles. Don't forget candles! They are still the best way to achieve mood lighting for a relaxing bath. When designing the bathroom consider building in niches, recesses, and ledges to take candles.

WowLighting aims to make the use of a lighting designer affordable on all projects, no matter what the budget. Call us to discuss your needs and we will tailor our services accordingly. We even offer free advice over the phone!

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