Functionality is key to good bathroom lighting. Shadows are the enemy in the bathroom, so your lighting plan should be filled with multiple sources to achieve cross illumination. Especially by the bathroom mirror, lighting should come from above as well as the sides in order to cancel out the shadows on your face for applying makeup and shaving or grooming. Your own sensitivity to glare should be considered in the bathroom, as you tend to stand closely to the light sources and you might need to have more diffuse or shaded light sources.
In small bathrooms, fixtures at the mirror alone will provide adequate illumination for the entire room. In larger bathrooms, an additional ceiling fixture is needed for general lighting.
There are many interesting forms lighting can take in the bathroom. Mini pendants or a track/rail lighting system can be effective mounted to the ceiling in front of your mirror. Mini chandeliers are increasingly popular when hung either in the center of a bathroom or over your soaking tub. Use caution when installing a hanging light fixture over a tub, as there are several electrical code considerations. The most important to remember is that the fixture must be hung high enough so that you cannot stand in the tub and reach the light fixture.
Some general fixture hanging guidelines in the bath are:
- Wall Sconces on either side of a mirror should be hung 60 inches from the floor.
- Sconces mounted beside a mirror should be at least 28 inches apart.
- Bath bar above mirror should be 78 inches from the floor.
- Position bath bars in relation to your mirror, not the sink.
Suggested Light Layers for Bathrooms:
- Ambient – Recessed Lighting or Central, Flush Fixture (When using recessed, small 3 inch recessed should be used over sink surfaces. Standard size 5 or 6 inch recessed in the center of the space.)
- Decorative – Vanity Light, Sconces, Small Chandelier or Pendants
- Task – Small Table Lamp as Possible or Directional Recessed or Track Lighting
- Accent – Wall Sconces or Counter top Lighting