Bathroom Lighting Basics

From the basic of bare bulbs around a makeup mirror to wall sconces to skylights, bathroom lighting encompasses a very wide spectrum that can cover a huge variety of lighting options. That's why it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basics of lighting so you can get a good idea about what will work best in your bathroom design and best suit your bathroom habits. This way, when you hire an electrical contractor to install your new bathroom lighting, you'll both be on the same page when it comes to your bathroom lighting solutions.

One of the first things the average homeowner often does when redecorating or designing their new bathroom lighting is that they pick out their favorite looking light fixture from their favorite home improvement store or website and buy it for an electrical contractor to install. This is a big no-no when it comes to price, options and satisfaction.

Before you buy any light fixtures for your bathroom, sit down and sketch out a drawing of your bathroom accurately transcribing all possible dimensions. Draw a small triangle to represent each existing electrical outlet. Now you can accurately determine what lighting option will work best in each location because you can illustrate the direction and intensity of the lighting you need for each area.

Now when an electrical contractor sees your future vision, they can better determine what lighting solution will work best for your design. And because electrical contractors get a discount with electrical supply companies, they often offer better electrical fixtures at a cheaper price than you could get at the best sale at any giant home improvement warehouse.

 Ambient Lighting

As its name denotes, ambient lighting is defined as "coming from every direction." Ambient light sources are one of the best ways to light a bathroom space. Soft, warm and radiant, ambient lighting solutions offer guests a gentle light soft enough to keep you relaxed without being too dim to go about your business.

One of the most common examples of ambient lighting in the bathroom is a vent/ light kit with diffuser. These lighting fixtures pull double duty as an ambient light source and as a ventilation source for damp air. But they don't have to be the average bland bulb and plastic cover. Many new designs offer frosted glass, hidden ventilation and night light features that make this moonlighting light well worth considering in any bathroom lighting design.

Ambient Lighting Tip: Go green when combining ventilation and lighting by adding options like an EnergyStar approved ventilation system at least 70 CFM or more.

Accent Lighting

By accenting specific areas, this lighting option helps to direct light where you need it most. Another bathroom lighting essential, accent lighting allows toilet areas to brighten, showers stalls to illuminate and offers a well-lit place to conduct daily hygiene activities at any vanity space without being overpowering.

A great example of accent lighting in the bathroom is can lighting. These simple to install and cost effective bathroom lighting options dedicate light to exactly the area you need it most, all while remaining flush with the ceiling so they stay out of view from almost any angle. Because can lighting is so easy to install, it is a favorite choice among home improvement renovations and remodeling projects.

Accent Lighting Tip: Conserve energy by installing can lighting with LED bulbs versus conventional CFL's. You'll get a more direct and brighter light than a florescent bulb at half the operational cost with ten times the lifespan.

Natural Lighting

Every bathroom should be built with a window to not only bring in natural light, but also to ventilate water vapor to prevent mold and mildew growth. But unless your bathroom is built against an exterior wall, you're out of luck. Bathrooms that aren't built under a second story can take advantage of skylights and dormers.  These windows to the sky are perfect for creating natural light in bathrooms because they offer private views of full natural light and the best ventilation possible.

Attic space can often be renovated to accommodate a built in skylight. A building contractor can take a quick peek in your attic space and let you know if a fully functional skylight is possible for your existing bathroom. There are a numerous skylights available at various price ranges. From the affordable enclosed dome light to the high dollar remote opening glass panel, skylights today are made to suit a wide variety of tastes and a wide range of budgets.

Natural Lighting Tip: When attic framing is in the way preventing conventional skylights from being installed, opt out for a solar tube skylight. These tubes can be bent around roof framing members, vents, plumbing and electrical wiring to get a cost effective indirect source of sunlight to your bathroom.

Aesthetic Lighting

Lighting can be more than just a functional piece of equipment you use to see in the bathroom. It can also be a work of art. Aesthetic lighting does just that. It transforms lighting options into an artistic design element of the room that's functional as well. Whether aesthetic lighting focuses light on a picture or is ambient and spreads a glow around the room, it can look good doing it too.

Sconce lighting is a great example of aesthetic lighting solutions for the bathroom. Wall sconces work particularly well in bathroom areas like over towel bars, around toilet areas and next to wall shelving, but it can also highlight art work, plants or a mantel pieces just as easy.

Aesthetic Lighting Tip: Wall sconces can be placed just about anywhere in a wall without tearing out wall coverings. By accessing them through the attic, wires can be fished down stud wall top plates for the prefect aesthetic lighting solution.

Task Lighting

Without task lighting in the bathroom, brushing your teeth, putting on makeup and shaving your face can be difficult tasks. Proper task lighting solutions around mirrors, vanities and makeup stations are crucial to keeping your bathroom design functional as well as fashionable.

Lighted vanities and makeup mirrors are prime examples of quality task lighting for bathroom design. Other bathroom task lighting options include wall sconces, strip lighting and track lighting—all perfect ways to keep the light exactly where you need it most.

Task Lighting Tip: When installing task lighting that can be very bright or close, consider installing a dimmer switch. It will not only help you keep the light set to the perfect brightness to suit your tasks, it will also reduce excess heat and save energy.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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