Like any other room, your bathroom requires proper planning when it comes to its lighting scheme, which should support different activities – from practical, such as shaving or applying make-up, to having a long, relaxing soak. According to Melissa Davidson of The Lighting
Warehouse, a layered scheme is key to striking a balance between ambience and functionality:
Ambient lighting provides general all-over illumination, supplied by wall- or ceiling-mounted fixtures such as downlighters.
Task lighting highlights specific areas for certain functions, like the mirror for shaving or applying make-up. Recessed ceiling lights can provide a fixed beam of light or have a movable eyeball-effect, which can be directed to highlight specific areas.
Accent lighting creates specific effects, highlighting a particular architectural detail or any other interesting aesthetic feature in a room. For this purpose spotlights can create pools of concentrated light.
Decorative lighting sets the atmosphere and complements
the overall decor of the room. This can range from LED striplights along the floor or ceiling to pretty wall lamps
Says interior designer Cheryl Herweg of Changing Spaces, who designed the bathroom shown here:
“Above a free-standing bath I love hanging a beautiful decorative light on a separate switch, so you can turn all the other lights off when relaxing in the bath.
Thin LED striplighting under floating vanities and around mirrors enhances the floating effect.”
If your bathroom already has a well-designed layered lighting scheme, you can simply replace outdated fittings without having electrical work done. However, if you are stuck with a single ceiling light and you want to add task, accent and decorative lighting, you will have to call a qualified electrician. “Walls may need chasing to allow wires to be concealed,” says Melissa.
Shaun Bouchier, director of Eurolux, says mirror lighting needs special consideration. “Instead of shining light onto the mirror, you should shine it towards your face. This will illuminate the image the mirror is reflecting rather than reflecting the light or glare of the fitting. The ideal is to place wall lights on both sides, so the face will be evenly illuminated.”
He advises homeowners to also light the inside of cabinets under the basin. “Getting ready for work in the morning will be a breeze if you install undercounter lights or a battery-operated touch light with LEDs to illuminate dark cupboards,” says Shaun.