By Muriel Sylvestre. Bathroom Lighting. Published at Saturday, February 10th, 2018 - 16:09:59 PM.
Helping people see well is also critical for safety, since the bathroom is where 80 percent of older adults experience a fall. Fortunately, good lighting for seniors is good lighting for everyone. Let’s look at seven opportunities for the best bathroom illumination: daylighting, overall light, vanity lighting, lighting over a tub, light in the shower, lighting at the water closet, and night lighting.
To provide a range of lighting from dim to bright is why we prefer to use LED (or incandescent, if the client absolutely demands it) rather than fluorescent, as LEDs are much easier to dim. It’s better to have fixtures that can over-deliver lumens and be dimmed as needed.
This "fill-in" light serves as a substitute for natural light. It is most often supplied by a central fixture, usually a surface-mounted ceiling light. I encourage clients to think more creatively in their choices, suggesting they consider a pendant lamp or chandelier instead. Another option is "cove lighting" — rope lights hidden behind a molding dropped several inches below ceiling height — which adds a soft glow around the perimeter of the room.
Since the bathroom is sometimes used in the middle of the night, it’s critical to provide some, but not too much, light by which to safely maneuver. When the eyes are adjusted to darkness, as they are when waking up from a sound sleep, very few footcandles are needed. (A full moon is just .01fc!) Flipping on bright overhead lights will be blinding and disruptive. A 5-watt nightlight may be just right.
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