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By Suzanne Fred. Bathroom Lighting. Published at Monday, February 05th, 2018 - 03:58:41 AM.

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.

When it comes to proper lighting, one of the most critical rooms in the home is the bathroom. It’s most often the first place people go to when they wake up in the morning, and it can set the mood for the day. The bathroom is where you wash and groom, and many people take their morning medications there—all strong cases for optimized lighting and daylighting. The other reason is that light, particularly daylight, is what sets our circadian rhythms, which play an important part in overall health.

Vertical fixtures or sconces mounted on either side of the mirror are best for casting an even light across the face. But given the size and positioning of some vanity mirrors, sidelights can be impractical (mounting them directly to the mirror is always an option, but at greater planning and cost). Only then do I suggest a fixture for over the mirror. It should be placed 75 to 80 inches above the floor and, like all vanity lighting, contain at least 150 watts — ideally spread over a fixture that's at least 24 inches long so that the light will wash evenly over the hair and face.

Lensed damp or wet-rated downlights work, or you can use spotlights placed outside the “danger zone.” If ambient light levels are high enough, there’s probably no need for a dedicated fixture for the tub. Some high-end whirlpools are available with (code legal) underwater mood lights for romantic effect.


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