Lighting design in your bathroom is an essential element that many people tend to overlook. However, if you are upgrading your bathroom or planning a new build, lighting is important, both for aesthetic reasons as well as practical ones. The right lighting design can mean the difference between a blah bathroom and one that feels like you’re surrounded in luxury.
Here are some thoughts on different types of bathroom lighting:
Bathroom Lighting Design: Scones
There’s a reason that sconces are so popular in the bathroom. First, they direct the light at your face instead of above your head. When you have a bathroom with lights that are above your head, it casts unflattering shadows on your face.
Sconces tend to be more decorative too, as opposed to ceiling lights.
Some of the brands we like include Minka-Lavry, which is usually where we start. Schoolhouse Electric is another one that is quite popular at the moment. They offer a nice selection of vintage-looking fixtures, and they are very customizable to your design tastes.
How We Come to Recommend One Type of Lighting Fixture Over Another
When completing a bathroom remodel, we will often wait and see what kind of faucets are going to be installed. At that point, we can usually get a pretty good idea of a client’s style. Typically, the sconces are going to be pretty close to the faucets, so you want them to look good together.
A lot of times, we’ll either match the finish of the faucets or complement it in some way. For instance, if you chose a really traditionally-styled faucet, we would want to pair it with a fixture that is equally as detailed and has the same general style.
In terms of matching the rest of the house, we don’t find that this is necessary, but some clients will prefer it that way. If you have been updating your home or if you have a specific finish elsewhere in the house that you like, it may seem natural to carry that through.
For instance, if you have brushed nickel everywhere, you might gravitate towards that look and want to use brushed nickel in the bathroom too, and this is a viable direction. On the other hand, if there is a bunch of old brass details throughout the house and you don’t have any plans to keep it, then I wouldn’t worry about it. Hopefully, that brass won’t be there after a year or two.
Brands we like for overhead bathroom lighting include Progress Lighting, Kichler, and Quorum.
We order directly from the manufacturer or brand showroom as opposed to Home Depot or Lowes. On a rare occasion, a client will come to us with a light they picked up at one of these stores, but we try to stay away from them if at all possible. Because we warranty all the work we do, we need to be 100 percent confident in the quality and reliability of the unit.
We often recommend installing a light bar as they are a little bit more exciting and modern-looking. You might do a light bar on either side of the mirror.
In a guest bath, like a hall bath or powder room, you typically won’t have any overhead lighting. However, it’s nice if you can have light at the mirror and a little something overhead as well.
A lot of times, we’ll switch out the exhaust fan for a fan with a light in it. It’s not always the best quality light, but at least it’s another light source from another area. An exhaust fan light can also help in bigger bathrooms; for instance, if it’s dark over by the toilet and the shower because the only light is coming from the mirror, a little overhead light can brighten up the dark corners.
Lighted mirrors are super-cool. Electric Mirror is a brand that offers a ton of different designs and options. They can be expensive—especially the more high-tech ones—but, at its most basic, it’s a mirror with strips of flat LED light, either on each side or forming a frame all the way around it. This directs the light right at your face without casting shadows, making it great for putting makeup on or shave, and so on.
Some of the other options you can choose in lighted mirrors include having a little connected TV screen, a defogging button, motion detection, and dimmers.