Bathroom Lighting Guide

May 24, 2022 5 min read

The lighting in your space can make a huge difference to the final outcome of your project. Whether you are utilising natural light with windows and skylights or artificial lights, here is our guide to getting your lighting perfect for your space.


General
This is the lighting that will be of general use of the bathroom. This can vary from your single flush mount in the centre of the bathroom ceiling to multiple downlights. You’ll want a decent amount of general lighting if you don’t have a tonne of natural light in your bathroom. Additional general lighting might also be required for showers or wet areas with frosted screens to ensure your not showering in low light.

Task
Ideal for situations where you will need to target light or focus it into a certain place. This includes pendant lighting, wall sconces and mirror LED’s. Tasks like brushing your teeth, applying makeup, and shaving benefit with task lighting giving off a burst of light for more visibility. Usually, the best spot for task lighting is next to the vanity, but careful not to place them too high as this can cast a shadow under your chin, eyes and cheeks! When selecting task lighting you can match your tapware finish for a consistent look.

Accent
Not necessary but can definitely take your bathroom to the next level! These come in the form of pendants, wall sconce, niche LED strips and chandeliers. Fun for sprucing up those dry areas in the bathroom or powder rooms for that luxe or moody vibe!

Tip: For pendants, chandeliers and wall sconce make sure you discuss with your electrician about placement. Electricity and water don’t mix well so be sure to discuss your options on where you those can be and how low they can hang.


Natural Light
Windows and Skylights will make a significant impact to your space. Natural light will make a bathroom feel bigger, lighter and airier. Natural light is cost effective and will maximize visibility with its soft warm light. We’re seeing a big trend at the moment of skylights in showers, and we can’t get enough!

Tip: For larger bathrooms try layering! Use multiple lighting to add interest and depth to the space. For smaller bathrooms it’s best not to have too many lights that it overwhelms the space. For those smaller bathrooms and powder rooms concentrate on task and ambient lighting!

 
Industry insights with the lighting experts at Beacon Lighting
We picked the brains of Kara from Beacon Lighting for her top 6 must-knows when lighting a bathroom. Here’s what she had to say!

“Your bathroom is your own private sanctuary where you start and finish your day, where you can be yourself and enjoy a few quiet moments. Styling with the right lighting is key to making it a space where you can feel your best. As with most other rooms in your home, your bathroom lighting should follow the same layered approach, i.e., ambient light for general illumination, task lighting for grooming and accent lighting for decorative highlights.”

Let’s start with the basics…

1. To get your ambient lighting right, you can choose to install a series of downlights, a central flush mount/oyster light, or a multi-purpose LED light, such as a 2-in-1 light and exhaust fan, or a 3-in-1 light, exhaust fan and heater.

2. Task lighting is key in bathrooms. The goal here is to light the face evenly and reduce shadows that are cast on the face by standard, overhead lighting. One way to do this is by installing a vanity light above the mirror that casts light onto the face as well as onto the mirror itself. This helps bounce the light evenly on the face, reducing shadows and glare. The other way is to light either side of the mirror. This provides equal light onto each side of the face, again eliminating shadows cast by overhead lighting.

3. If you apply makeup in your bathroom, the CRI (Colour Rendering Index) of a lighting fixture is something to look out for. The higher the CRI, the more ‘true’ your skin tone and makeup will appear. Think of it like this – a CRI of 80 is only showing you 80% of a colour in its truest form. So when you look at that colour under those conditions, it may appear washed out and less vibrant. The sun/natural light is 100 CRI, so the goal is to get as close to that as we can when applying makeup.

4. When it comes to your accent lighting layer, strip lighting around the mirror or under the vanity produces a spectacular effect. It also helps in creating a gentle illumination so that you don’t shock your body into a complete wake up mode during those late night bathroom visits. Accent lighting also includes decorative pendants. These add a layer of luxury to a bathroom and help create a day spa aesthetic.

5. A word about colour temperature. Most lights usually fall under one of the three colour temperature spectrums: daylight, cool white or warm white ranging from 6000K to 1800K. Warm white colour temperature (1800K to 3000K) has a more orange candlelight appearance and less alerting blue light. This colour temperature is great for creating a relaxing ambience. It's perfect for bathrooms where you want to unwind and relax in your bathtub at the end of a tiring day. It's also gentle on your eyes for those middle-of-the-night bathroom visits and helps you go back to sleep easily. Cool white light (4000K-5000K) and daylight (6000K+) appears bright white with maximum blue light wavelengths as is present in natural sunlight. The blue light simulates the feel-good hormone serotonin which helps boost your mood and keeps you alert and focused. This light is great during the day and in rooms where you perform a variety of tasks that require concentration like home offices, kitchens, laundries and garages. If you do your makeup and grooming in the bathroom, it's a good idea to have it in here too. However, if you want flexibility in changing the colour temperature throughout the day to suit your mood and task: cool white while grooming during the day and warm white to unwind at the end of the day, consider using a light that provides this function. Like the Chameleon wall light which offers 3 colour temperatures: 3000K/4000K/5000K. Or smart lighting which also gives you lots of choice.

6. Whatever lighting fixture you choose, make sure they have the appropriate IP rating for wet areas. Speak to your electrician for advice on safe installation locations and requirements.


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