Functional and Fab | Bathroom Lighting Guide for Home Remodeling

Alabama bath and master suite design

What To Look For When Choosing Bathroom Lighting For a Master Suite Remodel

Bathroom lighting is often overlooked when remodeling a home. Kitchen island pendants and under cabinet lighting seem to be given more consideration, but the light in your bathroom or master suite should be carefully considered. In your home, the bathroom is often the one place where you're ensured complete privacy! It's the perfect place to create a private relaxation retreat, an oasis where you can relax in a warm bath with a glass of wine at the end of a long day. One element that can help to create the perfect relaxing environment is your bathroom lighting.

Form and aesthetics are important when creating a design, but functionality also needs to be seriously considered. Before you start, define your needs. Ask and answer these questions:

  • What is the function of the space? (Vanity Lighting, Overhead Lighting, Shower Lighting)
  • Who will be using the space? (Master Suite, Children, Guests)
  • Will space be performing multiple functions? For example, a space to prepare for work put on makeup before a night out, and relax in a warm tub after work.

Let's explore some of the best ways to create a functional lighting plan that not only covers all the bases but can work to transform your bathroom into a relaxing refuge with light.

Bathroom Lighting Types

You need to consider four separate areas of your lighting design. It should offer aesthetic pleasure, but also remain functional for applying makeup or shaving. Your lighting should also create a mood for those times you want a relaxing getaway after a long day at work.

The four areas of bathroom lighting are task lighting, accent lighting, decorative lighting, and ambient lighting.

Bathroom task lighting

Having the proper wattage and placement of lighting is critical for tasks like applying makeup, shaving, and oral care.  This is particularly the case when lighting around the vanity. It's important to avoid lighting that can produce shadows. For example, placing recessed lighting above the mirror can strongly light your forehead while throwing shadows below your eyes, nose, nd chin. Not only is this type of lighting inappropriate for shaving or applying makeup, It can visually age you by 10 years...and no one wants that!

Consider adding a pair of sconces on either side of the mirror placed at about eye level. This will produce a natural glow that is perfect for applying makeup. Use fixtures that provide 75 to 100 watts of illumination.

Accent lighting

If you like to display art, or have interesting architectural features in your bathroom, accent lighting is the perfect way to show it off. Recessed or directional lighting provides focused illumination for each interesting element.

Decorative bathroom lighting

Decorative lighting can add visual sparkle to your space. For example, a single dramatic pendant on a dimmer switch above the the soaking tub can provide relaxation for your evening bath. Candles can add a decorative element and set a relaxing, romantic mood. Never leave candles unattended and keep them away from flammable materials.

Ambient lighting

Ambient lightingcan fill in your lighting design. For example, in a bathroom with taller ceilings, or beams, fixtures can be hidden around the perimeter of the room to create indirect lighting . A pendant with a translucent shade on a dimmer can function as both decorative and ambient lighting. Ambient lighting also includes under and over cabinet lighting and lighting inside cabinetry.

Three tips to create perfect bathroom lighting

To get the most of your bathroom lighting design you need to plan, first by defining your needs then assessing the space. Here are three tips to help you create the perfect lighting design for your bathroom.

1. Plan your task lighting

First and foremost, your bathroom serves a practical purpose for everyday tasks like shaving, applying makeup and brushing your teeth. This means that task lighting is essential. Get the best lighting and avoid shadows, light from both the sides and the top of the vanity mirror. Sconces on either side of the mirror and a fixture above the mirror that is at least 24” wide can provide perfect lighting.

2. Have fun with decorative lighting

Depending on the size and configuration of your bathroom, in addition to task lighting you may be able to add decorative, mood, or ambient lighting to your space. Recessed lights, mini chandeliers, or ceiling fan lighting, under cabinet lights and directed spots are all great ways to add ambiance to your bathroom.

3. Consider night time navigation

Late night bathroom visits are reality and accent lighting can help to get your there when you're half asleep. Depending on your bathroom, consider low-level vanity lighting or toe-kick lighting on the vanity. It will give you a warm glow nurturing your sleep cycle, without needing brighter lights.

Your bathroom lighting can add style to a room in your home that's used for a variety of life's everyday tasks. Combining the functionality of task lighting with elements of decorative, ambient and accent lighting can help you to create a relaxing oasis perfect for a warm bath after work or prepare for your day. Work with your designer at Toulmin Cabinet & Design to explore all of your bathroom lighting options. They can help you find and design the perfect lighting for your space.

Additional Master Suite and Bath Remodel Tips


About Toulmin Kitchen & Bath Design - We're West Alabama's award-winning, premier kitchen and bath showroom. We're experts who are known for a design-build process that makes the construction process stress-free. Contact us to schedule an appointment for a design consultation.