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Bathroom Lighting Design

Lights are often the last to be installed in a remodeled bathroom, but that does not mean they should be considered last. In fact, even expertly designed bathrooms need good lighting to accent their décor. The wrong lighting choice can ruin an otherwise beautiful bathroom. Read on for some of the things to look for when buying bathroom lights.

Color temperature

This refers to how warm or cool the light appears. Bluish to pure white lights have the highest color temperatures and are considered cool, while yellowish shades are the warmest. Your choice of color temperature depends on what you want out of your bathroom light. If you want something simple and functional, go for a daylight or sunlight bulb. These color temperatures range from 5000 to 6500 Kelvin and are the brightest on the scale. For mirror lighting, you may want something more subtle, because mirrors reflect light and can make daylight too harsh and unflattering. Warm and medium temperatures – less than 3500K – work best for mirror lighting. Accent lights should be warm and subtle, but strong enough to draw attention to themselves.

Lamp placement

Bathroom lights can be classified into three general categories: general, accent, and mirror lighting. General lighting provides overall illumination to make the bathroom usable. Plan out your general lighting before deciding on accents and mirror lights, or whether you want any at all. Fluorescent lamps are the cheapest and most functional choice.

Place accent lights along the wall above eye level, preferably in a sconce shell that directs the light upward. If you have long, wide walls, hang accents in a horizontal line every few meters. Mirror lights depend on how big your mirror is. Regular-sized rectangular mirrors are best lit up by a wall sconce on either side. Position the lights about 30 inches apart and 66 inches above the floor. This will allow the light to frame your face and flatter your skin tone.

Fixture casing and lenses

While plain fluorescent tubes or matchstick bulbs will do the job, a simple decorative casing over the bulb can make a world of difference. There are glass casings in various shapes, the most common ones being shells, rings, and fluted plates. Check out different hardware or home supply stores for options, or have one custom-made to suit your tastes. Make sure the casing is heat-resistant and still allows enough light to pass through.

You can soften or brighten an existing light by changing its lens. Translucent lenses are a favorite for bathroom lights because they diffuse the light while keeping brightness intact. Clear lenses can cause light to glare unflatteringly from mirrors, while opaque lenses provide poor illumination. You can use a translucent lens on your general lighting, mirror or accent lights only, or place them over the entire system.

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