Lighting Your Bathroom
What do you use your bathroom for? Okay – putting aside the obvious boring, but necessary stuff, consider whether it is a place where you can relax and unwind and does it put a smile on your face because it is so gorgeous. These days having a great bathroom is not considered a luxury but an essential - and you will have spent a lot of time and possibly money, choosing the right suite, tiling and flooring – but what about the lighting – get this wrong and no matter how much you spend on everything else, you will not achieve the result that you had in mind.
One overhead light simply will not do; the bathroom is a place where you will take a long soak after a hard day's work or some physical activity, luxuriating in the perfume of your favourite bath oils or bubbles. A lovely hot bath is also the perfect place for enjoying a glass of champagne with your partner, so the last thing you want is a bright light glaring down at you. Candles are romantic, but not very practical in a bathroom and certainly useless if your preferred place to relax and unwind is that Jacuzzi shower! Mood lighting is definitely the answer, but where to start. There are certain areas where good lighting is essential, such as around a bathroom cabinet or mirror. Inset lighting can create a very opulent look, but be sure to choose the type that will flatter – best achieved when the face is lit from both sides; ideally with a dimmer for those occasions when you need a bit of help to look perfect!
What to Buy For Where
Traditional overhead lighting is often replaced by LED spotlights, but consider ones with a crystal or better still, for the real 'wow' factor, a crystal chandelier. There are many available in not just traditional styles but also contemporary, so when you need to switch on your overhead light, the prisms of the crystals will give their own very special light display. At this point it should be mentioned that it is vital you ensure that the lighting you are buying is suitable for bathrooms. Check the IP (Ingress Protection) rating as this will need to vary depending on where you intend to put the lights. For example:
The interior of the bathtub or shower is Zone 0 = IP67
The area around the bathtub or shower to a height of 2.25m above the floor level, at a radius of 1.2m from the water inlet is Zone 1 = IP44
Any vertical planes external to zone 1 and parallel vertical planes which are 0.60m external to zone 1 are classed as Zone 2 = IP44
Any vertical planes external to zone 2 and any parallel vertical planes which are 2.40m external to zone 2 are classed as Zone 3 = IPX4
So lights that are directly over your shower cubicle or bath will require a higher IP rating than elsewhere; but don't worry – help is at hand – any of the Kes Lighting customer service team can point you in the right direction.
The Best Lighting for Special Areas
If you are lucky enough to have an exercise area in your bathroom, then this will require its own special type of lighting, but consider whether it needs to be bright, as many people will exercise in the morning when only a small amount of lighting is needed, or in the evening when a more ambient type would be suitable. Layered lighting is perfect as this creates the right effect without any harsh glare. The important thing to consider with any area of your bathroom, is the amount of natural light it receives and the effect that you want to achieve. Have at least two different circuits – three is better - as this will give you more flexibility. Use circuit number one for general or ambient lighting and the second for mirror lights or others that give a softer effect.
Create that spa like feeling which immediately helps you start to unwind. Colour changing LED lights not only look gorgeous, but really help to create a very special mood, whether it is when you are relaxing in the bath with a glass of wine after a hard day's work or sharing the shower with that special person, just for fun. You could also choose recessed lights such as coloured or soft white spots, perhaps with dimmer switches for areas such as the shower and bathtub; this type is perfect for the toilet area too. Remember that the lighting you choose will set the mood, so the more versatility you can incorporate, the better.
Good lighting in certain areas is essential, such as over the basin for shaving and putting on makeup, but consider using diffused reflected light. Avoid lighting over or near mirrors as they will create shadows on the face, which will not be flattering. This way you can turn the mirror into a reflector which will reduce those shadows and give a much kinder reflection. There are now some amazing choices in LED lights, which will not only create an extravagant appearance, but are also energy efficient and as they have a low heat emission, it will not matter if you or any children should accidentally touch them.
So when choosing lighting for your bathroom, consider carefully the ambience you wish to create and in what areas. Think about where you will need your task lighting and don't forget to layer wherever possible. Downlighting can be harsh and very one dimensional, whereas layering is much softer and can be used to highlight any special features, such as that incredibly valuable antique vase. Now go and relax in a nice hot bath and take a look around to see what you can do to make your bathroom perfect.