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Lighting is an essential part of any bathroom, but it’s often overlooked or not given enough attention. If you are looking to upgrade your bathroom lighting, beware of these bathroom lighting mistakes for a successful bathroom remodel.
Remember, poor lighting can make it hard to see what you’re doing, create unflattering shadows, and even be a safety hazard.
Fortunately, there are many solutions to common bathroom lighting mistakes that can make your bathroom look and feel great while also providing the light you need for your daily activities.
In this article, we’ll explore 11 of them. So, whether you’re a homeowner, a DIY enthusiast, or a professional contractor, read on to learn how to avoid these mistakes and create the perfect lighting for your bathroom.
1. Insufficient lighting
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is not providing enough lighting in their bathrooms. This can make it hard to see what you’re doing when you’re getting ready in the morning or taking a shower.
If you rely on a single lighting fixture in your bathroom, you may not have enough light in certain areas, such as the vanity or shower. This can make it hard to see what you’re doing and create safety hazards.
To help you ensure adequate lighting in your bathroom, first, plan your lighting layout carefully. To do this, consider the size and layout of your bathroom, as well as the areas that need the most light, such as the vanity, shower, and bathtub.
With this figured out, choose the right type of lighting, ensuring you include task lighting, ambient lighting, and accent lighting.
Task lighting provides focused lighting for specific tasks like applying makeup or shaving, ambient lighting creates an overall glow throughout the room, and accent lighting highlights specific areas or features.
By layering your lighting, you can provide adequate illumination around the bathroom.
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2. Placing the light fixtures & switches in the wrong location
Another common mistake is placing light fixtures and switches in the wrong location, such as installing a ceiling-mounted fixture directly over the sink or vanity, which can cast unflattering shadows.
Placing a lighting fixture directly overhead can also create harsh shadows and unflattering lighting. This is especially true if the fixture is too close to the mirror, as it can cast shadows on the face and make it hard to see.
Placing the lighting fixture too far from the mirror is another wrong way to position your fixtures as it also creates shadows on the face and makes it hard to see when you’re applying makeup or shaving.
The solution for your bathroom vanity is to place light fixtures on either side of the mirror or at eye level for even and flattering illumination.
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Also, using too many fixtures if you have a small bathroom can create a cluttered and cramped look.
Placing lighting fixtures too close to the shower or bathtub can also create a safety hazard because the moisture from the shower or bathtub can damage lighting fixtures over time. You want them to be wet-rated and installed by an electrician at an approved location.
Placing light switches in inconvenient locations is also a common mistake that reduces the functionality of your bathroom.
Fix this by installing light switches in a convenient spot that is easy to reach and operate. This could be near the entrance to the bathroom, near the sink, or at arm’s reach from the shower or bathtub.
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3. Using the wrong type of bulbs
Using the wrong type of light bulb like incandescent bulbs can make your bathroom too hot, use too much energy, or not provide enough light.
While incandescent bulbs are still widely used in many homes, they are not the best choice for bathroom lighting. They produce a warm, yellow light that can distort colors and make it hard to see what you’re doing.
Halogen bulbs, also, are brighter than incandescent bulbs and can produce a more natural-looking light. However, they can also generate a lot of heat and are not very energy-efficient.
In the bathroom, you want to use LED or CFL light bulbs, which are energy-efficient and provide more uniform illumination.
NOTE: When choosing LED bulbs, avoid those with a low CRI, which means that they don’t accurately show colors. This can make it hard to apply makeup or shave effectively.
In the bathroom, it’s important to choose LED bulbs with a CRI of 90 or higher. This is because the bathroom is a space where you need to see colors accurately, especially when applying makeup or shaving.
A high CRI can help you avoid mistakes caused by poor color rendering, which can lead to frustration and wasted time.
4. Focusing solely on aesthetics
Bathroom lighting should not be focused solely on aesthetics. While it’s important to have lighting that looks good and complements the overall design of your bathroom, the primary purpose of bathroom lighting is to provide adequate illumination for the space.
In the bathroom, proper lighting is essential for performing tasks such as grooming, applying makeup, shaving, and washing your face.
If the lighting in your bathroom is not bright enough, poorly placed, or improperly aimed, it can make these tasks difficult, or even dangerous. For example, if the lighting is too dim, you may not be able to see well enough to shave safely.
That said, there are many lighting fixtures and styles that can be both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
For example, you can choose fixtures that are designed to provide bright, even illumination, but that also have decorative features that complement your bathroom’s design.
You can also choose lighting fixtures that have adjustable brightness or color temperature, allowing you to customize the lighting to your needs.
In short, bathroom lighting should strike a balance between function and aesthetics.
While it’s important to choose lighting that looks good, it’s even more important to choose lighting that provides adequate illumination for the tasks you perform in the bathroom.
5. Ignoring or relying solely on natural light
Natural light can enhance the overall ambiance and mood of a bathroom, but it’s essential not to ignore it or rely solely on it.
Because natural light can be unpredictable, and the amount of light that enters your bathroom can vary depending on the time of day and the weather conditions, supplement it with artificial lighting, especially in areas where you perform tasks that require good lighting.
By incorporating both natural and artificial lighting sources, you can ensure adequate illumination in all situations.
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6. Not considering dimmer switches
Dimmer switches give you the ability to adjust the brightness of the lighting in the bathroom, allowing you to create a more relaxing and comfortable environment.
In the bathroom, dimmer switches can be particularly useful when you’re getting ready for bed or taking a relaxing bath. By reducing the brightness of the lights, you can create a soothing atmosphere that helps you unwind and prepare for sleep.
Dimmer switches can also be useful in the morning when you’re getting ready for the day. By gradually increasing the brightness of the lights, you can help your eyes adjust to the light and avoid the harsh glare of bright lights first thing in the morning.
In addition to providing greater control over the lighting in your bathroom, dimmer switches can also help you save on energy costs. By reducing the brightness of the lights, you can use less electricity and save money on your utility bills.
Overall, installing dimmer switches in the bathroom can be a smart investment that enhances the functionality and comfort of the space while also helping you save on energy costs.
7. Forgetting about safety
Bathrooms can be hazardous areas, and inadequate lighting can increase the risk of accidents and injuries.
Some of the ways you can help ensure that your bathroom lighting is not only functional and stylish but also safe and secure include:
(a) Choosing lighting fixtures that are rated for use in damp or wet locations. Bathroom lighting fixtures should be designed to withstand moisture and humidity to prevent the risk of electrical shock.
(b) Make sure that all electrical outlets in the bathroom are equipped with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protection. GFCI outlets are designed to shut off power in the event of an electrical fault, reducing the risk of electrocution.
(c) Ensuring that all lighting fixtures are installed properly and securely. Loose or poorly installed fixtures can be a safety hazard, especially in damp or wet conditions.
(d) Never place lighting fixtures too close to water sources, such as the bathtub or shower. Water can conduct electricity, so having lighting fixtures too close to water sources can increase the risk of electrical shock.
(e) Avoid using extension cords or adapters with bathroom lighting fixtures. These can increase the risk of electrical shock, especially in wet conditions.
(f) Turning off the power to the bathroom before installing or replacing lighting fixtures. This will help reduce the risk of electrical shock or injury.
(g) Regularly inspect your bathroom lighting fixtures for signs of damage or wear, such as cracked lenses or exposed wiring. If you notice any damage, have the fixtures repaired or replaced immediately.
8. Neglecting the shower area
The shower area is often overlooked when it comes to bathroom lighting, but it’s essential to have proper illumination in this area.
Look for lighting fixtures that are rated for wet locations and have a water-tight seal to prevent moisture from entering the fixture and potentially causing a safety hazard.
Another option is to install lighting fixtures outside the shower, but close enough to provide ample illumination. Wall sconces or recessed lights are popular options for providing ambient lighting in the bathroom without being too close to the shower.
Ultimately, be sure to work with a licensed electrician who can ensure that the installation is done safely and in compliance with local building codes.
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9. Using harsh or cool-colored lighting
Lighting with a high color temperature (measured in Kelvin) can create a harsh and uninviting atmosphere in your bathroom.
First, harsh lighting can create unflattering shadows and make it difficult to see yourself clearly in the mirror. This can be especially problematic when applying makeup or shaving, as you need to be able to see the details clearly.
Second, cool-colored lighting can make the bathroom feel sterile and uninviting. This is because cool-colored light (such as blue or green) tends to have a bluish tint that can make the space feel cold and clinical.
Instead, it’s generally best to use warm-colored lighting in the bathroom, around 2700-3000K.
Warm-colored light (such as yellow or orange) has a more natural and flattering tone that can make you look and feel better. It can also create a more welcoming and relaxing atmosphere in the bathroom.
That being said, it’s important to strike a balance when it comes to bathroom lighting.
You don’t want the lighting to be too warm or dim, as this can make it difficult to see properly.
Instead, aim for a moderate level of warm, ambient lighting that is bright enough to illuminate the space but not so harsh that it creates unflattering shadows.
10. Mismatched Lighting Fixtures
Mismatched lighting fixtures are lighting fixtures that don’t complement each other or don’t match the overall design style of the bathroom.
For example, if you have a modern bathroom with clean lines and minimalist features, a traditional chandelier with ornate details would be considered a mismatched fixture.
Having mismatched fixtures in your bathroom can create a disjointed and uncoordinated look, which can detract from the overall design of the space. Mismatched fixtures can also create visual clutter and make the bathroom feel chaotic.
To avoid mismatched fixtures, it’s important to have a cohesive design plan in place before selecting your lighting fixtures.
Choose fixtures that match the overall style and theme of your bathroom, and make sure that they work well together in terms of color, material, and scale.
If you’re unsure about how to choose lighting fixtures that match your bathroom’s design, consider consulting with a professional interior designer or lighting specialist. They can help you choose fixtures that work well together and create a cohesive look in your bathroom.
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11. Not seeking professional advice
Designing the perfect bathroom lighting scheme can be challenging, and it’s easy to make mistakes.
Because this can be a risky project, we recommend seeking professional advice from an experienced lighting designer or contractor to ensure that your lighting design meets your needs and preferences while adhering to best practices and building codes.
Avoiding these common bathroom lighting mistakes will help you create a functional, efficient, and attractive lighting scheme that meets your needs and preferences.
Disclaimer: These images are courtesy of Nina’s Home Design, Wewnetrzu, and My Victorian Terrace_ on Instagram.