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Chandeliers do add an opulent touch to a bathroom, however, they’re not suitable for all bathrooms. Their counterparts, the pendant lights, on the other hand, always seem more suitable for most, if not all bathrooms.
In many rooms, pendant lights are preferred as the main ceiling light, they can be even in bathrooms and as you’ll see below, they can also be a good source of task lighting for many bathroom styles.
So, Can Pendant Lights Really Be Used In The Bathroom?
Yes, you can install pendant lights in the bathroom as long as you adhere to the correct safety procedures.
These guidelines require that pendant lights are installed outside of the zones requiring IP-rated fittings. However, if you will need to use pendant lights in spots near water i.e. above the bathroom sink, shower, or above the tub, they must be wet-rated.
In bathrooms, pendant lights allow you to layer lighting within the space so you can step away from the usual “one bright bathroom light.”
They can act as task lighting in spots where you need better illumination, or as ambient lighting to light up the whole room. More so, they can be combined with other light sources for a relaxing feel.
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Where Should Pendant Lights Be Placed In A Bathroom?
Before installing pendant lights, it’s important to know their purpose; either as general or task lighting. This will dictate its placement in the bathroom.
But here are the most common locations for installing pendant lights in the bathroom:
1. Pendant Lights Over Bathroom Vanity
Pendant lights will work well above a vanity, bringing light straight down onto the countertop and providing exceptional task lighting for your makeup application or shaving.
But where do you hang pendant lights over the bathroom vanity?
- Hang pendant bathroom sconces on either side of a mirror above a vanity, and keep the lights at eye level of the user to reduce shadows.
- You can also try centering it over the sink if using just one fixture and if you have a double vanity, you can use two pendants on the furthest ends or add a center one in the middle.
Just remember to hang these lights just a bit out from the wall.
Above the vanity, pendant lighting provides task lighting so common sense says that if you want to light up the face, you need to bring the light out to where the face is.
Therefore, hang the pendants about at the center of your sink, measuring out from the mirror wall, and if that looks a little too far out, then back them up a little.
A good tip is to try these distances out before you have the fixtures installed.
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2. Pendant Lights Above the Bathroom Sink
If you have no bathroom vanity, you can still install pendant lights above the sink for task lighting in this cleaning zone.
Place the pendant lights over the bathroom sink although its height above the sink must be put into consideration.
A general rule of thumb is that the bottom of the light fixture over the bathroom sink should hang between 30 to 40 inches above the countertop.
More so, since this fixture is near a water source, you must make sure that the light fixture is moisture-rated so the internal electrical components are safe from any moisture preventing electrical hazards.
3. Pendant Lights Over Bathtub
An oversized pendant light over the bathtub creates visual interest while highlighting a prominent modern bathroom feature.
Multi-light pendants can also be placed above the tub to provide a good amount of light along with a dramatic flair.
But how high should the bathroom pendant lights be above the tub?
According to the NEC…
The National Electrical Code; Chapter 4 Equipment for General Use; Article 410 For Luminaire Locations; 410.10 Luminaires in Specific Locations;
D) Bathtub and Shower Areas. No parts of cord-connected luminaires, chain-, cable-, or cord-suspended luminaires, lighting track, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans shall be located within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold.
This zone is all-encompassing and includes the space directly over the tub or shower stall.
Luminaires located within the actual outside dimension of the bathtub or shower to a height of 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower threshold shall be marked for damp locations, or marked for wet locations where subject to shower spray.
From the code above, pendant lights should therefore be installed within a zone measured 8 feet vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold.
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4. In The Center of the Bathroom
Pendant lights can be the perfect finishing touch to your bathroom, or they can be the functional death of your grooming space!
It’s therefore important to consider what purpose your bathroom pendants serve.
Are they purely decorative, or do they need to light your space to complete your general ambiance? This will determine what positioning of the pendant lights you choose.
Therefore, hanging your pendants in the center of the ceiling of your bathroom allows for general lighting in your bathroom.
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Pendant lights can be used in the bathroom, either as a purely decorative piece hung by a corner in the bathroom, as general lighting for a small bathroom, or it can fill in as task lighting for your grooming time.
If you’ve decided to go for pendant lights for your bathroom, we recommend professional installation to ensure your safety.