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Chandeliers are undoubtedly the most powerful tool for your home’s lighting project and if you’re remodeling or redecorating your bathroom, you may be asking if you can put a chandelier in your bathroom.
Chandeliers make excellent choices for accent lighting in hotel bathrooms. Depending on the room, a chandelier can be positioned in the middle or above the tub to provide both accent and additional general lighting.
But is it really a good idea to add a chandelier to your at-home bathroom?
Well, a chandelier is a dreamy, elegant, and luxurious lighting piece that most likely, your modern bathroom decor was missing. If a few considerations are adhered to, you can put a chandelier in your bathroom.
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Is It Safe to Put a Chandelier in a Bathroom?
Chandeliers look majestic and add such a focal point to your bathroom. However, safety must be ensured if you want to put one in the bathroom.
To safely put a chandelier in a bathroom, you’ll first need to choose a light fixture that is rated for wet or damp locations. Plus, it should be installed within a zone measured 3 feet horizontally and 8 feet vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold.
Therefore, if you plan to place it over the top, make sure the chandelier is mounted high enough so that it doesn’t cause a problem or pose a safety risk.
Also, the code requires your chandelier to be an enclosed fixture, therefore, no chance of a bulb falling out or the fixture dropping loose and falling into the tub since electricity and water do not mix.
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;
(A) Luminaires installed in wet or damp locations shall be installed such that water cannot enter or accumulate in wiring compartments, lamp holders, or other electrical parts.
All luminaires installed in wet locations shall be marked, “Suitable for Wet Locations.” All luminaires installed in damp locations shall be marked “Suitable for Wet Locations” or “Suitable for Damp 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.
NOTE: Other electrical aspects must also be addressed with a bathroom chandelier including the local codes for your appropriate IP (ingress protection) rating, and a measurement of how electrical components are sealed against dust, dirt, dampness, and liquids.
Thus, the right chandelier for the bathroom will have an IP rating of at least IP67 therefore, safe in total immersion up to a water pressure of one meter.
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But here’s a bit of a warning: while there are many inspirational images of chandeliers dangling from bathroom ceilings, most of these are just for the purposes of beautifying the bathroom, and not always for actually living in.
In some cases, the chandeliers in these photos are repositioned to fit everything in the frame, and before one takes a bath, they are removed or repositioned according to standards.
So, in case you need a reminder, before purchasing that chandelier, always remember that some of such bathrooms are actually unsafe.
More so, many of these photos show chandeliers that aren’t UL-damp listed hanging over tubs, much less in the bathroom with the tub. That means, most of these chandeliers aren’t marked “Suitable for Damp Locations”’
Therefore, consult an electrician before buying your wet-rated chandeliers, or else, upon inspection, your fixtures may not pass because they aren’t UL-damp listed even if those fixtures are out of reaching range. No matter their worth, they will have to come down.
How Big Should a Chandelier be in a Bathroom?
For a safe installation, you always want to consider the size of the chandelier before bringing it into the bathroom.
Chandeliers tend to work best in large rooms where they won’t impose on the rest of the fixtures and fittings. Therefore, if your bathroom leaves a lot to be desired in terms of space, a chandelier could make the room look even more cramped.
To find the proper size fit for your space, consider the equation below (it should help you get started although it’s a rough estimation that may be affected by other variables):
As a general rule, the diameter of the chandelier (in inches) should be relatively close to the sum of the room’s length and width, measured in feet.
For instance, if your bathroom is 15 feet wide by 12 feet long (15 + 12), the ideal size fixture would be 27” wide.
You’ll also want to consider its height.
For instance, if planning to hang it above a tub that is 2.5′ high and the bottom of the hanging light fixture is 2′ from the ceiling, you would need a ceiling height of 12.5′ to place the light fixture above the tub.
Therefore, your bathroom would need to have a very high ceiling if you wanted to install a hanging light over a tub.
Where Should a Chandelier be Placed in a Bathroom?
When planning your bathroom lighting, the right combination of ambient lighting, task lighting, accent lighting, and natural light is key.
We recommend layering your lighting in the bathroom to ensure functionality. This ensures every area of the bathroom is properly illuminated hence functionality whilst adding that decorative element to your bathroom.
Plus, having light from a variety of sources helps create different functions and moods.
Here are the major spots you can hang a chandelier in a bathroom whilst combining it with other light sources:
1. At the Center of the Bathroom
According to the U.S. National Electric Code, hanging fixtures need to be at least 8 feet above the top of the bathtub rim.
If this isn’t possible in your space and you want a luxury bathroom that is opulent and still compliant, think about hanging the chandelier in the middle of your bathroom to provide general lighting.
This also makes it possible to change a lightbulb or the chandelier itself if going for an upgrade.
2. Chandelier Above the Bathtub
Installing a chandelier over the tub makes a big design statement that transforms the bathroom from a purely functional room to a stylish space.
Before installing a chandelier over the bathtub, always check with your local code to find out which restrictions for a chandelier over a bathtub have been adopted in your location as they could be more or less stringent.
Additionally, if you want to place a chandelier over a bathtub, you will need a ceiling that is higher than average ceilings.
Your chandelier must also be properly secured and be sure to have your bathroom inspected for safety beforehand.
Because luminaires mounted above the eight-foot area covered by the zone are clearly not affected by mist, steam, or direct spray, your chandelier can find a home above the tub when correctly located.
Before hanging a chandelier above the tub, it is also important to ensure that all the fixtures plus everything in the bathroom that uses electricity are connected to a Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI).
These devices act as a circuit breaker that immediately shuts off power in case of an imbalance between the incoming and outgoing current thereby preventing the risk of a potential electrical shock.
According to experts at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a GFCI can work within as little as 1/40 of a second.
Most bathrooms are usually designed with a light fixture over the bathtub so the wiring is in place, making it easy for your electrician to change the existing fixture to a chandelier.
If the existing light above the tub is in the exhaust fan housing for the bathroom, consider replacing it with a “fandelier.” A fandelier is a great option for anyone wanting the function of a fan with the style of a chandelier.
You can also add a dimmer switch within the bathroom, but not within reach from the tub as it allows you to control the ambiance in your bathroom by keeping the light low at nighttime or taking the harsh edges off the room as you unwind in the tub.
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3. In the Bathroom Walkway
Mounting a chandelier over the bathtub is one of the most popular and luxurious placements for this hanging light fixture and with good reasons.
But you can still achieve a similarly lush look by mounting the chandelier in your bathroom’s walkway. This is an excellent way of adding proper illumination for task lighting as this area will mostly include the vanity and other storage options.
QUE: Can I put a chandelier in my shower?
No. We do not recommend putting a chandelier in the shower because this area is prone to frequent splashes and even if your fixture is wet-rated, it might not be the safest way to light up a shower room.
Also, considering how large and heavy chandeliers can be, plus how high they must be hung above the shower stall, your ceilings will need to be towering, and this is highly unlikely.
Therefore, this makes it unsafe and presumably unlikely to install here.
Instead, you can always install protruding surface-mounted ceiling light fixtures and flush-mounted recessed lights in the shower. Here’s a guide on how to properly light a shower.
Can You Put a Chandelier in a Small Bathroom?
You may be wondering if you can put a chandelier in a small bathroom, or even, in a powder room.
Yes, it is possible to do so as a chandelier would be a great source of general lighting provided it is still wet-rated and you have high ceilings with enough clearance for this fixture.
Make sure your chandelier is proportional so it does not cramp up your space.
Plus, create an extra special small bathroom by combining this chandelier with other light sources subtly and matching your finishes for a glamorous interior.
CONCLUSION: Can You Put a Chandelier in a Bathroom?
Yes, you can install a chandelier in a bathroom, provided they are marked for use in damp or wet locations and are enclosed or include a protective cover over the bulb.
Just remember that you will typically need high ceilings than the standard 8′ high if you plan to install a chandelier in the bathroom. No matter its location in the bathroom, you don’t want to bump your head on the fixture because of the lower ceilings!
Plus, chandeliers can be very heavy, and not all bathrooms will have the wiring to support one so trust the experts with the installation! A licensed electrician can ensure your fixture is set properly.
Without a doubt, bathroom chandeliers look extra special on high or vaulted ceilings. Therefore, a chandelier will result in a lot of looking up, but don’t forget about what is down below.
The primary elements in a bathroom (whether small or large) or powder room, including the sink, washstand, or vanity, all occupy the bottom half of the space. A chandelier adds interest to the upper half and helps to balance the room by drawing the eye up.
If your bathroom has high ceilings or is particularly visually heavy in its lower half, then a dramatic, eye-catching chandelier is the perfect remedy.
Plus, keep things in proportion. That means a more extravagant chandelier would suit a larger bathroom while a smaller chandelier will make the best impact in a smaller bathroom.