1. What’s the Color and Temperature of Your Bathroom Lighting?
Have you ever noticed how the clothes you try on in the department store never quite look the same in your bathroom mirror? Don’t blame the mirrors; it’s probably your bathroom lighting. “Plain” white light can have a multitude of shades, colors and temperatures that impact how your clothes and makeup look. You’ll almost instinctively notice that every light bulb or lamp has a “temperature” or color tint to it that makes it cooler or warmer.
Bathroom lighting experts often recommend sticking to the warm white light, as shown in the color/temperature breakdown below. (Hint: Try warm white 2700-3000 kelvins (K) for the most flattering bathroom lighting).
- Daylight: 4600-6500K
- Cool white light: 3100-4500K
- Warm white light: 2000-3000K
Remember that different parts of the bathroom may benefit from different light temperatures depending on room size, decor colors and natural light from windows.
2. What Is the Color Rendering Index of Your Bathroom Lighting?
To take the color and temperature concept of bathroom lighting a little further, it’s a good idea to understand the Color Rendering Index (CRI). This number can indicate how accurate colors look under certain lighting sources.
Note: The CRI is fairly accurate with most standard bathroom lighting options, but can be a little off with LED lamps. NIST and other lighting experts are trying to come up with a scale that accurately measures color rendering for LED lights as well as other lighting sources.
3. What Wattage Is Best for Bathroom Lighting?
We’ve covered the color, temperature and color-rendering factors of your bathroom lighting; now let’s discuss brightness, which is measured in wattage. There are several factors that will impact how bright you want the lights in your bathroom to be — 75-100 watts go well in guest and master bathrooms. However, for half-baths or powder rooms, 45-60 watts is fine. Keep in mind that as you age, or if the users of the bathroom are seniors, staying around 100 watts will aid with vision and safety.
If you want to have more bathroom lighting options in the wattage and brightness department, consider installing dimmers. That way, you can use all 100 watts to wake yourself in the morning and apply makeup or shave without cutting yourself. Later that evening, you can dim to 35 watts for a relaxing bedtime bath.
4. How Many Lights Do I Need in the Bathroom?
Each light in your bathroom should serve your ability to see what you need to see, as well as providing the right ambiance and design effects. You’ll need to consider your bathroom’s size, ceiling height and how your bathroom lighting can diminish glare and unflattering shadows. There are also different types of bathroom lighting to consider:
- Task lights: Essential to any bathroom lighting scheme, task lights usually go around vanity areas in the vicinity of the sink so you can put on makeup, shave, brush your teeth, etc. We recommend installing task lighting on either side of your mirror instead of above the mirror. Lights above the mirror tend to create glare and shadows you want to avoid. Though lighting on the sides casts an even glow for your morning routine. Consider vertical bathroom lighting bars, pendants or sconce light fixtures.
- Ambient lights: These are the lights that cast general illumination across the bathroom. You can accomplish this with rows of recessed lighting; ceiling-facing light fixtures that reflect light across the entire bathroom; and decorative central light fixtures that radiate light in all directions.
- Accent lights: Directional recessed lighting can be angled to illuminate artwork or impressive design elements in your bathroom. Hanging light fixtures such as chandeliers can lead the eye toward a beautiful claw-foot tub or other features; while enhancing the general ambient bathroom lighting. Some of the hottest styles include under-cabinet, floor-level lighting that sets off bathroom floor designs as well as providing low levels of light for middle-of-the-night bathroom visits.
- Decorative lights: These bathroom lighting ideas stand out as design elements on their own. Chandeliers, sconces and other “eye candy” lights can brighten your bathroom and add decorative touches that highlight your unique style.
How Many Lights Do I Need in the Bathroom?
Each light in your bathroom should serve your ability to see what you need to see, as well as providing the right ambiance and design effects. You’ll need to consider your bathroom’s size, ceiling height and how your bathroom lighting can diminish glare and unflattering shadows.