Bathroom Lighting

A bathroom is a place to relax and recharge after a long and perhaps stressful day. Making a bathroom comfortable pays off and lighting is an important aspect to consider in bathrooms. A good lighting provides a suitable amount of light for where it is needed like such as for showers, shaving, or putting on makeup.

Some technical specifications or requirements include the consideration of types of lights, different light bulbs, and the dimming of lights. The 3 basic types of lighting are Ambient lighting, Task lighting, and Accent lighting. Ambient lighting is a substitute for natural light; also known as general lighting which provides an area with a wide illumination. Task lighting assists people in doing specific tasks such as reading, grooming, preparing and cooking food, doing homework, and playing games. Accent lighting adds emotion and drama to a room by shining lights at certain angles to complement objects (usually artwork or decorations).

Light bulbs used in bathrooms come in different types like Incandescent, Fluorescent, to LED, and Halogen light bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are the most common and cheap; they are good because they can be used with a dimmer switch but a downside is that they produce more heat than light making them extremely inefficient. Fluorescent bulbs are energy efficient, produce little head, and last a long time, however they are quite expensive. LED bulbs last by far the longest (50 000 hours), contain no hazardous materials, but they can also be very pricey. Halogen bulbs produce a very bright white light which is good for displaying things; on the contrary they can be very dangerous if placed close to flammable materials (Halogen bulbs can get up to 650 degrees Celsius). There is no “best” light bulb since different people prefer different things, but it is argued that fluorescent lights are over all the most suitable as they are energy efficient yet create a soft and natural light which is comfortable for peoples’ eyes.

Dimmers are extras in lighting; they allow control of lights meaning they also have control of the mood in a room.   In very small spaces like a powder room, having dimmers can allow an all-in-one ambient, task, and accent lighting. Furthermore, dimming the lights can also conserve energy and prolong the life a light bulb.

Safety is the most important aspect when it comes to lighting. Paying attention to aesthetics doesn’t discard the importance of safety. Remember to consult a certified electrician before working on even the most basic lighting projects. Canada’s electric code requires all outlets in bathrooms to be GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters) which protects people from electrical shocks and fires. Even with a GFCI, freestanding plug-in lamps should never be placed near a sink or tub. If there are fixtures that are going to be close to the bathtub or shower (usually 6 feet, though local codes vary) bust be “wet” or “shower-location” rated to prevent accidents and injuries.


Arnold, Susan. “A Lesson in Bathroom Lighting.” This Old House. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <,,403815,00.html>.

“American Lighting Association.” Basic Types of Lighting. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <;.

Eisenbraun, Blair. “ELightBulbs Lighting Blog Best Bathroom Bulbs.” Best Bathroom Bulbs. N.p., 1 July 2010. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <;.

“The Pros and Cons of Halogen Bulbs.” The Family Handyman. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <;.

“Color Temperature Chart.” Light Bulbs Direct. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <;.