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How to Choose the Best Lighting for Your Bathroom

The Hybrid Walk-In Tub Shower Combo

Bathroom renovations involve more elements than are often anticipated when making plans and budgeting. Most homeowners don’t think to invest in bathroom light fixtures, preferring to save up for other expenses like refreshed sink faucets or floor tiles. However, creating the right atmosphere in your bathroom can come down to your lighting choices, and a single overhead fixture often doesn’t cut it. Follow our easy step-by-step guide to choose lighting you’ll love for your bathroom. 

1. Start with Common Lighting Uses

white double sink with task lighting

Before you do anything else, you need to determine how you want your bathroom to make you feel. Do you want a room that makes you feel energized and ready to take on the day, or a soothing retreat perfect for stress relief? Add your style to this and you’ve got a starting point when searching for lighting. Determine why you need lighting in your bathroom to narrow down locations and sources. 

Ambient Lighting

When natural light is lacking, ambient lighting can fill in the gaps. These lights add a soft, unfocused glow to the room. They’re intended to serve as an addition to the smaller lights you already have. If you’re not sure whether you’ll need an extra light source, note how much natural light is available during the times of day you’ll most likely be in the bathroom. A simple overhead light may be more useful than you think. 

Accent Lighting

Accent lights draw the eye to features you’d like to highlight, like the beautiful tile in your shower or photos you took on vacation. Their lighting focuses entirely on that feature. You’ll often find accent lights as subtle recessed lights directly over the feature they’re intended to spotlight. 

Task Lighting

Task lighting serves a purpose. You’ll find these lights over vanities or above your bath or shower, making it easy to bathe, style your hair or apply skin serums with adequate lighting. Placement for task lights is crucial to ensure their usefulness, so ensure they’re precisely installed within the space they’re intended to light up, whether it be your bathing area or your sink.  

2. Identify What Lighting You Need

bathroom sink lit with natural light

Whether you want an extravagant chandelier or simple, modern wall sconces, each type of lighting can enhance your bathroom for a completely different feel. Once you’ve identified where lighting needs to be placed and why, you can turn to the type of lighting you’d like. We’ll run through some of the more common lighting styles seen in bathrooms below. 

Vanity Lights

Often masquerading as wall sconces, vanity lights are a bright light source to help you get ready in the morning or light up your evening wind-down. These lights should be installed either on each side of the mirror or directly onto the vanity itself if possible—this ensures light casts evenly over your face. 

Pendant Lights

Pendant lights are a popular choice for bathrooms. Their versatility in size and shape allows you to showcase your personal taste, while their practical, often small size makes them a functional option without sacrificing style. One or three smaller pendants suit small spaces well, making them perfect for bathrooms. 

Recessed or Flush Lighting

Recessed or flush lighting is unintrusive, which is exactly what you want in an area that’s likely to have water splashed nearby. Recessed and flush lighting fixtures are installed either into or directly on the ceiling, making them smart and safe choices above your bath or shower. Often, these lights will have a dimmer setting—if your tub has chromotherapy settings, you’ll be able to dim the overhead light to enjoy the chromotherapy lighting at its most effective without total darkness. 

Chromotherapy Lighting

Your morning or evening soak is the perfect place to enjoy the holistic natural benefits of chromotherapy. Safe Step walk-in baths come equipped with chromotherapy lights, but you can also add an app-controlled light above your tub that allows you to change the light’s color. Whether you choose revitalizing orange, calming blue or another color, chromotherapy lighting gives your bathroom a relaxing spa-like atmosphere.

3. Choose Your Light Bulb Type

light bulb

If you’ve never put much thought into the light bulbs you purchase, now may be the time to start paying attention. No matter which type of bulb you choose, search for a cooler-toned light bulb, such as soft white. These are easy on the eyes and give off plenty of light to illuminate your space. Beyond that, different light bulbs have different advantages, which we’ll outline below. 

LED Light Bulbs

LED bulbs are incredibly long-lasting, with up to 25,000 hours of use in each bulb. This significantly outlasts traditional bulbs and makes them a good choice for those with mobility challenges, since you won’t need to change them as often. They’re also energy-efficient and less likely to overheat than traditional bulbs. 

Halogen Light Bulbs

Although halogen bulbs are incandescent, they’re a more energy-efficient choice than standard incandescent bulbs. They’re also an affordable option, often available at a better price point than LED bulbs. However, like most incandescent bulbs, they’re more prone to overheating than LED and won’t last as long. 

Natural Light

It’s not a light bulb, but natural lighting is the gold standard for quality lighting while getting ready in the morning. Make sure nothing like cabinets or towel stands blocks your natural lighting, and use sheer curtains to make the most of the sunlight and still maintain your privacy. 

4. Consider Your Safety

woman relaxing in a walk-in tub

A safe bathroom is well-lit, convenient for movement and made to accommodate your needs. Safe Step is deeply connected with this concept since the bathtub or shower is often the showpiece of the room. With our unwavering focus on safe, easy-to-use walk-in tubs and showers, we aim to give you peace of mind that your bathroom is the perfect place to unwind and relax. If you’re interested in more ways to improve your bathroom, read up on our bathroom safety tips for seniors or reach out to discuss a beautiful, secure walk-in tub or shower with our team! 

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