Even if you are not particular about lighting in other parts of the house, the bathroom is a place in which you should definitely pay attention to the kind of lights you put in there. The bathroom has two main purposes and lighting should fit them both.
It is the place where we relax, whether it means soaking in the bathtub or taking a warm shower after a long day. We don’t want to be staring at harsh fluorescent lights while we get ready for bed. This is the time to quieten down and forget about the day’s worries so that we can go to sleep comfortably and relaxed.
But the bathroom is also the place where we get ready for the day in the morning. We need to be able to see every detail in the mirror and we won’t be able to do it without adequate lighting. Women especially know the pain of doing makeup in a badly-lit room. You leave for work thinking that your face looks perfectly only to find out that in natural lighting the color of your foundation looks off and the lipstick is slightly outside the lines at some spots. The same goes for shaving for men. That’s why good and strong lighting is crucial in the bathroom.
If your bathroom has little or no natural lighting then you need to add the third purpose to the list: imitating daylight lighting. This is the general-purpose lighting used throughout the day when in the bathroom. For example, it’s needed when you’re cleaning the bathroom. Doing so in a room with soft lighting will not allow you to see every little dirty spot that needs to be cleaned.
So how do you balance these completely different purposes?
It is best to have separate lights for each of them if your bathroom size allows it. At the minimum, two are recommended: ambient lighting and task lighting.
Ambient lighting is what illuminates your bathroom as a whole. It is supposed to imitate daylight. This role is most often fulfilled by a ceiling light. Depending on the size of your bathroom, you might need more than one to properly light the room. There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to overhead bathroom lights and you can find a lamp that will suit any style.
Now for the soft and relaxing lighting, you have two choices: installing a dimmer to make the overhead lighting gentler on the eyes or buying a separate bathroom night light. Whichever you choose, this type of light is a lifesaver when you need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and don’t want to suddenly become wide-awake.
Task lighting is what you install in the area with the bathroom sink and the mirror. This is a more localized type of lighting that is supposed to light only this specific spot. There are two common ways of installing task lighting: one horizontal bar above the mirror or two bars/sconces on the sides.
After considering all of the above, remember also that lights can serve as tasteful decoration, especially in a room that is usually scarce in ornaments.