Photo: Todd Sutherland

THE WAY YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR BATHROOM can play an important role in establishing your mood at the beginning and the end of your day. Lighting plays an equally important role in how you feel about your bathroom and for that reason alone it is important to get bathroom lighting right.

Function and atmosphere

Like most rooms a bathroom needs three main layers of lighting: ambient to light the space for practical purposes, task for those areas such as the vanity unit and shower and accent to highlight features and details. These layers of light, possibly on dimmer switches with dimmable bulbs, will allow you to switch between the bright light needed for everyday tasks to softer levels for a relaxing mood.

Photo: Kazaar Lighting

Planning: some things to think about

If you have the opportunity, it makes sense to identify what lighting you want where at the beginning of a project and what sort of an atmosphere you want to create. This will help to pinpoint features you’d like to highlight, where you’ll need appropriate task lighting and where you might prefer to have a flexible, dimmable option.

Ceiling lighting, such as downlighters, is one of the most discreet ways to provide lighting for everyday tasks if you want a lighting source that is “invisible”. If you’re looking for something more dramatic that might set the mood of the room a chandelier or pendant light (as long as it is bathroom-safe) could be your choice.

Concealed LED strip lighting or indirect fixtures contribute to a cozy and glare-free ambiance. By bouncing light off surfaces, these fixtures distribute illumination evenly throughout the space, minimizing harsh contrasts and creating a soothing atmosphere. Transitioning between warm and cool colour temperatures, made possible by dimmable and tunable white LED lighting (see below) adds a dynamic touch that complements different daily activities.

The use of dimmers will allow you to soften lighting as you wish and fittings that can be angled are great highlighters that can be used to create an accentuating wash of colour down a wall. Under- lighting fittings creates a floating effect that makes a small room feel bigger and low level lighting behind a free-standing bath creates a dramatic wash of colour on a wall.

Mirror lighting needs to be well-distributed and shadow free, positioned at eye level to eliminate harsh shadows. Adjustable fittings positioned at eye level such as sconces or vertical vanity lights are perfect, although pendants over the vanity are a current trend.

Photo: Anna Stathaki

So what’s new

Kam Dhatt, director of Kazzar Lighting, with whom we work on almost all of our interior projects, shares some ideas on how lighting technology can enhance your bathroom interior.

1. Pamper your Circadian rhythms

Circadian lighting is lighting that is designed to have a biological impact on your internal time clock (or circadian system) mimicking the natural progression of daylight. Kam recommends tunable white LED fixtures to achieve this effect in the bathroom. “Set below 3000K, this lighting creates a warm, inviting atmosphere conducive to unwinding in the evening. Set above 3000K from morning throughout the day it establishes a bright invigorating environment.”  To find out more about Circadian lighting visit

2.Get the mirror lighting right

When selecting your mirror lights choose a source with a high colour rendering index (CRI) this allows you to perceive skin tones realistically and will enhance accuracy.

3.Get bathroom Smart

Versatile smart systems such as Casambi or RA2 from Lutron are affordable and easy to install and set up. Investing in these systems offers remote control and effortless adaptability throughout the day, especially if coupled with tunable white LEDs.

4.Avoiding things that go bump in the night

By employing either motion sensors or presence sensors (PIRs) it is possible to navigate during the night without disturbing your sleep cycle or anyone else’s.  Motion sensors react to movement and work well when combined with a night light with warm colour temperatures below 3000K. PIRs react to infra-red (such as body heat) and can be used judiciously for night light activation.

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