Let there be Light
Lighting is crucial to create the right atmosphere in your bathroom.
Lighting can be used to create the mood of the room, and with several different lighting options, you can transform the room from a bright, functional area to a softly lit, relaxing atmosphere.
If you are completely redoing your room you will need to plan your lighting so that the necessary electrical work can be done at the building stage. Walls may need chasing to allow wires to be concealed. However, if you are working with existing electrics you can still use them to your advantage by changing the types of lights you have.
MAKE LIGHTING WORK FOR YOU
Different types of lighting fulfil various different tasks; amenity lighting provides general all-over illumination and can be provided by artificial lights or natural daylight. Task lighting is required to highlight specific areas like the mirror for shaving or applying make-up. Lights can be used to create specific effects, highlighting architectural detail or items on a shelf, and can be used to dramatic effect. Ambient lighting can create certain moods
candles and soft lighting can create a relaxing atmosphere.
Many lighting manufacturers supply specific ranges suitable for use in the bathroom. Shower lights are available which can be recessed into the ceiling, which are shower resistant, sealed units. Alternatively why not consider outdoor and marine light fittings.
WAYS OF CREATING LIGHT
Firstly consider how much natural light is available, is it possible to gain more natural light by adding a skylight or another window? Make good use of the natural light that you do have by using sheer fabric on windows to soften and diffuse bright light and mirrors to reflect natural or artificial light to create the illusion of more space. Opaque glass can be used to provide privacy.
Change your mood
Glass mosaic tiles, a white bathroom suite and metallic finishes all reflect the light and can be used to brighten the room. For walls or dividers consider using glass bricks to maximise light. These are available in many forms such as clear, blue or green coloured with plain, textured or sandblasted finish. Check building regulations and use specialists if replacing existing walls.
Vary lighting to reflect the different times of the day, morning light needs to be bright and stimulating, whereas evening light should be subdued and relaxing. *Candlelight is the most atmospheric and soothing light, however candles are a fire risk and must never be left unattended. Never place candles directly onto an acrylic bath, always use a heat resistant holder and take care to extinguish when leaving the room. Beeswax candles may be safer as they burn longer and do not spit.
Don’t forget that the use of colour can create an illusion of space and light. Cool blues, greens and greys are calming and airy, but can appear cold. Limit their use in a dark room. Warm colours such as red, yellow, orange and pink create warmth in rooms with limited amount of light.
TYPES OF LIGHT
There are various different types of light each of which provides a different effect. White halogen light is the closest to daylight, it provides a crisp light and is recommended for overall illumination. Tungsten light gives off a warm colour and is good for highlighting whilst fluorescent light is very cool and harsh but can be used behind a pelmet board to create a dramatic effect.
Light fittings are available in many styles and can be used for different effects, here are some of the options:
- Wall lights usually have an enclosed shade making them suitable for bathrooms, they are available in many styles and colours from traditional to modern and provide a soft all round glow.
- Recessed lights can be positioned in the wall, ceiling or floor (toughened glass versions are available for floor fixing). If recessed into the ceiling they can provide a fixed beam of light or have a movable ‘eyeball’ which can be directed to highlight specific areas
- Spot lights can create pools of concentrated light and are available in either tungsten or halogen. However halogen lights often need a transformer, which may need to be fitted by an electrician
- Down lighters can be used to achieve a variety of effects. Low voltage halogen fittings are neat, functional and unobtrusive and create a narrow, focused beam of light. For a broader wash of light fittings with tungsten bulbs can be used
- Up lighters are very effective for enhancing architectural features. The ceiling reflects the beam of light and disperses it so that glare and shadows are reduced. The shade is often a semi-transparent material such as opaque glass which gives a diffused light.