Live Brighter

Ideas and Inspiration

Mar 12, 2013

Lighting Tips

Light On! Make a Splash with Expert Bath Lighting Advice

LIGHT On! Make a Splash with Expert Bath Lighting Advice

cartoon1Put yourself in the most flattering light with the right bath lighting design. Whether you are in the midst of new construction, looking to remodel, or simply want to upgrade your bathroom lighting,  lighting experts offer the following tips to make the most of your bathroom lighting design.

When it comes to presenting yourself in the most favorable light, your bathroom lighting design is where it all begins.

Start the day off right with illumination that is accurate, yet flattering, comfortable, and plentiful.


1.   Get your lumens.

  • Watts are a measure of energy consumption, while lumens are a measure of light output.  New light bulb packaging must now include the lumen output as the true measure of light bulb “brightness.”

  • For task lighting at the mirror, you will need bright shadow-free illumination around 1600 lumens+ similar to that provided by a traditional 100-watt incandescent light bulb.

2.  Show Off Your True Colors.

  • Pastels and light colors reflect, rather than absorb light so you will enhance lighting effects and make the most of your wall sconces, chandeliers and ceiling lights if you opt for white or lighter colors on bathroom walls and ceilings.
  • Color temperature, expressed in Kelvin’s (K), refers to the appearance of light ranging from cool blue to warm yellowish tones.  Skin tones tend to look most flattering in medium to warm color temperatures around <3500K.
  • Color Rendering Index (CRI) is another key component.  CRI ranges from 0 to 100; the higher the CRI, the better.  Natural daylight is considered to have a CRI of 100.  For bath lighting, choose quality LED, fluorescent or incandescent lamps with a CRI of at least 80. 

3.   Decorate in Layers.

  •  “Layers” of light refers to three levels of illumination: General/ambient, task and accent lighting. While the master bath may be larger with more spa-like amenities, the children’s bath simpler and more functional, and the powder room more of a decorative statement, priority should be given to task lighting for grooming at the mirror. 
  • The best mirror lighting surrounds the face with light and provides light from all sides to minimize shadows under the eyes, chin, cheeks and forehead.  Bath vanity lighting on either side of the mirror should be centered at eye-level and installed about 60-66 inches above the floor and sconces should be spaced about 28-30 inches apart (These figures vary according to fixture size and shape, as well as the height of individuals using the mirror).
  • For accent and/or night lighting, LED strip lights are excellent.  Slender and compact strip lights in toe kick spaces and cove ceilings provide a polished, upscaled appearance.  Aso,  LED strip lights  produce almost no heat, are more energy efficient and incur less maintenance than incandescent or fluorescent.  
  • For general illumination, try a centrally located flush or semi-flush fixture or an elegant mini chandelier.
  •  Invest in automated lighting controls for energy-savings, comfort and security. From full brightness for grooming to softer illumination for relaxation, dimming controls also provide for a gradual easing into the morning light and offer night lighting for safe navigation and security.  Used frequently, automated controls save on energy costs and extend bulb life.

Top Picks:

“Connetix” from Sonneman Lighting, modern-contemporary LED 2111 Energy Smart 23” Bath Vanity Lighting in Bright Satin Aluminum with White Etched Glass.

“Arcadia” B1713 from Troy Lighting, a transitional 22” Bath Vanity Light in French Iron with Clear Ribbed and Provence glass.


*Monterey Mosaic from Quoizel

700 BCMET-LED “Metro” from Tech Lighting, an Energy Smart 26” Bath Vanity Light available in Antique Bronze, Chrome or Satin Nickel with Acrylic lens or Frost glass.

Visit Capitol Lighting on Facebook at and Twitter at for more bathroom lighting ideas and to view the latest designer bath lighting and accessories.