RETREAT FROM THE WORLD. The best bathroom lighting can multi-task: bright and illuminating for practical purposes like grooming, doing make-up or bathing the baby; low and soothing for unwinding in a relaxing bath after a long day. With the right light, you can easily accomplish both. Dimmers and alternative light sources offer a convenient and beautiful way to get the light you need and look you want.

Bathroom Retreats

Add some splash to the bath with stylish new lighting

In an era when going away on vacation is not in the budget, many home-owners are finding it makes fiscal sense to turn the master bath into a spa environment with high-end amenities such as soaking tubs, saunas, whirlpools, granite counter-tops, double sinks, marble and tile flooring, and his and her dressing areas.

The finishing touch to a redecorated bathroom is complementary lighting that is highly functional and attractive. In response to the increased demand for luxurious bath amenities, lighting manufacturers now offer more high-end fixtures than ever, making this the perfect time to create a splashy bath.

One of the most common mistakes people make when planning a bathroom renovation is not to think about, and plan, the lighting for their new bathroom. The right lighting will make the room. Without it, everything else you purchased won’t look half as good as it could and should.

People are often making a significant investment and creating a bathroom retreat reminiscent of a hotel room at their favourite vacation spot. Redoing the bathroom is an economical way to update the look and feel, as well as increase the value of a home. Even simply installing a shower light or a chandelier or spotlight over the tub can enhance both comfort and ambiance.

There are two must-haves for proper bath lighting: an ambient light source and task lighting. There has never been a better time to buy a decorative ambient fixture than right now. Lighting manufacturers have designed some truly elegant and highly functional fixtures that will set a luxurious atmosphere for the room and make your guests envious.

The most critical area for proper bathroom lighting is at the mirror, where the majority of grooming tasks – from make-up application to shaving – takes place. Although many builders and interior decorators install one recessed light over the sink, this is not ideal for putting your best face forward.

The best scenario at the bathroom mirror is a lighting fixture at the top and two smaller wall-mounted fixtures located on either side of the mirror. It is possible to add a recessed light over the sink as a supplementary light source, but it should never be the primary light because it will create shadows on the face.

Decorative sconces that either match or complement the over-the-sink light will evenly illuminate both sides of the face. To ensure sufficient lighting for grooming tasks we recommend a minimum of 150 watts of incandescent lighting per sink, or 40 watts of fluorescent.

An alternative to a compact fluorescent is low-voltage halogen which can provide 28 lumens per watt. Halogen provides a lot of light and gives good colour so that skin doesn’t look washed out. Many people are looking for energy-efficient lighting solutions, but also want quality light that helps them look good.

And don’t forget a dimmer. Dimmers are essential for creating a soothing and comfortable environment. Installing a dimmer in your master bath is one of the easiest, least expensive and mood enhancing techniques you can apply.

The reality is that the amount of light provided by typical vanity fixtures gives much more lighting than we need for the majority of times that we are in the bathroom. Once you have installed a dimmer, being able to adjust the light levels for different situations is amazingly practical and helps to prolong bulb life and reduce energy costs.