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Much to Consider When Choosing How to Light your Bathroom

26 Nov 2018 10:00 AM | Sandy Griffis (Administrator)


This last weekend, our guest on “Hammer Time” (YCCA’s talk show on KQNA) was the delightful Christy Board, our area’s Certified Bath and Kitchen Designer.

To share with our readers, a Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer (CKBD) specializes in the design, planning and execution of residential kitchens and bathrooms, and as a CKBD designers must have specialized technical and communication skills that are necessary to succeed as a certified designer.

In order to obtain a CKBD, applicants must document a minimum of five years of experience, and a minimum of two years must be dedicated to full-time residential kitchen/bath design, including design execution or project management. The remaining three years can consist of full-time kitchen/bath design or related industry experience.

One of the conversations we had on air was bath lighting and what is important to keep in mind when lighting a bathroom. Christy commented that since baths now are being created into larger spa like areas lighting is the key.

The ceiling in baths should have recessed lighting overhead for general illumination and then, of course, the vanity area must have excellent task lighting. In this case, task lighting can be fixtures above the mirror or sconces on either side of the mirror. And don’t forget the lighting in the shower and/or tub area.

I asked Christy about common mistakes with bathroom lighting and she immediately replied “not enough of it” and “lighting in the wrong areas.”

Christy loves the LED bulbs, and with their improved advancement LEDs in baths give a more clean and modern look, and today’s LEDs have more wattage and the light quality is a lot warmer than the earlier LEDs. Christy prefers the bulbs for the ceiling, which give off diffused light that isn’t overly directional, and she likes the use of halogen bulbs because they give off an enormous amount of light; however, they are dimmable as well.

So many of us probably give the least amount of consideration of lighting to our baths more than any other rooms in the house. I know I have. Most of my lighting is in the kitchen and living room and the overhead light in my bath and above my mirror is supposed to do it all. Is that why some days I have a bad hair day because I can’t see clearly?

In talking with Christy we learned that a good lighting plan is placing ample light where it is needed for showers, shaving, or putting on makeup and the other light in the bath just enhances the overall mood of the room.

I was unware that vanity lighting works the hardest to illuminate the head and face for grooming, and one of the most common mistakes Christy sees in recessed ceiling fixtures directly over the mirror. This lighting makes it more difficult for makeup grooming. I am off to purchase vertical fixtures or sconces and mount them on either side of the mirror because now I know they are best for casting an even light across the face.

Are you aware that fixtures over the vanity mirror should be placed 75 to 80 inches above the floor and, like all vanity lighting, contain at least 150 watts — ideally spread over a fixture that’s at least 24 inches long so that the light will wash evenly over the hair and face. Properly placed lighting can eliminate shadows under the chin, eyes and cheeks, so then why do we spend so much on make-up when we just need to purchase the proper lighting fixtures and bulbs?
 
Christy is a firm believer in dimmers. Dimmers are a lighting designer’s best friend because they grant absolute control over the lighting, and thus the mood, of the room. In a very small space like a powder room, dimming the vanity fixtures might even provide all-in-one task, ambient and accent lighting. Plus, dimmers conserve energy.

Here are some helpful hints when selecting fixtures for your bathroom.
Look for the CRI (Color Rendering Index) and color temperature. In terms of CRI, choose a fixture with a high CRI (90+ is preferred). Incandescent and halogen light sources always have the best CRI — 100 — meaning they most accurately render colors. If you wish to use an energy-efficient LED or fluorescent light source, ensure your selection has a CRI or at least 90. This provides excellent color rendering in bathroom settings.
For color temperature, select fixtures with a warm color temperature (2700K — 3000K). Many find warm color temperatures more flattering than cool ones, because they are similar to the incandescent lights most people have become used to. You should never go above 3500K in a bathroom lighting application.

Remember to tune in to YCCA’s “Hammer Time” twice each weekend Saturday and Sunday mornings at 7 on KQNA 1130AM/99.9FM/95.5FM or visit kqna.com. Listen to Sandy and Mike talk about the construction industry and meet your local community partners. A wildly fun local show. See you on the radio.

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