Illuminating Your Master Bathroom

In a previous column we discussed the steps and considerations that go into creating a beautiful lighting scheme for your master bedroom. Let’s take things a step further and investigate some solutions for the master bathroom. Because the two rooms are so interconnected, the goal is to create lighting that flows from one room to the next.  master bath

For those readers who might be unfamiliar with lighting design, here’s a brief recap of the most important principals.

1) Effective lighting can’t be created from a single light source. Instead, you’ll want to think of your lights in terms of layers. Each layer contributes a piece to the overall lighting design. This allows you to modify the lights to fit the activity you are doing in the room.
2) Ambient light refers to the overhead or wall sconce lighting in the room. These lights will determine the overall brightness of the room, so you may want to install dimmer switches.
3) Task lighting fixtures are purposely designed to illuminate targeted areas to help with activities that need extra brightness.
4) Accent lights don’t provide much functional light for the room, but they do add decorative flair.

When applying this information to the master bathroom, you may want to start with selecting task lights. These fixtures are often difficult to select and install, which is why many lighting designers list them as a top priority. The most common type of task lighting found in the master bathroom is vanity lighting, which is used for applying makeup, shaving and other daily activities.
Many homeowners install recessed ceiling lights above the mirror, which works just fine. However, you will get a more even light cast on your face if you are able to install lighting on the sides of the mirror instead of above. The second place that requires task lighting is the shower area. A dedicated feature will help illuminate the entire shower, and the extra light will make it a more energizing place, should you choose to begin your day there.
In the bathroom, ambient light often has to act as a stand-in for natural light, since very few bathrooms have many windows. Mounted ceiling lights are the most common type of ambient light source found in bathrooms. You might want to make a bold or luxurious statement by selecting a pendant or chandelier fixture instead. Either way, you may want to install dimmer switches on the ambient lights to help you set the mood for a relaxing bath or shower after a long day of work.
Accent lights can add just as much flair to a bathroom as they can to the bedroom. Decorate your vanity or countertop with a small, stylish table-lamp, or install a recessed spotlight in the shower to illuminate the mosaic tile floors.
You’ll be amazed in the way that well-designed lighting can transform the look of your master bathroom. Find out for yourself what kinds of designs are on the market today and get planning.


David Decker is president of The Affordable Companies, which provide affordable luxury in kitchens, bathrooms and flooring. They are based in Carmel. 575-9540 or visit Email home improvement questions to