Lighting your master bathroom

Since it is one of the keystones of any home, chances are that you use your master bedroom space as more than just a place to sleep at night. Functional, beautiful lighting can’t be created from a single light source. You’ll want different types of lighting that correspond with the different activities you do most. To achieve the best lighting design for your master bedroom, consider using layers to light the space. Layering lighting works by blending together multiple light sources to create a rich and ambient atmosphere. Let’s take a look at the specifics of this method and discover how layering can be implemented successfully in your bedroom.IO-Decker

The bottom layer of our lighting pyramid is called the “overall” layer orDavid  “ambient” layer. This is the foundation of the room’s lighting design. Chandeliers, ceiling fixtures and wall sconces fall into this category, and are intended to create soft illumination for everyday use. The ambient layer will determine the general brightness of the room. You may want to try installing dimmer switches or wiring different lights to turn on via different switches. That way, you can adjust the brightness of the ambiance level up or down based on the activity you are engaged in.

The next layer of lighting is the “task” lighting. This bright layer illuminates specific areas or surfaces to help with activities like reading, working on the computer or applying makeup at the vanity. And because task lighting is more direct, using more of these lights instead of ambient lighting can help you save on energy bills.

Accent lighting refers to the top layer of our lighting system. This lighting helps enhance the room and create visual interest. You can use accent lighting to illuminate art or architectural elements. Accent lights usually are adjustable so they can be used to produce a variety of styles for the room. This layer doesn’t necessarily add functional light to the room; it’s mainly there to complete the look of the room. Make sure these lights are on the dim side so they don’t overpower the rest of your décor.

Here’s a quick checklist provided by the American Lighting Association to help you determine whether you have an adequate lighting scheme for your master bedroom. You will want to be able to say yes to each of these questions.

1. Can I see well enough to get dressed?

2. Is there a light in the closet?

3. Are there individual reading lights on each side of the bed?

4. Is there an overhead light source?

5. Do I have enough light to determine the colors of clothing in my drawers?

6. Do I have a light source near the door?

7. Have I installed outlets in convenient locations while building/renovating my bedroom?

8. Can I fill dark corners with portable lighting sources?

9. Do I have a dimmer installed on the overhead light source?

10. Are there lights at the dressing table to help with makeup?


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