Light in the bathroom has to meet a number of requirements: in the morning you need it bright and stimulating, for a full bath in the evening it should be gentle and atmospheric, but you also need the right bathroom lighting for applying makeup. In addition, where moisture and electricity meet, additional safety precautions must be taken. Experts reveal what to look out for in bathroom lighting so that a functional and aesthetic lighting concept is ultimately created.
“Good bathroom lighting is a complex task, as this is where different visual tasks come together in a small space and have to be linked to one another,” says Michael Bolz. Careful planning is therefore essential for a good result – also from a safety point of view. But one after another.
First of all, the room areas must be divided up according to the different lighting moments. The bathroom gets the right atmosphere when the lighting is also coordinated with the interior. “For this purpose, spatial characteristics with regard to architecture, coloring, or surfaces should be determined and included in the conception,” says the expert.
If you are planning a bathroom from scratch, start planning the lighting in good time. Because once the bathroom is tiled, additional power lines and connections are no longer so easy to install.
Levels of light play a role
in bathroom lighting “Optimal lighting in the bathroom results from different levels of lighting, some of which have very different requirements,” says Bolz. Each level has its own function and ideally, there shouldn’t be just one lamp in your bathroom. Because a single light source cannot take over all functions at the same time.
The first level – the general lighting in the bathroom
This base should be as bright as possible so that you can keep an overview in the bathroom. In the best-case scenario, good general lighting in the bathroom replaces daylight.
Therefore, when planning, consider the bathroom lighting on the ceiling first. Because diffuse basic lighting also illuminates every corner when cleaning. “It makes sense to use particularly bright, evenly luminous lamps on the ceiling or in the upper wall area,” says the expert.
In very small bathrooms, general lighting can also be achieved using glare-free light next to or above the mirror. Bathroom lights on the mirror should always be attached on both sides because one-sided lighting casts strong, unfavorable shadows on the face. The expert recommends elongated luminaires for this location. These evenly illuminate the face for applying make-up, hairdressing, or shaving without casting annoying shadows.
The second level – targeted light in the bathroom
But even in large bathrooms, you shouldn’t do without lighting on the mirror. Because if the light comes from above only through practical general lighting, unsightly cast shadows are cast under the eyes, nose, and chin when you look in the mirror. This brings us to the second level of light in the bathroom.
Functional bathroom light should be aimed specifically at the object to be illuminated, make details clearer, but at the same time also create an initial warmer atmosphere. In the area of the mirror, luminaires with opal glass covers are advantageous, halogen spotlights that are too bright are less likely. In addition, glare-free, linear bathroom lights above the (large) mirror clearly stretch the room upwards.
“A warm white light on the mirror has the advantage that you still look ‘presentable’ at five in the morning. However, putting on good make-up is more of a stroke of luck in this light, ”says Bolz.
For bright, scattered make-up light, however, 300 lux is ideal. But then it becomes less atmospheric. A remedy here is a dimmer with which you can control the light intensity depending on your needs.
“In the area of the shower, the luminosity can be neglected in contrast to the mirror, provided the lights are arranged sensibly in the bathroom,” says Bolz.
It is more complicated here by the rules that apply to light for damp rooms. “Strict regulations must be observed, especially around the shower and bathtub – and also wherever moisture meets electricity,” says Bolz. And you should absolutely adhere to them – after all, your safety in the bathroom has top priority!
In these areas, the bathroom lighting should therefore be protected against splash water ( protection class IP X4 ) or even water jets (IP X5) and may only be operated with a protective low voltage of up to 12 volts. A lighting designer or electrician will be happy to help you.
The third level – the accent light
“If the customer has the option, it is attractive to work with niches in the walls. They can then be used as a shelf, for example, and equipped with their own lighting, ”says Bolz. With their high-contrast and expressive light scenes, they not only enliven the overall impression of the room but also provide cozy accents when selected correctly.
The experts advise against relying exclusively on accent lighting: although indirect light in the bathroom creates an atmosphere, it casts too many shadows and illuminates too few corners of the bathroom.