Seeing bathroom in a new light

The right bathroom lighting can switch an image in the mirror from beast to beauty, but it often ranks way below a luxury tub, modern fixtures and stylish tile on the priority list.

Remodeler Clay Lyon sees inadequate bathroom lighting all the time in houses.

"When there are only can lights to light a person's face, the effect can be really shadowy and hideous," says Lyon of Lyon Construction + Design in Mission Hills, Kan., who is president of the builders/remodelers advisory council for the National Kitchen & Bath Association.

Here's a guide for improving the lighting in the bathroom.

Vanity: This is the most

crucial lighting consideration because the mirror is used for applying makeup and shaving. Sconces or vertical fixtures mounted on both sides of the mirror are best for casting light evenly across the face.

"The light frames the face and makes people look younger and more attractive," says Shirley Allen, owner of the Light Shop in Kansas City, Mo., who designs lighting for clients.

"When there's light coming only from the ceiling or above the mirror, it creates shadow under the chin and eyes and on your forehead."

The center of each fixture should be at about eye level, or 66 inches above the floor.

Shower: Many don't include an overhead light. Allen recommends a small, water-rated recessed light with a glass lens. In small bathrooms in which the shower stall has a clear door, a dedicated light might not be necessary.

Countertops: Lyon uses small, recessed spotlights to light the sinks in bathrooms. In powder rooms, Allen places a wet-rated lamp on countertops because it adds ambience and guides guests into the bathroom.

Overall lighting: In bathrooms with tall ceilings, Lyon uses decorative chandeliers or pendants. In smaller bathrooms and water closets, he uses fixtures that are flush with the ceiling.

Safety: Allen installs night lights on the wall 12 inches from the floor to help guide people into the bathroom.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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