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Seven Tips for Getting the Most From Bathroom Lights

bathroom-lighting-imageBathroom lighting don't always get the attention they deserve.  Since there is a lot of indoor lighting to install when you're renovating or building a house, you may allocate most of your lighting budget and consideration to larger rooms, thinking that a small room won't need much attention.  But bathroom lights solve multiple uses, from ambient lighting to task lighting, so put some time into finding the right fixtures.  You’ll need to consider the way the lighting will be used, the style of the room and safety features as well.  Below are seven tips to keep in mind when you shop for bathroom lights.

  • Use halogen light bulbs, particularly in task lighting installed around the vanity.  Although a bit more expensive when purchases, halogen light bulbs last about three times longer, so you'll save money over the long term.  Halogen lighting also provides a clearer, purer light that is as close to natural lighting as you can get.  If you use halogen bathroom lights, you'll see more accurate skin tones and colors when you look in the mirror.  It’s a distinct advantage when applying your makeup.

  • Make sure all of your bathroom lights and outlets are on GFCI's (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters).  These improve safety by properly grounding electrical circuits so they'll automatically shut off if exposed to too much water.  Have an experienced electrician install GFCI outlets in your bathroom to prevent electrical accidents.

  • Use dimmer switches, particularly for overhead bathroom lights.  You should have plenty of bright indoor lighting in your bathroom, including top quality task lighting, but some days you may want some ambient lighting. When you're soaking in the tub, you’ll appreciate the opportunity to turn down the lights for a softly lit, relaxing atmosphere.  Dimmers are a great alternative to installing lighting that may seem inviting for long soaks but won’t be bright enough for shaving or applying makeup.

  • indoor bathroom lights imageSplash proof switches are crucial in bathrooms.  Moisture from steamy showers and the occasional splash from the sink can damage light switch wiring unless protected by the appropriate switches.  Even with splash proofing, it's best to install light switches as far from water sources as possible.  The best location is just inside the bathroom door so you can turn on the lights before you enter and turn on the water.

  • Use only bathroom lights that are UL listed for damp locations.  The moisture of showers, baths, and sinks takes a toll on indoor lighting fixtures and their components.  A bathroom light that has been UL approved for damp areas will last for years with no problems.

  • Consider frosted bulbs rather than clear bulbs for your light fixtures.  These will produce less glare, which makes them more comfortable on the eye, particularly when you are using task lighting that is reflected in a mirror.  Less glare is also important in a room with so many reflective surfaces like shiny fixtures, glass or ceramic tiles and mirrors.

  • For a cohesive look, match the metal on your bathroom lighting fixtures to the metals used for your shower, tub and sink fixtures.  If you've installed brushed nickel spigots and towel bars, stick with the same or similar metal for all your lights, otherwise the bathroom can look too disjointed or busy.

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