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Use Bathroom Lighting to Set a Relaxing Mood

When it comes to turning the bath into a personal retreat, bathroom lighting provides an essential tool to help you establish a calm, peaceful atmosphere. Here are some pointers:

Layer the light

When you're designing a large bath, it is vital to layer several kinds of light throughout your space. Most bathrooms start (and unfortunately, most usually end) with task lighting that illuminates areas for specific activities. This includes your vanity lights and ceiling lights or recessed lights near the shower.

But you wouldn't want your living room to have only basic utilitarian lighting, so why limit your private sanctuary?

Chandeliers are the latest thing in bathroom lighting to layer on ambient or general light, which brightens the room while softening the potential harshness of task lighting. Pendant lights are another source of ambient lighting; they can be difficult to place, but provide a unique look. If your ceilings are low, wall sconces are your best bet.

Put your ambient lights on a dimmer switch to accommodate a wide range of moods and tasks.

Stylish chandeliers, sconces, pendant lights and other ambient fixtures do double duty as decorative lighting, reinforcing your décor while adding to the layers of light in the room. Want to find your style? Take our quiz.

Finally, think about training a dramatic accent light on a painting, a vase in a wall niche, a woven hanging, or an architectural detail to add unexpected depth and elegance to your retreat. Choose objects that blend with your other design elements and enhance the feeling you want to capture.

The low down

"Toekick" lighting, a strip of low wattage LED lights installed underneath the cabinets or vanity, is a fabulous—and underutilized—bathroom lighting design element. With a few candles added, the soft illumination is a perfect complement for a long soak in the tub. Toekick lighting doubles as a safety feature, especially when set up with a motion sensor to activate when someone enters your bathroom or kitchen at night.

Safety first

For most of us, planning and installing unusual bathroom lighting is not the time to go DIY. In addition to the obvious safety issues, product selection can be tricky when you want to use dimmers or install lights near wet areas. Consult an experienced contractor, bathroom planner or certified electrician.

Learn more about choosing your bathroom lighting or how to choose your bathroom vent fan >