Kristen Hicks on March 4, 2016 0 Comments Table of Contents Types of Bathroom Light Fixtures Factors to Consider While Shopping The bathroom mirror plays an important role in most of our morning routines. You may not think much about it, but your bathroom lighting is an important component in how you look going into each day and what all the time you spend in the bathroom looks like. You need lighting that manages both tasks effectively — lighting the space well and looking good while doing it. Bathroom light fixtures come in a wide variety of types, styles and finishes. When the time comes to remodel your bathroom or replace the lighting you have now with something that better matches your decor, you’ll have a wide range of options to consider. This is precisely why we put together this guide to help you research, shop and buy the best light fixture for your bathroom. Types of Bathroom Light Fixtures If you’re replacing a bathroom light that you no longer care for, it’s generally recommended that you stick with a similar type of fixture as the one you had before. This will make for a much smoother installation process. Otherwise, you may have to hire a contractor to install it safely. However, if you’re designing a new home or remodeling your bathroom, then there’s no reason not to go with whatever type of bathroom light fixture you like best. And you certainly have plenty of options to choose from. Let’s now take a look at the most common types of light fixtures being used in bathrooms. Pendant Lights Pendant lights hang down from the ceiling by a cord or chain. In most cases, you’d want to install at least two pendant lights in a bathroom and people often put one each on either side of the mirror. The hanging style of pendant lights is the one thing different models have in common, but the fixtures that hang from the end of the cords come in a wide variety of styles and designs. One thing you have to keep in mind with pendant lights is the height. You want a cord that’s just the right length for ensuring the pendant lights are hung at the appropriate level. Too low and people in the house will hit their heads, too high and you won’t get to enjoy the view of them. Be sure you know how high your ceilings are and measure where exactly you’ll want the fixture at before you make your purchase. Wall Sconces Wall sconces are lights that you attach directly to the wall. They differ from vanity lighting in usually only having one light per fixture, meaning that people often choose to buy at least two. As with pendants, it’s common to place wall sconces on each side of a mirror to add an accent to the bathroom sink space. They also come in a wide variety of styles so a customer who decides to go with wall sconces should have no problem finding an option that suits the style of their bathroom. Vanity Lighting Vanity lighting is probably the most common choice for bathrooms. Vanity lights usually include a number of lights connected to one base. These are frequently placed above a mirror, either along its length or centered. As with the other types on our list, vanity lights are available in a wide range of styles so you can choose a vanity light fixture that goes well with the rest of your bathroom. Ceiling Lights / Recessed Lighting Ceiling lights are just what they sound like: they’re any lights that you attach to the ceiling of your bathroom. Some of your more affordable options will fall in this category and, as with the other types, you’ll have no limits on the range of styles available. Recessed lighting is probably the most popular, and it continues to become more and more popular every year. You’ve probably noticed a trend in the list of types. Each one brings a different aesthetic look to the design of your bathroom, but within each category you have a large array of design choices to choose from. No one type limits you in your style options, you should be able to find lighting fixtures in classic, modern, and decorative styles in all four types, as well as an array of colors and bulb options. Factors to Consider When Buying Bathroom Lights In addition to considering the different types of light available, there are a number of factors that you should weigh in determining which bathroom light fixture is best fit for your needs. Cost Most people can’t make a purchasing decision without considering cost. The pricing range for bathroom lighting is vast. You can find cheap, simple bathroom light fixtures for less than $20, as well as fancy, high-quality vanity lighting that costs thousands. Most of your options fall somewhere in the $100-$250 range though and a lot of people will find plenty to satisfy them at that price point. Unless you’re skilled at taking on DIY home improvements, you’ll need to factor in installation costs as well. Consider how tricky installation is likely to be when working out your costs. A light fixture that costs little to buy, but takes a long time to install could well end up costing you more than a nicer fixture that a professional can put in quickly. Design For many people buying new bathroom lighting, the most important factor will be how it looks. Everyone should aim to at least find lighting that fits in stylistically with the rest of the bathroom, but many light fixtures can add some extra beauty to the space as well. There’s really not much to be said about how to find the right aesthetic for you other than: take time to look. Browse and review the different colors, styles, and designs available. Beauty is entirely subjective and the only way to know if you’ll like the look of something is to see it for yourself. Every store and website that sells bathroom light fixtures understands this, so you can see either photos or examples of the fixtures you like in person before making a decision. Bulb Type The type of bulb your light fixtures require will influence both how bright it is and how much energy it uses. Bathroom fixtures that use light bulbs in the standard size will generally be easier to deal with when the time comes to replace them than any that require more specialized types and sizes. In general, both CFL and LED bulbs make strong choices. The former is more affordable upfront, but doesn’t last quite as long; the latter costs more but offers big savings over time. Both are known for being far more efficient than standard light bulbs, which are on their way off the market anyway. Number and Size Most bathrooms will benefit from having more than one light. That could mean buying multiple pendants, walls sconces, or ceiling lights; or it could mean buying vanity lighting that includes several bulbs. Depending on the size of your bathroom and how much light you really feel you need, you should consider how many different bulbs you want lighting the space. The other big consideration you always have to keep in mind is the size of the space and the fixtures themselves. How much space is actually available, and how much of it can you reasonably give over to lighting? Beyond the size of the bathroom itself, consider the size of the sink area, the mirror, and the general layout of the rest of the bathroom. On top of making sure you pick a light fixture with a design that suits the space, you also want to make sure the size of your bathroom lights work well in the area available. Energy Use Energy Star does certify bathroom lighting, so if you want to be confident you’re going with a bathroom light fixture that won’t be an energy hog, then checking for that Energy Star rating is worthwhile. Beyond the fixture itself though, making sure you use energy efficient bulbs and only keep your lights on when needed will play a big a role in your ultimate energy use as the bathroom light fixture you use. Safety One of the more complicated factors you need to be aware of when choosing the right bathroom light is IP ratings. Bathrooms get wet – between your showers, sink use, and condensation, you can expect the light fixtures you install to experience some dampness. As you likely know, electricity and water don’t usually mix well, so you have to make sure you’re selecting a bathroom light fixture that’s safe to use in an often damp context. Most bathroom lighting placements will be far enough from your water sources that you’ll be fine with light fixtures rated for zone two. If you want a light within the shower itself or right next to it, then you need to put a little more care into finding something rated for zone zero or zone one. Ease of Installation Whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring a professional, you should consider how much work your bathroom lighting will be to install. One way or another, you’ll be paying for it in your own time or at someone else’s hourly rate. You can often get a glimpse of how difficult a fixture is to install in the reviews. If people have a hard time with it, they’re pretty good about letting future customers know. Conclusion For most people, the morning bathroom routine is one of the first and most important parts of the day. For some customers, lighting that’s simply serviceable is good enough. For others, having lighting in their home that’s truly beautiful and bright can make a big difference to how each morning goes, which influences how you’ll approach your day. Lighting can be a great source of beauty as well as functionality. If you know the aesthetics are important to you, then by all means, be picky! Take time to review the many available options and find the best light fixtures that will look just right in your bathroom.