The degree of natural light may not be adequate for the bathroom’s activities so artificial lighting must be incorporated. When sizing artificial light, decide what is needed to supplement the natural
light during the day and then consider the needs in the room after dark. No single type of fixture (luminaire) can produce the light needed for taking a relaxing soak in the tub, putting on make-up, or showering, so many different sources need to be considered. Artificial lighting should be thought of as light layers and these layers can be incorporated in a number of ways through ambient, task, accent, and decorative lighting sources. With the input of your client, decide if the light sources will be a prominent feature of the room or disappear into the background with only the effects of the lighting evident in the room.
General or Ambient Lighting
Provisions for general or ambient lighting in each compartment or room of the bathroom are necessary, and can be accomplished through a variety of sources including: ceiling fixtures, vent/heater/light combination ceiling units, table lamps, wall fixtures, recessed lights, and indirect or cove lighting (see Figure 7.13). Keep these points in mind when adding ambient lighting to a bathroom:
• Recessed lights are less obtrusive and can distribute light in a wide, medium, or narrow spread, depending upon how the fixture is designed. Select the type that gives the desired effect.
• Adding dimmers to spa, exercise, or meditation areas will help set the desired light level or mood for the activity.
• Some types of lighting produce a lot of heat. The heat may feel comforting in the winter, but during the summer it will add to the cooling load and to the discomfort in exercise areas.
• Consider the surface finishes and colors when determining lighting. Shiny surfaces will produce glare and dark surfaces will absorb more light.
• Indirect or cove lighting adds a soft glow to the bathroom.
• Use gentle up-lighting, such as at the ceiling or in dark corners, to make the room feel larger.
• General lighting in powder rooms is probably sufficient to provide a softer, low level of light for general guest use. If the powder room is used by guests or family members as an extra bathroom for getting ready in the morning, then additional light will be needed for these activities.