Lighting serves many purposes in a bathroom. It eases the transition from asleep to awake, guides you in your daily grooming routines, and helps you unwind after a long day.
A single fixture doesn't do you or your bathroom's decor justice. To ensure adequate lighting, you need a variety of sources that provide illumination in three layers: ambient, task, and accent. "Thinking in terms of layers gives you the flexibility to address a variety of needs," says Mary Beth Gotti, manager of the GE Lighting Institute in Cleveland, Ohio.
However, bathroom lighting isn't all about function. Fixtures, especially vanity lighting, also finish the look of any design scheme. "Light fixtures are art," says Marie Lail Blackburn, certified master kitchen and bath designer and owner of MLB Design Group in Seattle. "There are so many beautiful choices out there. The choice is very personal."
These days, lighting applications -- not just the fixtures -- are catching the eyes of designers and homeowners alike. You'll find mirrors and medicine cabinets aglow with integrated fluorescent or LED bulbs, and whirlpool tubs that embrace chromatherapy -- built-in lights that change from calming cool hues to energizing warm tones to influence your mood. "Master bathrooms are retreats where you go to relax, revive your spirits, and refresh yourself," Blackburn says. "Lighting plays a huge role in creating a peaceful atmosphere."
Read on to learn how to cast the right amount of light -- and style -- in your bathroom.