The lux of love

04 Jul, 13

Britta O’Boyle learns brushing up on bathroom lighting could create a scheme with real sparkle

Electricity and water may not be the most comfortable of bedfellows, but with careful choice and planning, bathroom lighting can create a scheme with real sparkle. Roy Hughes, chairman of The Lightworks who distributes Eyeleds, says: “Whilst other rooms in the home have a certain amount of flexibility when it comes to lighting design, the bathroom usually has some very key requirements. Yes, of course today’s spa style bathrooms need ambient, adjustable lighting, but before that, it is also essential that task lighting and the room’s main lighting are properly considered.”

Starting with task

The bathroom is often not only home to relaxing but also for essential everyday tasks such as shaving and applying make-up. Things that without the appropriate lighting, could prove difficult or turn out drastically wrong. Director of LDL Components Matthew Lord adds: “It is vital to consider at the outset of bathroom design to ensure accurate and adequate provision of both task and ambient lighting. In addition to energy efficiency, it is important to consider whether the requirement in each zone is for task or mood lighting and what the appropriate lighting solutions for each area might be.”

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Downlights start

Industry experts suggest mirror lighting and recessed downlights are the current favourites among consumers. But they may not always be enough. According to John Fearon, managing director of Astro Lighting: “The most popular, but not necessarily the best type of bathroom lighting, is the basic recessed downlight. This is fine, but you do need other light fittings in the bathroom to give the right amount of illumination around the mirror and also to vary the mood and lighting level in the room.”

Michael Linsky, managing director of Sensio Lighting, adds: “Plinth lighting has become extremely popular and is often used along the base of a panelled bath to create a soft and gentle atmosphere in the bathroom, whilst adding depth to the overall design. If there is quite a plain sanitaryware suite in place, flexible strip-lighting is an extremely easy, versatile product that can enhance the appearance of the bathroom and can be used in many different ways.”

LEDs light way

Whatever the choice of light fittings, there is one overall industry consensus that LED is lighting the way forward. Michael Linsky of Sensio Lighting, says: “LED fittings should be the first choice when it comes to choosing bathroom lighting. The low wattage of LED products means that energy consumption is reduced by an average of 91%, resulting in far lower electricity costs. With such low heat emissions, LEDs are a safer alternative for households, especially as no UV or IR rays are produced.”

Keeping in control

But all these lighting effects and options need to be controlled. What was once just a pull cord, is now something experts consider to be as important as the effects themselves.Allan Hartley of Taptile concludes: “Today’s bathrooms and their owners have higher expectations that require a considerable degree of lighting control. This is increasingly being driven by sophisticated technology that, in some cases, is not only capable of allowing individual circuits to be switched on, off, dimmed and generally adapted to suit, but that offers this advanced level of control via wireless and touch sensitive means.”