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When It's Time to Upgrade Your Bathroom Lighting

(ARA) - Proper lighting is essential to the look and function of the room where you get ready to face the world everyday. So why do so many people put up with uneven shadows and having to strain to see their faces in the mirror every morning?

Whether it's cost or simply a lack of know-how that's holding you back from updating your lighting, you've just run out of excuses. Following are some simple, cost-effective solutions from the experts at the American Lighting Association that will help you solve the most common bathroom lighting problems.

 Problem: You often knick yourself while shaving in the shower.  

Solution: In order to be fully functional, lighting in the shower stall or over the tub should be bright enough for cleaning, shaving and reading shampoo labels. If you have an older home, built before UL rated bulbs were available, add some recessed downlights designed for use in wet areas, and put shields around them.



Shielded fixtures will protect reclining bathers' eyes from glare. An adjustable accent light aiming from outside the tub is dramatic, glare-free and great for those who bring books to the bath.


Problem: You are often frustrated by uneven shadows or glare, and feel like the lighting is inadequate when you look into the mirror.


Solution: Upgrade your lighting by taking the old fixture down and buying new ones. The best lighting at the vanity utilizes cross illumination, which provides shadow-free lighting.


"If you have a single ceiling mounted fixture over the vanity, or a light bar over the mirror and don't want to cut new holes for electrical connections, you can mount a track over the existing electrical outlet and hang a decorative fixture over the sink and pendants from either side of the mirror," recommends Monty Gilbertson, CLC, manager and buyer for Lighting Design by Wettsteins in Lacrosse, Wis.


"We've made it even easier than that," says Jeff Dross, senior product manager for Kichler Lighting, based in Cleveland, Ohio. "Our Beauty Raps, which can be mounted from one outlet, provide stylish bath lighting through a three-light bath bar and pendant, all in one inclusive fixture. They are design coordinated so the pendants will match the design elements in the bath fixture. The glass will be the same -- you'll get three beautiful pieces of glass above and matching pendants on the side." 


Problem: The unit housing your bathroom's overhead light and exhaust fan is yellowed and cracked, and it looks out of place with your current décor.


Solution: "In recent years, a number of lighting companies have come out with decorative exhaust fan/overhead light combinations that really help dress up the room," says Kimberly Green of Ferguson Enterprises in New Port News, Va.  "You can coordinate the unit with your faucet, your other lighting fixtures, even the tile on the floor." Among the companies Green recommends you turn to for options: Hunter Fans, Broan-Nutone and the Tbiber Division of the Craftmaid Fan Company.


Problem: You don't want others to be rudely awakened when someone in the household has to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.


Solution: Install a low-voltage linear lighting system in the toe spaces beneath the vanities and cabinets. "But be conscious of the fact that depending on your flooring material, whether it is wood, granite, tile or marble, there may be glare. You can cut down on it by adding an 'L' reflector underneath the lamps," says Al Thomas, CLC, executive director of Seattle Lighting's Design Services.



For more information or to find a lighting showroom near you, log on to www.americanlightingassoc.com or all (800) BRIGHT-IDEAS, that's (800) 274-4484.


Courtesy of ARA Content

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