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3 Rules for Contemporary Bathroom Lighting Design

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Nov 25, 2015 01:01 AM
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by ESLTeam last modified Nov 24, 2015

Sculptural fixtures are the hottest trend in contemporary bathroom lighting. These lights use throwback Edison bulbs and resemble mining fixtures from a bygone era…or a Steam punk fantasy world. But if they aren’t installed correctly, your bathroom could become a very real death trap. Popular contemporary bathroom lighting like this dark rust cage sconce  resembles vintage industrial lighting from the early 20 th century. They often have a worn, distressed look that adds visual interest. How do you avoid this trap? Follow the International Residential Code (IRC), the electrician’s bible for working on residential projects. If you want to buy the IRC 2015, prepare to drop $100 for digital or hard copy. This vintage style bath light in brushed nickel  is ideal for complementing the overhead lighting. Glass globes protect the bulbs from splashing water, so you can place the fixture close to the shower. Luckily, we have a copy of the IRC in our office. And we don’t mind divulging the bathroom lighting guidelines for free! How To Choose Contemporary Bathroom Lighting and Meet the Code Start with a general lighting fixture that provides the bulk of the ambient lighting in the room. Just make sure the fixture has a damp location rating. This g alvanized outdoor ceiling fixture  by Franklin Iron Works is UL listed for damp locations. It can be wired to a dimming switch to change the mood in your bathroom. Each functional area of the bathroom should have a task light. These are often in the form of vanity lights and bath bars. This industrial-inspired bathroom light in a brushed nickel finish  can be placed over a 27-inch vanity mirror, softening the shadows under your eyes and cheeks. It also adds layers of light to your washroom.   IRC Guidelines for Bathroom Lighting Below is a layman’s guide to the rules laid out in the International Residential Code (IRC). Install your contemporary bathroom lighting per these rules so you won’t have to tear them out later due to non-compliance issues. 1. Have at least one switch near the door. (IRC E 3901.6, IRC E 3803.2) This one’s pretty self-explanatory, though we suggest using two switches . Many electricians like to place the vanity lights on a simple on/off switch. General lighting is then placed on a separate dimming switch to enhance the mood. The basic dimming switches are: Single-Pole, Full Range Dimmer : Consists of a dimming slider and rocker-type switch. Example: Leviton Decora Rocker Switch Preset Slide Dimmer 3-Way Dimmer: Works with a separate on/off rocker switch. Both connect to a single fixture. Example: Philips Sunrise Pre-Set 3-way Electronic Dimmer paired with a Lutron Diva SC Single Pole Switch . 2. Bathroom fixtures must be protected from water. (IRC E 3903.8) Any light that is inside or over the shower must be wet location listed: Recessed bathroom lighting with a waterproof lens is the safest to use in these applications. The DLR56 Nickel Retrofit Contemporary LED Downlight is UL Listed for Wet Locations. Recessed pot or can lights are one of the safest fixtures to place over your shower. Any light outside the shower must be damp location listed: This can include the vanity lights, fanlight and bath bars which only need protection against mist and water droplets. 3. Pendant lights must hang 3-feet from the outside of the tub, or 8-feet above the bathtub rim. (IRC E 3903.10) Most bathrooms don’t have high enough ceilings to accommodate pendant fixtures. But if you prefer this look, make sure the fixtures hang 36-inches away from the bathtub, or 96-inches above the tub. Hanging lights must not have a pull-chain switch. Thoughts? What style of contemporary bathroom lighting did you choose ? How did the size and shape of your washroom affect the fixture(s) design? We would love to hear what worked for you. All images from Euro Style Lighting






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