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Bathroom Lighting Trends for 2011

We’re launching a brand new blog series about lighting, and this week’s post is dedicated to an all-important, yet sometimes overlooked, interior space.

Yep, it’s the bathroom. Lighting plays a major role in the bathroom because it’s the ideal place for personal grooming and primping. On top of that, it’s a prime location for unwinding and relaxing after a stressful day.

Before deciding upon a lighting layout, it’s important to keep in mind the four types of lighting: task lighting, ambient lighting, accent lighting, and informational lighting.

Task lighting is usually directed toward a specific surface, for example a lighted mirror in a bathroom helps illuminate the face for cosmetic application.

Ambient lighting sets the mood of a room. The central light source, such as a chandelier, typically provides the ambient light.  Its glow brightens the whole space, from dim ceilings to dark corners.

Accent lighting
might highlight focal points or architectural aspects of the room, such as moldings and artwork.

Informational lighting
, on the other hand, serves a very practical purpose.  It provides safety lighting when you are moving through a pathway or hall, and temporary lighting within closed spaces such as a closet.

Current design trends in bathrooms address each lighting type differently depending on the bathroom’s intended style.

A glamorous, contemporary bathroom might use an ornamental chandelier to provide ambient light and matching wall sconces to accent the nearby artwork.

A chic powder room offers a surprising twist with an offset, crystal chandelier and architectural wallpaper.  The shadows from the chandelier create visual interest and the candles on the rustic wood vanity keep the overall atmosphere homey and inviting.

If you’re after a touch of whimsy, playful, winged light fixtures soften the rigid, industrial angles of this cool-toned space.

There are also trendy design options that integrate light sources instead of showcasing them as distinct design features.  Clean lines that parallel the main architectural elements help conceal any necessary task lighting.

A sleek, modern bathroom offers a single, subtle solution for task, ambient and accent lighting.  The result is striking in its simplicity.

Traditional bathroom lighting has also been reinvented in 2011.  Designers are taking cues from a more rural design language by bringing gooseneck barn lamps into the modern equivalent of farmhouse (or cottage-style) spaces.

It’s not just about looks anymore either. Sure, crystal chandeliers and galvanized barn lamps are evocative and aesthetically pleasing, but can they actually help you relax?

Well, Kohler has introduced a product line that uses chromatherapy (also known as chromo therapy or color therapy) as a relaxation device.  Now, through embedded LED lights, your bathtub can emit any color of the rainbow.

What hue helps you chill out at the end of a long day?  Could this be a new lighting type?

Chromatherapy bathroom tub from Kohler
Source: Kohler

The current year has brought new inventions and ideas to light in the world of illumination.

Bathroom lighting designs have become invigorating and inspiring.  Gone are the days when people tuck the bathroom away into a dark corner.  It’s 2011 and a bathroom’s lighting design should complement its decor as well as its users.

By Emily Struzik

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