When it comes to heating and lighting the bathroom is possibly the most important room in the house to get it right. Light is needed for personal grooming as well as just to see what you’re doing and heating is essential because, let’s face it, you’re getting naked in there!
- Lighting in the bathroom is subject to strict safety laws. All fittings must be completely encased to avoid water coming into contact with electrical connections. They must be double insulated with the bulb and all metal parts covered, so you need lighting specifically designed for the bathroom. Any light switches inside the bathroom have to have a pull chord.
- As with all bathroom appliances, your heating devices need to be specially designed so water doesn’t come into contact with electricity. Switches will usually be pull chords and they should never use a conventional plug and socket, instead bathroom appliances should be permanently wired directly to the mains.
Good bathroom lighting is all about layering. Light should be strongest where it’s most needed – so where you shave, apply make-up, shower, and maybe where you need to see into cupboards. Otherwise the function of your lighting is to create the right mood for your bathroom.
The mirror should be a main concern. Ideally, to avoid shadows falling on your face you should have light coming from either side of the mirror as well as from the ceiling. Flanking the mirror with lighting can look good whatever style you’re going for. Think vintage, sconces add classic elegance or, if you’re making it modern, a pair of contemporary wall lights can turn even a minimalist mirror into an eye-catching feature. If you don’t have the wall space, high wattage lighting from above the mirror will do the job almost as well.
Illumination from above
Recessed lights are a popular choice for the modern bathroom. These look crisp and clean as well as often having the flexibility to be angled to highlight key areas and avoid too much glare from a single bulb. If you’re keeping it traditional though, your options are endless – frosted lights give a lovely diffused effect, or you could even fit shades. However, do make sure your lighting is designed for the bathroom for the safety reasons mentioned.
Why heat the bathroom?
There’s nothing worse than starting your day standing naked, goose-bumped and shivering, waiting for the shower to warm up… Except maybe the excruciating sensation of your bare feet first touching the cold tiled floor! But aside from the obvious, bathroom heating reduces humidity in the room by evaporating the moisture, which helps prevent mould and mildew as well as enabling you to reuse towels.
The days of one-design-fits-all central heating are over, with the bathroom spoilt rotten with different styles of radiators, whether you want to make a bold statement or have your heating melt into the background.
Many people are moving away from bathroom heating attached to the central heating system. Stand-alone fast-warming electrical heaters can be a good option for power saving as there’s usually no need for the bathroom to be heated for as many hours as the rest of the home.
Heated towel rails
Available in a wide variety of sizes, finishes, and shapes, heated towel rails add a touch of luxury, as well as keeping your towels toasty and tidy. They can be either used in conjunction with a conventional radiator as an extra heat source or higher powered models can provide the sole heating source for the room.
If the idea of stepping onto a lovely warm bathroom floor tickles your tootsies, underfloor heating could be for you. This also has the added benefit of providing constant heat throughout the room. The heat comes either from warm water flowing through pipes, or from electrical heating cables, or mats, beneath the floor and radiates upwards. Although room temperature doesn’t have to be as high to feel comfortable with this type of heating, heated floors can take a long time to warm up, especially if under thick tiles. So it’s worth looking into this first if you’re at all concerned about fuel usage or heating costs. They can however, be set up to work from cheaper off-peak electricity.