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When most people imagine bathroom remodeling, they think sink, tub, tile, toilet.

They forget about the lighting.

In fact, bathrooms are often the most poorly lit rooms in the house. Whether too dim, too harsh or overly bright for tired morning eyes, poor lighting in the lavatory could make the space uncomfortable.

Can’t figure out why your bathroom bugs you? Try changing the lighting before you break out your tile and grout.

Many bathrooms have one overhead fixture to light the whole room.

Better: layers of lights.

Here are four kinds of lights that you’ll like in the bathroom:

1. Task lighting around the vanity or mirror. Forget recessed lighting above the mirror, which can cast shadows under the eyes and nose. Vertical fixtures mounted on the wall at eye level next to the mirror create natural, uniform lighting for applying makeup and shaving.

If there isn’t space next the mirror, mount fixtures above it so they span about 24 inches across and hang 75 to 80 inches off the ground. Once-popular globe lights are out of style because they’re harsh. Replace them with a series of sconces, which push the light up or down for a warmer glow.

2. Shower lighting. For safety’s sake, add a recessed light in the ceiling to cast the perfect amount of light. This light can be turned off when the shower is not in use, or left on as a night light.

3. Ambient lighting. This should fill the room, making it feel like a place to relax and unwind after a stressful day. Dimmer switches are a bathroom “must.” In fact, in a small bathroom, a dimmer switch can turn task lighting into ambient lighting without the need for new lights.

Keep safety in mind when updating lighting and fixtures. Any light less than six feet from the tub must indicate on the label that it is safe for use in wet areas. Never use free-standing lamps in the bathroom, especially near the shower or sink.

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