Whether your bathroom remodeling project is a complete modernization or a simple redecoration, don't overlook one inexpensive yet effective technique _ decorating with light.
"The right lighting displays a new bathroom at its best and also adds to its safety and convenience," said Jim Jensen, a lighting specialist for the General Electric Co.
One popular bathroom project is replacing an old medicine cabinet with a modern vanity unit and a larger mirror. You can complement this arrangement and create a dramatic effect by building a simple flourescent canopy over the mirror:
_ Make sure there is at least 12 inches of space between the top of the mirror and the ceiling; 15 to 16 inches is preferable.
_ Use 1 X 4s to build a frame that runs the length of the new mirror. Inside dimensions should be 12 to 18 inches wide by the length of the mirror.
_ Apply quarter-round moldings inside the bottom edge of the frame to support the diffuser or lens. Clear acrylic lenses or white diffusers work best since they do not "yellow" with age. You can buy these in 2 X 4 foot strips from home center or hardware stores and cut to size.
_ Paint the inside of the frame matte white to reflect light. Paint, stain or cover the exterior to blend with the room decor.
_ Mount the frame in an appropriate manner on the wall directly over the mirror. The assembly will be more secure if one end butts against, and is fastened to, an adjacent wall. Make sure that the electrical wiring remains accessible.
_ Install two rows of flourescent strips or "channels" to fit the inside length of the canopy. Mount these fixtures on the inside surfaces of the front and back of the frame.
Equipped with soft light flourescent tubes, these produce a warm, flattering light similar to incandescent bulbs, but are much more economical to operate and will last several times longer.
"Converting all bathroom fixtures to flourescent will improve the room's lighting quality and reduce electricity costs," said Jensen.