There’s something luxurious and decadent about relaxing in a tub with a glamorous chandelier glimmering above you. Traditionally used to illuminate dining spaces and foyers, chandeliers can elevate your bathroom to the next level. If you’re thinking about incorporating this type of lighting fixture in your home, here are some tips to help you get started.
If you want to hang a chandelier over your bathtub, the first thing you’ll need to do is make sure your ceiling is tall enough. For safety purposes, most codes require the bottom of a chandelier to be at least eight feet above the top of the bathtub’s rim. If your room’s ceiling is lower, you’ll need to consider using a semi-flush ceiling light instead.
You’ll also need to ensure that the chandelier you choose is rated for use in damp locations, or that it has been designed with moisture protection in mind. If it isn’t, you risk getting water in the wiring and possibly causing a short circuit or fire hazard. Most home inspectors will check for this during a home inspection, and some will not pass a home unless the proper steps are taken to keep the electrical components dry and safe.
Once you’ve determined that your space is suitable for a chandelier, decide on a size and style to suit your bathing area. “We love to go big, but not so big that it’s overpowering,” Lewis says. He and Giannoulias suggest mixing metal finishes if you’re into that (brass is currently popular, but they’re partial to antiqued brass), just be careful to match the finish on any other fixtures in the room so as not to clash.
For this bath, the designers chose a chandelier with a vintage feel and a gold-and-crystal base that coordinates with the fixtures on the sink, vanity mirror, and walls. They also matched the chandelier with the faucet and hardware in the shower to create a cohesive look.
If your bathroom is smaller or the ceiling is too low to accommodate a chandelier, Lewis and Giannoulias suggest adding a small fixture a few feet in front of the tub. “That way, when you enter the room, everything looks centered,” they say. “It’s still a focal point, and it gives the impression that there is a large fixture over your bathtub.”
A chandelier over a bathtub can be a dramatic addition to your master bath or guest suite, but there are some important safety considerations you should keep in mind before you attempt to install one in your own home. For the best results, consult with a licensed electrician to ensure that your fixture meets all local and state building codes.
Reuben Saltzman is a second-generation home inspector who writes about homes and home improvement projects at Structure Tech in the Twin Cities. He is a certified mold inspector, environmental consultant, and radon tester and serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Home Inspectors.