A chandelier over a bathtub may look romantic, but read this first.

Chandelier over a bathtub? Well, you shouldn’t be able to stand in your bathtub and change the lightbulb. Here’s why.

Chandelier over bathtub MyFixitUpLife DIY dont HOUZZ front page

I spied this little thumbnail on Houzz today. White bathrooms are still enormously popular, and always look so fresh and clean for a perfect ‘after’ photo.

While the image is aspirational, and the oversized plant and armchair seem out-of-place to me (a matter of taste), there is one detail could violate your local codes. It’s the chandelier.

According to the National Electric Code (NEC) from 2011, there is a restriction for the placement of lighting around the wet area of a bathtub. The reason for the restriction is that you shouldn’t be able to change a lightbulb or grab the light fixture while inside the bathtub, standing, sitting, or otherwise.

So they require that any part of a light fixture, even the non-lightbulb embellishments, must be at least 8 feet above the highest portion of the bathtub’s walls. This no-light-zone also extends horizontally 3 feet around the tub rim.

traditional home chandelier over bathtub

Traditional Home includes this image on their Pinterest page. It looks like the chandelier is hung in a NEC approved place, and the look is still romantically glamourous.

If you want to hang a chandelier above a bathtub, you’ll need a taller than average ceiling and a light fixture that is rated for wet or damp locations. And yes, local codes can be different. Always check with the local code office to find out what restrictions for a chandelier over a bathtub have been adopted in your town. They could be more stringent or less so.

And while I spied four more images of lighting inside the ‘no-light-zone’ when I clicked on that Houzz article, many other favorite design inspiration and home how-to sources share images that feature the problematic, yet romantic, chandelier-over-the-tub look.

While I love the look of chandelier over a bathtub, too, it could be achieved with a non-electrical crystal chime or something else that sparkles, shines, and bounces the romantic light above that soaking tub?

Chandelier over bathtub pinterest MyFixitUpLife DIY dont

I found these images of chandeliers in the ‘no-light-zone’ on Pinterest boards posted by Lowe’s, Better Homes & Gardens, HGTV magazine, and Traditional Home magazine.



If you want to check out the details on the NEC restrictions on placing a chandelier over a bathtub, click here.


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