Dimmer Lighting in a Sauna
Every sauna I’ve ever built has a light in it. Every light is switched via a dimmer, just outside the sauna door on the changing room wall. Why? Soft, indirect light is preferred in a sauna; the softer the better. I like to nude up in a sauna and if I’m taking a sauna with others, I don’t want the lighting to make me feel like I’m in a doctor’s office. Get it? A light with a dimmer switch allows for brighter light when, say, reading in a sauna, or when having to look for a bottle opener or something you’ve lost under the bench.
I have a good friend who has built saunas in remote areas, sans electricity. When you design for a window on the common wall to the changing room, the window sill on the changing room side of the window is a great spot to mount a candle holder. As you illuminate a candle, the soft light from the candle casts a wonderful glow in your sauna room, and doesn’t melt the candle!
A lot of hard core sauna nuts don’t like any light in their sauna, just a window facing the lapping shoreline on their pristine lake. Who wouldn’t like that!? I have that set up at my lake sauna, and it is priceless. In addition to a window to the outside, whether indoor or an urban environment, a window from the hot room to the changing room is a great consideration. Just imagine you’re at the lake!
Every sauna built from today forward shall have this lighting configuration:
- LED rope light extended underneath the upper bench.
- Two sconce lights, one on either side of the hot room door.
Both light systems shall be controlled by dimmer switches via a dual switch box installed at a convenient height outside the hot room door, opposite of the hinge side.
Advantages of LED Rope Lighting in a Sauna
The advance of LED rope light technology is upon us. We now have these systems available at big box Depot stores. We can install these systems via conventional 110v 15 amp 12 gauge wiring. If there is a better lighting system for our saunas, I’d like to know about it. Modifications of the following can include an LED rope light system, also on a dimmer switch, mounted under the bench in the changing area.
1. Lighting Underneath Upper Bench Casts Indirect Light
A pleasant vibe for sauna bathers. This light helps illuminate the path from the upper bench down to the floor, and out the door. What was once the dark dim underbelly of the sauna hot room now becomes a soft, glowing, appealing space, making our hot rooms feel that much larger. Thanks to the dimmer switch, we can control exactly how much illumination we want: an illumination level of our own creation.
2. Lighting via Overhead Sconces Casts Direct Light
Wall sconce lighting can help create a functional vibe for sauna bathers. This light helps illuminate the entire hot room for cleaning, or early stages of a sauna as we fire up our stoves, and prep the area. Thanks to the dimmer switch, we can control exactly how much illumination we want from our overhead sconce lights. Often, we may set for a very soft glow to cast off from the wall sconces, which is enhanced by the light reflecting off our wood paneling. This provides a warm feeling for the sauna bather, who may be known to remark at the beauty of our tongue and groove paneling not just as a compliment to our craftsmanship, but as a representation of nature’s beauty. And if the sauna bather thinks more deeply, he or she may possibly also pay homage to the fact that trees also provide us the fuel for our sauna stoves and the oxygen for each of our breaths.