Bathroom Lighting Tips

Whether new construction or recently remodeled, bathrooms today have progressed into a private retreats for relaxation, escape and spa-like self-indulgence. They require sophisticated lighting solutions. Relying on a recessed light over the sink as the sole light source is inadequate, as it will cast shadows on the face. Plenty of shadow-free facial illumination is necessary for daily grooming tasks such as shaving, fixing your hair, and/or applying makeup.

El Nido Vanity Light (MF-VS17804-MBZ)

Murray Feiss VS17804-MBZ – El Nido Vanity Light, $289.00

Decorative wall fixtures placed on each side of a small vanity mirror will usually do the job. For best results, mount fixtures at least 28″ apart and 60″ off the floor. The best lighting is achieved with fixtures that include a shade for each bulb. A striking alternative to using wall fixtures is to install small pendants on either side of the mirror. This trend is growing in popularity in recent years.

Colin Wall Sconce (MF-WB1479BS)

Murray Feiss WB1479BS – Colin Wall Sconce, $133.00

For larger mirrors, a horizontal strip of vanity lights will ensure everybody has sufficient light to go about their business. Mount the strip over the mirror, 78″ off the floor. The best arrangement around a bathroom mirror is a lighting fixture at the top and two smaller wall-mounted fixtures located on either side of the mirror. Decorative sconces that either match or complement the over-the-mirror fixture will evenly illuminate both sides of the face.

Ceiling mount fixtures or mini chandeliers (if you have 9′ ceilings) provide an elegant touch while balancing out the brightness of other bathroom lights. Unobtrusive but elegant, at least four sources of light adorn this graceful bath pictured below. One source is portable (i.e. the floor lamp) for added flexibility.

As you can see, the right lighting can make a bathroom even more gracious. Task lighting must be bright enough to do its job, but also work well with accent lighting to soften the room’s ambiance and provide a warm glow. Don’t forget the dimmer switch. Adding a dimmer to your fixtures is an inexpensive and mood enhancing technique that fosters a soothing and comfortable environment. Finally, strategically placed reading lamps are also a nice touch if you have the space.