Room lighting and lighting the bathroom vanity is something people don’t really consider initially. For most, turning on the switch is more than enough. But having balanced lighting & finding the right spot to place a light goes a long way to making a bathroom look aesthetic and functional. So how do you make the light right for your bathroom? Follow below and get illuminated!
The 3 Types of Lighting
Distinguishing between different types of light comes in handy when you’re designing your bathroom. Here are the three commonly used types of lighting:
Ambient Lighting - They generally light up a space using a uniform level of illumination. Some examples are floor lamps, ceiling mounted lighting, and pot lights
Accent Lighting - They are used to focus on a specific point of interest to highlight features in a room. These lights are more decorative rather than functional. Wall niches with lighting, under-mount lighting, spotlights, and chandeliers are some examples of accent lighting.
Task Lighting - Much brighter than ambient lighting, task lights are more focused types of light that illuminate specific areas for doing tasks. Think of vanity lights, LED mirrors, and reading lamps
For the most part, we’ll focus on what to do with your task lighting so you can maximize how you utilize them.
Vanity Lights: Where Should I Place Them?
Wall sconces should be placed alongside the mirror to enhance your ability to see daily grooming tasks. Ideally, you should position lights vertically on either side of the mirror to create even, flattering light. These fixtures should hang around eye level, at least 60” to 70” off from the floor and no more than 36” - 40” apart to maintain bright levels. Some mirrors have dimensions wider than 40” so you may not get enough illumination if the sconces are far apart. If it fits your style, you can swap the large mirror for two smaller-sized ones instead so you can place a third sconce in between.
Installing light bars above the mirror is often seen in bathrooms tight on space. When you consider lighting above the mirror, be mindful that it can create cast shadows that leave an unflattering appearance. Lighting over your mirrors, however, can augment sidelights and make for fuller task lights.
Side Note: Substitute Sconces for LED Mirrors
LED mirrors are an excellent option if you want to maximize wall space since built-in LEDs are designed to function as task lights. Additionally, some have anti-fog, weather, and even email browsing if you really need that extra feature of checking your inbox!
Which Way Should I Mount Lights?
Most lighting options can orient themselves in more than one direction. If they are over your mirror, facing them up creates soft lighting that gets reflected and diffused as ambient light. Having the bath bar face down makes for focused lighting around the mirror. However, this can lead to unflattering cast shadows so pairing it with sidelights can balance it out to augment the surroundings’ task light capabilities.
Some also have the ability to be placed horizontally or vertically so you’d usually want horizontal bars to go over your mirror and vertical ones to be placed on both sides along the mirror’s length.
What Material Should I Use?
The finish of your sconces should ideally match the fixtures in your bathroom to make a cohesive look - matte black pendants match with black hardware and gold sconces blend in with your gold faucets. However, don’t be afraid to go against the grain. Choosing finishes different from your hardware CAN look good but make sure that the styles don’t clash too much.
When considering lighting, the type of glass can also affect how the light gets filtered through. Clear glass sconces allow for bright light to radiate through whereas frosted glass dampens and diffuses for a softer effect
How Big Should My Lights Be?
Lightbars over bathroom mirrors should be at least a third of the width to look proportional. When placing them along the mirror flank, look for lighting that’s around 12”-18” or go even taller if you have a larger bathroom/mirror set up.
Most importantly, make your lights work together! The key to achieving well-balanced light is incorporating a layered approach to your room’s illumination - ambient, task light, and accent lighting should minimize harsh shadows in your room to make for an inviting appearance. When you are layering light, work on the general before you get to the specific. First, think of having pot lights over the mirror and overhead to bring ambient illumination. Next, add task lighting for the areas that you would use most. Finally, pendant lights, chandeliers, or built-in LED in niches are introduced as artistic focal points in the room.
Looking for a light bulb moment? Why not visit our Eurofase lighting collection to see more and get inspired?