Bathroom Vanity Lighting 101

When thinking about dressing up your bathroom, one trend in bath styling is the move towards more open, airy, lighter spaces. The latest style has moved toward a more natural look. Adding specialty task lighting around bathroom vanities is one way to achieve a sophisticated, layered look, while adding necessary value at the same time. It’s always a good idea to get an expert opinion when thinking about a major change, and expert designers recommend looking to create even illumination, while eliminating shadows, in front of your bathroom mirror.


Start With the Fixture Style

vanity_lightingYou need illumination from more than one direction, in order to achieve an even blended light. There are a variety of fixtures that can help get you there. Start by finding a style of fixture that you like the look of. The two main types of bath vanity fixtures are horizontal above-the-mirror light bars, and vertical, beside- the-mirror sconces. Both have certain advantages.

Lighting that hangs above the mirror provides a huge range of options. Bathroom vanity light bars typically have multiple bulbs, each with their own shade, for subtle, diffused light. Here are some ways you can get even more from this type of fixture:

  • Position each light by turning the shade to cast light in an even pattern. Avoid creating a slanted look, but even a slight adjustment can mean a world of difference.
  • Choose lights with different wattage ratings for more or less illumination. For the most even light, they should all be the same. There are a variety of bulbs in most styles.
  • Choose your bulbs for the color of the light. This is easier to do than ever before. Most bulbs come in a choice of color, from cooler, daylight bulbs to a warmer, more romantic feel.

Light fixtures that hang beside the mirror, sometimes called sconces, provide a good source of task lighting as well. With their wide spread placement, they can help to eliminate side shadows. Here are some ways to maximize side lights.

  • Choose your sconces based on illumination. Each light is rated for certain bulb wattage.
  • Pick sconces with multiple bulbs for the greatest effect. Just like above mirror fixtures, these can be selected for brilliance and color as well.
  • Get the right shades for your application. Although most fixtures will come with shades, selecting a replacement shade can make a huge difference in the look, as well as how the light is cast.


Combine Them with Existing Light

Your existing fixtures will also have an impact on your vanity lighting. Don’t forget to select lights that will work best with what you have, if you intend to keep it. Natural light is also an important component, and should be factored into the equation. This is especially true for morning use, when sunlight can provide a lot of illumination in some bathrooms.

Layered lighting schemes help provide even illumination and add interest to your space, by highlighting features, and creating individual task spaces.

  • Choose vanity light styles and placement to complement areas at your vanity that are currently under-illuminated.
  • Consider replacing fixtures, or changing bulbs for lights outside the vanity area that are casting shadows or causing a glare in the vanity area.
  • Check your light, both at times of day when natural light is available, and when it is not, to get the best idea of anything that needs to be corrected.

If you would like more help with determining the right style and type of fixtures for your vanity area, we would love to help. Our professional lighting design staff has lots of fresh ideas, and a variety of fixtures to meet your needs.

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