We love bathroom design projects and designing the perfect bathroom for our clients. One way or the other, over the course of our lives, we spend a huge amount of time in bathrooms. Typically this ranges from 20 – 30 minutes per day. Although I have know many clients who love their new space, they spend much, much, more time enjoying their spa-like bathroom. Imagine how much time that is over the course of our lives! This is why the design of bathrooms is so important to get right.
When we do design consultations, lighting in bathrooms is a popular topic that comes up with clients. Specifically, the lighting for vanity units! Wall sconces, recessed lighting, overhead lights… There are so many to choose from it can often become very confusing.
In today’s blog post, we aim to take this confusion away! And break the decision down into a more straight forward process so you can choose the right vanity light for your bathroom.
First, it’s important to know what sort of style or design you’re after. This may be easier said than done! Have a look on Pinterest or Instagram to see what sort of look and feel most suits what you’d like to achieve. If you’re working with an existing vanity design, always try to find something similar to that and see what sort of lights are being paired with it above the vanity.
We have seen it many times before where clients have only had a recessed ceiling light above the sink. This isn’t enough light for a vanity and can cause shadows that make personal grooming difficult.
A wall light provides the best lighting for a vanity unit because it directs light towards you, and not down onto you like ceiling lights. Which light fixture exactly will be largely determined by the size of the space you have available, either above the mirror or to either side of it.
The overall finish of the light fixture will come into play as well. We recommend matching this to another metal finish you have within the room to create a cohesive design. For example, if your vanity unit hardware is brass, your new vanity light will look great if it’s finished in brass too, or has details in brass.
Top Tip: When selecting lighting for a bathroom vanity, always ensure it’s damp rated!
The size of the light fixture will be determined by the space you have available, either above or beside the mirror.
For light fixtures above the mirror, you can easily determine the width. Take the width of the mirror and work out 75% of that measurement. This is the ideal width for the new light fixture. Always make sure that the light doesn’t extend past the mirror’s width! This also helps to minimize shadows. These fittings work best when installed 75-80 inches from the floor to the underside or base of the fixture.
For wall lights to be installed either between two mirrors (for large, double sink vanity units) or either side of the vanity, special considerations should also be made. These should be installed 4 inches away from the edge of the mirror.
If you opt for a wall light, or sconce, on either side of the mirror itself, they should be 36-40 inches apart to ensure even lighting to your face. Of course, if you have a particularly large area to cover then this may not be possible, so follow the 4-inch rule noted above. If this isn’t sufficient lighting you can supplement it with a fixture above the mirror.
Finally, the bulb type and temperature you choose for your vanity light will have a big impact on the overall light that is projected into the room.
We recommend a temperature of 2700-3000K for vanity lights. And if the budget allows, LED bulbs are an optimal choice. LED bulbs will keep the heat levels low, are environmentally friendly, and will last a long time.
We hope this blog post has been helpful for your bathroom vanity lighting! Did you know that we have a Lighting Course? We cover how to effectively light different residential spaces based on how you use them. The course is designed for interior design professionals and advanced design enthusiasts! Check out the Lighting Course!