Tips for Picking the Perfect Bathroom Vanity Lighting
Beauty and function — that’s what we need from our bathroom vanity lighting. Use these six tips to help you find fixtures that fulfill both requirements.
Available in a seemingly endless range of sizes, styles and price points, vanity light fixtures should be both decorative and provide adequate lighting for important tasks like shaving or applying makeup. Whether you’re starting from scratch or simply updating your existing space, you can use these tips to find options perfect for your situation.
1. Make bathroom lighting plans early.
Don’t put off your vanity lighting plan until the end of your bathroom remodeling project. Instead, figure it out early while walls are still open and your electric is accessible. This will make taking care of any extensive electrical work easier. When done early, just about all lighting plans — removing existing fixtures, adding new ones, or changing the locations of your lighting — can all be done quicker and at less expense than late lighting decisions.
2. Assess how much vanity lighting is needed.
It may go without saying, but bathrooms lacking in natural light from a window are going to need more light from a vanity fixture. It’s improbable that a single vanity fixture will provide adequate overall lighting for the entire room, however. Plan on using vanity lights in tandem with some form of overhead lighting.
3. Select an appropriate size.
Depending on the size of your bathroom space, you’ll be able to figure out the scale of vanity light fixtures that look best. When choosing a multiple-light fixture or a bar-style fixture, it’s a good idea to find one that is not wider than the vanity cabinet. Wider than the mirror is fine, but not wider than the cabinet. Vanities that are long may actually do better with multiple fixtures. In fact, the best look for double sinks is a separate fixture above each sink. With sconces, you have the option of hanging them on each side of a mirror or pairing them with bar fixtures to bring in more light that is evenly distributed to dispel shadows.
4. Coordinate with your bathroom style.
The fixture you decide on should fit in with the overall decorating style of the bathroom or neighboring rooms. Choose a finish that blends with other fixtures in the house. There are many to pick from, including brushed nickel, chrome, oil-rubbed bronze, and antique brass. Regardless of what fixture you choose, make sure it is safe to use in a bathroom setting where moisture is a factor.
5. Find the best bulbs.
The whole point of vanity light fixtures is to provide proper lighting, which leads us to light bulbs. Your fixture is only as good as the bulbs you put in it. Since a glaring bright light in the early morning can be quite abrasive, consider going with lower-wattage bulbs or a dimmer switch to control brightness. If flattering lighting is your goal, frosted or coated bulbs are the way to go, as are fixtures with frosted-glass covers. No bare bulbs.
6. Consider all vanity lighting options.
While multi-light fixtures and wall-mounted sconces are popular choices for bathroom vanity lighting, they aren’t all that is available. For example, an LED mirror can be wired in and used with basic fixtures. Or a backlit bathroom mirror makes a great option to enhance dimension. In addition, a variety of options are available for setting the color temperature or dimming light.