Both modest luxury bathrooms demand adequate bathroom vanity lighting. It's not just about achieving the right light quality or amount – it's also important to choose a vanity light with a style that makes a statement and complements your existing fixtures and decor.
As the first element that many people notice in any bathroom, bath vanity lighting is a critical part of any remodeling project. A few things to consider when selecting vanity lighting include the size, finish, bulb type and design style. Here are 4 helpful tips on choosing vanity lighting that will function beautifully in your home for many years.
In fact, did you know that when people buy bathroom vanity lights, they tend to keep them for about a decade (according to consumer research conducted by the American Lighting Association)? That makes it all the more important to choose the right bath vanity lights!
Choosing the right size
Bath light bars, which are the basic type of bath vanity lights, typically come in two, three and four-light versions to suit small and large rooms alike. While you want to ensure you have plenty of light, be sure to choose one that is no wider than your vanity or cabinet width, which may be wider than your mirror.
Most people choose vanity bar lights that are about 75 percent of the mirror's total width. When using bath bars, mount them high off the floor (78 inches is recommended) and center them with the cabinet for a clean, finished look. If you have a very long vanity or double sink setup, you may want to consider using more than one of the same bath bar to get the job done.
However, another option is to use sconces in place of or in addition to a bath bar, as seen in the photo below. For an average size bathroom, buy bathroom sconces that are about 18 inches tall or a little less. For smaller spaces, try smaller sconces of 12 inches or less. In a larger bathroom, you could consider sconces that are 19 inches tall or even taller!
Place one sconce on either side of the mirror at least 28 inches apart from one another and at eye level, 65 inches up from the finished floor. If the sconces have shades, put the bottom edges of the shades a little below eye level.
Sconces are often recommended because they increase the amount of usable light in the room, making it even easier to see yourself in the mirror! They can also add even more style to any bathroom.
Choosing the right finish
Your bathroom vanity light's finish can, but does not have to, coordinate with the existing faucets and fixtures in your bathroom. If your fixtures have a shiny look, go for polished nickel or chrome finishes. Brushed nickel finishes work well with brushed bath fixtures. Other finishes that are very popular in lighting and bath fixture design are antique brass, bronze and even black!
Choosing glass and bulbs
When it comes to lighting in your bathroom, we recommend fixtures with frosted or opal glass shades. Many of today's bath lighting options have this type of glass. We typically shy away from suggesting exposed bulbs or glass shades for the bathroom since the filaments from the exposed light bulbs can be rather blinding (ouch!). However, trends sometimes move towards the use of clear glass or exposed bulbs. If one of these fixtures catches your eye for your bathroom project, you could choose to pair it with coated, dipped or frosted bulbs that will help offer an even and flattering lighting effect. Bear in mind, of course, that every decision you make should be a reflection of your personal tastes and preferences!
Compact fluorescent bulbs or even LED bulbs can be used in place of standard bulbs in nearly any bathroom. Fluorescent or LED lighting is ideal for bathrooms because both choices emit much less heat than incandescent lighting, last longer and save energy.
Increasing the amount of light in the bathroom is also especially ideal for older eyes. People who are over 65 years old need four times more light as their under-25 counterparts to see properly, according to the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.
Choosing the style
This is the fun and easiest part: choose bath vanity lighting that fits your personality.
Is your bathroom luxurious and full of detail? Traditional would probably be best for you. Here are some traditional bath lighting looks:
Contemporary style is best for minimalists or those who love sleek modern looks. Here are some contemporary bath lighting looks:
Transitional strikes the perfect balance between the traditional and the current. Here are some transitional bath lighting looks:
Of course, you can always choose to follow a theme like coastal, Mission, Art Deco and so on.
A current, widespread trend is the spa look. People want their bathrooms to be their own private inner sanctums and look to high-end hotels and spas for inspiration. Clean lines, sleek fixtures and the use of sconces along with bath bars are all hallmarks of spa style.