The Do’s and Don’ts of Bathroom Lighting

Bathroom Lighting

For most of us, mirror time is limited. If not for our cramped schedules, we could continue the self-admiration indefinitely. Not to mention the grooming and cleansing. Therefore, we must maximize our mirror time before work or school pulls us away. Proper bathroom lighting is the answer. But before we start flicking switches, it’s important to consider several important do’s and dont’s impacting bathroom illumination.


Utilize recessed lighting (illumination in a wall or ceiling hollow). This provides optimum light distribution – how evenly illumination spreads out through a given space. Proper distribution is necessary for creating visual comfort and eliminating glare, the latter occurring when areas of brightness impinge upon dimmer areas. By providing clean, even illumination, recessed lighting greatly minimizes glare and contributes to visual comfort.

Incorporate task lighting on the sides of mirrors. As the term implies, task lighting refers to illumination intended for a specific activity – mirror gazing, for instance. Its purpose is to increase the visibility of a task at hand. That, however, is not the only consideration for task lighting. Positioning is also crucial, as light placement determines contrast levels. When contrast is insufficient, the result is reduced visibility.

Have you ever posed for a professionally photographed portrait? You’ll notice the lights are positioned on either side of you, thereby reducing facial shadow. They’re also placed behind you to create a soft, even background. Photographers are masters of task lighting.

Wall sconces are among the popular choices for mirror side-lighting. If used, be sure the sconces are positioned at the proper height. According to the American Lighting Association, “they should be mounted with the center of the fixtures about 60” high.”

Use dimmable lights for bath-time. By giving you control of brightness levels, dimmable lights create a mood of soothing serenity that perfectly complements your bubbly tub.


Skimp on illumination. Inadequate lighting cuts down brightness and consequently visibility. And doesn’t that beautiful face of yours deserve to be seen in all its glory?

Position lighting above the mirror. As stated above, distribution will be hampered, glare will increase, and your morning smile will disappear. Go with side lighting for optimum distribution.

Position lighting so that it reflects off the mirror. Harsh glare and visual distortion will be the unwelcome result.

Fail to diffuse or cover light. Diffused lighting sources create a soft look that adds to visual appeal. Think of the previously-mentioned photo shoot. Equally troublesome, uncovered bulbs create a harsh glare that definitely won’t put your mirror image in the best light.

Use Fluorescent Lights. These create harsh illumination that hampers visual comfort and distorts your stunning mirror image.

Beauty and the Bulb

LED light fixtures are an excellent choice for beautiful bathroom lighting. Not only are energy-efficient LEDs long-term money savers, they fulfill all the requirements for optimum bathroom illumination. Incorporating advanced engineering, they offer superior light distribution and brightness levels, providing optimum visibility, contrast levels, glare reduction, and optical comfort. For bath time and other mood-setting moments, homeowners can take advantage the many available dimmable LED fixtures currently available.

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