25 September, 2021

How to Design the Most Flattering Bathroom Lighting

The Most Flattering Light

If you're anything like me, you know how important bathroom lighting is. And people have always felt this way - there's a reason all the old Hollywood starlets are pictured in front of setups like the one below! They knew even back then that light from both sides and above the face is the best bathroom lighting to both flatter your appearance and enough clarity for flawless makeup application or a seamless shave. It also reduces shadows while allowing you to see clearly.
This week, we're offering up a guide to creating your best bathroom lighting. Keep reading to feel just like a Hollywood starlet!

Layer Your Light - Best Bathroom Lighting

The first step to creating your best bathroom lighting is to layer your light! To prevent glare at the mirror and harsh lighting (two of my least favorite lighting problems), you want to layer your light.
One way to do this is to have ambient light sources throughout the bathroom to provide general light. Don't skimp and create dark, shadowy corners. Light your bathroom all the way up!
You can use surface mounted or recessed lights for general light. Layering also provides so many options. You can use dimmers so you can create mood lighting for evenings when you just want to relax and take a bath. You can even switch task lighting and general lighting separately, so you can just use the general lighting for non-critical tasks, like relaxing and soaking in the tub on Sunday nights.
Down below is a lighting plan that shows how we help our clients plan layered lighting to achieve their best bathroom lighting. This plan in particular shows layered lighting including a sola tube to bring daylight into this windowless bathroom. There are lights above each sink, at the sides of the mirrors, and a general surface-mounted lighting in the center of the space. The general and task lighting is switched separately, creating so much versatility.
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Dealing with Narrow Vanities - Best Bathroom Lighting

When you have a narrow vanity, sometimes it's hard to fit even the smallest LED light on either side.
If you're dealing with a narrow space and want the best bathroom lighting at a vanity, consider mounting the sconces.
For homeowners, it can be scary to step outside of the conventional way to do something. But, this can work in both modern and traditional bathrooms. Give it a try. Trust me, the lighting is worth it!
For more on LED lighting, read this blog!
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Getting the Color Temperature Right

I had one of these Conair mirrors as a teenager. Raise your hand if you recognize it! I remember you could turn the dial to get daylight, evening, or office, so your makeup would look right in the setting you were going to be in. Really, this mirror's gimmick was all about creating the best color temperature for lighting.
When lighting a bathroom with any source, you want to check the color temperature of the bulbs you are planning on using. This is often expressed in Kelvins, so check the box. Most people look best in a color temperature between 2700k (which is closest to the incandescent lights we have become used to in schools, homes, and offices) and 3000k which is slightly whiter, but still warm enough to be flattering to most skin tones.
The key here is to make sure all of your lighting in one space is the same color temperature. Do this, and you're on your way to your best bathroom lighting ever!
BathLightColor BathLightColor2

Alternatives to Sconces

Sconces are great lighting sources in bathrooms, but they just don't fit everyone's styles. If you need a stylish alternative to sconces that delivers the same, flattering light, consider pendants hung at eye height. Remember to still always check the color temperature and lumens from these sources.
A bathroom needs 70-80 foot candles per square foot. To be sure you have the best amount of light in a bathroom, you can do this easy calculation!
Measure your room and time by the number of foot-candles.
Here's an example using a 100 square foot living room:

  • 100 sq. ft. x 10-20 foot candles = 1,000 to 2,000 lumens

When combined, these factors will create the perfect best bathroom lighting!
BathLightSconces BathLightSconces2 pin this 1 Cream Photo Homemakers Pinterest Graphic (65)

Comments on How to Design the Most Flattering Bathroom Lighting
  1. LINDA MERRILL says:

    Wonderful tips for getting the lighting right in a bathroom Lisa! It’s so important but so often overlooked!

  2. Linda Holt says:

    This is such valuable information that everyone should have when the are doing a bathroom Reno or new build. A poorly lit bathroom is one of my pet peeves but often times it’s the norm!

  3. Amy Wax says:

    What a great idea for a blog post, full of good advice, well done!

  4. Janet R Lorusso says:

    God bathroom lighting is so critical – these are great tips! And yes, I believe I also had that makeup mirror when I was a teen LOL!

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