In retrospect, perhaps I should have saved this post for Halloween. Why? Because I attempted to illustrate light on the human face and ended up creating ghosts. I was never very good at drawing faces, well, honestly, I was never ANY good at drawing faces. But since faces are the reason we have mirrors over bathroom sinks, I needed to do something to illustrate a concept. My apologies for the creepy feelings.
Okay, let’s get to it. What is the one thing you can do in a new build to get lighting in the bathroom better? There a lot of great ideas for making baths more relaxing, easier to use, more comfortable, and better looking. But every day starts and ends with a look in the mirror, and wouldn’t it be great if the mirror magically made us look better?
A mirror can’t do that, but lighting can. So if I had to pick just one thing to do in a bath, I would hang a tall sconce with soft white shade on each side of the mirror, like this one hung vertically.
The easiest place to put vanity lighting is above the mirror and, sadly, the easiest installation method is usually the main motivator for residential lighting. If homes were built at nighttime, maybe there would be better lighting. But for now, must mirrors have fixtures above that leave deep shadows under the eyes, nose, and chin. Need to see better? Leaning in towards the mirrors only makes it worse.
Here’s a diagram showing the one thing you can do to make the biggest difference: hang vertical soft-shaded sconces on either side of the mirror. Shadows are chased away and your face will look better. No television personality would stand for what we put in our bathrooms (unless it was an interrogation scene), so take a cue from the pro’s and get the right light in the right place.
I do not need my lighting to make me look older or more tired than I already am.
And one more thing…
A little trick we stole from our tv and film experience is to place a recessed downlight about 2′ behind the front of the sink cabinet (behind your head). This is called a backlight and has the magical effect of making your head and shoulders stand out and look great. Seriously, try it and you’ll look so good you will be tempted to start taking selfies. Read more about the trick.
If you are not a big fan of sconces on either side of the mirror, or do not have the space, don’t despair. Look for mirrors with built in light strips around the perimeter that shine softly on your face. This is a modern interpretation of the old dressing room mirrors and provides a very good light with few shadows.
Now see if you can forget the ghosty diagrams and go make yourself look good.