By Suzanne Fred. Bathroom Lighting. Published at Wednesday, February 14th, 2018 - 06:33:00 AM.
The best possible lighting for activities in front of the bathroom mirror comes from fixtures mounted on either side roughly at the user’s eye level. This leaves no part of the face in shadow, as happens with an overhead fixture. If the mirror wall isn’t an option, move the light fixtures to the side walls, or hang pendants from the ceiling; just try to get the light to either side where it will do the most good.
Building codes are very strict about lights over tubs and whirlpools. There can be no open or hanging fixtures within 8 feet above the tub, nor for another 3 feet in front of it. Since most bathroom ceilings aren’t more than 8 feet tall, this generally precludes having open or hanging lights above tubs.
This is most easily achieved with a fan/light combination fixture. If the customer wants more light, perhaps to read by, we’ll specify an additional recessed can light in front of the water closet, almost always on a dimmer. Another good trick is to “borrow” daylight via a frosted-glass door or transom windows that allow light but preserve privacy.
Vertical fixtures or sconces mounted on either side of the mirror are best for casting an even light across the face. But given the size and positioning of some vanity mirrors, sidelights can be impractical (mounting them directly to the mirror is always an option, but at greater planning and cost). Only then do I suggest a fixture for over the mirror. It should be placed 75 to 80 inches above the floor and, like all vanity lighting, contain at least 150 watts — ideally spread over a fixture that's at least 24 inches long so that the light will wash evenly over the hair and face.
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