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3413 Marion Drive
Tampa, FL 33637

The average client I meet doesn't think to invest there—save it for the living room or kitchen, they say. The best lighting for your bathroom helps create a place to relax and recharge.

Vanity lighting gets top consideration because these fixtures work the hardest to illuminate the head and face for grooming. The most common mistake people make is putting recessed ceiling fixtures directly over the mirror.

These cast shadows on the face, making daily grooming rituals more difficult. Vertical fixtures or sconces mounted on either side of the mirror are best for casting an even light across the face.

In smaller bathrooms, if the stall has a clear glass door, a dedicated fixture may not be necessary. Otherwise, I recommend a recessed light with a glass lens (plastic will yellow).

Similar recessed fixtures work well over a freestanding tub or the toilet.

I encourage clients to think more creatively in their choices, suggesting they consider a pendant lamp or chandelier instead.

A small recessed spotlight directed at a piece of decorative art or a beautiful powder room basin creates another layer of light in the bathroom. The center of each fixture should be roughly at eye level, or about 66 inches above the floor.

A crisp white light tends to render skin tones most accurately. Halogen bulbs cost a few dollars more than standard incandescents but can last three times as long.

Many feature screw-in bases; those labeled medium-base (MB) are shaped like standard incandescents, so they fit most fixtures. In a very small space like a powder room, dimming the vanity fixtures might even provide all-in-one task, ambient, and accent lighting.

Today's dimmers work for every kind of light source, though you need to know what to ask for. Switching to a lower-watt bulb (which has a smaller filament) should reduce or even eliminate the noise.

Electricity and water are still lethal companions, and nowhere do they mingle more closely than in the bathroom. Always consult a certified electrician before tackling even the simplest lighting project. Even with a GFCI, freestanding plug-in lamps should never be placed near a sink or tub. Fixtures that are going to be within a certain distance of the tub or shower (usually 6 feet, though local codes vary) must be "wet" or "shower-location" rated. Don't confuse this with the less rigorous "damp-location" rating that's ascribed to most outdoor lighting.

Person standing at sink with bathroom lights over mirror at eye level.
Person standing at sink with bathroom lights over mirror at eye level.

Should I combine Kitchen & Dining Room into one large room?

Keep large mirror or replace with two over bathroom vanity