Have you ever noticed that bathroom mirrors are sometimes unforgiving? Suddenly, it seems, you can see every line and blemish. You might even wonder if this is your natural look. Maybe it’s slightly sunken eyes, dark circles or washed out skin that are staring back at you when just moments before, in the bedroom mirror, you didn’t see any of those things.
So, what’s going on here and which mirror is showing you reality?
Well, neither really. In fact, it has nothing to do with your mirror and everything to do with your lighting.
Bathroom lighting tends to be brighter, more direct and from the “cool” end of the spectrum, whereas bedroom lighting is generally softer and warmer. Not only that, but since bathroom decor often uses white or bright colors, the light reflects all around that small space, giving you the ability to see yourself in an unnaturally well-lit environment. Because of this, it’s possible to see shadows and creases more prominently on your face and skin, when in normal ambient light they would be hardly noticeable.
So, how can you make sure your bathroom lighting doesn’t give you a jolt every morning as you get ready to start your day? Here are the 3 keys to optimal bathroom lighting:
1. Correct Light Placement
To eliminate those shadows and give yourself a great view of your face, place lighting on either side of the mirror. Sconces at about eye level achieve this perfectly. The side lighting gives you an accurate view of your face when putting on makeup or brushing your teeth.
Avoid placing a light above the mirror: this creates shadows around the eyes and nose, making you look older! While you certainly can’t avoid the lights by the mirror, if you skip this step, shadows will inevitably show up on your face since the light source would be from behind or above.
2. Appropriate Light Color and Intensity
White cool light is best for the task lighting, or the lighting around your mirror. This will help you get the most accurate view of your skin tone, teeth and face. Opt for LED or CFL bulbs between about 2700 and 3000 K, which translates to about 20-25 watts for LED and 24-26 watts CFL.
For other bathroom lighting, you can use features such as dimmers, warmer lighting, and other features. This can help turn your bathroom into a relaxing getaway for a rejuvenating bath.
3. Use Layers
Task lighting isn’t the only layer of lighting in your bathroom. You can also add general ambiance lighting and accent lighting. You should also take into account the natural lighting that may help illuminate your bathroom.
The layers you choose to include in your bathroom lighting should all work together perfectly to meet your needs. General lighting may be lights on the ceiling, or a pendant light in the middle of a smaller bathroom. Accent lighting is perfect for drawing attention to a piece of artwork or a niche where you’ve placed a sculpture or vase.
Also, remember to consider technical details as you set up your lighting. Keep general lighting and task lighting on separate switches. You may also want to consider keeping the fan on its own switch as well. That way the fan won’t come on with the lights if you’re just washing your hands.
As you plan your bathroom lighting, also keep the bathroom’s purpose in mind. If this is your master bath, the task lighting becomes much more important since it’s where you’ll get ready every day. However, if the bathroom is a guest bathroom, softer, more relaxing lighting might be best.
With the above tips and suggestions, you can create the ultimate bathroom lighting setup. Once you’ve made the changes, you’ll find that your bathroom lighting serves your every need and makes you love your bathroom mirror again.