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Everything You Need to Know About Bathroom Lighting and Mirrors

There are many things to consider when planning a bathroom design. From cabinetry and storage to tile selections and shower styles, every element of your bath remodel must work together to create a cohesive design that meets everyone’s needs.

When planning your bathroom design, lighting and mirrors should form a key part of your design planning. First, look at your individual requirements, including your household, who will use the bathroom, and how often it will be used. Lighting and mirror requirements for a busy family or master bath remodel will differ from a seldom-used guest bathroom.

Your bathroom style helps determine these choices too; for example, you will need to focus on softer light sources in a spa-style bathroom design. Decide what you need and the style of lighting you require and assess this against your available budget to find the perfect light fixtures for your space.

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Consider your requirements and all available lighting and mirror options when planning your bathroom design to find the ideal combination that meets your needs. Get started with our complete guide to everything you need to know about bathroom lighting and mirrors.

All About Bathroom Lighting

We all take lighting for granted in our homes, but if you’ve ever lost electricity then you can appreciate just how important it is! We rely on lighting to navigate through our homes, perform key tasks, read, do homework, and much more. Lighting is essential in every space in your home, and the bathrooms are no exception.

You need essential task lighting in a bathroom design to perform tasks such as shaving, applying makeup, reading medication bottles, and styling hair. Lighting, like other elements of a bathroom design, must be accessible for all family members too, from the youngest to the oldest. If anyone in your home has limited mobility, you must ensure that light fixtures are easy to find, turn on and off, and change light levels when required.

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Nighttime is when your bathroom design lighting really gets put to the test, both in the evenings when everyone is getting ready for bed and for late-night trips to the bathroom. Easy-to-locate light switches or even under-cabinet lighting that can stay on at night to guide you are excellent options for a well-structured bathroom lighting plan. This will reduce the risk of injury by tripping or bumping into bathroom fixtures while finding your way at night.

Bathroom lighting should also provide layered lighting that allows you to easily change from targeted task lights to softer lighting. Include different light sources or lighting controls that let you set the mood of your space. You may think, why do I need soft light in a bathroom design? Think about how you use your bathroom when planning your lighting. If this is a master bath where you intend to not only get ready for work but also wind down with a soak in the tub, then you will want to have soft ambient light sources. Even a powder room might benefit from soft lighting if you are hosting a party and want to create a welcoming environment for guests.

Make sure you understand how much light you need, where you need it, and what types of lighting you need. This should all form a key part of your bathroom design planning process. Including lighting in your design plans ensures everything from behind the scenes wiring to strategic placement of light fixtures is accounted for. It also means you can use light fixtures as a stylish accessory that enhances your room’s aesthetic.

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Key Types of Lighting for Bath Design

If you think that lighting for a bathroom design is all the same, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Just like lighting for any room in your home, bathroom lighting requires more than one type to meet all your style and functionality requirements.

By including a multi-layered lighting plan, you can easily take your bathroom from the prime spot to get glammed up for a night out to a soothing spa retreat, just by changing your light sources and levels. Here are the key components of a multi-layered bathroom lighting plan:

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  • Task lighting offers targeted light exactly where you need it. While in a kitchen design this would include your food prep and cooking space, in a bathroom remodel you need task lighting on areas like the vanity, shower, or make up vanity. These are spaces where you need to see clearly and, in the case of the vanity, must be able to see yourself in the mirror without glare or shadow on your face. Ideal options include sconces around a bathroom mirror, lights over a mirror, recessed ceiling lights, a pendant, or an LED backlit mirror.
  • Ambient lighting gives your room warmth with diffuse light sources that provide general illumination throughout your space and offers a softer light than task lighting. Ambient light takes your bathroom design from functional to relaxing with the flick of a switch, or better yet with the turn of a dimmer switch to adjust light levels to your specific needs. Backlit mirrors and undercabinet lights can offer ambient light, but overhead lights with the addition of a dimmer or smart lighting controls are an ideal source of light for a bathroom design.
  • Accent lighting provides a light source dedicated to showcasing your favorite design elements. After putting so much effort into selecting your cabinetry, tile, and plumbing fixtures, why not show off your favorite design features by installing a spotlight that highlights them. The same approach applies to open shelves or a recessed niche where you plan to place carefully selected decorative items. In these areas, you can include a spotlight or an LED strip that lets your accessories take center stage. If you include artwork in your bathroom design, such as a framed print, an artfully placed spotlight can ensure everyone who enters the bathroom notices it. Think about which features matter most to you and choose lighting that lets you spotlight them in your design.
  • Decorative lighting may not seem like it plays a role in a bathroom design, but it does! Today’s bathrooms have style aesthetics that match your home and elevate your room to a space where you will love to spend time. Include light fixtures that enhance your bath design with stunning architectural lines, luxe materials, and stylish colors. In a large bathroom, you could select a chandelier or bold pendant that sits over the freestanding bathtub. Or go for wall sconces that elevate your design style, whether that is traditional or modern. There are stylish light fixtures that illuminate your space and create a beautiful focal point for any bath design style.
  • Natural lighting also plays a key role in any bathroom design. Whenever possible, include large windows in a bathroom, which help to enhance your room’s lighting and create a connection with the outdoors. You could also incorporate skylights or even glass doors that lead to a patio or balcony. Not only is natural light ideal for checking makeup levels before you head out for the day, but it also helps to reduce your energy bills! Pair your windows and doors with curtains or blinds that offer privacy when you need it, preferably while still letting some light into your room.
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Lighting Controls

With smart lighting you get the ultimate control over your lighting sources, levels, colors, and more. They also let individual light fixtures perform more than one role as you can go from ambient light to task lighting with the push of a button on an app or a remote. You can accomplish this with simple dimmer switches too, but smart controls give you even more ability to get your lighting just the way you want it. With many smart lighting systems, you can save light settings so each person’s preferences are easily recreated. If you add voice-controlled lights, you can even change your light levels from the comfort of your tub without interrupting your relaxation!

All About Bathroom Mirrors

We all know that mirrors are essential in a busy bathroom design. In this space where you go to style your hair, apply makeup, brush your teeth, and more, you need a mirror that lets you see yourself clearly. They also enhance your design with their individual style, from a sleek, large, frameless mirror to a funky asymmetrical mirror or even a traditional framed mirror that matches your cabinetry. There is a style to accent any bathroom design aesthetic.

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Mirrors also serve to reflect light around the room, so your combination of mirror and lighting plays a key role in how your bathroom lighting will affect your space. Mirrors can also have the added bonus of making your bathroom feel larger. This is especially important in a compact or narrow bathroom design.

Key Mirror Types

There are several options for bathroom mirrors, each with its own unique features that make it an asset to your bathroom.

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  • Frameless mirrors fit any bath design style, but they work especially well in a sleek, contemporary design. This mirror type can be cut to fit almost any size or shape, making it a very flexible option for large or small bathrooms. Try filling a wall above your bath vanity with a frameless mirror to really open up your space.
  • Framed mirrors are typically rectangular, oval, or round. You can frame your mirror in a matching material, such as the same wood as your vanity cabinet or a metal frame that matches your hardware or fixtures. Or, let your mirror stand out with an unusual frame such as mosaic tile.
  • Mirror shapes vary depending on your style and preferences. Rectangular and oval are the most common shapes, but large round mirrors have grown in popularity. Asymmetrical shapes are becoming more prominent, which give any bathroom a one-of-a-kind look.
  • Mirrored storage has a mirrored door that opens to reveal a shallow storage space. This is ideal for keeping medicines, makeup, and shaving supplies secure and accessible. You could even go for a recessed medicine cabinet to ensure that your storage does not stick out too far and interfere with your vanity space.
  • LED mirrors combine your mirror and lighting with energy-efficient LED lights that frame or sit behind the mirror. They offer ideal lighting right where you need it at the vanity mirror and give a pleasing effect together with the mirror.
  • Smart mirrors bring high-tech to your vanity mirror. They offer options such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, touchscreen displays, voice-activated controls, and more. Smart mirrors let you check the weather, watch the morning news, and listen to your favorite tunes or podcasts while getting ready or relaxing in the bath! Many mirrors also offer anti-fog options with built-in heating elements that prevent fogging.
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Create the Perfect Lighting and Mirror Combo

For any bathroom remodel, lighting and mirrors are essential to completing your design’s style and functionality. Lighting works together with your chosen layout, fixtures, color scheme, and more to enhance the room’s design aesthetic. An effective lighting design also provides essential illumination exactly where you need it and allows you to change your light levels to fit your mood.

Pair this with a mirror that lets you see yourself clearly to get ready, while reflecting light around your room. You can even choose a mirror that includes storage, has smart technology, and a built-in heating element to keep it from fogging up. Think about your mirror style when selecting light fixtures for your vanity space. For example, if you are filling the wall above your vanity with a large, frameless mirror then you may not have space for wall sconces. If you choose a framed mirror, do you want it to match your wood vanity or would you prefer a metal frame that matches the finish of your lighting and plumbing fixtures.

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Make sure you address lighting and mirror requirements from the beginning of your bathroom design planning. They form an integral part of your design and must work together with your layout, fixtures, and style. Our team is ready to help with all your bath remodeling needs. Contact us to get started!

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We know that kitchen and bath design is more than selecting cabinetry and countertops. Designing and remodeling your home is about family dinners, holiday entertaining, and quiet coffee mornings. It is about combining form and function in a home living space. Get inspired by browsing our recently completed projects.

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