Recessed lighting placement over vanity.

Jean BoJanuary 31, 2009

Need some help with placement. How far from the wall do you place recessed lights? I think I have them spaced right just unsure of how far back. My vanity counter will be 73.5" long. Installing (3) 3" 50 watt lights over the vanity. I pretty much decided to put one light on center 36.75" and the other two 18" to each side. Does that sound good? But, how far from the back wall? I know I will need to find some other wall sconce lights for around the mirror but would like to make correct decision on the recessed for now.

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I know you want the light behind you when you stand to look in the mirror - otherwise there will be shadows.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 10:47PM
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Let me tell you where to NOT put them! Don't center them over the vanity (from wall to the long edge). That would put them in front of you. My bathroom is perfect in every other way. I was going to put the center of the lights over the edge of the vanity just like you place recessed lights in the kitchen. My BIL (who was doing the electrical) said that since I would be looking in the mirror, he felt like I would want them between the wall/mirror and myself. My gut reaction said no, but I started to doubt myself and he was there installing them right then :( If it wasn't for the wall sconce on one side of me and the chandy over the tub on the other side, I'd be in the shadows all the time. Not 100% positive the rule of centered over the counter (vanity) is the same in the bathroom as it is in the kitchen (seems like it would be) but definitely don't put them in front of you.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 3:46AM
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Jean Bo

Ok, trying to understand this. I am standing in front of the sink and the counter is 6 ft. long the cabinet will be 22" deep give or take, so if I understand this correctly I am to #1. Not put one directly over the sink, just one to each side and #2. Place them from the back wall at like 28" plus? Is that right? How about the 3rd one centered with the sink but at the 28" plus dept from the wall? Keep in mind they are 3" lights and they are directional so I could point them towards the wall and bounce the light. I like this idea because I was planning on some dramatic pricy tile for the back wall, whatever that maybe. I will also put a wall sconce to each side of the mirror. Some wattage help in that direction would be helpful. I have one 3" 50 watt recessed shower trim in the shower hooked up right now (non-directional) and I am so happy I planed on putting two lights cause one doesn't cut it. So I moved the 2nd one closer to the back corner so I won't have a scary dark corner. It did look great though when I tested it last night. So exciting to get something done! Thanks you all for your help I have been to a handful of lighting stores and they just have no clue what is the proper thing to do, they just sell lights period. So thank you all very much for your personal experiences.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 3:05PM
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Jean Bo

Update, we installed the (3) 3" 50 watt lights and put three over the 6ft counter. This put one in the middle and 2 18.5" to each side. We placed the adjustable trims 12.5 from the back wall and they look really really nice. They don't however give off enough light so we will have to put in wall sconces which I planed on anyway. Now I will have to figure out how much wattage they should be. Anyone have any suggestions?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 11:05PM
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Appreciate this old thread jjaazzy - I'm in the middle of a bathroom remodel and was considering going with only recessed lighting. It sounds like I should probably plan on wall sconces too- if you're still around, did you ever settle on a wattage hat looks good?

    Bookmark   January 12, 2015 at 10:22AM
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Jean Bo

Glad you found it, cause there is absolutely no help out there for this issue, not even lighting stores had a clue. I will tell you I went with 3" spots and they are 50 watt hals. I am not totally thrilled with the placement and light level. I think I would have liked to add another or go with a larger 4" spot I don't know if that would have increased the level. And yes you need those sconces to each side of the mirror and try and get it as close to face level as you can or you look like a monster. The placement and such of the lights above are ok for general brush your teeth stuff but when it comes to doing finer tasks........ makeup whatever the extra light level and proper placement helps. Feel free to ask me anything else.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2015 at 3:27PM
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