Light over the sink or on either side?

schoolhouse_gwFebruary 28, 2013

Sorry if this has been discussed here many times, but I'm not here often and the search function isn't always great (unless that's been tweaked with the new makeover), so - what is your preference? A light fixture(s) up over the sink or on either side of the mirror? and why? glare? not enough light? shadows?

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We're redoing our bathroom to have sconces on either side of the mirrors. Personally, I like the look more and I have also read that it helps with casting shadows. I don't have any personal experience yet because my bathrooms have always had lights over the top of the mirror.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 9:53PM
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We've got sconces on either side and because the mirror is a combination of two medicine cabinets plus a flat piece of mirror in the center making it almost 4 ft wide, we've also had them put in a pendant light from above about 12 inches from the wall in the center in front of the flat piece of mirror (where the door won't be opening)- I like this combo but may not be necessary for everyone.

If you have a standard ceiling light installed in center of room (even though this will cause some shadow), I would think the ceiling plus the side lights would work fine as well. But just two sconces without addition from the ceiling might not be quite enough, IMO. If you go that route, check your fixtures to make sure they are rated for high wattage. Many sconces these days seem to be almost more for ambience rather than real light to help really see what is going on.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 11:52PM
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I would agree with elphaba on this. Lighting is so overlooked in bathrooms. I went with over the mirror lights b/c I have a full wall mirror and really wanted ambient lighting. If you do decide on side sconce lights, make sure they are capable of 150 watts each (and add a dimmer).

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 6:52PM
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Depends on the size of the bathroom too. For my small bathroom with one mirror, I bought a sconce over the mirror. It is very bright and serves the bathroom quite well. It helps that my bathroom is white.
For the large master bath, I have 3 sconces - two on either side of two medicine cabinets, and one in the middle. In addition I have 3 small ceiling lights in the center and two in the shower. The sconces however are enough for light. Personally I purchased the over the mirror and side of the mirror sconces of the same brand with the same look and feel, and they all worked out very well.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 11:14PM
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Hmmmm. Ok, lots to ponder. Thanks.

You mention task lighting vs "ambiance". Had to laugh to myself because six years ago I began collecting things for this bathroom that never got finished. The side lights I picked out are small lights with fancy beaded shades and who knows what watt bulbs. I'm sure they are the candle type. They are still in their boxes out in a plastic tub in the garage. ugh.

There is wiring for an overhead light and an outlet - just never finished off. Couldn't make up my mind which I wanted and work basically stopped. Thanks for the all the replies.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 9:22AM
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I put a sconce on either side of our medicine cabinet above the sink. There are 6 recessed lights in the ceiling. Both sets are on dimmers.

The sconces get used in the evenings etc.

No 'task' lighting here.

In the basement bath (my wife's) I again put a few ceiling lights on a dimmer and one wall sconce. It's a small 5 x 8 3 piece bath. The recessed medicine cabinet is polished nickle and is fully mirrored inside - the door opens the full 180 degrees and when open reflects tons of light. So if makeup needs to be done, it gets done there. But, thankfully my wife doesn't overdo it :)

I like lighting versatility. The overhead lights can be cranked up bright when needed, and the wall sconces are ambient light. We can leave them on dim overnight when a guest is over etc. so they can find there way down the hall.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 5:58PM
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Sometime in the late 50's or early 60's when my Uncle put in an inside bathroom (yes, used outhouse before), he installed two ceiling lights, the kind that are flush mounted, round glass shades on chrome bases, at either end of the room. I use 60W bulbs in them. It's a tiny bathroom.

I like those sconces Toronto Tim.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 6:50PM
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This is a VERY timely post for me!

My vanity currently has 2 fairly bright lights above it on the wall, and is under a skylight.

In my planned reno, the vanity will be moved into an alcove, so there is a BIG change in the lighting. There is an overhead light that will stay where it is, and the ceiling height will be the same as in the rest of the room. The room will be 9x11, with the vanity centered on a 9ft wall, across the room from the skylight

Any ideas on how to light the alcove so that I don't look like one of the living dead?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 11:47AM
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Is it just me, or do lights directly above a mirror add like 20 years to your reflection? I cant stand it. I prefer the light to be coming from behind me so it is not casting shadows down my face. But I may just be crazy.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:52PM
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Toronto Tim: Love that tiled floor, is it marble?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:54AM
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ar84, I don't think you are crazy. Remember when I said there was wiring for an overhead light above my mirror? I didn't really request that, the contractor just assumed that's what was needed. My SO at the time visited and he asked me why would I want light shining down on me from above? Well, too late, but then I never put in the light because of his remark. I've never had any other bathroom lights besides the ceiling ones so really had no experience.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 11:43AM
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I purchased three scones that I LOVE for my new bathroom but they are silver leaf and I realize that with the marble and the brown glass tiles they are not the best match. How can I add some gold tone to them without painting them a solid gold tone? Can they be "aged" with gold or ??? I'm lost here but really want these sconces.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 6:29PM
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ar84 - since I'm usually in the bathroom alone, it doesn't bother me if I look older. But it does bother me if I miss a pimple on my face or if there isn't enough light, even if I use a hand mirror to extract a single hair from my chin that seems to happen more and more often as I get older. I realize as I'm writing this that I haven't included makeup in this "equation" since I only use moisturizer and a little blusher - guess this is another "age" thing that may separate generations, LOL.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 6:54PM
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luvmykj's - you can buy some stuff called rub n buff at craft stores. you just apply it with your finger where you want it.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 9:25PM
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