What size bar light over vanity?

dakota01August 19, 2010

For my second floor (spare) bath - I choose a 48 inch vanity. I believe the builder will be putting in a full width mirror above it.

What length of a bar light should I purchase? This room gets little to no natural light.

If I decide to pass on his "builder' mirror and put in a decorative framed mirror, what size should I put in? If I do that I'm sure the bar light would just need to be centered over the mirror.


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I believe your decision needs to be based on whether you are wanting the bath to offer funciion or be more inviting.

Personally, I have removed the builders mirror in favor of a large medicine cabinet in our guest bath. I believe it is more modern and provides additional storage. However the builders mirror was totally functional.

Our medicine cabinet/mirror is 24" wide above a 32" vanity. In your case, up to a 36" mirror would seem appropriate. The light bar should be less than the mirror width. Control the illumination with a dimmer and perhaps have a cannister light installed for that "dark corner". Our space did not permit sconces or pendents, both of which I considered.

Good luck with your build. I'm linking some before/after photos which may aid in your decision.

Here is a link that might be useful: Guest Bath

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 11:56AM
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Jeannie, it depends on both the look you want as well as the light you need. There's no rigid rule for the "right" side light bar, but probably 30" to 36" centered over the 48" vanity would look good. But it may also depend on the fixture you pick: how many lights does it have, how much light do they put out, and what kind of material is the light shade?

For example, you could have a 36" fixture with three 40 watt lights and heavily frosted glass that would put out much less light than a smaller 24" fixture with three 65 watt halogen lights and clear or slightly frosted glass.

You also need to see if the lights direct much of the light up, down or out. For example, a fixture with its lights pointed up could be fine for providing soft illumination bouncing off the ceiling to light the room, but not provide much task light for your activities at the vanity; a fixture with its lights directed down could provide excellent lighting for the vanity, but leave the overall room feeling a little dark.

It's best if you can see fixtures in a couple lighting showrooms, because these factors are often hard to judge looking at pictures in a catalog or web site. Even if a showroom doesn't have the exact fixture you want, if you see others by the same manufacturer it can help you gauge what you feel will work best for you.

-- Eric

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 1:35AM
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Here are two pictures of my guest bathroom. The vanity is 48 inches, the medicine cabinet 24 x 30, and the light fixture 28 inches wide. It's an interior room, no windows, and the three 60w bulbs are enough light for the small room. When I was redoing the bathroom I wasn't sure what size mirror to put in, but I'm happy with the way it turned out. You can decide if they're too big/too little for your taste. Sorry, you'll have to use your imagination on size. It's such a small bathroom I couldn't get everything in one picture.

Here is a link that might be useful: Guest bath

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 10:54PM
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az88 i like your vanity. Can you tell me what brand it is? We are just starting our small bath.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 8:26AM
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I got it from Costco. It's not available anymore, but the link below takes you to their current products. I also bought my powder room vanity from them, and have been happy with both purchases.

Here is a link that might be useful: Costco vanities

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 10:29PM
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Thanks so much for comments. I guess I do really need to get to a showroom, rather than trying to buy on-line. I really wish I would have given alittle more thought/time to my lighting needs, rather than having to hurry w/the electrian.

I will try to keep all the information on glass, bulbs, etc. in mind when I'm looking

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 10:30AM
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