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Looking Good After Leaving The Bathroom Isn’t About Make-Up


It seems most of us applying make-up do so in front of the bathroom mirror.  Have you ever confidently left your home after getting all gussied up only to be horrified by the transformation the moment you catch your image out in public?    Rest assured you weren’t all of a sudden smacked with the ugly stick on the way out the door, in all likelihood the culprit was poor bathroom lightingDame Barbara Cartland from her Facebook Page.Image via Darsheel

Slapping a fixture up over a mirror and declaring the room lit is as useful as trying to apply eyeliner with a spoon.   Bad bathroom lighting can cause anyone one to have a bad day and I’m certain if researched it also supports the anxiety prone need for excessive botox.  I can’t prove it but I bet there is a correlation.

To get bathroom lighting has to remember three things:

  1. Light from above
  2. Light from both sides
  3. Eliminate back lighting or excessive glare (windows facing a mirror.)

This guest bathroom shows three different light sources:

  • Large ceiling can in the center of the room = general lighting.
  • Pin spots directly over the sink bowl offers better directional light than above the mirror.
  • Sconces on flanking each viewing area over the sinks (third one not seen in picture.)

If one sticks solely to overhead light, this will case unflattering shadows on a person’s face.  By using the sconces with the pin spot this gives the face optimal  illumination.  When it comes to sconces:

  • 66″ off finished floor to center of light source is the appropriate height.
  • For master or daily use bathrooms, not the powder room, sconces should be preferably diffused with white or off-white shades.

Nowadays many bathroom mirror companies make it easy by making vanity mirrors with side lighting already installed. I saw this Robern mirrored medicine cabinet at KBIS.

The right bathroom lighting will not only make you look better, it is much cheaper than running to the plastic surgeon.  It is not however the solution for bad make-up skills. 🙂

Additional reading:

For more information on light sources and lamping for sconces (bulbs) check out Lumens.com.

A Lesson in Bathroom Lighting from This Old House.

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