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How Wide Should Vanity Light be Compared to Mirror?

How Wide Should Vanity Light be Compared to Mirror 1
Written by Elizabeth Fincher

You may think that there is no general rule for how wide your vanity light should be compared to the mirror; but there actually is a rule of thumb!

The looking glass should be a little smaller than your vanity (or sink) and the light should be smaller than the mirror to create a pyramid effect.

For instance, on a 36″ vanity a 30″ mirror with a 24″ light is perfect.  You are free to go otherwise if you have something better than the rule of thumb in mind.

Note:

The same size ( in width ) vanity lights as the mirror are the new modern trend.

Your vanity light should be the same size as your mirror or smaller, but you may go with wider dimensions if the lights are not too bulky.

The width of the light fixture

The vanity lights come in countless varieties, both in shape and in characteristics. The ideal width of your vanity light/lights is dependent on what sort of setup you want.

The lights are conventionally installed on either side of or above the mirror and make a stylish statement over your sink delivering ideal illumination for everyday grooming.

Wall sconces for single-sink vanity

A pair of wall sconces perfectly go with a single-sink setup. Install them on both sides of your mirror. You may go with 3 wall sconces for a double-sink double-mirror project mounting one in the middle.

Note:

According to the American Lighting Association, wall sconces should be mounted at your eye level; around 60 to 70 inches above the floor and 28 to 30 inches apart for the evenest gleam.

Larger vanity

Choose a light fixture that is two-thirds or about the same size as your mirror in the case of a larger vanity up to 5 feet or more.

The ALA advises that a light fixture should never be wider than the mirror itself. Get multi-light vanity fixtures as they awesomely suit broad mirrors.

Vanity Lights: Overhead vs at the Side

When it comes to your vanity, the lights mounted in front or at the sides of you are better than those set above.

Lights on the mirror

With the light coming from above, you may not even clearly see what’s under your chin as your head will block the light from reaching beneath.

Lights from the front

The lights mounted in front of you reach all you see in the mirror.

Since all the shadows would be at the back, you will be in comfort as you do your specific shaving or grooming tasks.

Note:

If you can afford, install both overhead fixtures and wall sconces at the sides as you can always control which one to light up.

Vanity Light Sizes and Shapes

Before you finalize your vanity lighting outfit, consider the space and tasks that will come to pass at your bathroom sink; so you may choose accordingly.

As far as the shape is concerned, the style you love should come to mind.

Do the cutting-edge LED ambient bars seem appealing to you? Or do you find warmer vintage caged glass bulbs more relaxing? Asking questions like these might help you find your style.

  • Modern Light-Built-In Mirror

You’ll find many modern luxury homes with mirrors that have built-in lights.

With these mirrors, you won’t have to worry about how wide the light should be compared to your vanity mirror as they are the best solution for vanity lighting and mirroring dilemmas.

These out-of-the-world dimmable vanity mirrors often come with extravagant features. They are anti-fog auto-illuminated looking glasses with smart touch switches especially designed for applying makeup and shaving.

  • LED

Modern LEDs exist in every shape and size you can possibly think of. The most common ones you’ll easily find are bars, cubes, globes, wheels, and panels.

LED lights offer you a clean look and features like dimmability and color customization.

  • Vintage

Vintage industrial vanity lights induce a relaxing farmhouse appearance and a rustic vibe with the game of glass and metal.

  • Shaded

Shaded vanity lights are so common today. They come in a range of shapes and sizes and most are wall sconces in nature.

  • Tube

Vanity tube lights aesthetically resemble LED bars. Their long appearance makes them a good match for wide mirrors.

What style of vanity light do you need?

In the old days there was a trend to match vanity lights with hardware finishes. You can still go for that style if you prefer. However, mixed finishes can increase the visual appearance of your bathroom. You can pair a warm finish (bronze) with a cool finish (chrome) to get a unique style.

Here are some light styles to choose from…

  • Gold lights
  • Bronze lights
  • Rustic lights
  • Black lights
  • Brushed nickel lights
  • Vintage lights

How Many Lights Do You Need?

Perfect light fixture

If you made up your mind to put a multi-light fixture over your mirror, you may choose a fixture with 2,3 or 4 bulbs.

Make sure the fixture is not more than 75% wide of the cabinet itself. The lights installed on your mirror should be 75-80 inches from the floor.

Customizable LED

Get one that offers customizable features in case you are going with the LED. They allow you to control the light level.

Wall sconces & Pendants

Wall sconces or pendants which flank the looking glass are good options for the master bath vanity.

They don’t leave any shadow on your face when you apply makeup or do your shaving stuff.

2 wall sconces are fine for a single mirror vanity. You need 3 of them for a double mirror system. The right pair of pendants will let you stylize your vanity ideas.

How High Should the Lights Be On the Mirror?

According to ALA, the standard height for a bathroom/vanity light fixture on the mirror is 75 to 80 inches from the bottom, whereas it’s 60 to 65 inches from the floor for the wall sconces installed on the sides of the mirror.

Should Your Vanity Lights Be Wider Than Your Mirror?

Your vanity lights should not be wider than your mirror, but you may install a light fixture that is the same width as your mirror. It looks good if your lights are about 75-80% wide of your mirror.

Best Vanity Light Setup for Makeup

The most important thing is that your face should be evenly illuminated without a dark shade on it.

Natural daylight is priceless when it comes to makeup application. A good window at the side helps during the day.

To get your makeup done close to the natural lighting, choose LED fixtures that don’t have static color tint.

Get bulbs with a CRI between 90-100 for the most color accuracy. Soft white bulbs between the range of 2700K-3000K are ideal for makeup application.

Important Considerations for Bathroom/Vanity Lighting

LED is the most expected choice for modern vanity lighting due to its design, performance, and power efficiency.

3 things to know as you choose your lights –

1. The CRI or Color Rendering Index

A high CRI (90-100) means highly accurate colors. Less than 90 is considered inaccurate.

2. Color Temperature

The light is cool like blue or warm like the fire.

3. LED Lighting Level

A human eye is accustomed to 2700K to 3000K, over 3500K is dangerous.

FAQs

Q. Should vanity light be the same width as a mirror?

Not really. It’s better to look at if your vanity light is a little narrower than the width of your mirror especially if it is a multi-light fixture.

You may consider an LED bar with the same width as your mirror, but a vanity light should not overreach the mirror itself.

Q. How much space should be between mirror and light fixture?

3-5 inches of space is perfect between the mirror and the light fixture when the mirror is at regular height (up to 75 inches). The ALA’s recommendation is 75-80 inches from the floor for the overhead vanity light fixtures.

Q. How many lights should be on a 36-inch vanity?

Two or three-bulb light fixtures will be a perfect match for a 36-inch vanity.

Q. Should vanity lights hang over the mirror?

No, lights should not hang over the mirror as it can cause down lighting, creating shadows on the face. Instead, you can use accent lighting, which will make a warm glow.

Q. What is the best lighting for a vanity mirror?

LED fixtures or bulbs that produce white light (or close to white) should be your first priority. Also, the bulb should be of high CRI (90-100) as it gives the most accurate colors.

For a general bathroom or makeup purpose, you have to choose soft white bulbs with a range of 2700K – 3000K.

About the author

Elizabeth Fincher

Elizabeth started her career as an interior design artist at a multinational interior design farm. She completed her masters degree from the University of North Texas back in 2010. She was also a Spelling Bee runner-up when she was 14. She took interest in bathroom interior designing after joining her first job. Later she started her own firm as an independent artist. She’s been one of the founding members of Toiletsguide. She examines the design and ergonomics of the units we review and directs the interior decoration team of our in-house research facility. Elizabeth plays piano masterfully and always finds time to entertain us in between our busy schedules.

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