Sizing and Lighting a Mirror Around a Vanity

The Lighting Doctor explains where to hang a bathroom mirror and sconces above a vanity. 

01/04/2017
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bathroom mirror vanity lighting
Photo by Zac Gudakov on Unsplash

Q:  I have two questions. First, I have a 48-inch vanity. How large of a mirror do I need? Second, I have two sconces for the sides of the mirror. Is it possible to hang sconces right on the mirror?

A: I would recommend using a 30-inch-wide mirror. That would leave you 9 inches on either side to hang your sconces. The sconces would be centered between the edge of the mirror frame and the end of the vanity. If you wanted to mount the fixtures right on the mirror, then I would recommend using a mirror that is the same width as the vanity (48 inches). You will first have the electrician install the junction boxes for the sconces in the wall. Then the mirror installer would come and measure will exactly where the junction boxes are and pre-cut the holes before installing the mirror. You can add the framing for the mirror after the mirror has been installed.

The vanity lights should be mounted at 5 feet 6 inches above the finished floor. What you want is to have the translucent part of the light fixture at eye level. If you live with somebody who is particularly taller or shorter than you, then I would recommend getting a long vertical fixture so that both of you will have even illumination on your faces.

Randall Whitehead headshot

Randall Whitehead is an educator and author on the subject of lighting design. His work has been featured in many magazines, including Architectural Digest, Home & Garden and Esquire. He has appeared as a guest expert on HGTV, Discovery, CNN and Martha Stewart Living Radio.

His Latest book Beautiful Light outlines how to create successful and subtly beautiful LED lighting designs for homes and gardens. It is due out August 2021.

You can see his entertaining 1-minute instructional videos at furniturelightingdecor.com. And you can follow him on Instagram:  @randall.whitehead

 

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