Bathroom Vanity Lighting – How Not to Look Like Dracula

Recessed downlights should not be used to light your face while standing at a mirror in your bathroom because the light coming from these fixtures will only cause harsh shadows on your face. Instead, wall-mounted vanity light fixtures attached above the mirror and/or on both sides of the mirror, or backlit vanity mirrors (a very neat option – especially if wall space is limited) should be used. That way, shadows on your face can be minimized. Recessed downlights can be used in other parts of the bathroom for general lighting but not for task lighting at the sink area – unless, of course, you want to look years older or like Bella Lugosi in makeup.

Round halogen backlit vanity mirror.

Square fluorescent backlit vanity mirror.
Tom Farin

Tom Farin

Tom Farin is the founder of Pegasus Lighting. Dr. Farin has been in the field of lighting since 1987. He has extensive training and experience in lighting, physics, mathematics and education, acquired at the undergraduate level, in graduate school, and in the field. It is Dr. Farin's interest and expertise in education that has driven the overall design of the site - with its heavy emphasis on lighting terminology, lighting techniques, and thorough information on each lighting product.

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  • Hi, Thanks for the tips.

  • Terry

    I’m interested in the mirrors for bathroom that have the bult in fluorescent lights…..can these be put on a dimmer switch?

    • Terry:

      The lighted fluorescent vanity mirrors that we offer are not dimmable. I am not sure about all fluorescent vanity mirrors, but usually fluorescent lights are not dimmable unless they include a ballast that allows for dimming. These kinds of ballasts are more costly over traditional fluorescent ballasts.

    • Tom Farin

      In addition to needing a special (expensive) dimmable ballast, fluorescent lamps also require a special fluorescent dimmer.

  • Monta Knippa

    I need a vanity mirror that is 24″ wide & 36″ long and would like back lit lighting. Do you offer anything like this? I am on a budgit and dont know if I can afford. Do you have any ideas?