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Two brass alton sconces on either side of two mirrors in a white tiled bathroom during the day

Indoor Lighting Guide

Bathroom Lighting Planning and Selecting Tips

Let Your Bathroom Shine

There’s no reason your bathroom can’t be both functional and beautiful. And a beautiful bathroom starts with beautiful lighting. It’s how you see yourself in the mirror every morning, and it’s the last light you shut off before you go to bed. But how do you know what lighting is right for your space? We have a quick guide to help you out. 

All bathrooms will need vanity lighting of some sort. The other lights you choose depend a little bit on your preference and a little bit on your space. If you have the space next to your mirror, sconces are a beautiful way to add bright, grooming light. If you’re limited in your wall space, a vanity bar above the mirror provides a focused glow. Lighted mirrors are a great addition as well, if your space allows for it.

A spacious bathroom with large windows pouring in sunlight featuring Brettin vanity lights above a round mirror
A close up of an Avery three bulb vanity light with black finish above a mirror
Corner of a bathroom vanity at night with a Shailene vanity light above a round mirror in black finish
Bathroom Vanity Lights

If a vanity light seems right for your space, there’s still a small choice to make. How many lights? Most collections come with options of between two and five lights. Both the size of the mirror and the size of the room must be considered when determining which is best for your space.

2 Light Vanity

  • A smaller room will look best with a 2 light vanity light.

3 Light Vanity

  • To see yourself in the best light, a 3 light or 24” version is usually considered the minimum.

Multiple Vanity Lights

  • When multiple sinks are included on the countertop, include a light over each mirror

  • For larger bathrooms, add extra layers of light with mirrors, downlights and perhaps even cabinet lighting. 

Whatever you choose, just remember that the full width of the vanity light should not exceed the width of the mirror. 

Where to Hang

Sometimes, it’s not about what light you have, but how you hang it. Vanity lights should be hung over the mirror and centered on the plumbing. The centerline of the vanity light should be hung 72” above the floor. For taller ceilings, or taller people, that height can increase to 80” but should never exceed that distance. Some vanity lights are even more versatile, because they can be mounted with glass or diffuser up or down. With the exposed light bulb facing down there will be a bit more light, but glare will increase. With diffuser/glassware facing up, some light may be blocked, but the glare can be reduced.


Sconces are the preferred method for bathroom lighting when used for personal grooming. When combined with a recessed light positioned in line with the sink drain, light is delivered to the face from three directions, eliminating shadows and letting your face shine. 


Recessed lighting or downlights shouldn’t be the primary light source in a bathroom, because your face will be filled with shadows. But they can add a nice ambiance and work well when paired with well-placed sconces. 

For some helpful reference, check out the placement tips below, featuring fixtures from our Pim collection.

Dual vanity bathroom at night featuring Pim vanity lights above mirrors, illustrating how the lights are 86.5 inches above the ground and the bottom edge of the mirrors are 46 inches from the ground
An example measurement guide featuring two Pim silver sconces on either side of a bathroom mirror, 30.5 inches apart and 72 inches from the ground
Lighted Mirror

When using lighted mirrors, be cautious of glare, especially for seniors. Some lighted mirrors have light that emanates from behind the mirrored glass surface, that indirect light would be better for senior eyes. Lighted mirrors can be especially appealing in powder room settings where only minimal grooming is performed.

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