Lighting and mirrors can make or break a bathroom’s ambiance and functionality. Bathrooms have evolved in modern houses to be more spacious and multifunctional, and as a result, the lights and reflective surfaces need to complement the spaces they occupy.

Types of Bathroom Lighting
Once bright and sterile, bathrooms are now refuges for relaxing and enjoying a spa-like atmosphere, as well as performing certain tasks. Thus lighting needs to be multi-layered to create optimal zones, from task lighting around a mirror to nightlights.

Task lighting — This lighting illuminates the area around a mirror to allow for shaving, makeup application, tooth brushing and hair styling. This can be achieved through a series of lights above the mirror, sconce lighting on either side of the mirror or a combination. The lighting should be bright enough to see clearly for delicate tasks such as inserting contact lenses, to softer lighting to maximize makeup look and feel. Using a dimmer switch on around-mirror lighting, or separate switches for each segment can help to adjust and control the amount of light needed.

Ambient lighting — Most often achieved by ceiling fixtures, sometimes in combination with a exhaust fan. In larger areas, the ceiling lights might be installed in pairs over obvious task locations, say just outside the shower enclosure or over the commode.

Shower lighting — This area of lighting is sometimes neglected, yet when enclosed in either surrounds or shower curtains, the shower can be a very dim place without flush mount lighting. These installations require specially waterproofed light fixtures and wiring to avoid electrical shock danger.

Bath lighting
— Baths lighting also needs to be bright enough to read product labels or reading materials, depending on the relaxation preference. Wall sconces and candle lights can create a romantic and relaxing atmosphere around the tub. For an extra elegant treatment, many homeowners opt for a sparkly chandelier over the tub.

Accent and night lighting
— Adding a small table lamp to a vanity can create a warm effect, as can pinpoint spotlights in the ceiling over towel racks or around the perimeter of a larger room. A specific night light installation can help avoid nighttime slips and bumps, without turning on all the lights.

With lighting, you’ll want to pay close attention to the types of light bulbs you select. Look for led or CFL bulbs that shine in a warmer spectrum. The super-bright blue-spectrum lights are extraordinarily unflattering and visually uncomfortable for interior lighting.

Mirrors reflect style and necessity
Mirrors are another essential element to the bathroom area. So many options are available beyond the medicine cabinet box that it can really pay to look around. Some homeowners re-purpose a large bureau or wall mirror as a bathroom mirror. An especially elegant picture frame might be reset with a mirror and hung over the sink area. Other modern options can include these mirrors:

Backlit mirrors — These mirrors come with their own lighting, and are available in many different styles. Popular in Europe, backlit mirrors can offer a simplified solution to both illumination and reflection.

Magnifying mirrors — These magnifiers are usually mounted to one side of the vanity on adjustable armatures. The typically have two sides, a normal view and a magnified view for makeup application.

Back-view mirrors —  For many tasks, a view of the back of the head or an outfit can be essential. You can achieve this by positioning a hanging mirror on a wall facing the vanity mirror, another useful option is to hang a hand-held mirror on the wall as a decorative element that can also be used to see the back-view.