10 Ideas to Illuminate Your Bathroom Mirror with Perfect Lighting

Bathroom over mirror lighting ideas are currently in the design spotlight, and a single ceiling pendant is no longer adequate for fashion-forward bathrooms. It’s time to up your game and explore interesting bathroom lighting ideas.

According to Niki Wright, founder of lights&lamps, people are becoming more adventurous in the design of their bathrooms, and choosing lighting that complements these exciting schemes is a fast-growing trend. Illuminating the mirror, which is a vital part of a successful bathroom lighting scheme, including the basin/vanity area, is just one aspect to consider.

Plan for task lighting, such as for shaving and makeup, and ambient lighting, to create a relaxing atmosphere. A night-light, activated by a motion sensor, is a good safety feature for families.

Illuminate Your Bathroom Mirror with Perfect Lighting

Revamp Your Bathroom Lighting

To assist you in determining the best way to light up your bathroom mirror, we have compiled a plethora of amazing design ideas. However, there are a few practical considerations that you should take into account.

Keep reading for professional guidance on complying with safety regulations, positioning, brightness levels, and installation. And, of course, there’s an abundance of beautiful design inspiration to explore.

1. Customize Your Pendant Lighting

If you want to add an industrial design touch to your bathroom lighting, multi-wire spider pendants are a great option. You can easily position them by offsetting the ceiling rose and adjusting the height of each cable. However, make sure they comply with the Building Regulation’s Zone 2 safety ratings, keeping them at least 60cm away from the basin taps and bath.

The fittings that sit within Zone 2 should be IP44 rated or above to prevent moisture damage. Multi-wire spider pendants provide a good spread of light, reducing unwanted shadows. You can also add individual flair with coloured flex or lightshades.

2. Enhance Your Bathroom Lighting: Fixing Lights Directly onto Your Mirror

Installing wall lights onto a mirrored glass panel is an easy and stylish way to achieve a modern look in your bathroom. The reflective glass enhances the shape of the wall lights, doubling their design appeal. Opt for fittings with sculptural shapes, like Original BTC’s Hector range.

To achieve this look, pre-cut holes in your mirror before installation and have your electrician place the lighting cables. Ensure that the positions are symmetrical to the basin. Either have a local glass company template the mirror or do it yourself on graph paper, sending the template to them. During installation, your electrician must use rubber washers and avoid over-tightening to prevent damage to the glass.

Enhance Your Bathroom Lighting

3. Matching Lighting Fixtures for Period Fittings

Period homes were not built with indoor bathrooms, let alone electric lighting. However, there are many traditional designs that can enhance the authenticity of older properties. Light fittings with ball joints and sconce-like shapes are ideal choices. Companies like The Victorian Emporium offer a wide range of options.

Opaline shades have a retro aesthetic and provide softly diffused lighting, making them perfect for ambient illumination when the main overhead lights are switched off. Ask your electrician to wire them on separate circuits so they can be switched independently.

4. Strategies for Evenly Lighting Your Space

Having his and her double basins is a practical solution for shared bathrooms, but it can pose a challenge when it comes to lighting both mirrors. The common approach is to treat each mirror as a separate entity and light them independently, resulting in a bathroom that is overly illuminated.

To avoid this, Ian Cameron, the creative director of lighting brand Empty State suggests adding an additional light in the middle of the two mirrors to distribute the illumination evenly. This can be achieved using wall lights or a group of pendant lights to create a statement. By doing this, you will be able to illuminate both mirrors and the basin area without overdoing it.

5. Design tips to create the illusion of height in a bathroom

In bathrooms that have low or sloped ceilings, such as those found in loft and dormer bathrooms, it can be beneficial to place task lights above the mirror instead of on either side. Doing so can effectively elongate the design of the wash area.

Try to position the lights as close to the ceiling as possible while still creating a clear distinction between the wall lights and the main ceiling fitting. To achieve a cohesive look, use matching fittings from the same lighting range. For example, in this loft en-suite design, the compact wall lights are positioned neatly above the large mirror. This draws the eye upward and creates the illusion of a more spacious room.

Design tips to create the illusion of height in a bathroom

6. Upgrade Your Bathroom with a Mirror Featuring Built-In Lighting

Illuminated mirrors are a great option for providing both lighting and a reflection in the bathroom. They come with built-in LED lights that are typically connected to the regular lighting ring by a qualified electrician. Adjustable brackets and ample cabling make it easy to position them precisely. You can also find illuminated mirrors with extra features such as de-misting pads, shaver sockets, and Bluetooth-connected speakers.

One benefit of illuminated mirrors is that they help combat the glare that can occur when using separate lights. Look for designs with LEDs around the full perimeter of the mirror to provide illumination from every angle. According to Trinity Owhe, Design Expert at Victorian Plumbing, bathroom mirrors with integrated lighting are a great option.

7. Upgrade your lighting with easy-to-install pendant fixtures

Hanging pendants from the ceiling adjacent to the mirror is a smart solution when new wiring can’t be installed inside nicely plastered walls or when an in-wall install is going to be tricky for whatever reason. This way, you can still achieve the desired effect without the need for major renovations. Plus, pendants can add a stylish touch to the overall design.

8. Integrate lighting with furniture design

Cold, white LEDs with a color temperature above 5000K can make skin look washed out and unflattering, while warmer color temperatures around 2700K provide a more flattering, natural-looking light. It’s important to consider the color temperature of your lighting when choosing bathroom fixtures and bulbs to ensure the most flattering illumination possible.

Integrate lighting with furniture design

9. Flank your mirror with stylish wall lights

Side mirrors are generally better for task lighting in the bathroom because they provide even illumination on the face and minimize unflattering shadows. Wall lights positioned on either side of the mirror are the ideal solution for this purpose. However, if space is limited or it’s not possible to install side lights, then lights above the mirror can also work well as long as they are positioned close to the wall and provide adequate illumination without creating harsh shadows.

10. Invest in designer lighting for a stylish touch

Certain light fitting designs have become so iconic that they will never go out of style. Therefore, investing in them will provide long-lasting benefits. Furthermore, you can always take your expensive light fittings with you when you move to a new home! Designer brands, such as Flos, Louis Poulsen, and Artemide, are known for their timeless lighting.

Purchasing high-end light fittings may not be as costly as you think. If you select the right designer fitting, just one can have a significant impact. For instance, in this compact cloakroom, the single IC light, designed by Michael Anastassiades for Flos, illuminates the mirror. It has enough design impact to make a strong impression all on its own.

Should You Install Lights Above the Bathroom Mirror?

Proper task lighting for bathroom mirrors is essential. The positioning of task lights depends on the purpose of the mirror. In family bathrooms where the mirror is used for quick checks, lights can be placed above, to the side, or around the mirror. However, for close-up work such as makeup application, shaving, and brow plucking, even lighting is crucial. Lights should be on both sides of the mirror, approximately at eye-level. A light above the mirror can also be added.

According to Matthew Currington, Technical Director at The Lighting Superstore, a light on either side of the mirror will evenly illuminate the face, whereas a light above the mirror will highlight only the top part of the face, which can cause unflattering shadows around the eyes and nose. The amount of light required depends on the size of the mirror, but a general guide is 1200 lumens, equivalent to around 80 watts for incandescent lamps or 15 watts for LED.

How to Light Your Bathroom Mirror Effectively?

To create an ideal bathroom lighting, it is recommended to have multiple layers of lighting, which include the main ceiling lights, atmospheric mood lights, and task lights for reflection in the mirror. According to Matthew Currington, Technical Director of The Lighting Superstore, the most flattering lighting for the bathroom mirror is wall lights on either side of the mirror. However, in a small bathroom layout, this may make the space feel cramped, and therefore, it’s important to choose lighting that suits the size of the room.

For a small bathroom space, Matthew suggests placing LED strip lighting above the mirror to illuminate the space above it. This creates a great atmosphere and gives the illusion of a larger room. Backlighting the bathroom mirror is also a great way to add an extra glamorous factor to your space while providing essential lighting. Dimmable lights are recommended, as they can be bright enough for makeup or grooming, but can also be toned down to create a more relaxing atmosphere.

How to Light Your Bathroom Mirror Effectively

What is the ideal height for bathroom light fixtures above the mirror?

To achieve the best effect, ensure that the wall lighting on either side of the mirror is no more than 30cm away.

“If you’ve opted for a wall fixture above the mirror, hang it between five and 10cm above the mirror, centered. For overhead lighting, consider using LED downlights to create a softer illumination. Avoid light bulbs that are too bright, as they will create harsh shadows,” explains Matthew Currington, Technical Director at The Lighting Superstore.


In conclusion, proper lighting is essential when it comes to illuminating your bathroom mirror, whether it’s for getting ready in the morning or for relaxation at the end of the day. With the right lighting setup, you can create a space that is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing.

From overhead lighting to wall lights on either side of the mirror, there are numerous options available to achieve the perfect lighting for your needs. It’s important to consider the size of your bathroom and mirror when selecting the lighting fixtures and bulbs to ensure that they provide the right amount of illumination without creating harsh shadows.

Additionally, choosing the right type of bulb, such as LED, can help to save energy and reduce your electricity bill. With a variety of lighting options available, it’s possible to find the perfect lighting solution that meets your personal style and practical needs. So, whether you opt for wall-mounted lights or backlit mirrors, you can transform your bathroom into a relaxing sanctuary with the perfect lighting.

Leave a Reply