Lighting a Tight Powder Room
What elements are needed, and where?
 
In compact bathrooms, consider running the mirror all the way along the vanity wall, then hang narrow pendant fixtures flanking the sink to make the space appear larger.
We have a tiny under-the-stairs powder room that measures 3 by 8 feet. We’re thinking of installing sconces flanking a mirror above a wall-mounted sink. Will having one light source make everything flat? If the sconces are bright enough to be used as task lighting, will that mean glare?   

You do have a tight powder room with an awkward ceiling line. I’m glad you’re thinking about cross illumination at the mirror. I would put the sconces on a dimmer and select fixtures that have frosted glass or a shade so that they are not too glaring. You could also consider a mirror that has illumination built in so that the sconces don’t project out into the limited space. A sconce I would have you look at is the 5040 by George Kovacs. Also, take a look at Edge Lighting for illuminated mirror options.

Since you’re doing a wall-mounted sink, which I think is a good idea, I would recommend doing a little bit of “toe kick” below the sink to throw a glow of light onto the floor. I would use a waterproof linear LED tape for the toe kick lighting in the 2400K range with a CRI of 90 or higher.

Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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