The bathroom is simultaneously one of the most difficult spaces in your home to light well and the place where it’s most important to do so. While lighting for function and ambiance is important everywhere, the bathroom is where you do your grooming. It’s the place where you get yourself looking the way you want before you step outside. Inadequate lighting in the bathroom means that not only will your morning routine be a little dark and dull, but that you won’t be putting your best face forward. So what can you do to improve task lighting in your bathroom? Consider investing in backlit mirrors.
How Are Backlit Mirrors Different?
Typically, bathroom mirrors don’t have built-in lighting; rather, you place lights above or on either side of them. But though these lights are bright, they inevitably cast light from above or the sides, which shadows parts of your face. That makes it more difficult to shave or apply makeup. Backlit mirrors cast light from inside the mirror and directly in front of you, ensuring that there won’t be any shadows on your face at all.
What Is A Backlit Mirror?
So how does that work? Backlit mirrors (sometimes called backlighted mirrors, electric mirrors, or LED mirrors) are essentially mirrors with LED lights embedded inside the mirror. Backlit mirrors produce a pure white light that gives a true sense of color as well as a shadow-free reflection. That makes it easier than ever to get a genuine sense of what you’ll look like outside the bathroom, even without any natural lighting.
Won’t That Make It Hard To See?
The lights in backlighted mirrors are typically embedded in the sides or around the frame of the mirror so they won’t block your reflection. That said, I’ve seen some pretty cool custom backlit mirrors that have patterns of lights that decorate (as well as light up) a full wall. In a way, these are an answer to the old Hollywood vanities and makeup mirrors, replacing the big round bulbs with more modern inset designs. That way, you keep the impression of the old style but with an updated twist.
Backlit Mirrors Shouldn’t Be Your Only Light Source
However big or small the mirror or how many lights it has, and however pretty it might be, the primary function is to illuminate your face. It can be difficult to find the right balance of ambient light in a bathroom – especially if you’re building a big, luxurious dream bathroom. But backlit mirrors have little or nothing to do with elaborate bathroom chandeliers or any of your other layered bathroom lighting. An LED mirror can more than replace an above the mirror light or a pair of sconces, but even in a relatively small bathroom, it won’t be enough to light the whole room.
A Practical Luxury Upgrade
In that light, you want to think of backlighted mirrors as an upgrade or an add-on (like makeup mirrors) rather than a replacement or alternative for your existing lighting. That said, it’s one of my favorite (and oft-overlooked) little luxury upgrades that you’ll actually use every day. While a whirlpool tub might sit unused for weeks at a time, a backlit mirror is something you’ll enjoy every time you step in front of it – especially if you have a dark or windowless bathroom.
Look For Bundled Packages
If you’re getting ready to do a significant bathroom remodel, this is a good time to consider a backlit mirror, too. As yet, backlit mirrors aren’t particularly common. But many high end bathroom designers package backlighted mirrors wit some of their vanity collections. This can make it easy (and less expensive) to get a stylish, coordinated bathroom that has the task lighting you need.
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to buy a whole bathroom set to get your hands on a backlighted mirror. A skilled DIYer with the right materials can make one on their own (though that’s a whole other post for another day!). Contractors can build larger or wall-sized mirrors with custom cut shapes and patterns. And of course many companies just plain offer them on their own in a variety of sizes and patterns – including backlit medicine cabinets.
From simple bars of LED lights to ones with pretty patterns, backlighted mirrors provide the functionality of a makeup mirror, the light of a standard over-the-mirror fixture, and a modern touch that will make your bathroom utterly unique.