Can You Spot What's Wrong with this Bathroom?

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This bathroom is perfectly lovely, and definitely a huge improvement over my own (admittedly neglected) powder room. But a recent article alerted me to a common problem in many washrooms that has a big impact on how you use the space. Can you spot it?

It's that overhead light fixture.

Task lighting in the bathroom shouldn't come from overhead, according to this article from Houzz with tips from lighting designer Randall Whitehead. A task light that shines from above the mirror casts unflattering shadows, including darkness below the eyes.

A better option is to trade the overhead fixture for a pair of wall sconces on either side of the mirror, mounted at eye level. This way, faces are illuminated from all angles without harsh shadows, providing ideal lighting for shaving, brushing teeth or applying makeup.

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Unfortunately, overhead vanity lighting is the most common option for many apartments, leaving renters in the shadows (literally) when it comes to illuminating their morning routines in the best light. But without re-wiring the bathroom, there are still options for adding better getting-ready task lighting to a rented unit.

A lighted cosmetic mirror (with an extension or swing-arm) fastened to the wall next to the main vanity can become a de-facto prep space with ample direct light. This is especially a great option for anyone with a power outlet next to the mirror.

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Or go the DIY route by adding movie-star-style vanity lighting strips. They're available in different sizes and shapes to customize a bathroom scheme that puts anyone in their best light. I love this one from Thomas Lighting on Amazon, available in 3- to 8-light strips.

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(Images: krsmanovic/Shutterstock, Tracy and Rob's Beach Oasis, Ron's Parisian Style Condo, Amazon)

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