Of all the light sources in a bathroom, the sconces over the sink are the most important.
“Whether you’re plucking your eyebrows, applying makeup or shaving, you need really good lighting in order to see what the heck is going on with that face of yours,” said Madeline Stuart, an interior designer in Los Angeles.
And if all you have is a ceiling-mounted fixture, the light will be “truly unflattering,” Ms. Stuart said, because it will “create these shadowy planes on your face” that make personal grooming difficult.
For “very even, shadowless light on the face,” Ms. Stuart said, you’ll need two sconces — one on either side of the mirror. But if space is tight, installing a single sconce at the top of the mirror can work almost as well.
Because they’re mounted at eye level, sconces also represent an opportunity to express your style.
“I look for bathroom lighting that creates mood and atmosphere,” Ms. Stuart said, “and a bit of fanciful decoration.”
Plate Matte Black Wall Sconce
Iron sconce with matte black finish by Mermelada Estudio
About $70 at CB2: 800-606-6252 or cb2.com
Milton Small Sconce
Metal sconce with white glass shade by Thomas O’Brien
$755 at Circa Lighting: 877-762-2323 or circalighting.com
Cast-glass sconce with integrated LEDs
$580 at Rich Brilliant Willing: 212-388-1621 or richbrilliantwilling.com
Glass globe sconce with various metal finishes
$199 at Cedar & Moss: 503-635-0820 or cedarandmoss.com