Spatial reasoning is not my strong suit. This makes tasks like choosing the right Tupperware for my leftovers or parallel parking my car quite challenging. It also means I’m in constant danger of making design mistakes by choosing products that, while fabulous, literally do not fit together. Scale can make or break a design.

Bathrooms are particularly challenging on this front.  There are so many separate pieces that have to fit together properly – the vanity, sinks, faucets, mirrors, lighting… It’s a lot to keep straight!

I created this design board for my master bathroom a few weeks ago:

Master Bathroom Design Board

I love how all of these pieces fit together – on paper.  The real questions is: Will they work together in real life?

Design boards (at least the ones I do) are risky because you’re looking at pieces that are not shown to scale. I’ve found that it’s easier for me to focus on things like lines, color, and the overall aesthetic first. That gives me direction and helps me narrow down choices quickly. I then tackle size and scale issues as the second step.

I recently found myself at this second stage of the design process for the master bath. My mom sent me a great Overstock coupon so I wanted to go ahead and order vanity mirrors I’ve had my eye on.  But first, I wanted to be sure the mirrors were the appropriate size, and I was curious to see how they would look with the lights I *thought* were perfect  for the space.

I absolutely love the lines and blue color of the mirror from my master bathroom design board.  This is the mirror I found on Overstock to help me achieve a similar look:

James Martin Brookfield Vanity Mirror
James Martin Brookfield Mirror


Obviously this mirror isn’t blue, but that’s easily remedied with paint.

The style and lines of this mirror work well with two other key elements from the design board…

The whitewash vanity:

Westerfield Whitewash Vanity from Signature Hardware
Westerfield Whitewash Vanity from Signature Hardware


And this gorgeous vanity light in brushed brass:

Vanity Light in Brushed Brass from Lamps Plus


To check the scale of these three pieces in relation to one another, I used Publisher to drop in the photos and adjust their sizing to scale (i.e. 1 inch = 1 foot). I also dropped in an outline of a lady and scaled her to 5’5″ – my height. The photo shows a granite counter top instead of Carrera and the mirrors are still the wrong color, but that doesn’t matter for the purposes of checking scale. Here’s the result (#1):

Bathroom Design Scale Test 1


Clearly, the lights are an issue.  They’re way too big! They look like alien hovercrafts landing on the mirrors to stage an invasion of the bathroom.  No bueno.

Unfortunately, this particular light does not come in a two-light option, so I had to move on to this light instead:

Hudson Valley Keswick Light in Aged Brass
Hudson Valley Keswick Light in Aged Brass


Let me pause a moment here to note that the original light was already more than I want to spend. This light is even more expensive, which means it’s out of the question unless I hit a great sale, find a coupon, or both. But even if this doesn’t end up being the exact light I go with, it’s still helpful to test the scale of this smaller light.  The original option was 30″ wide; this one is only 21″ wide.

Here’s how the scale test came out with this option (#2):

Bathroom Design Scale Test


Much better, but still maybe not quite right.

This light is available in two-light and single-light options, so I tried a different approach (#3):

Bathroom Design Scale Test


Now we’re getting somewhere. This looks well balanced and it brings the lighting down to a lower level. Bathroom lighting is best when it’s around the height of your face, which significantly reduces shadows.

I still wanted to look at one final option, so I tried the two-light style above the mirrors:

Bathroom Design Scale Test


Meh. This is an improvement over option #1, but I don’t like it as well as #2 or #3.  The two-light style looks too puny and creates a “pyramid” affect where the eye keeps going up and in.

The best option to me is clearly #3:

Bathroom Design Scale Test


This process gave me confidence that the mirrors are an appropriate size relative to the vanity, and that it’s possible to find lighting that will work with them. With that, I went ahead and ordered the mirrors, which means there will be a future post about painting them!

The lighting hunt is still on, so if you come across anything that looks like a good fit, let me know!