Bath lighting automation - stuck for ideas

Hello, trying to think of a way to do a particular lighting automation of bathroom. MS paint drawing of bath below.

Bathroom has 3 light sources. The vanity light bar, the extractor fan light, and LED strips under the vanity. The vanity and fan lights both have their own Zwave dimmers, the LED strip is on a RGB controller. I presently have a motion sensor that I have positioned really carefully that senses when someone is in the bathroom, including in the shower. It is the only motion sensor in the bath at the moment.

I have a rule for the LED strips to come on as a night light, brighten with motion, and various color/bright levels for ambient light in this windowless room. This part I am happy with. I also have motion lighting app set up for the fan light as that light is sufficient for showering and general tasks. I am OK with the fan light automation, it probably could be tweaked a bit in Motion Lighting to make it better however.

The vanity light is where I am stuck. What I would like to do is to only have the vanity light turn on while someone is standing at the mirror/sink, maybe with some type of proximity sensor or combination of motion sensors? I don't want to have these come on simultaneous with the fan light. The vanity light is near useless in the shower and wasteful of energy.

I haven't quite figured out how to tell is someone is in front of the mirror, and especially if they are standing there doing hair, brushing teeth, or whatever. The bathroom is small enough one sensor covers the whole thing, and I think there would be false positives with too many sensors. Maybe zone motion would help? The issue is how to get a small enough area for just the sink and not trip for walking by and so on. A beam sensor (shrink tube) modification of the motion sensor probably won't work as the location of everything appears wrong for making it work. I was thinking a proximity (capacitive?) sensor mounted in the face of the vanity cabinet would work, but failed to find something I could hack onto a door sensor or similar. I need a traffic sensing loop or something. :smirk_cat:

TLDR I want to only sense someone standing in a 2 foot by 5 foot area near sink. Open to adding or modifying sensors as needed.



I am currently working on lighting automations for our remodeled bathroom as well. I've had this in the works for a while. I, too have LED's that act as a nightlight and come on in the evening when there is motion instead of the new 5000k lights we installed that light the neighborhood. I'm thinking a contact sensor. If I am doing my hair, I have my cabinet open to get to my products. I don't shut it until I'm done. Why not conveniently place a contact sensor and use that as a light trigger for the vanity? It seems more natural or effortless to trigger it with something that you do in every day life. I strive to make our house interact with us, so that's the first thing that comes to mind. I have the bright lights turn on if the door is closed also. For aiming purposes. :grin: That also solves the "how many motion sensors" issue as your bathroom is covered by one. Just a thought.
Here is a photo of our bathroom. The outlet above will be hidden by a cabinet that is going up there and the led's will be on top. We have built in medicine cabinets with mirrors on the insides as well, so if it were me, I'd put the contact sensor on the top where it couldn't be seen. Happy to discuss this further if it's something you're interested in. I'm still trying to figure out our usage to tweak our rules yet, but I have some other night light automations that would be perfect if you need input. (excuse the paint. it's not quite done in this photo.)

Like the bath remodel, love the blue color. The bath layout and size is quite similar to mine in a lot of ways.

The only issue with using a contact sensor in the medicine cabinet is that it is one of those cabinets that has 3 separate mirrored doors. (would like to get rid of it someday!) While I could sacrifice 3 sensors, it seems wasteful somehow. (maybe I am cheap?) Those sensors would help if you open the cabinet for some reason, but not just standing to wash hands or whatever. I do have a couple extra sensors, maybe I should try one door and see what happens, it certainly would fit one of the criteria I laid out.

I have a pretty extensive LED rule, it works pretty much exactly as I want. I might get tired of the Star Trek effect, but for now it is cool.

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Nice. We're finishing up our remodel. (I need to paint) and then getting the sensors in place. Right now the lights pop on whenever they want to because I can't place the sensors until we're done. We plan on putting a cabinet between the sinks. A shallow one, so the strip will go up top of that. I'm looking very forward to getting it done, but we're being good citizens and holding off on unnecessary trips. I'll post more when it gets completed. I guess you'll just have to pay attention to what is normal in use and automate that. It's worth a few contact sensors to get it right. I have several motion sensors in my kitchen/dining just to make sure that things work right. coolness = priceless

Ok so here's the finished bathroom. It's been a long time coming. We're installing a cabinet in the center of the sinks, which is not built yet, but we're not going out at the moment to be able to build it.

In case you wonder, the vanity is a converted dresser and my plumber has some mad skills. I'll just say that.

I have a sensor in the shower area to keep the light on. If the door is closed, the light will stay on too.
Still working on rules.


With my grown kids coming and going all the time a rule I have found useful is to flash the shower lights three times if the front door is opened. This lets me know if someone has entered the house while I'm in the shower.