For many of us, our bathrooms are our sanctuaries. The bathroom is where we prepare ourselves for the day and then return to perform evening rituals. Paint color and decor can define a bathroom’s style, but lighting sets its atmosphere. A bathroom that is designed as a calm, mindful space can reduce stress and anxiety, and the right bathroom lighting is one element to achieving this serene atmosphere.
Shopping for the best vanity lighting for your bathroom, from flipping through lighting design catalogs to trying to decide which bulb type is best for your space, can overwhelm even the most enthusiastic home decorators. Read on to learn about the fixture features to look for as you select the best vanity lighting for your bathroom and the top picks in each category.
- BEST OVERALL: PRESDE Modern LED Chrome Bath Mirror Lighting
- RUNNER UP: Bennington 3 Bulb Vanity Light Fixture
- BEST DIMMABLE: mirrea 48in Modern LED Vanity Light
- BEST SCONCE: Effimero Black Wall Sconce Lighting
- BEST FOR MAKEUP: DINGLILIGHTING DLLT Wall Light Fixture
- ALSO CONSIDER: SOLFART Dimmable Bathroom Light
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Vanity Lighting
The first step in choosing bathroom vanity lighting is deciding what style of lighting fixture best suits your decor. Once you settle on how your lighting fixtures will look, think about the best lighting temperature—warm or cool, each of which has a specific purpose—to help you achieve your vision of the perfect bathroom. The following are a few things to think about as you shop for the best vanity lighting.
The number of lighting fixtures you need in your bathroom depends on how big your bathroom is, how big your vanity is, and how bright you want the space to be. There are four main styles of bathroom vanity lights: single-light fixtures, multi-light strips, bar fixtures, and sconces. Single-light fixtures rarely cast enough light to illuminate a bathroom and should thus be reserved for small spaces if they are the room’s only light source. Multi-light strips hold between two and eight bulbs and are usually installed above the mirror. A modern bar-style light, which is a multi-light strip encased in a frosted shadow box, is an easy way to update an outdated bathroom. Sconces are usually hung in pairs on either side of a focal point, such as a bathroom mirror, 5 feet to 6 feet from the floor.
Next, think about what color you want the fixture’s finish to be. Some of the most popular options are black, white, chrome, polished nickel, brass, and antiqued brass. Many people coordinate their bathroom lighting fixtures’ finish with the finish of their vanity faucet and with the overall style of their space.
One last question to ask as you finalize your bathroom vanity lighting look: Will the bulbs be right-side up or upside down? Most bathroom vanity light fixtures can be installed with its bulbs facing upward or downward. The right orientation for you is a matter of preference.
As you shop for the best vanity lighting for your bathroom, be mindful of the color temperature you want your bathroom lighting to cast. Bathroom vanity lights can cast either warm or cool glows, and some lights have dual temperature options. Warm temperatures cast a cozy, flattering light. Cool (or white) light is closest to natural light and is ideal for detailed tasks like makeup application. Energy efficient LED bulbs, available in a variety of hues, are another option for bathroom vanity lighting.
With dimmable vanity lights, you can control how bright your lights are and the overall ambiance of the room. Full light is necessary for makeup application or shaving, but an evening bath will be more relaxing with dimmed lighting.
Vanity light dimmers are typically controlled by a wall knob or button. Some lighting manufacturers also have apps that allow users to control dimmers remotely, via smartphones and smart speakers. Note, however, that vanity light fixtures with dimming capabilities may require dimmable light bulbs. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific fixture.
As you shop for the best vanity lighting for the bathroom, you’ll notice that products are labeled with Ingress Protection (IP) ratings. These ratings begin with the letters “IP” followed by two numbers ranging from 0 to 8. The first digit indicates how protected a lighting fixture is against solids like dust and large particles. The second number indicates the fixture’s resistance to moisture and water. Zero indicates no protection, and 8 indicates full protection. An IP rating of IP15, for example, offers minimal protection against solid objects but moderate protection against sprayed jets of water. If your vanity lights are close to your tub or shower, consider a higher IP water rating.
Dry-rated vanity lights are suitable for many bathrooms, as long as these areas don’t come in direct contact with water.
Our Top Picks
Now that you know what kind of vanity lighting you have in mind for your bathroom, begin your search by taking a look at some of the top picks.
This bathroom vanity light from PRESDE has glass lampshades that will add a touch of glamour and sophistication to your bathroom update. You can customize your lighting experience by rotating the lamp heads and pointing them where you want them. Its mirrored chrome stainless steel finish is both waterproof and rustproof. This fixture requires G9 bulbs, which are sold separately, and is also compatible with dimmable bulbs. It’s available in strips of three, four, or five bulbs, to accommodate vanities of varying sizes, in either a chrome or matte black finish.
- Sophisticated look
- Lamps are rotatable
- Stellar customer service
- Several configurations to fit your vanity
The Bennington Lakeland bath vanity light has painted glass globes and a sleek, transitional design. We like that you can install the fixture with the bulbs facing up or down. This fixture can accommodate LED, CFL, halogen, or incandescent A19 bulbs. It’s available with two to four bulbs in three finishes—bronze, chrome, and nickel. Whatever the size of your vanity, a set or two of these bar lights should complement it nicely.
- Can be installed facing up or down
- Choose from three metallic finishes
- Easy to install
If you are ready for your Hollywood close-up, this is the fixture for you. The 48-inch mirrea modern LED vanity has a rating of IP44 and produces 3680 lumens, which is equivalent to an eight-light vanity fixture. It easily illuminates a double-sink bathroom and can reasonably be the sole source of light in your bathroom. This fixture is compatible with TRIAC dimmer switches, so you can moderate the light’s intensity when it suits you. Designed with chromed stainless steel and a frosted acrylic cover, mirrea’s vanity light has a 180-degree rotating hinge that allows you to adjust the light in the direction you choose. It is available in both a warm hue or cold hue.
- Clean and modern design
- Energy-efficient LED
- Can rotate 180 degrees
- Choose from two color temperatures
The Effimero black wall sconce will add a touch of modernity to your bathroom’s decor. This versatile wall sconce can be installed shade up or shade down. In a small space, install a single fixture sideways over the bathroom mirror, or pair two on either side of the mirror for symmetry (and more light). If you install dimmable bulbs, its lights are dimmable, and it’s compatible with most medium-base bulbs, including LED, CFL, halogen, and most smart bulbs.
The sconce comes in four finishes: black, brushed nickel, chrome, and satin brass. If you like the look of these and have to illuminate a larger bathroom, be sure to check out the manufacturer’s coordinating multi-bulb fixtures.
- Available in multiple finishes
- Compatible with most bulb types
- Mounting bracket may need modification to fit
With its rust-resistant matte black finish and clear glass cylinders, DINGLILIGHTING’s vanity light fixture complements homes with contemporary, industrial decor. Install the fixture with bulbs facing up or down, depending on your style preference. Though its E26 socket is compatible with a variety of light bulbs, including LED and incandescent, you can raise this fixture’s cool factor even more by pairing it with Edison bulbs. This fixture is available in both two-bulb and three-bulb strips with two globe options and is dimmable if paired with a dimmer switch.
- Available in two styles
- Modern industrial aesthetic
- Provides ample light
- Glass shades can wobble if not screwed tight
The SOLFART vanity light is a modern take on an above-the-mirror light fixture. Its stainless steel finish is polished to a glossy, mirrored shine, and its shades are made of elegant, bubbled glass crystal. Resistant to both rust and moisture, the fixture is available in three-, four-, five-, or six-bulb sizes that accommodate energy-efficient 16W LED light bulbs. Complement a single sink with one fixture or a double sink with two.
- Moisture- and rust-resistant
- Contemporary look
- Stylish bubbled glass
- May not be suitable as the only light source
If shoppers are looking to add a touch of elegance to their bathroom renovation, the PRESDE Modern LED Chrome Bath Mirror Lighting can deliver sophisticated glamour to the vanity without breaking the bank. If a more modern industrial style is what you’re after, consider the Effimero Black Wall Sconce Lighting and choose the metallic finish and bulb type to perfectly suit your needs.
How We Chose the Best Vanity Lighting
The best vanity lighting needs to be bright enough to allow users to see what they’re doing, but not blind them, while hopefully looking great and adding a touch of style to the bathroom. We have gathered our top picks in a range of styles to match several popular bathroom looks—from glamorous contemporary with chrome, bubbled glass, and high-mirrored finishes to more traditional and sleek.
We are aware that shoppers differ in terms of their preferred color temperature and brightness for their bulbs, so we have made sure to include options for a wide variety of bulb types, colors, and brightnesses—many of our top picks are also dimmable.
Naturally, since we’re talking about bathroom lighting here, we also made sure that our recommended products feature a degree of moisture resistance and should comfortably stand up to the occasional splash.
Choosing the best vanity lighting for your bathroom might feel overwhelming because there are so many fixture designs and sizes from which to choose. Before you begin shopping for the best vanity lighting, here are answers to a few questions you may have.
Q. What is the right ratio of mirror and vanity light?
It’s recommended that vanity lighting fixtures be three-fourths as wide as the vanity mirror. If you have two sinks, however, two lighting fixtures will offer a more symmetrical look.
Q. What kind of lighting is best for applying makeup?
Cool light, which has a clean glow more similar to natural light, is preferred for applying makeup. Warm light is very flattering but does not accurately represent real color, which could lead to heavier than necessary makeup application.
Q. What kind of lighting is best for a bathroom vanity?
Incandescent, halogen, and LED light sources most accurately render color. And warmer light temperatures tend to be more flattering and inviting than cooler light temperatures.