You might see the term "vanity light" mentioned in lighting jargon or in the search results when you look for a specific lighting fixture in a retail store.
But what exactly is a vanity light and what are its purposes?
As the name suggests, a vanity light is designed to illuminate a user's face and other areas around the bathroom vanity.
This light can also highlight other belongings and objects on the surface of the desk.
Depending on the placement of the bulb, you can also get dramatic shadows on the walls and floor.
This feature makes them perfect for fashion shoots and for showcasing jewelry and other gifts.
Although popular in homes, vanity lights are often found in professional studios and commercial spaces.
Because of their relatively low wattage, they are energy-efficient and perfect for working environments.
The following are some examples of situations where a vanity light serves its purpose well:
At a beauty and hair salon, spa or makeup artists' stations - to light up clients' hair or face while they are receiving a treatment.
While working at their stations, makeup artists can use vanity lights to see what they're doing and impress upon their clients the quality of their work.
At a barber shop - to showcase the work done on a client's hair, barbers use vanity lights to provide dramatic lighting.
Vocation training - student values shine while working at desks illuminated by vanity lights.
At home. Whether you're crafting or doing homework, vanity lights give you the right amount of light to see what you're doing.
What are the Features of Vanity Lights?
Like any lighting product, vanity lights vary in features and specifications. Although some are more basic, others are premium products with innovative features. The following are some of these features:
Height-adjustable. For versatility, some vanity lights are height-adjustable so they can be positioned to meet the needs of different users.
Lamp heads. Vanity lights usually have a lamp head to provide light. These heads can be flat or dome-shaped for stylish and functional lighting.
Novelty designs. Because they are usually placed in prominent areas of the home, vanity lights make for great decorative items. Designs range from modern to classic, so you can definitely find a style that matches your taste.
Wall-mountable or table-top. Depending on your needs and space, you can find a vanity light that is wall-mountable or table-top.
To install these, you will need to cut out a hole in the wall to compensate for the fixture. You should have sufficient space to mount the light on the wall.
Pendant lights. These hanging lights will require some modification to your ceiling structure to support the weight of the light.
How Do I Know Which Lighting Is For Me?
There are several factors to consider when shopping for a vanity light. These include the following:
Budget. Vanity lights range in price depending on their features and quality. Do you have a limited budget or is spending some extra money a possibility?
Use. Consider the area where you will be installing or using the light. Are you buying the light for a bedroom vanity or a bathroom vanity?
Space. Also, consider the space where you will be installing or using the light. Does the light have to fit in a compact bathroom space or has room to hang from a bedroom ceiling?
Novelty design. If you like the decorative element of a themed light, then go for it! There are lighting designs that suit every taste from classic to modern, horror movie inspired to floral, there’s something for everyone.
What are the Different Types of Vanity Lights?
When searching for a new vanity light, you’ll come across several types and functions of lighting:
Wall-mounted. As the name suggests, these lights are mounted on the wall above your makeup table or bathtub. They tend to have a more modern design and are easier to install than pendant lights.
Pendant. These styled lights are perfect for hanging above your vanity area. They are more fashion-oriented and have a decorative design.
LED/CFL combo. Some light designs feature energy-saving bulbs to combine the best features of both CFL and LED lights. Which one you choose will depend on your budget and lighting preferences.
No matter what design you choose, remember to keep your bathroom’s lighting needs and safety in mind. Check the light’s wattage rating and don’t choose anything higher than what’s recommended for your bathroom.
What Should I Look for in Vanity Lighting?
When shopping for a new vanity light, there are a few factors to keep in mind.
Whether you’re buying at a physical store, or online, these factors can help you find the perfect light for your bathroom and budget.
Bulb-Fitted or Bulb-Less?
Should your new light have a traditional light bulb (crystal, incandescent, halogen or LED)?
Or would you prefer a light that has a more energy-saving bulb?
Length. Depending on your bathroom layout and vanity area size, you’ll want to make sure your light isn’t stretching across the entire bathroom. A long light extension can cause plumbing problems. Plus, it may not look so good.
Style. No matter what your bathroom’s style is — modern, contemporary, country, or coastal — there is a vanity light style for you. From rustic barn-style lights to modern crystal chandeliers, the style of your light could dramatically impact your bathroom ambiance.
Price. Vanity lights range from 20 dollars to more than 200 dollars. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot to get great light. Costco sometimes has great deals on quality light styles, and online retailers sometimes have great sales.
Where Should I Place My New Vanity Light?
There are a few key placement points to keep in mind when placing your new light.
Placement point 1: balance the lighting.
Your light should shine on your mirror area to help show off your beautiful self (and keep your bathroom decorating goals in mind). Think about where you place your makeup and how the light affects it.
Placement point 2: avoid creating shadows.
You don’t want sharp shadows jumping around your bathroom like frightened toads, so make sure the light is positioned in a way that minimizes these spooky effects.
Placement point 3: get the right height.
The light should be positioned high enough to see yourself in the mirror — whether you’re wearing your heels or your fuzzy slippers. The light should also be low enough to avoid dazzling you.
Bathroom vanity lights can really enhance your bathroom and help you achieve your decorating goals. Just remember to think about how you’ll actually use the light and where you’ll put it. And get the right style and price for you. Happy shopping and happy totally gorgeous self-loving days!
Styles of Bathroom Vanity Lights
There are so many styles of lights to choose from. From contemporary crystal chandeliers to retro-styled bubble glasses, you’re sure to find a style that (along with your makeup and soft towels) will help you feel your best.
4 Tips To Create A Spa-Inspired Bathroom
Create a spa-inspired bathroom where you can escape and relax. It’s easy with these helpful tips.
Tip 1: add some color
Color is a great way to enhance your mood and create a space that you will love. Paint the wall or add a splash of color with a towel or throw. Or remodel your whole bathroom in pink (we’d love to see pictures!).
Tip 2: add softness
You can add softness and comfort to your bathroom with materials that are gentle and luxurious. Choose towels that are made of soft cotton or terry cloth. Add a pillow for extra comfort and coziness (we love this chic-edged throw).
Tip 3: add fragrance
Scents can have a powerful effect on your mood. Add fragrance and aromatherapy to your bathroom with candles or an oil diffuser.
Tip 4: turn on soothing lights
Turn on a soft light to set the mood for a calming getaway space. BioSense Daylight bulbs give you the benefits of natural daylight, which can boost your energy, morale and mood. The bulbs also simulate evening light, which can help you get ready for bedtime.
How to Choose Bathroom Vanity Lights for Your Home?
Chic hotel bathrooms always look so stylish. What can you do at home to upgrade your bathroom and make it a place you would go to relax and get ready?
Step 1: decide how many lights you need
How many lights you need depends on the space and function of your bathroom. One or two above the bathroom vanity will give you enough light to apply makeup and organize your toiletries. More would be needed for a larger bathroom with multiple vanities.
Step 2: choose the right light for the job
Three types of lights are used for bathrooms: bathroom vanity lights, recessed ceiling lights, and wall sconces.
LED bathroom vanity lights deliver a cool white light that’s great for grooming and beauty routines.
Recessed ceiling lights offer greater lighting overall; they can be swapped out for more luminous, decorative versions. Wall sconces provide focused light for vanity mirrors and applying makeup.
Step 3: Choose your style
Style matters, whether you’re upgrading a single vanity in your bathroom or installing new lights throughout the room. Here are some suggestions:
Modern: sleek and clean finishes make modern vanity lights a modern must. Go for chrome accents for an edgy vibe or wood bases for a more timeless look.
Eclectic: if your bathroom showcases your quirky, hip side, choose eclectic vanity lights — think retro shapes and chic color accents.
Romantic: romantic vanity lights swoon us with their vintage look and glamor. Go for bows, curvy silhouettes, and ornate details.
Traditional or colonial: traditional vanity lights reinterpret colonial styles with modern twists. Glazed ceramics and wood details add chic touches.
Step 4: stick to your budget
Bathroom vanity lights can range from a few dollars to hundreds, depending on the style and quality. Make sure you stay within your budget by only buying what you need — don’t overbuy.
Step 5: Pick a light that fits your bathroom needs.
Not sure what size vanity light you need? Use the calculator application for it to find out. Just fill in the blanks and you’ll know the right size for your bathroom vanity.
Step 6: find the right wattage
Vanity light wattage varies depending on what you’re using them for. Make sure you get the right wattage for your purpose.
- 60 watts: good for grooming and applying makeup
- 150 watts: ideal for vanity mirrors
- 240 watts: great for vanity mirrors and grooming sessions
Step 7: buy the right bulbs
Replace standard incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs to save energy and money. Replace halogen bulbs with CFLs too — they have a longer lifespan and offer softer light tones. Make sure you get the right wattage and bulb type for your new lights.
Step 8: Install your new vanity lights
If the light fixture comes with instructions, follow them carefully. These steps vary depending on the fixture and light type. However, most vanity lights are installed into existing receptacles. First, disconnect the old light(s). Then, connect the new vanity lights’ wires to the outlet. Lastly, attach the light to the fixture socket and test the installation. Congrats! You’ve just installed a new vanity light!
Three Tips To Keep In Mind When Shopping For Bathroom Vanity Lights
No matter what style or price range you choose, there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for bathroom vanity lights to ensure you get the right ones for your space.
Tip 1: go eco-friendly
Choose eco-friendly (and durable) LED lights instead of traditional bulbs.
You can also look for CFL lights with reduced mercury levels. These days, you can find stylish, long-lasting LED vanity lights that replace traditional bulbs and cost less to operate than regular bulbs.
Tip 2: get the right style
Not sure what style fits your space?
Think about the style of the bathroom and the decor of the room where the vanity is located.
Traditional bulbs offer a warm, classic light tone.
If you have a modern bathroom, consider eco-friendly led lights.
Tip 3: measure the current outlet
Make sure to measure the existing outlet where you’ll be installing the new vanity light. You don’t want to buy a light that’s too big and won’t fit in the socket. The measurement should be indicated in millimeters.
Bathroom vanity lights are a must-have in every bathroom. No matter what decor you have in your house, there is a style of light that will create the perfect amount of light for any beauty routine. With these tips, measurements and suggestions, you’ll find the perfect light for your space and needs. Happy shopping!
Commonly Asked Questions
Vanity lighting ideas?
Sometimes, for a home to feel warm and welcoming, all you need is a little extra light. Fancy chandeliers and crystal lamps have their place, of course, but sometimes a simple string of holiday lights on the ceiling will do the trick. If you want to take your home décor to the next level, though, you can find all sorts of cool lighting ideas online. For example, you can string up garland lights, or use parabolic mirrors to create a cozy reading nook in your bedroom.
What are the vanity lights called?
Vanity lights are lighting fixtures that are often used in bathrooms, the name for the lights above mirrors. They can be either recessed into the ceiling or wall, or they can be surface-mounted.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Olivia Poglianich is a nomadic brand strategist and copywriter in the wooden crafts and 3D product design space who has worked with brands such as Visa, Disney and Grey Goose. Her writing has taken her all over the world, from a Serbian music festival to a Malaysian art and culture event. Olivia is a graduate of Cornell University and is often writing or reading about travel, hospitality, the start-up ecosystem or career coaching. Her latest interests are at the intersection of web3 and communal living, both on and offline.