When designing any space in your home, lighting is by far one of the most important aspects to consider. This is especially true for bathroom vanity lighting ideas. After all, you check yourself in the mirror during every morning ritual. So, wouldn't you want to choose the most functional and flattering lighting design possible?
First, it's a good idea to begin with function before form. First, consider how much natural light your bathroom receives. If the answer is a lot, you have more wiggle room with the types of illumination you add. Maybe you can get away with just some accent and task lighting, or perhaps you prefer to layer multiple lighting sources to create better ambient light. If it's a powder room you're planning, perhaps a lovely flush mount ceiling light may be all you need. However, in a primary bath, you'll likely want a bit more.
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For designer Karen B. Wolf of k+co LIVING, there's one type of vanity lighting that's always a clear favorite: wall sconces on either side of the mirror. She explains that placing fixtures close to eye level creates a softer and more even glow, whereas over-the-mirror lighting can illuminate the face too brightly and be less flattering. Wolf also loves the stylistic opportunities that come with bathroom sconces as opposed to bath bars. She loves scaling up, explaining, "Selecting the right lighting for a room is like bedding on the bed or jewelry for an event. It defines the vibe of the space ... This is your personal statement and a chance to build in elements you love to a space."
Not sure what personal statement you want to make yet? To get you started, read on for some bathroom vanity lighting ideas we love.
16 Bathroom Vanity Lighting Ideas
1. Try inverted sconces for a fresh take.
You can't go wrong with mounted sconces over a double vanity. The brass bathroom light fixtures in this classic white bathroom by Amber Interiors are particularly lovely because of their inverted style and clear glass shades. Having four of them in a row ups the elegance factor. This also makes us wonder: How many other decor items can you completely redesign by simply flipping them upside down?
Get the look: Obsolete Petite Glass Sconce, $1,300
2. Go traditional with fabric shades.
Sconces with fabric shades work so well in traditional bathrooms with makeup vanities. But we recommend installing them only if your space is large enough or has good ventilation (to protect the fabric from getting damp). This look is especially nice if you want your bathroom to feel more like a luxe dressing area, like this feminine example by Studio McGee.
Get the look: Z-Lite Mila Wall Sconce in Rubbed Brass, $94.40-$136
3. Make a two-light sconce feel like four.
This light has the perfect combination of a modern shape and vintage-style filament bulbs, so it provides a subtle industrial touch. And if you're lucky enough to be able to mount your sconce directly on the bathroom mirror, you can create the illusion of a double fixture. The trick will make the space feel brighter and bigger.
Get the look: Dutton Brown Cap Double Sconce in Black, $299
4. Try a three-light fixture for better visibility.
Orb lights like these are usually installed directly on the wall, but here, they're suspended ever so slightly, bringing the lightbulbs closer to the vanity mirror. A three-light fixture like this one would be perfect if you like to get up-close and personal with your skin care routine. You'll be able to see everything perfectly. For a more modern vibe, add an all-white, subway tile backsplash.
Get the look: AFX Pearl LED Vanity, $110
5. Center a chandelier between two vanities for balance.
Symmetry is at the heart of this bathroom setup, with identical twin vanities facing off on opposite walls. Designer Katja van der Loo of Papyrus Home Design reinforces that sense of balance by giving each vanity double sconces, which serve as a counterpoint to the busy wallpaper. By doing so, she allows the viewer to turn their focus toward the center of the room and the pretty flush mount chandelier and freestanding bathtub.
Get the look: Aerin Jacqueline Flush Mount Chandelier, $1,309
6. Choose understated faux candlesticks for a modern traditional look.
Metal wall sconces come in so many finishes and sizes that you're bound to find the perfect set no matter your aesthetic. The pair pictured here are especially lovely because they're shaped like vintage candlesticks. Pair them with a dimmer so you can create the perfect mood for a soothing bubble bath.
Get the look: AllModern Salome Armed Sconce (Old Bronze), $165.99
7. Milky globe lights are lovely for a minimalist vibe.
There is something so alluring about the classic combination of white and gold. This pair of contemporary milk glass sconces might look simple at first glance, but the warm metallic accents are quietly beautiful, and they let the wood sink and neutral paint color be the stars of the room.
Get the look: Room & Board Orbit Wall Sconce, $349
8. A boxy wall sconce can add heft.
This rectangular sconce adds a particularly unique flair to a spalike black and white bathroom. It highlights the other matte black fixtures nearby, creating a minimalist, industrial look. A white flush mount fixture reflected in the mirror adds ambient light, while a skylight keeps the space bright during the day.
Get the look: Williston Forge Danvers Glass Flush Mounted Sconce, $219.99
9. Consider the spare beauty of an Edison bulb pendant.
Haven't had enough of Edison bulbs? Neither have we. And of all the bathroom lighting ideas, you can DIY this pendant without any hardwiring. It will even work in a small space. Simply hang a plug-in pendant light from the ceiling. Bonus points if you add it to a minimalist washroom like this one.
Get the look: Tala Gaia Bulb, $29
10. Try an overhead double sconce with feminine curves.
In a small bathroom like this one, there really isn't room for side sconces, but this overhead light is a great solution. It accommodates two bulbs, giving off a fair bit of light without compromising on style. A bit feminine with traditional rounded details, it feels of a piece with the framed wall art and curved faucet, while straight lines elsewhere prevent the room from feeling too precious.
Get the Look: Millennium Three-Light Vanity, $161.91
11. A small sculptural pendant can create a mini moment.
Sometimes, it's best to follow the adage that there can only be one star. In this small powder room, the emerald herringbone backsplash demands the spotlight, and it would be a mistake to add another statement piece. But in a quieter way, the rustic wood vanity and sculptural, almost honeycombed pendant lamp still have their chance to shine.
Get the look: Shakúff Mod Tube 1, $510
12. Colorful sconces create a fun pop against a tiled wall.
This bathroom by the Banks Development Co. is deceptively simple with its clean, minimalist furnishings, but all the elements work together perfectly. The tile backsplash is bold enough that you might think the rest of the furnishings should be quiet. But in fact, what's needed are accents with just a bit of gravitas — namely, a neutral, striped hand towel and the perfect milky blue farmhouse-style sconces.
Get the look: Beachcrest Home Lund Steel Armed Sconce, $90.98
13. Choose a unique statement piece.
This bathroom in designer Beata Heuman's family home is at once traditional, sophisticated, and surprising. The centerpiece is the Dodo Egg Lantern, a pretty and whimsical piece of Heuman's own design. We also love the cut-out in the vanity mirror, which feels modern but also solves the problem of a smaller vanity area that might otherwise lack the space for a side sconce.
Get the look: Beata Heuman Dodo Egg Lantern, $1,780.89
14. Go glam with oversize pendant lights.
Dual oversize brass pendant lights bring a beautiful shine and a hint of glamour in this bathroom by Laura Brophy Interiors. One reason they work so well here without looking gaudy is because of Brophy's restraint in the use of brass elsewhere. The mirrors and drawer pulls echo the finish of the pendants, while matte black faucets and towel rings provide balance.
Get the look: Arteriors Osgood Pendant (Gold Leaf), $975
15. A sleek bar light can reinforce a clean-lined aesthetic.
In a contemporary space that favors clean lines, a minimalist bar light above your vanity can be the perfect finishing touch. The trick is not to confuse minimal with plain. In this bathroom designed by Reena Sotropa, a sleek bar light features luxe details, like brass caps and suspension wires, that perfectly fit the elegant, modern vibe.
Get the look: Ozarké Léger Minimalist Pendant, $149.99
16. A smaller chandelier still packs big style.
Your vanity mirror and lighting are natural places to create big design moments in your bathroom. But you want to be careful not to give equal weight to both. Designer Karen B. Wolf shows us how it's done in this bathroom. The sizable, carved-wood vanity mirror clearly serves as the main focal point. Therefore, Wolf went smaller with her choice of chandelier for a second accent — and smaller still with the side sconces.
Get the look: Boho Coastal Glass Beaded Chandelier, $365.49