What’s the Perfect Size Bathroom Vanity Light?


Vanity Light Size Guidelines

When designing your bathroom vanity, lighting is a vital consideration, as this space can either dampen or uplift your mood. So, are you stuck on the what ideal vanity light size is for your bathroom?

The perfect vanity light size for your bathroom should be approximately 75% the width of your vanity. It should be large enough to illuminate your head and face but not overpower the mirror. However, this rule can vary depending on where you’re installing the lights and the amount of light you need.

A perfect vanity light size comes down to your style and preferences. Yet, knowing the standard recommendations will help you make an informed decision. In this article, I’ll discuss these vanity light size guidelines in detail to help you choose the perfect light fixtures for your vanity.

 

How Big Should My Vanity Light Be?

LNC Home - Perfect Vanity Light Size
See the LNC Home Modern Black Bathroom Light

 

Your vanity light should be equally as big or smaller than the size of your bathroom vanity mirror. Ideally, it should cover about 3/4 of the mirror’s width and approximately half its height. An appropriate vanity light size ensures your vanity space is well-lit. 

The light fixture should offer sufficient task lighting for routine grooming activities, including shaving, applying makeup, and combing your hair. 

Still, there are a few factors to consider when determining how big your vanity light should be.

 

Bathroom Vanity Size

Bathroom vanities differ in size and layout, so you can’t have similar vanity light sizes for all vanities. For instance, the best light for a small single-sink vanity with a width of 24” to 36” (61 – 91 cm) and a single mirror would be one or two single-bulb sconces.

Generally, many light sconces are 4” to 20” (10 – 51 cm) wide. The perfect size should be proportional to the size of your vanity. Moreover, most bathroom vanities require sconces ranging from 9” to 10” (23 – 25 cm) in length.

On the other hand, large bathroom vanities measure 48” to 60” (122 – 152cm) in width and might require a multi-light vanity fixture with several bulbs, especially if you have a double-sink vanity with a wide countertop. In this case, a multiple-bulb vanity light measuring 13” to 26” (33 – 66 cm) long would be ideal.

Keep in mind, however, that the sizes of multi-light vanity fixtures mainly depend on how many bulbs they carry.

 

Where You’re Installing the Light Fixture

Best Light Bulbs for Bathroom Vanity

The position you install your vanity lights determines how well illuminated your space will be. And this position will also influence the size of your vanity lights.  

You can install vanity lights above the mirror or beside the mirror.

The American Lighting Association recommends placing your vanity lights next to the mirror, especially when you have a narrow mirror, as it minimizes shadows and glares from your light fixture.

Nevertheless, your taste and preferred vanity light design or style might also influence your choice.

 

Amount of Light You Need

Globe Pendant Lights Above Bathroom Vanity

To most people, vanity lights are meant to be functional lighting, while others don’t mind using them for general light. Yet, vanity lights can serve both purposes, making them one of the most versatile light fixtures that your bathroom can have.

Still, your lighting purpose determines how much light you need, which dictates what size will meet these requirements. According to the American Lighting Association, your vanity lights should provide at least 1600 lumens for adequate task lighting.

So, if you need the light fixture for task lighting only, a small vanity light fixture will do. However, it should be bigger if it serves both general and task lighting.

 

Bathroom Mirrors

Of course, your vanity will be incomplete without a bathroom mirror.  

Your mirror size and position also determine what size vanity lights to install. 

If you have an expansive bathroom mirror, it’s typically best to have a large bar or multiple-bulb vanity light. 

Contrastingly, a pair of smaller sconces would be an ideal match for a narrow bathroom mirror. 

Check out this detailed guide on how to space your bathroom mirror and wall sconces.

 

Is Your Mirror Less Wide Than the Vanity?

Riverbend Home - Light Fixture for Bathroom Vanity
Check out the beautiful Ainsley Two-Light Bathroom Lighting Fixture at Riverbend Home.

 

If your bathroom mirror is less wide than the vanity and you want to hang your fixture above the mirror follow this rule:

Choose a light fixture that’s 75 % of the mirror’s width. For example, if your mirror is 36 inches wide, use a light bar above the mirror that is 27 inches wide. 

If you want to hang your fixtures beside the mirror, then the size of the fixtures should be proportional to the size of the bathroom (source). Use the third column in the table below.

 

Is Your Mirror the Same Width as the Vanity?

LNC Home - Vanity Light Size Guidelines
See the beautiful Minimalist Linear Glass Bronze Wall Light at LNC Home.

 

These measurements assume you have a bathroom vanity mirror the same width as the vanity itself.

 

Bathroom Vanity WidthIdeal Vanity Light Width If Hung Above the Mirror Ideal Vanity Light Length If Hung Beside the Mirror
24” (61 cm)22.5 inches (57.2 cm)Up to 12 inches (30.5 cm)
36” (91 cm)27 inches (68.6 cm)Up to 14 inches 35.6 cm)
42” (106.7 cm)32” (81 cm)Up to 16 inches (40.6cm)
48” (122 cm)36” (91 cm)Up to 18 inches (46 cm)
60” (152 cm)Up to 48” (122 cm)Up to 18 inches or more (46 cm +)

 

What’s the Best Size Vanity Light for a 24-Inch Vanity?

For Above-the-Mirror Placement

Above-the-mirror placement is perhaps the most common mirror installation in the bathroom. For this setup, if you have a narrow bathroom mirror, probably 22.5” (57.2 cm) wide, it would be best to have a single vanity light.  Moreover, the light shouldn’t be wider than the mirror.

For Beside-the-Mirror Placement

Alternatively, you can go for two single-bulb sconces on either side of the mirror, each up to 12 inches (30.5cm) in length. 

 

 

What’s the Best Size Vanity Light for a 36-Inch Vanity?

For Above-the-Mirror Placement

A 27-inch (68.6 cm) wide vanity light is perfect if you’re placing it as an overhead light (above the mirror).

 

For Beside-the-Mirror Placement

You can opt to install two vanity fixtures on either side of the mirror measuring up to 16” (35.6 cm) in length.

 

What’s the Best Size Vanity Light for a 42-Inch Vanity?

For Above-the-Mirror Placement

If you choose to have one overhead vanity light, then a fixture measuring 32” (81 cm) wide would be perfect. The most suitable width for two overhead vanity lights would be 16” (41 cm) wide each. Remember, two light fixtures are usually best for a double-mirrored countertop with two sinks.

For Beside-the-Mirror Placement

You can have two vanity lights for side placement, each measuring up to 16” (40 cm ) long.

  

What’s the Best Size Vanity Light for a 48-Inch Vanity?

For Above-the-Mirror Placement

If you have a single-mirrored vanity, it’s recommended to position the 36-inch (91 cm) light fixture centered over the mirror. For a double-mirrored vanity, you’ll want two light fixtures over each mirror, up to 18 inches (46 cm) wide.

For Beside-the-Mirror Placement

You could also place the two light fixtures that are 18-inches (46 cm) long or more on either side of the double vanity mirrors if you’d like. However, Janell Beals, a designer at Houzz, recommends adding a single-bulb vanity light between the two mirrors. The extra light minimizes dark spots for more expansive vanities.

 

What’s the Best Size Vanity Light for a 60-Inch Vanity?

Since this is one of the largest sizes for a vanity, you can opt to have a large mirror or two mirrors, depending on the vanity’s layout.  

For Above-the-Mirror Placement

If you have one bathroom mirror, a 48-inch (122 cm) bath bar light over it is proportionately best. However, it’s challenging to find such a large vanity light, so you can buy one that’s a few inches shorter. 

Alternatively, you can go for two bar lights, each measuring 24 inches (61 cm) long.

For Beside-the-Mirror Placement

In the case of such a large bathroom, you can go for fixtures alongside the mirror that are 18 inches long (46 cm) or more.

 

How to Install Bathroom Vanity Lights Beside a Mirror

Center vanity lights at your eye level, about 65 – 70” or 165 – 178cm from the floor.

When placing lights on the sides of a mirror, be sure to leave at least 36” to 40” (91 – 101 cm) between both lights to avoid casting shadows on your face.

Also, leave at least 1” (3 cm) of space between the edge of the light fixture and the mirror.

 

 

The Best Size Lights for Your Bathroom Vanity

Many homeowners overlook vanity lighting and pay more attention to their living room and kitchen decor. 

Yet, finding the best lighting for your bathroom vanity will go a long way in enhancing its appeal and uplifting your needs. 

For this reason, it’s crucial to identify the perfect vanity light size to balance your vanity space and provide proportional lighting.

Note: If you’re about to embark on a bathroom remodel, you can save thousands of dollars with my Save Big $$$ Cheat Sheet. Subscribe to my newsletter by filling out the form below and I’ll send it right over.

Shana

Shana Burg is a bath enthusiast, content strategist, and award-winning writer. She is the founder of bathtubber.com.

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