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17 Tips for Choosing the Best Bathroom Light Fixtures

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Want to shed some light on your powder room or en suite? These 17 tips for choosing the best bathroom light fixtures will make it easy. Plus, take a look at the bonus shopping guide for gorgeous vanity lights for any style of home.


Have y’all been doing home improvement projects in your home lately?

You know what I mean… the #stayathome type of projects.

Well, last spring, I started my modern coastal bathroom makeover, and to say it has been a “slow train” may be a bit of an understatement.

But guess what??? The final touches are being placed in the bathroom, decorating has begun, and all I really have left to do… well, I’ll keep that a surprise.

17 tips for choosing the best bathroom light fixture bathtub with pendant lights

However, one thing I WILL let you in on… I have my new vanity light installed! AND, my DIY painted cabinets and my wall treatments are finished, too (coming soon)!

And between you and me… I’m in love!

So, today I thought I would share some of the tips and tricks I learned and used in finding and installing my purdy little vanity light.

Plus, through-out the post, I’m sharing some of my favorite picks for bathroom light fixtures that fit any style!

This post may contain affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my complete disclosure HERE.

Simply click on the photo, and you’ll be taken to the complete description, price, and all the different finishes that might be available!

What Is the Best Light Fixture for a Small Bathroom?

Actually, there are quite a few options for lights that are suitable for small bathrooms, or any size bathroom for that matter.

There are several different types of bathroom lighting fixtures:

Whatever type of lighting you plan on using, keep in mind these simple hints when choosing the best light fixture for you bathroom:

  • Of course, your light fixture needs to supply adequate light for the size of your bathroom and your lighting needs.
  • Consider the size of your vanity. Make sure the light fixture is large enough to complement your vanity, but not overwhelming to your vanity mirror. If your vanity is large, think about using two smaller light fixtures above or on either side.
  • Think about how long you plan on keeping the light fixture… Do you like to update and change your style often? Then ‘go with your heart’, but you might want something more affordable. Want to buy an investment piece for your bathroom? Then find something that will stand the test of time.

Is Warm White or Cool White Better for Bathrooms?

When deciding on what type of light or light bulbs to use in the bathroom, these tips just may make things easier for you:

  • Do you want subtle/moody light in your bathroom, or bright light that says, “Good morning!” to you each day (my personal choice). Be sure to check the type of bulb the light fixture uses and what the wattage limit is. Personally, I like to be able to use 100-watt bulbs.
  • Along with checking the bulb wattage, be sure one light fixture is enough. For example, you may need/want a vanity sconce AND a ceiling.

More About Lighting Color Tones, Kelvins and Color Rendering

  • If you’re wondering about warm vs cool lighting, this is measured by Kelvins. Most people like a 2700-3000K range. Kelvins in the 2700 range tend to be “cozier” and more flattering to the skin-tone and warmer color palettes. Lighting in the 3000K range tend to be crisper and flattering to a cooler color palette and is more neutral in tone.
  • Color rendering index (CRI) is the measure of how true-to-life a light source renders color in contrast to a natural light source. The higher the CRI in a light bulb, the better! Look for 80+ (good), 90+ (great), or 95+ (excellent).
  • Finally, be sure the size of light bulb is easy to find and in your budget. Some LED lights can run big bucks, but can last for 10+ years!

How Do You Measure for a Vanity Light Fixture?

There are lots of guides and ways to measure for a vanity light fixture that are on the Internet. Most companies will suggest that a vanity light be at least 3 inches above (clearance) your vanity mirror.

However, in my situation, my new medicine cabinet did not *quite* meet the minimum. But, it worked-out just fine! I love how it looks!

Just be sure when purchasing your vanity light that is will definitely clear your mirror/medicine cabinet door AND your ceiling. Check the measurements in the light description or on the light fixture’s box, and then check the measurements with your electrical opening, ceiling, walls, and mirror.

Remember, you can adjust MOST sconce light fixtures to point up or down. But keep in mind, when you point a light fixture toward the ceiling, you will have light ‘bouncing’ and possibly creating unwanted shadows.

Where Do You Shop for the Best Bathroom Light Fixtures?

Here are some of the best online shopping options for the best bathroom light fixtures:

And remember… most of the lighting fixtures come in several different finishes. So, if the style of a chrome-finish light catches your eye, but you’re looking for something in black, be sure to click on it and check-out all the finishes it might come in. Chances are the black metal finish will be available, too!

Now It’s Your Turn!

Are you in the market for a new bathroom light fixture? Which one is your favorite in this post?

Oh, and as a side note… I installed my vanity light ‘all-by-myself’! If I can do it, you can do it, too! πŸ˜‰

signature updated 2022

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  1. I love the suspense! I can’t wait to see your bathroom! And, I also love how you put together this shopping guide. I want to do our tiny little powder room and it will come in super handy!

    1. Well, I’m glad YOU love the suspense… I think I need to put MOST of my readers out of their ‘been-waiting-for-a-year’ misery! πŸ˜‰

  2. Way to go, doing it on your own, Julie! I love Build.com also. When we remodeled our bathroom and updated our kitchen, that’s who I dealt with. They had significantly lower pricing for the same lights I found elsewhere.
    We like higher range kelvins for the bathroom.
    Looking forward to your reveal.

  3. This is such a smart post, Julie! Great tips in here, and I also love the products you chose to highlight (no pun intended). Pinning!

  4. I’m impressed that you did the installation yourself, Julie! I haven’t quite mustered the courage to mess with anything electrical. I know I should and it isn’t that complicated, I just haven’t quite accommodated the idea yet, but you’ve given me the push to maybe give it a go πŸ™‚

  5. This is wonderful advice. I think choosing bathroom fixtures is something people really struggle with and this simplifies things.

    1. Almost all of them can… it will usually say in the description if they can (and often shows the photo, as well). πŸ˜‰

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