Unique Vanity Lighting Ideas: From Backstage Glamour to Old World Elegance

Vanity lights take center stage in any bathroom—make sure you choose show-stopping fixtures. The best vanity lighting provides enough light for your personal-care routine (whether that's applying makeup, shaving, or washing your face) while also pulling together your bathroom décor. Read on for unique vanity lighting ideas from rows of exposed bulbs evocative of Broadway to metallic wall sconces with a modernist vibe. These bright designs should give you plenty of inspiration for stylish vanity lighting that casts a gorgeous glow.

Pippen Wall Light by Feiss

The best vanity lighting provides enough light for your personal-care routine.

The Best Vanity Lighting for Makeup and Grooming

For makeup application and grooming, vanity lighting should provide abundant light while minimizing shadows on your face. The best solution is multiple light sources at different levels around the mirror. Let's take a close-up look at two vanity fixture ideas for Instagram-ready makeup application and grooming.

Linear lighting

Mount linear lighting fixtures above and to either side of your vanity mirror. These cylindrical and dimmable LED lights offer the right amount of brightness while staying cool to the touch. Simple yet bold, the straight lines, sleek finishes, and bold geometric shapes of these fixtures deliver a dash of Art Deco elegance to your bathroom.

Linear Vanity Lights

Vanity lighting should provide abundant light while minimizing shadows on your face.

Broadway vanity lighting

Rows of exposed bulbs at the top and to both sides of a mirror is a classic design for good reason. Broadway lights provide excellent task lighting for applying eyeliner, shadow, and lipstick, or for trimming your goatee or beard.

Choose fixtures with three to five exposed bulbs on a metallic backplate. Install Broadway fixtures horizontally and vertically to feel like the star of the show every day. Clear and frosted bulb styles provide abundant light, but keep in mind that light from frosted bulbs is more diffuse.

Double Vanity Lighting Ideas

Recessed lights for recessed architecture

For double vanities set into a nook, wall space can be at a premium. A row of five or seven spaced recessed lights in the ceiling can span both sinks for a wash of light. Or, you can opt for two or three recessed lights over each sink for more focused lighting. Add small, but bright wall sconces on either side of the mirror (or mirrors) to add visual interest and fill light.

Colorful mix and match glass sconces

If you enjoy bright colors, choose four to six glass sconces in two lively hues that match other accents in your bathroom. For example, you could select sky blue and yellow sconces for a sunny look. Just arrange the colors symmetrically—yellow, blue, yellow, blue, or with the yellow sconces flanking the blue ones.

Master Bathroom Vanity Lighting Ideas

Pendant lighting in the bathroom

Pendants deliver eclectic charm to your bathroom.

Multi-light pendants

Over one sink or two, multi-light pendants deliver eclectic charm to your bathroom. Look for decorative clusters, modern linear fixtures with covered bulbs set side-by-side, or cascading designs that create a waterfall effect—perfect for the bathroom!

Etched glass sconces

Give your master bathroom vintage sophistication with sconces showcasing etched glass bulb covers. In geometric patterns or botanical designs, etched glass embraces an Old World aesthetic. Choose glass with an off-white hue or a hint of amber to soften the light and fully embrace the vintage style.

Traditional or island chandelier in front of a large-scale mirror

This is a dramatic look we love. Choose a traditional or island chandelier that matches your master bath style, whether that's country chic, contemporary, traditional, or mid-century modern. The chandelier's reflection in the large mirror will double the beauty and boost the brightness. Let the chandelier take the spotlight by keeping side-wall sconces simple, or layering with recessed lights.

Traditional or Island Chandelier in the Bath

The chandelier's reflection in the large mirror will double the beauty and boost the brightness.

Small Bathroom Vanity Lighting Ideas

LED mirrored medicine cabinet

Space can be tight in small bathrooms—have your medicine cabinet pull triple duty by providing storage, light, and a mirror. A simple design works best and won't clash with small accent elements you add to the bathroom.

Cute and chic fabric shaded sconces

These have the cozy feel of small table lamps, but they are attached to the wall. Choose simple rectangular, circular, or angled shades with a simple, print-free fabric. Bright white fabric shades create a crisp, clean look, while off-white and taupe shades give the sconce subtle vintage appeal.

Fabric shade sconce in the bathroom

Fabric shaded sconces add the cozy feel of small table lamps

Downward facing wall sconces over the mirror

If you've got wall space above the mirror, but none on either side, install two wall sconces over the mirror. These sconces can add artful contemporary style, a pop of fresh color, or an ornate flourish.

Double-light or swing-arm sconces

In a small bathroom, flexible lighting fixtures provide brightness where you need it without taking up too much real estate. Double light sconces feature a primary light source, as well as a second task light on a flexible stem. This gives the room adequate ambient light, and focused light for tasks such as first aid, applying makeup, and handling contact lenses.

Swing arm sconce in the bathroom

Swing-arm sconces place light where you need it most.

Focus on Vanity Light Fixture Finishes and Color for a Balanced Bathroom Design

The drawer pulls, towel racks, and other décor elements in and around your vanity contribute to your overall bathroom design. So too, do the materials, colors, and design accents of your bathroom vanity lights. Some possibilities to consider:

Brass Vanity Light

  • Brass and bronze. Depending on the fixture style, these bold and sturdy finishes evoke Old World elegance or an urban industrial aesthetic.

    Chrome and Crystal Vanity Lights
  • Chrome. Glass and crystal shades bounce shimmering light off polished chrome stems and backplates.

    Copper Vanity Light
  • Copper. Utilitarian takes a beautiful turn with fixtures in copper hues. Their rose-gold tint adds a distinctive warmth to any bathroom.

    Brushed Finish Vanity Lights
  • Brushed or polished stainless steel. The bright silver of stainless steel is a classic bathroom finish for a reason. Stainless steel is versatile enough to deliver modern or sculptural shapes or minimalist designs that support design flourishes elsewhere.

    Gold Vanity Light by Crystorama
  • Gold. Not surprisingly, hardware with a gold finish offers a warm glow and a dash of luxury.

    White Sconce by George Kovacs
  • White. Clean white vanity lighting is a stylish choice for traditional homes and is less distracting if you are trying to feature other specific decor or design elements in the bath.

    Off-white Vanity Light by Quorum
  • Off-white. Lightly frosted glass shades in off-white softens your bathroom lighting. Double candle-holder sconces in off-white or beige hues call to mind Old World craftsmanship.

    Black Vanity Light by Feiss
  • Black. Sophisticated and bold, black creates contrast that lets the central design elements of the fixture shine—whether they are exposed bulbs or mason jar glass shades.

    Gray Sconce by Feiss
  • Gray. From a simple silhouette to a focal point, gray brings classic sophistication without dominating the overall design.

    Multi-color Sconce by ELK
  • Multicolor. Combining colors in the same family brings balance and harmony to the bathroom as a whole while drawing just the right amount of attention to your vanity.

    Weathered Vanity Light by Quorum
  • Weathered, antiqued, or crackled. Give your bathroom vanity lighting a touch of vintage appeal with a weathered or antiqued finish. Crackled finishes offer textural appeal and artistry.

The best vanity lighting helps you get ready for the day ahead and transition to your precious time at home. We hope you're inspired to find bright and beautiful vanity lights that match your décor style.