How to Find the Best Light Bulbs for Your Bathroom Vanity | The Bathtubber (2022)

How to Find the Best Light Bulbs for Your Bathroom Vanity | The Bathtubber (1)

Good lighting around your bathroom vanity will help you put on your makeup like a pro or shave without missing a patch. So what are the best light bulbs for your bathroom vanity?

LED light bulbs are the best choice for lighting a bathroom vanity. They are usually damp rated, making them ideal for a high-humidity location. LED light bulbs are 80% more energy-efficient and last six times longer than traditional bulbs. Many LED bulbs allow you to adjust the color temperature, choosing from hundreds of options.

Now let’s take a look at everything you need to know about vanity light bulbs.

What Type of Light Bulb Is Best for a Bathroom Vanity?

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The type and quality of your vanity light bulbs will significantly determine how good your vanity lighting will be. Therefore, you need to choose high-quality, long-lasting, and energy-efficient bulbs. These will produce adequate lighting for your bathroom vanity lighting needs.

You can choose light bulbs that provide crystal-clear light, mimic the natural hue of sunlight, or produce warm light that is perfect for applying makeup.

LED light bulbs are the best light bulbs for a bathroom vanity. They’re energy-efficient and come in various color temperatures. Additionally, they’re durable and have various designs to suit your taste, budget, and style preferences.

7 Reasons to Use LED Bulbs in Bathroom Vanity Lighting

Here are the reasons why LEDs (Light Emitting Diode lights) are the most preferred light bulbs for bathroom vanities:

Eco-Friendly

LED light bulbs are better for the environment since they utilize less wattage than traditional bulbs. Further, these bulbs don’t contain lead, mercury, or other toxic elements that could harm the users or the environment upon disposal.

Energy-Efficient

LED light bulbs are approximately 80% more energy-efficient than conventional bulbs. They use 95% of their energy for lighting and only 5% for heating, but it is vice versa with traditional bulbs. You’ll also use fewer LED bulbs to light up space since LED light is brighter and better quality than other lights.

Safe

Since bathrooms usually contain high humidity, it’s crucial to have light bulbs that are damp or wet-rated. LED bulbs meet these criteria, so most are safe for use in your bathroom vanity. Look for bulbs with an IP rating of 65 or higher for the bathroom.

Cost-Effective

Although the upfront cost of installing LED light bulbs is high, you’ll save more on electricity in the long run. According to the Consumer Federation of America, you’ll save up to $1000 by using these lights for a decade.

Versatile

You can adjust LED lights to produce many different color temperatures, to achieve your perfect bathroom ambiance. Some smart bulbs enable you to choose from thousands of lighting hues and colors.

Long-Lasting

The lifetime of an LED bulb is six times longer than a conventional light bulb. LED light bulbs are more long-lasting because they experience lumen depreciation rather than burning out.

How to Pick the Best Bathroom Vanity Light Bulbs

How to Find the Best Light Bulbs for Your Bathroom Vanity | The Bathtubber (3)

You’ll want to consider many factors when selecting bathroom bulbs. These include the size and design of your bathroom vanity, the type of bulb, color temperature, color rendering, and brightness.

The Size and Design of Your Bathroom Vanity

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You’ll want enough light bulbs to produce adequate illumination to meet your grooming needs, no matter what type of bathroom vanity you have. The size and design of your bathroom vanity will determine how many light fixtures you should install.

For instance, you might require less light if your bathroom vanity is small. So, a pair of single-bulb vanity lights could be ideal for a single sink bathroom vanity.

On the contrary, if your bathroom vanity is large and has a wide countertop, installing a bath bar with multiple bulbs would be best. Most people go for three-light vanity lights as they fit in a vast array of bathroom vanities.

Types of Light Bulb

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Even though many people nowadays prefer using LED light bulbs due to their efficiency, you might be curious about the pros and cons of other bulb types:

Incandescent Bulbs

They’re traditional light bulbs that produce light when an electric current heats a tungsten filament. Unlike LEDs, these bulbs utilize more energy in heating than in creating light, so they’re more costly in the long run. However, many people find their light very flattering.

Compact Fluorescent lights (CFLs)

These are low-energy light bulbs featuring a coiled design. They’re more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs but lower quality than LEDs. Their only downside is that they contain some mercury, making them a health hazard upon disposal.

Halogen Bulbs

These are advanced incandescent light bulbs that utilize halogen gas in a quartz capsule to produce more lighting. They’re more durable but less flattering than incandescent bulbs. Halogen bulbs are suitable for task lighting due to their crisp-clear illumination.

Color Temperature

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Color temperature refers to how warm or cool light appears. It’s measured in Kelvins and ranges from 1,000 to 10,000 degrees Kelvin (K).

When choosing the perfect light bulbs, knowing whether you prefer warmer or cooler light in your bathroom vanity space is essential. Some bulb types produce warmer light (at 1,000 to 3,000 K), while others give off cooler light (over 3500 K).

So, you can choose light bulbs with specific color temperatures based on how you want your space to appear or ‘feel.’

Go for light bulbs that produce cooler light (around 6500 K) if you prefer a clean feel in your vanity space.

On the other hand, if you crave a warmer feel, it’s best to go for light bulbs producing about 3000 K. However, this color temperature is best suited for spacious bathrooms, as it can make smaller ones appear stuffy.

Color Rendering Index (CRI) and Wavelength

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How does a light bulb make colors appear? Well, you can only tell using the Color Rendering Index (CRI), which estimates the accuracy of a bulb in showing color.

The traditional CRI score shows that incandescent and halogen bulbs have a higher CRI (100) than other bulb types. For instance, most LED bulbs have a CRI of 80-90.

The American Lighting Association recommends a CRI of 90-100 for functional vanity lighting.

Nevertheless, wavelength also determines how a light bulb shows color. Some colors might appear brighter with LEDs since they have some wavelengths absent in traditional bulbs.

Brightness

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Bathroom vanity lights should be around 1600 lumens bright. This brightness is adequate for your grooming tasks, including applying makeup and shaving. But, a bulb’s brightness depends on what type it is.

Lumens (light output) is how much light your eye can see from the light source. Therefore, the higher the lumens, the brighter a light bulb appears.

When comparing light bulbs, LEDs emit more lumens than other bulb types. For instance, a 60-watt LED bulb can yield 1200 lumens, while an incandescent bulb of the same wattage produces only 800 lumens.

The ideal brightness for task lighting in your vanity is 700 to 800 lumens per square meter (65 to 74 lumens per square foot).

So What Are the Best Light Bulbs for Your Bathroom Vanity?

How to Find the Best Light Bulbs for Your Bathroom Vanity | The Bathtubber (9)

The best light bulbs for your bathroom vanity give off the color temperature that creates the ambiance you want and provides the task lighting you need to groom yourself. Bathroom light bulbs should be damp rated as well.

Note: Are you about to embark on a bathroom remodel? If so, get my Save Big $$$ Cheat Sheet when you sign up for my newsletter. You’ll get designer hacks that can literally save you thousands of dollars. Just fill out the form below.

FAQs

What bulbs are best for bathroom vanity? ›

Chose bulbs or LED fixtures that emit bright white light with a high CRI (around 90-100) for the most accurate colors. Bulbs in the 'soft white' range of 2700K – 3000K are recommended for general bathroom use, and makeup application in particular.

How many watts should a bathroom vanity light be? ›

A useful rule of thumb for bath vanities is to use a minimum of two 60-watt incandescent bulbs, which typically produce approximately 800 lumens each for a total of 1,600 lumens.

How many lumens is good for bathroom vanity? ›

The American Lighting Association recommends a minimum value of approximately 1600 lumens for vanity lighting (for reference, one 60-watt incandescent bulb yields about 800 lumens on its own), although there is one important consideration that can alter this number: If the fixture you choose has an integrated LED light ...

Is bright white or daylight better in a bathroom? ›

Warm white is great for bigger living spaces where you would like to give the room the ambiance of warmth, and an inviting sense. However, for bathrooms where you want the space to look and feel clean, there has been lengthy research conducted that says 'daylight' LED lighting is more preferable.

What brightness of bulb is best for a bathroom? ›

Light Intensity

As a rough guideline, bulbs labeled “daylight,” which generally have a color temperature of 5000 Kelvin to 6500 Kelvin, or bulbs labeled “cool white” or “bright white,” with a color temperature of 3500 Kelvin to 4100 Kelvin, are best for the bathroom.

How bright should bathroom bulbs be? ›

There are several factors that will impact how bright you want the lights in your bathroom to be — 75-100 watts go well in guest and master bathrooms. However, for half-baths or powder rooms, 45-60 watts is fine.

What is the best light for a vanity? ›

Incandescent and halogen light sources always have the best CRI – 100 – meaning they most accurately render colors. If you wish to use an energy-efficient LED or fluorescent light source, ensure your selection has a CRI or at least 90. This provides excellent color rendering in bathroom settings.

What lights to use for a vanity? ›

Sconces are the most common form of vanity task lighting. For the most light without any unflattering shadows, we recommend two sconces at or right above eye level to the side of your mirror (or, roughly 60 inches off the ground).

What color light is best for bathrooms? ›

The best color temperature for most bathrooms is cool white. Depending on the brand, this can fall between 3500K and 5000K color temperatures. Remember…the task that you're doing or the surroundings you're in will always dictate the color temperature of the light.

Is 2000 lumens bright enough for a bathroom? ›

The bathroom is the space where you need the most light possible. You want to make sure you have enough visibility when you shave or you brush your teeth! For this space, it is recommended to have between 2000 and 4000 lumens. It can be only one light source or many, depending on your preference.

Is 1800 lumens bright enough for a bathroom? ›

Bathroom: 7,000 to 8,000 lumens. Home office: 6,000 to 8,000 lumens. Dining room: 3,000 to 4,000 lumens. Kitchen: 3,000 to 4,000 lumens.

Is 1500 lumen too bright? ›

If you use candles to light your space, you will save lots of money on electricity, but you won't be able to see much. For general space lighting, the U.S. Department of Energy suggests you shop for light that is in the range of 450 to 1,600 lumens per bulb.

What is the most flattering light color? ›

Most all lighting designers and interior designers agree that the most flattering light comes from lighting sources with a color temperature of 2700 Kelvins. That's a warm, soft yellow light.

Are LED lights good for bathroom vanity? ›

LED light bulbs are the best choice for lighting a bathroom vanity. They are usually damp rated, making them ideal for a high-humidity location. LED light bulbs are 80% more energy-efficient and last six times longer than traditional bulbs.

What color temperature is best for vanity lighting? ›

Additionally, look for a color temperaturebetween 2700K and 3000K from your light source. Color temperatures in this range offer a perfect, flattering warm-white illumination ideal for bathroom tasks. Note – avoid selecting color temperatures above 3500K for your bathroom lighting.

What type of light bulb shines the brightest? ›

LED light bulbs use a light-emitting diode (LED). This is a solid-state semiconductor that emits light when a current passes through it. These high-efficiency bulbs emit more lumens per watt and last 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs. A 10W LED bulb produces as much light as a 60W incandescent bulb.

What color light bulb is best for makeup? ›

Color: Soft white light, just at the start of turning cool, is ideal for makeup. Since natural daylight is the best type of light, a bulb that matches this color is best choice. Energy efficiency: A large vanity mirror with built-in bulbs will, obviously, use more energy than a single lamp.

Are LED lights bright enough for bathroom? ›

Light Bulb Types

LED bulbs have high light output and low power consumption. This is a great option for bathrooms. They also last much longer than other options, and won't need to be replaced as often.

How many lumens is too bright? ›

Shining a light that's brighter than 10,000 lumens into someone's eye can cause permanent eye damage and even blindness.

Should vanity lights shine up or down? ›

Most vanity lights can be mounted with lights pointed up or down. Remember to mount the fixture with the lights pointed up for ambient lighting and pointed down for task lighting.

What color is best for makeup vanity? ›

White light is the best option for makeup application. Bulbs come in a range of colors, but despite the abundance of lighting choices available, it's best to stick with the classic.

What lighting does makeup look best in? ›

Natural light will always be the best form of lighting for makeup thanks to its evenly diffused, clear quality. This clear, soft light will help you spot any flaws in your makeup and ensure you can blend everything correctly, so try and place your makeup mirror near a window or beneath a skylight wherever possible.

How do I choose a light bulb? ›

How to Buy the Right Light Bulb
  1. Check your bulb base size and bulb shape. ...
  2. Determine much light you need. ...
  3. Select the right color of white for your light bulb. ...
  4. Find out if you need to dim your light. ...
  5. Find out if your light bulb will be used in an enclosed fixture or recessed can. ...
  6. Choose the right type of light bulb.
27 Sept 2021

Do you need special light bulbs for bathroom? ›

Still wondering if you need special lights for bathrooms? Unless you're installing an LED shower light or wiring fixtures in close proximity to your shower, you can use dry-rated lights for most bathroom locations.

What colors make a bathroom look bigger and brighter? ›

So what colors make a bathroom look bigger? According to basic design principles, light colors such as white, crème, pastel blue, gray or yellow will visually expand a room, while dark colors such as a deep red, green or brown, will make a room feel smaller.

Which light is better soft white or daylight? ›

Daylight offers better brightness and energy. Soft white on the other hand offers better coziness and warmth. Keep in mind that the lighting of the room can actually change your mood. Size of the room –Often the size of the room decides what type of light you require.

What lumen is closest to daylight? ›

In short, daylights bulbs are suitable for any place where you need to see the true colour of objects. If you want to use a daylight bulb in place of a 60 watt incandescent bulb, you're going to require a 7 to 10 watt LED light bulb. Such a bulb will have anywhere between 650 and 800 lumens.

How do I choose lumens? ›

The brightness, or lumen levels, of the lights in your home may vary widely, so here's a rule of thumb: To replace a 100 watt (W) incandescent bulb, look for a bulb that gives you about 1600 lumens. If you want something dimmer, go for fewer lumens; if you prefer brighter light, look for more lumens.

How can I make my bathroom light better? ›

The best way to solve that is with fixtures that mask the actual light source: either up-lights, deeply recessed downlights, or lenses. Dimmers can also be enormously helpful. It's far better to “overlight” a space and provide dimmers for making adjustments than it is to underlight it.

How many lumens is enough? ›

Summary: Calculating Total Lumens Needed for a Room

Multiply your room square footage by the footcandle requirement. For example, a 100-square foot living room, which needs 20 foot candles, will need 2,000 lumens. A 100-square foot dining room, which needs 40 foot-candles, will need 4,000 lumens.

What watt LED bulb for bathroom? ›

For the master or guest bathrooms, 75-100 watts is recommended. For small or medium-sized bathrooms like half-baths and powder rooms, 45-60 watts are acceptable. Higher wattage provides more brightness and light intensity which can be blinding for smaller spaces, making 45-60 watts ideal for the average bathroom.

Which lumen is strongest? ›

Brightest flashlight overall

The brightest flashlight you can currently get is the IMALENT MS18. Its maximum output gets up to 100,000 lumens That highest brightness level will last about a minute before it dims to 25,000 lumens, which it can sustain for an hour.

What is brighter cool white or warm white? ›

Cool white light contains more blue light and looks brighter to the eye (this is why cool white bulbs have a higher lumen output when compared to the equivalent warm white bulb).

Is cool white or warm white better? ›

The crispness of cool white light bulbs makes them a desirable choice for kitchens, bathrooms, hospitals and commercial retail stores that require a pure and clinical look. On the contrary, warm white bulbs are perfect for domestic rooms that wish to create a calming and homely ambience.

What colors make you look brighter? ›

Choose pastel shades: Peaches, delicate pinks, powder blue and beiges tend to lighten the complexion, so choose these colors. White is the safest bet to make you look fairer, but avoid solid white, if your complexion is way too dark. White will look amazing, if your complexion is between wheatish and dusky.

Should vanity lights be above or beside mirror? ›

Lighting the Vanity Right

To eliminate shadows under the chin, eyes, and cheeks, fixtures should be mounted on either side of the vanity mirror (or on the mirror's surface, if it's large), 36 to 40 inches apart. The center of each fixture should be roughly at eye level, or about 66 inches above the floor.

What LED color is best for daylight? ›

The color temperature of daylight is typically between 5000K and 7000K.

Are LED bulbs suitable for bathrooms? ›

At a minimum, we suggest that your bathroom lights be IP44 for full protection at all times as they are considered as 'splash proof'. If you are opting for multiple LEDs in your restroom, you will need to consider different IP ratings for each zone.

Do I need special LED bulbs for bathroom? ›

Still wondering if you need special lights for bathrooms? Unless you're installing an LED shower light or wiring fixtures in close proximity to your shower, you can use dry-rated lights for most bathroom locations.

Are LED bulbs OK in bathroom? ›

LED lights are an excellent choice for your bathroom. Because LEDs come in so many styles, they offer several different ways of highlighting key features. Whether it's the main light in the room, a vanity mirror light, or under-lighting around the edge of a bathtub.

How do I choose a vanity light? ›

While you want to ensure you have plenty of light, be sure to choose one that is no wider than your vanity or cabinet width, which may be wider than your mirror. Most people choose vanity bar lights that are about 75 percent of the mirror's total width.

What color light is best for makeup? ›

Color: Soft white light, just at the start of turning cool, is ideal for makeup. Since natural daylight is the best type of light, a bulb that matches this color is best choice. Energy efficiency: A large vanity mirror with built-in bulbs will, obviously, use more energy than a single lamp.

What LED lights do I need for the bathroom? ›

Showers should only use task lighting, as without proper lighting, they can be one of the most dangerous places in the house. Make sure you use bright, white lights that are IP65 rated. This means they are water-resistant and won't cause a safety issue if they get wet.

How many lumens do I need for a small bathroom? ›

To estimate the number of lumens your space will need, just multiply the square footage of your room by the number of foot-candles required for the space. For example, for a bathroom that is 64 square feet with a foot-candles range of 70-80, you'll need from 70x64 to 80x64 lumens, or 4480 – 5120 lumens.

What is the type of light bulb that is often used for bathroom vanities or in pendant fixtures? ›

Halogen light bulbs are a long-lasting option for incandescent bulbs. Halogen bulbs are often used in slim vanity light fixtures. You can look at the specifications for your lighting fixture to see if a halogen bulb is required.

Where should you not use LED bulbs? ›

Enclosed fixtures that don't allow for proper ventilation can drastically affect the temperature of the LED bulb, causing it to overheat and shortening the lifespan of the bulb. That's why some bulbs will tell you not to use it in an enclosed ceiling fan or fully enclosed porch light fixture.

What is the best Kelvin for bathroom vanity? ›

The best color temperature for bathroom lighting is 3,000-3,200 Kelvins, which provides bright, crisp light. This light is good for bathroom tasks like styling hair, shaving, or applying makeup. Warmer light, around 2,700 Kelvins, is flattering and creates a better ambiance for bathrooms that are only used for guests.

What Colour LED for bathroom? ›

Which colour temperature is the best for bathroom lighting? Your bathroom lighting must provide both bright light for styling and grooming and warm spa lighting. 3,500-4,000 Kelvin (neutral white) is ideal for bright light. Warm white to golden light between 2,700 and 3,300 Kelvin promotes relaxation.

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