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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

Read this guide before buying bathroom mirror lights

Updated: May 10

A guide to choosing the perfect bathroom mirror lights with a shopping guide and FAQs


Bathroom mirror lights
Image credit: Roper Rhodes

Choosing the right bathroom mirror lights can take a bathroom from average to awesome, and the good news is that they don’t need to cost a fortune to make a huge impact on the space. There is a huge selection of stylish bathroom mirror lights available these days, so many in fact that it can feel a bit overwhelming, so this post is going to save you a bunch of time by highlighting the key considerations before making a purchase and even point you in the direction of some excellent options for all budgets. 



Bathroom mirror lights - post overview

Click the links below to be taken straight to that section of the post.


Bathroom mirror lights - what to look for


If you are wondering where to start when buying bathroom mirror lights, then these are the main areas you should consider…


  • Room size

  • Design

  • Functionality

  • Price

  • Colour temperature 

  • Power source

Let's look at these in a bit more detail.


Room size

When selecting bathroom mirror lighting, you need to consider the size of the room and any light sources already in place. For example, if you have a fairly modest-sized room with some wall sconces already in place, you might opt for a subtle lighted mirror that is purely for elevating your makeup routine. However, if you have a larger room with only a 'big light', many more options are available to create a luxury bathroom look with optimal lighting. A handy guide to stick to when it comes to the lighting requirements for a bathroom is to aim for a light intensity of 70-80 lumens per square foot of space. You'll obviously want less than this for a room designed for relaxing like a dining or sitting room, but bathrooms have specific needs. 


Design

When choosing bathroom mirror lights it's important to consider your preferred interior style alongside the restrictions of the room you are working in. For example, if your bathroom is very minimalist complete with clean lines and structure, you'll want to choose lighting that complements and showcases these features rather than working against them. Bathrooms can have high air moisture levels for obvious reasons, so you need to check which lighting is suitable for installation in a bathroom. Luckily, the choices have improved immensely in recent years. No longer are you restricted to a boring flush mount light but have options ranging from backlit mirrors to pendant lights, to wall sconces to swing-arm wall lights. 


To find the right design for your bathroom mirror lights, look for the following;

- Materials Opt for materials suited to a bathroom such as metal fittings

- Colours Choose complementary colours for a tonal look or bold accent shades to make the lighting pop. 


Functionality

Ask yourself what tasks and activities you'll be doing in the space you are lighting and how the lighting can better enable you to do them. For example, if you are lighting a downstairs powder room then you probably won't want a very bright light as this room will be used as a WC rather than for makeup application. A pleasant warm glow or stylish ambient light will be perfect so perhaps look for wall sconces to sit on either side of the mirror as opposed to a LED vanity mirror. However, for the main family bathroom or ensuite to the master bedroom (should you be lucky enough to have one) you'll likely want to look for superior lighting with adjustable brightness settings and makeup mirrors. 


Price

This might seem like an obvious one when it comes to shopping for bathroom mirror lights, but if you have a more modest budget, don't feel limited or restricted as there is a great selection available without spending a fortune. I've been so happy to see high street retailers extending their product ranges to include trend-led and classic bathroom lighting that's reasonably priced making it affordable and attainable to most budgets. Even DIY stores like B&Q have been upping their lighting game to include bathroom ideas and giving the lighting specialists a run for their money.


Another price-related consideration is energy efficiency because you can save money over the lifespan of a bulb by opting for an energy-efficient model as these keep energy costs down. Energy-efficient lighting is common and readily available now, so is a great option. 


Colour temperature

Don't be alarmed if this sounds a bit high-tech, it's actually very simple, but understanding it can make a big difference to your lighting and bathroom decor. The term colour temperature just means how warm or cool the light source is. Colour temperature is measured in Kelvins (K) and the scale for residential lighting ranges from 2000 - 6500k. The lower end of the scale is the warm colour temperature and the higher end is cooler and brighter. For example a light with 2700K temperature would be a warm white whereas a bulb with a 5000K temperature would be akin to cool bright daylight. Therefore, it's important to match the colour temperature of your bulbs to the room and how you want to feel in that space. A kitchen or bathroom would need a brighter cooler temperature than a cosy, relaxing snug or living room where you want the lights to be warm and inviting. 


Power source 

These days, bathroom lighting doesn't have to be hardwired, meaning that you don't always need to pay for an electrician which is excellent news if budgets are tight and electrical callouts make new lighting prohibitively expensive. Easy installation isn't the only advantage, you can get lots of rechargeable bulbs and battery-operated ones that offer a flexible, adaptable and non-committal way to upgrade your bathroom lighting on a budget.  


Bathroom mirror lights inspiration

Below is a specially curated collection of bathroom mirror lights to suit various styles and budgets.

Dunelm

dunelm bathroom mirror lights
Image credit: Dunelm

1. Battery operated £69 


Modern sleek and affordable, this is a great choice for a bathroom where you don't want the expense of an electrician for the installation but you do want the benefit of a good bathroom mirror light.




Dunelm bathroom mirror lights
Image credit: Dunelm

2. LED mirror £199

Although slightly more expensive that the battery operated light, this LED mirror is sleek and adaptable with various settings to elevate your daily beauty or shaving routine.





dunelm wall light for bathroom mirror
Image credit: Dunelm

3. Dorma Henstone Bathroom Wall Light

£24

A beautiful wall light that's suitable for bathroom use, this light will be a stylish addition to any bathroom and is affordable too.




bathroom mirror light
Image credit: Dunelm

4. Broden Bathroom 2 Light Wall Light Antique Brass

£52

Another excellent choice from Dunelm. This 2-light antique brass wall light is a super stylish choice for an over-mirror light.




M&S

bathroom mirror lights
Image credit: M&S

5. Ribbed bathroom mirror light £120

Currently in the M&S sale this classy art-deco style light is a beauty.





Wayfair

Bathroom mirror lights
Image credit: Wayfair

3 light dimmable £61.50 

This gorgeous above-mirror light is designed for bathroom use so you know you are getting style and substance.





Pooky

Roddy ip44 wall light from Pooky
Image credit: Pooky

Long roddy IP44 wall light - £147


Described as "A Pooky take on an Art Deco classic.." this gorgeous wall light is IP-rated for use in a bathroom and although not the cheapest in our round-up of bathroom mirror lights, it's undeniably one of the most desirable.


Pooky bathroom mirror light
Image credit: Pooky

Mini elbow wall light - IP44 - £86

This IP-rated wall light comes in beautiful finishes and would make a stylish addition to a powder room or ensuite and would make you smile every day.





FAQs

Here are some common FAQs all about bathroom mirror lights that might be helpful.


What are the benefits of good bathroom lighting?

The main benefits of getting your bathroom lighting right are setting the mood, enhancing visibility, and adding a touch of character and style to your bathroom's design. There's no denying that natural light is the best kind of light for a bathroom, but you can take your bathroom to a whole new level by adding the right combination of bathroom lights.  


What type of lighting is best for bathroom mirror?

The best type of lighting for a bathroom mirror is a bright task light that will enable people to use the mirror effectively whilst being suitable for a bathroom environment (look for an IP rating of 44 or above) and a stylish addition to boot. Wall sconces to each side of the mirror are a good idea if they offer a cool colour temperature to enable optimal mirror use. Overhead lighting (like bathroom ceiling lights) can cast shadows over the mirror user, making them inadequate. A lighted vanity mirror is a great option. 


Are lighted bathroom mirrors worth it?

Lighted bathroom mirrors are a great way to improve the functionality of a bathroom and can make a huge difference to your skincare routines or the quality of your shaving experience. In a modern bathroom, innovative solutions like a vanity mirror backlit by an LED strip is an ideal solution to elevate your daily routine.  


What is the best lighting for around a mirror?

As we have seen in this post, there are lots of options for good bathroom mirror lighting ranging from stylish wall sconces at either side of the mirror to an overhead light bar to smart tech mirrors with inbuilt LEDs or a backlit vanity mirror.  


Where next?

I've written lots of other bathroom-related posts so if you are considering buying a bathroom mirror be sure to read about how to prevent mirror desilvering. If you're having this issue already then read about how to treat mirror desilvering . If you fancy a bobbin mirror be sure to read about why bobbin mirrors are set to be huge in 2024. When it comes to bathroom maintenance I've written a product review for grout reviver and one for Unibond sealant renew. and one about how to prevent bathroom mould and if you are considering a bathroom revamp then check out my post on how to use green tiles and the perfect pink tiles and finally how to use stick-on floor tiles if your budget won't stretch to porcelain or ceramic.

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