Looking for the latest and greatest bathroom lights over mirror for your space? Why spend hours and hours scouring the internet, wading through the garbage of the masses, when I’ve done all that for you? Today I’m sharing my Top 10+ modern bathroom light fixtures (as well as the 5 bathroom light above-mirror styles to AVOID!)
Whether you’re doing a major renovation on your bathroom or not, you’re in the right place to start choosing the perfect lighting above your mirror!
Or do you have a bathroom that you don’t necessarily want to renovate (either not ever or just not right now)? Maybe you’re saving up for a major renovation, or maybe you’ve decided it’s not worth the $32,000 (average bathroom remodel cost at the time of this writing!).
Maybe you’ve said to yourself, as I said to my client who was considering a total gut-and-remodel of this bathroom below, “What if instead of the $32k, we take 5-10% of that and put it into a refresh…then use the majority of the rest of it for something that’s REALLY worth it?”
(And believe me, sometimes the extra money is worth it…like when we remodeled this bathroom.)
But in some cases, such as this one below, the pros don’t outweigh the cons of a reno:
Sometimes you’re too involved, Dear Home-Loving Reader! You need a fresh, outside perspective to help you SEE how to make the right moves that will get you the biggest benefit for your buck!
Bathroom lights over mirror
“Should I Start With Bathroom Light Fixtures?”
So how to start on a bathroom (either a brand new one or a refresh like the above)?
There are a variety of methods and ways to go about this (again, I recommend every adult doing this #1 step first! Otherwise you will head in the wrong direction at least 95% of the time! Myself included!).
With a bathroom, you’ll need to look at everything from:
- Flooring decisions (tile? wood? which direction? which pattern? underfloor heating or no? etc)
- Wall finish decisions (don’t even get me started! I need another post for this!)
- Fan and ventilation decisions
- Outlet placement decisions
- Towel hanging placement decisions
- Trash can placement decisions (we did this)
- Window decisions
- Window treatment decisions
- Vanity decisions (what’s the best storage setup for you?)
- Shower curtain/glass decisions
- Hardware decisions
- Countertop decisions
- Sink decisions
- Faucet decisions
- Mirror decisions
- Medicine cabinet and/or other storage decisions
- Lighting (and light switch placement!) decisions
- Toilet decisions
- Décor and rug(s) decisions
- …and many any other invisible decisions you’d never think or know about until you’re face-deep in demo dust!
And while we have a limited # of client consults available, our blog (with posts we provide free-of-charge to you, like this one you’re reading!) and our meticulously crafted step-by-step Design Guides can help you do it (and do it NOW, yourself).
Over the coming months, I’d love to share the steps we’re doing on this bathroom. We don’t have time to share these for every client, but this example I think applies to so many people because so many of us have had a bathroom with this same setup! 🙂 Especially in the 1980s and 90s, the double-vanity, extra-long bathroom was a common solution architects and builders used. (It certainly was used in other time periods as well, but 1980-90s is what we most commonly see.)
So I believe this situation applies to most people, and I can’t wait to show you what a small number of changes (which will total LESS than 5-10% of the total cost to really renovate this bathroom!) will do!
For a Happy Life: Be Wise With Reno Choices!
While I’ve helped clients renovate everything from multi-million dollar homes (down to little post-war cute-but-worn homes), I’m still a frugal, save-money lady whenever possible and reasonable. I grew up semi-raised by my grandmother who lived through the Great Depression; she was a poster child for how frugal and cost-conscious her generation ended up. (And naturally, with how much time we spent together, much of it passed on to me!)
So I have to mention: if you have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on a renovation, if you’re smart, you’ll have considered what else you could do with the money if you were to not spend it all on expensive contractors and interior decorators, not to mention materials and labor.
We all need to “count the cost” of large purchases we make, because it’s all a trade for something!
Sometimes, the trade is worth a major renovation. (i.e. you’ll get it back in resale, you’ll save thousands of hours of your time because of the strategic way you did it, etc.)
All that to say, if you’re on the fence about a renovation—whether you’ve got money to burn or not!—I hope watching this particular bathroom transformation (done with a pretty generic base but transformed into something more elegant without costing $32k) will help inspire you to weigh these things wisely before you decide which direction to go, confident and in control! 🙂
bathroom light fixtures over mirror
Let’s Talk About
S… Vanity Lights, Baby!
I’m going to start with a discussion about lighting above mirrors, and that’s because it’s the first thing my critical designer eye goes to in this bathroom.
What does your eye go to first? (Chances are it’s something closer to eye level, right? To me, it’s clear that switching out the toilet or faux flooring here is not priority #1.)
Note: Please don’t just trash the old lights because they’re outdated. Donate them to the Salvation Army or put them up for free on Facebook Marketplace and leave on the curb for easy touchless/psycho-avoidant pickup (be safe out there, you lovely people😘)…SOMEONE SOMEWHERE will cheerfully take it off your hands and it doesn’t go into those horrible landfills!
(I used to not care until I actually looked at photos of landfills so…if you’re like me, take a moment to google it or nay…I’ll paste one here so you don’t have to leave😊…just an encouragement. I saw pics like this and thought “Durned if I’m going to be contributing to that mess, man!”)
Back to vanity lights😂😍…we decided for a variety of reasons that this client needs to go for a modern, clean look in this particular project of hers. (As opposed to 872 other design directions we could have gone. That’s why this step is SO IMPORTANT!)
Modern bathroom lighting
First, What NOT To Do!
If you’re design-savvy and already know what to avoid, great!
But there are many out there who just aren’t sure about what to do, let alone what to stay away from! So I’m including 5 examples of vanity lights that WILL date your space.
(If you love them, by all means do what brings you joy and energizes you when you look at them; however, if you’re also thinking about resale, then my professional advice is that you should stay away from the below!)
5 types of vanity lights not to do:
No-No #5: Showgirl Vanity Lights!👯
Yes, we all want to be well-lit when we’re using our bathroom mirror but this is not the way to do it in your home! (Especially when, like my client, this is the guest or main bathroom, not her personal bathroom vanity space.)
PS: Join me in raising your hands if you had this exact vanity light above your mirror in the 90s!😆
The “YES!” Alternative:
I found this unlacquered brass light that still has a similar look to the above, if you love the function and/or look, but this one still looks like the “showgirl” light’s more elegantly tasteful sister. 😉
bathroom vanity light ideas
No-No #4: “Glam” Vanity Lighting
This can also include overly-showy “glam” style lights, which often will go out of style quicker than you can find your return receipt!
My “YES!” Alternative:
If you love a bit of glamor but still want to keep it clean and modern and fresh, try this alternative! (Or keep reading for more options!)
vanity lights over mirror
No-No #3: Spotlights
I talk a bit about this in our previous home’s primary bathroom remodel, but a single downlight above the mirror is a terrible lighting choice if you actually want to look good when you see yourself in aforementioned mirror.😆 It shadows faces in a most unflattering way.
My “YES” Alternative:
If you really love that farmhouse-style downlit light above but want to upgrade and stay modern-classic, try something like this above your mirror!
Here are four alternative options I’d recommend you shop for instead! (Just click the arrows to either side to scroll through the 4 options!)
bathroom vanity lights black
No-No #2: Farmhouse-Style Lights
Speaking of farmhouse spotlight-styles, I have to bring everyone’s attention to other “farmhouse” style lights not to use. (Unless, of course, you actually live in a real-life farmhouse and this kind of light really makes sense in your space, but rarely do we see it done really well. If you have, bravo! My farm hat is off to you! 🙂
But to the rest of us who do not live in a farmhouse…be aware there’s a fine line! Without knowing you and your situation, when asked to define what not to do for thousands or millions of readers over this coming year, I’ll have to make a generality and say “Really try to avoid ones like the following! They’re already making spaces look dated!”
The “farmhouse” or “farmhouse-industrial” style vanity lights have been dated for years and will grow more so as time passes. Try to stay away from vanity lighting above your mirror(s) that looks like these bad boys.
bathroom vanity lights chrome
No-No #1: Builder-grade Mirror Lighting
We all have seen this. We know this. They’re usually in the “cheap” section of places like HomeDepot (and unfortunately even other “higher end” retailers because they think that’s what they need to give the people).
And no matter how much they try to “update” these styles with different glass or metal colors, stay away from anything that looks builder-grade. Even if it’s only $49 and incredibly tempting (who doesn’t love a good deal?!), I say put that $49 towards something stunningly classic or beautifully clean and modern before you go that route.
I’ll show you so many alternative options below, many of which are incredibly reasonably priced for the quality and style!
Bathroom light fixtures over mirror
What Stylish, Updated Vanity Lighting Ideas We’re Playing With (That You Can Steal Too!)
Now let’s get onto the good stuff! Here are my Top 10 style recommendations for using above your mirror in your bathroom!
Option #10: Sleek & Svelte!
These lights are especially pleasing when paired with a round mirror! (Or, if you prefer rectangular mirrors, a rounded corner one like the below!)
modern bathroom lighting ideas over mirror
Option #9: Flexible Modern Vanity Lighting
One thing I love about this vanity lighting isn’t just the classic mix of elegant and modern that will never go out of style…
..but that it can go both vertically to the side of each mirror (if that’s your existing wall layout/wiring setup) or above your mirror (such as we’re looking at).
bathroom lights over mirror
Option #8: Leather Lights (Yep, You Heard Me Right!)
I don’t know why people don’t look for ways to bring leather into the bathroom in any way possible, other than it’s a challenge, but here’s a perfect way! Leather’s texture and warmth and natural feel give such an element to spaces that some bathrooms could really use, and—depending on your other design elements such as your hardware, mirrors, walls, etc. (so much goes into determining the color and feel of a room!)—a leather bathroom lighting option like these may be the solution you never knew you needed.
modern bathroom lighting
Option #7: Modern Minimal Globes
Right now I’m really loving the clean lines of this one. If you need some circular elements in your bathroom, this is a great way to add them while still keeping it classically stylish and modern yet timeless! Those combos are the best when you can find them!
vanity lights over mirror
Option #6: Bringing In Warmth (While Staying Stylish)
Depending on the final look we go with, I’m not counting out this unique warm minimalist light for above those bathroom vanity mirrors! Kinda been digging a wooden Nordic-clean style in various forms lately. 😍
bathroom lights over mirror
Option #5: Above or to Sides…
These could be mounted above your bathroom mirror as well.
bathroom light fixtures over mirror
Option #4: Elegant Brass Sconces
As a rule, I would usually only do a vanity light like this if it was to the side of each mirror to avoid the downlighting effect, but it’s possible to work it creatively in other ways as well, depending on your design! So, because I love creativity and encouraging thinking outside the terrible box :)haha, it must be mentioned. 🙂
bathroom light above mirror
Option #3: You’re the Artwork, Sistah!
While this may look like one of those traditional artwork lights so many people love to mount above frames (and often with good reason), why not consider YOUR REFLECTION a piece of artwork and light yourself in a timeless way? 🙂 I’d do the Gold in some cases and the Black in others – two very different looks depending on what else you have going on in your bathroom vanity and mirror design!
bathroom lights over mirror
Option #2: Sculptural Genius
Depending on the mirrors we choose, this super-dee-duper minimalist light may be exactly what we need to upgrade this bathroom vanity lighting and overall look for a fraction of a renovation!
Sometimes while I’m designing for a client (or myself!), there comes a time where you need to step back, take a breath, and really consider something unique in a certain spot.
modern bathroom vanity light
Option #1: Every Bathroom Needs Something MARBLE!
This should be the title of one of my future books.🤣 I lovelovelove real marble in a bathroom (example of our gorgeous countertops)…
…but with the solid warm quartz countertops already existing in this client’s bathroom, marble lighting can be a great way to bring in the elegance and timelessness of marble in your bathroom lighting without having to redo your countertops to get that natural stone element!
Note: Many of these designs come in 1, 2, 3, 4, or even 5 light variations (not to mention different metal colors or mixes of two!), so click on them to see what your options are! We’re only showing pictures of 1 style on each! 🙂
bathroom vanity lighting
We’ve Got Even More Style Ideas & Options…
Another option I love is forgoing the in-wall lights and doing pendants from your ceiling. Here, we had fun with three pendant lights that are offset not only for better face-lighting-functionality but it’s aesthetically beautiful (and more interesting than the typical two)!
Another couple notes on the most unique over-mirror vanity lighting options I’m digging right now:
Don’t limit yourself to the typical “indoor” sconces – sometimes the unexpected “outdoor” style sconce can be STUNNING in a bathroom! Trust me…I’m loving this one in particular with the gold backplate…brain exploding with possibilities for this in an elegant bathroom! PS: If you’re not sure how to pull these things together yourself (or you’ve tried yourself and you know how much time it takes!), save yourself and consult with us HERE.
While this won’t work for this particular client, it would be SO MUCH FUN to work into a future design…message me if you use it!
Here are more inspiration images for you showing how I put some of the above vanity lights together in bathrooms for other client designs:
But depending on your bathroom layout, your focal point might not be your vanity at all! Keep that in mind when designing any room! (If you don’t have the budget to hire us, or you just want some help walking through it step-by-step like we do with our clients, our Expert Layout & Design Guide can help you with this…and all for less than a cheap takeout dinner!🤣)
OVER MIRROR LIGHT
So which one is Thee One?
What will we end up doing? I can’t wait to show you!
Of course, you can’t ultimately choose your lighting without also making sure it works with the vanity mirror style you’re choosing (from full wall to individual over-sinks to thick edges to thin or no edges, or medicine cabinets…? So many choices we’ll dive into!)…
…but this gets you started with some ideas to play around with for your design board.
(And stay tuned to see what we do for this client’s mirror situation! 🙂 )
To shop our full list of lighting recommendations by room, click to view Our Shop!
If you’d love to have the most beautiful + functional vanity storage possible, you’ll want to read THIS!
You’ll also enjoy the following:
- See befores & afters of our primary bathroom remodel!
- If you’re not sure about mixing metals in your home, check out “How to Design a Timeless Kitchen” which includes a section on HOW to mix metals! (And get instant help with our incredible Kitchen Organization videos and more included!)
- Want me to obsess about everything from your light fixtures and paint colors all the way to the big picture and what’s REALLY going to get you what you truly want and need? You can consult with us here OR start with THIS (my #1 recommendation starting point).
- Learn “7 Strategies for How to Choose Interior Colors!”
- Why You Should Always Do a Wall Mount Faucet in Your Bathroom
PS: To see our home projects + free design advice, click HERE!