How to Choose the Best Lights for Above the Medicine Cabinets

A new trend that is being seen everywhere in 2021 is the lights that people use for above their medicine cabinets in bathrooms. This gives a whole new and even more elegant look to your bathrooms. 

Now the main confusion or the question that arises here is about what lights to choose for your medicine cabinets out of so many of their types available. The answer to this question is that it totally depends on your personal choice and preferences and the available space in your bathroom.

What makes it Difficult to Choose the Lights Above the Medicine Cabinets?

Choosing the best lights for above the medicine cabinets is actually a difficult task to do. This is because in case of normal mirrors, they are fixed with the wall and there remains no space between the mirror and the wall. So, you can easily decide what light to choose for the mirror and it would reach the front of the mirror easily.

But in case of the Medicine cabinets, you have to think a bit logically. As the mirror is fixed on the front of the medicine cabinets, so the space inside the medicine cabinets makes the mirror away from the wall. Now there’s a visible distance between the wall and the mirror.

So, when choosing the lights for above the Medicine cabinets, you need to look for the light that would ideally project a good and heavy amount of light to reach the front of your mirror.

How to Choose the Right Size of Lights?

To give your bathroom the look that it needed, it is really important to choose the right size of lights for above the medicine cabinets. Here are a few things that you need to do in order to get the perfect-sized lights for your medicine cabinets.

Calculate Lumens

The first step that you need to do is to calculate how much light does your bathroom require. For this, you should first measure the size of your bathroom. A standard typical bathroom is 8 feet long and 5 feet wide. Now, to calculate the square footage of your bathroom, multiply its length with its width.

In case of a standard 8 by 5 feet bathroom, the square footage is 40 square feet.

The next thing is to know how much brightness does your bathroom need. A standard bathroom requires 70 to 80 footcandles. Letting you know, footcandle is the measurement of light intensity needed, depending upon the space.

Now, to know about the lumens that you would require, multiply the square feet of bathroom with the required footcandles. For example, in case of 70 footcandles, you would need 40×70, which makes it 2800 lumens.  And in case of 80 footcandles, you would need 40×80, which makes it 3200 lumens.

In short, for a bathroom of 40 square feet, you would need 70 to 80 footcandles which means that you’ll need 2800 to 3200 lumens to lighten up your bathroom with the above medicine cabinets lights.

Measure the Depth of Surface Mount

When you’re done with calculating the size of your bathroom and you know how much light does it need, the next step is to measure the depth of the surface mount that you’ve chosen for the medicine cabinets.

It is extremely important to measure the accurate depth of surface mount medicine cabinet because the vanity light fixture that you chose and its functionality would greatly depend on the depth measurement.

Measuring the accurate depth is also important because if the depth that you’ve calculated is not very accurate, you would end up choosing an inaccurate fixture too. And this might end up blocking the light through a shadow, which is obviously very annoying. Who would want a shadow casted along the faucet?

So, if the medicine cabinet of your bathroom is 5 inches deep, you would require around 8 to 9 inches deep bath bar light fixture for above this cabinet.

Measure the Width of Medicine Cabinet

To choose the best size for your vanity light fixture, you need to measure the width of the cabinets as well, along with its depth. The best trick to choose the vanity lights for your medicine cabinets is to choose the ones which are only as wide as the medicine cabinet itself. It is better not to choose the lights which are wider than the cabinet itself.

In case you have a double sink vanity with two medicine cabinets, then it would be better to choose two vanity lights, one for above each sink. But in case you have a single cabinet with double sink vanity, then you may two options. You may either choose single vanity light and center it over the medicine cabinet or you may go for two vanity lights, one for each sink.

Just make sure that width of vanity light is same as that of the medicine cabinet.

After you have found the required number of Lumens, measured the depth and width of your medicine cabinet, now put it all together to look for the vanity lights that would be best suitable for your bathroom.

Types of Vanity Lights for Bathrooms

There are few different types or you can say styles of vanity lights for bathrooms which people choose according to their personal choice and requirements. They are:

  1. Scones and Single Bulb Lights
  2. Bathroom Vanity Light Fixtures
  3. Bath Bar Light Fixtures

Scones and Single Bulb Lights:

These are best suitable for small bathrooms which have less space and do not require too much light in the room or you have other light fixtures available. They are ideal for smaller width bathrooms or when used for each sink in a double vanity sink.

Scones and Single Light Bulbs are to be installed above the medicine cabinets.

Bathroom Vanity Light Fixtures:

Bathroom Vanity Light Fixtures are preferred by most of the people. This is because they have more than 1 or 2 bulbs which are connected in a row along the fixture. The greater number bulbs provide an even better light.

Vanity Light Fixtures have a great hype also due to a large variety of colors, sizes and number of bulbs available in them. You may choose from this huge variety as per your choice. Most of these are installed horizontally above the medicine cabinets.

Bath Bar Light Fixtures:

Bath Bar Light Fixtures also have multiple bulbs installed in a row along the fixture. They provide an amazingly bright light as each of the bulbs look like a solid bar of light when turned on. The light of these bulbs also varies from less bright to brighter. You may choose the bulbs according to your liking.

 There are different styles and sizes available in Bath Bar Light Fixtures. They can either be installed horizontally above the medicine cabinets or vertically on either side of it.


In order to choose the best suitable lights for the above medicine cabinets of your bathroom, you need to take out some time and make accurate measurements for your bathroom size, depth of the medicine cabinets and the width of medicine cabinets.

Other than this, you should be sure enough about which lights you want and which would give your bathroom a perfect, elegant look. Neither too much bright, nor too dim for your bathroom. Also, choosing the lights according to your bathroom space is very important.

It is recommended to choose the vanity light that gives a sleek and decent look to the medicine cabinets of your bathroom yet offers the kind of lighting and functionality that you wanted. We hope that this article would help you choose the best suitable vanity lights for your bathroom.


How can I update my medicine cabinet without replacing it?
You may just first of all remove the old lights. Build up the box then and add the crown molding on the top. Paint it all new and add new lights to give your cabinet a whole new and fresh look.
Is there a need for medicine cabinets in the bathroom?
For sure there is. A lot of stuff like medicines, toiletries and so many other bathroom useable things can be put into these cabinets. So, the medicine cabinets are of great use in bathrooms.
Is it possible to just replace the mirror on the medicine cabinet?
Yes, you may replace the medicine cabinet mirror without having to replace the whole fixture. But you cannot do this on your own. A professional or a DIYer would be a good choice to replace your medicine cabinet mirror.
How deep are medicine cabinets?
Bathroom medicine cabinets usually have a depth of 4 inches.
Are the medicine cabinets installed in the walls?
No. Medicine cabinets are installed through a direct attachment with the wall. But the recessed medicine cabinets are installed in the walls. They usually have deeper shelves.


Leave a Comment