How to Install Bathroom Vanity Lighting

vanity light
  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 35-250
What You'll Need
Bathroom fixture
3/8-inch toggle bolts
Drill with 1/4-inch bit

Installing bathroom vanity lighting can spruce up any bathroom, but tricky to install. Use our how to tricks to install yours easily and efficiently. Before you begin, be sure that the lighting complements the fixtures on your vanity sink so that the look is complete and unified.

Step 1 - Remove the Old Fixture

As with any electrical project, begin by disconnecting the power to the light fixture in the bathroom from the circuit breaker. Next you will remove the old fixture. Find the exterior screws holding it on and undo them, holding it in your hand as it releases from the wall.

Disconnect the wiring from the old fixture one wire at a time. Mark the wires running from the junction box and note to which color wire they were each connected to in the lighting fixture. Once the light fixture is removed, you will see the junction box in the wall with the basic wiring extruding from the romex connector in the back of the junction box. Most light fixtures fit a standard box such as this.

Step 2 - Prepare the Area

If you have a new lighting fixture that has a different footprint than the previous fixture, you may need to paint, spackle nail holes, or sand under the light so that the surface under the new light looks uniform. Hold the new lighting fixture up to the wall without attaching it and see if there are any areas exposed that were hidden by the previous fixture and are not finished properly.

Step 3 - Set Fixture Into Place

Once the finishing is complete, you can set up your new bathroom vanity lighting and wire it. Place the new light over the junction box. Use a level under the fixture and draw a pencil line to guide you in installing the light at the level. Electrical codes often require bathroom vanity lighting to be mounted to a mounting strap, which is a flat metal bar secured to the box. New bathroom vanity lights often include the mounting strap as well as screws to attach it. Set up the mounting screws or light fixture frame, according to the directions in the light fixture packaging.

This may mean removing the center knockout seal from the fixture base to insert the wires from the wall. Remove the knockout holes from the side of the light fixture. There may be up to 4 on all 4 sides. Put the light back up, holding it level along your line. Mark these 4 spots. Use a drill with a 1/4-inch bit to put a hole in the wall to install the toggle bolts as instructed. The fixture may install onto the junction box directly, with a decorative cover that will hide the wiring and the hardware. Larger fixtures will often have a mounting frame.

Step 4 - Complete the Installation

Once the mounting bracket or screws are secured to the wall, complete the wiring by matching the black wire to the black wire, white wire to the white wire, and so on. If the wires aren't the same colors, use the markings you made as you removed the old fixture. Install the light bulbs and turn on the breaker.