How to Replace a Bathroom Vanity Light

Learn the best and safest way to replace your bathroom vanity light

Published on
February 16, 2023 at 1:45:08 PM PST February 16, 2023 at 1:45:08 PM PSTth, February 16, 2023 at 1:45:08 PM PST

Penn Vanity Light in Satin Nickel, 3-Light

Installing a vanity light in your bathroom can be a simple and quick upgrade to your home. This guide will walk you through the steps of replacing an existing light with a new vanity light. With a few tools and some electrical know-how, you'll have a beautiful new lighting fixture in no time. And remember: if in doubt about electrical installation, consult a licensed electrician familiar with local codes in your area.


Step 1: Turn Off the Power

Before you jump in, it's important to turn off the power to the bathroom by turning off the circuit breaker or removing the fuse. Use a voltage tester to ensure that there is no power running to the bathroom before you begin working. This will help you avoid getting shocked or hurting yourself.


Step 2: Unpack and Identify Parts

Start by carefully unpacking your vanity light and identifying all of the parts that are included. In addition to the light, you'll likely need the following materials handy:



Voltage tester

Wire nuts

Electrical tape

Drill (if necessary)

Leveling Tool 

A partner


Step 3: Remove the Old Vanity Light

Remove the shades and screws that are holding your old vanity light in place and carefully remove the fixture from the wall. Next, you'll need to disconnect the wires. Before you touch the wires, double check again with a voltage tester to ensure there is no power going through both the fixture and the in-wall wiring. Inside the junction box, locate the wires that are connected to the old vanity light. Disconnect them by unscrewing the wire nuts and carefully pulling the wires apart. Be sure to label the wires so that you know how to reconnect them to the new vanity light.


Step 4: Touch Up Wall (If Needed)

If your old vanity light was a builder's grade bath bar or other light with a large backplate, you may need to repair the drywall and paint the area surrounding the junction box.  


Pro Tip: You can avoid this extra step by purchasing a renovation-friendly vanity light with a large backplate to cover any imperfections. Check out our selection of renovation friendly vanity lights here.


Step 5: Connect the Wires

With a partner, connect the wires from the new vanity light to the wires in the junction box using wire nuts. Be sure to match the wires correctly and wrap the wire nuts with electrical tape to ensure a secure connection. Always verify the wiring connections against the specific wiring diagram and directions for each specific fixture.  


Step 6: Mount Your New Vanity Light

Attach the new vanity light to the mounting plate using the screws that were provided with the light. Make sure the light is level and secure it in place. The standard bath vanity light height is roughly 75 inches to 80 inches from the floor, above the mirror.


Step 7: Install the Shades and Bulbs

Install the necessary number of light bulbs depending on your fixture. If your light has shades, you may need to attach them before or after installing the light bulbs. For both the shades and bulbs, hand tighten until snug. Be careful not to over-tighten glass shades to avoid damage to the glass. Depending on the shade style, follow specific recommendations for the bulb size. Best practice is to not allow the bulb to exceed the shade length.


Step 8: Turn the Power Back On

Once you have completed the installation, turn the power back on by turning the circuit breaker back on or replacing the fuse. Test the vanity light to ensure that it's working properly.



Installing a new vanity light in your bathroom can be a simple and satisfying home improvement project. By following these steps, you can replace an existing light with a new and updated fixture. With the right tools and some electrical know-how, you'll have a beautiful new lighting addition to your bathroom in no time.

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