How to Add Lights to a Mirror - Lumina Pro

DIY Vanity Mirror Lights: How to Add Lighting to Your Mirror in 2024

There are many ways to add lights to your vanity, from light kits to LED light strips to rechargeable light bars. Mirrors with elegant lighting can give us a luxurious look, allowing makeup enthusiasts to utilize their creative juices to the best of their abilities.

Adding lights to vanity mirrors has been a popular choice for generations. It gives our face the illumination it deserves and improves our makeup practices. 

When the lighting is poor, it affects the way we see color and can impact the quality of our makeup application. However, professionally lit mirrors can be pricey, so let’s compare DIY lit mirrors with professional-grade ones.

Why Is Good Lighting Important for Makeup Application?

Photo by New Africa on Adobe Stock

Lighting can greatly impact the way humans perceive color. If a room is too dark or too bright, we will see color differently than in natural sunlight.

Natural daylight is full-spectrum, which means it contains all the colors of the rainbow, even the colors we cannot see.

The Color Rendering Index, or CRI scale, ranges from 0 to 100 and shows us how precise a light source is at displaying color when compared to natural sunlight.

The higher the CRI, the better the light source. If we choose a light that doesn’t render good color, then a lipstick or foundation we thought looked good could look harsh or uneven in natural light. 

No one wants to spend money on luxury cosmetics only to fail at application due to the wrong lighting. 

Choosing the right lighting for your makeup can make a huge difference in your appearance.

Which Light Bulb Is Best for Makeup Lighting?

Photo by Roman on Adobe Stock

LED bulbs are the best choice for makeup lighting because they provide accurate color rendering, daylight simulation, dimmability, energy efficiency, and cool operation.

When choosing to light your vanity mirror, it’s important to consider brightness, heat, color, and energy efficiency.

Incandescent and tungsten bulbs can radiate an orange glow, affecting how we see the makeup we’re applying to our skin.

LED bulbs are by far the best option for makeup application. While they were invented in 1962, they weren’t widely utilized until 2008. However, LEDs are ideal because they:

  • Use less energy
  • Don’t give off heat
  • Are dimmable
  • Have a good CRI
  • Imitate natural sunlight

Being able to dim the light bulbs on your vanity mirror can help you see what your makeup application and color will look like in different lighting. 

In the real world, not everywhere has consistent lighting. So it’s helpful to have bulbs that are capable of being dimmed, yet have the ability to imitate natural light. 

How to Add Lights to a Mirror — DIY Vanity Mirror Lights - Complete Guide

Photo by Masson on Adobe Stock

There are several options to consider when adding your own lights to a vanity mirror. 

These include LED light kits, LED light strips, vanity strips, sconces, and cordless battery-powered mirror lights.

Let’s go over a few ways to add lights to your vanity mirror.  

Method 1: Add a Light Kit to Your Mirror

Image Source

What You’ll Need 

  • Frameless mirror
  • Tape measure
  • Electrical tape
  • Light kit
  • Ruler
  • A clean cloth

Image Source

Step 1. Wipe down your mirror with a clean cloth, clearing it of all dust and smudges so that your lights will adhere better.

Image Source

Step 2. Unbox and untie the string lights from your light kit.

Image Source

Step 3. Place the light bulbs around your mirror where you think you want them to go.

Image Source

Step 4. Measure the placement of each bulb, making sure they are equal distance from each other.

Image Source

Step 5. Use a tape measure or ruler to measure the distance between each light bulb and make sure they line up evenly on the opposite side of the mirror.

The distance between each bulb will depend on the length of your light kit and the size of your mirror. Placing bulbs about 7½ inches apart on each side and 9 inches apart on the top of your mirror should look good for a 24” x 30” mirror.

Image Source

Step 6. Once you’ve measured and made certain you like where the light bulbs are placed, take the adhesive off the back of each bulb and place them on your mirror’s surface.

Image Source

Step 7. Tape the wires between each light bulb to the back of the mirror by pulling them to the back and adhering them with electrical tape. This will hide those messy wires a bit more.

Image Source

Step 8. Plug in your light kit and enjoy your new mirror with lights! 

Method 2: Add LED Light Strips to Your Mirror

Image Source

What You’ll Need

  • Flexible LED light strip
  • Power adapter cord
  • L-shaped, two-pin LED strip connectors
  • Mirror
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • LED light remote and adapter

Image Source

Step 1. Lay down the flexible LED strips around the edges of your mirror.

Image Source

Step 2. With your fingers, run the first LED light strip tight along the side of your mirror.

Image Source

Step 3. Once you reach the corner of the mirror while tightening the LED strip, cut the end of your LED strip and place an L-shaped LED strip connector to the end of the strip by squeezing the connector shut on the LED strip.

You may have to fold the strip until you can cut it if the side of your mirror is shorter than the cut line, which is between the copper dots on the strip.

Image Source

Step 4. Connect the next side to the other end of the connector and repeat the step for each side of your mirror. 

Each L-shaped connector should be located in a corner of your mirror.

It’s important to check to see if each LED light strip works by plugging in your adapter cord to the LED lights after connecting it to each connector. 

If they don’t light up, you may have to replace or readjust the connectors.

Image Source

Step 5. Once you have each strip laid out as you want them and know they are working, then you can peel off the backing on the LED strips and stick them in place. 

Image Source

Step 6. Glue each L-shaped strip connector in place after sticking your LED strips in place. 

Do this after placing your LED strips just in case you have to readjust them.


Image Source

Step 7. Plug in your LED light strips and enjoy your mirror!

Method 3: Add a Rechargeable Light Bar to Your Vanity Mirror

Image Source

What You’ll Need

  • Light bar
  • A clean cloth

Image Source

Step 1. Unbox the light bar.

Image by Silvastrings on Shutterstock

Step 2. Clean the surface of your mirror so your light bar will adhere easily.


Image Source

Step 3. Stick the light bar onto the mirror using the suction cup attached to the back of your light bar.

Some may also have an adhesive backing. If this is the case, take off the backing and firmly place the light bar onto the surface of the mirror.


Image Source

Step 4. Enjoy your mirror with light bars!


Image Source

Note: Many light bar products may not hold a charge for very long. The brightness of the light may also fade quickly with the charge. Recharging your light bar daily is recommended for better lighting.

Additionally, in case if you are still wondering and have questions like (we often see people get confused on this)  how to add light or light a bathroom mirror, the answer is you can use these methods on any mirror be it a bathroom mirror or any designated makeup mirror. 

Other Methods to DIY a Vanity Mirror with Lights


Photo by deagreez on Adobe Stock

There are many DIY vanity mirror options available on the web today. Choosing which is right for you depends on the tools available and your personal skill level.

While some options are relatively easy, others will be a little more labor-intensive and require more tools and supplies. 

With a little hard work, you can have a true piece of art that you created.

However, if done incorrectly, your mirror can look shabby or be unstable, so it’s important to follow directions carefully and seek assistance if needed. 

Here are some helpful videos to get some creative ideas for your DIY vanity mirror with lights:

How to Add LED Backlight to a Mirror

Here's step-by-step guide to help you LED backlight a mirror which is different from simply adding lights in front of mirror:

  1. Gather your materials. You'll need an LED light strip (choose the length based on the size of your mirror), a power supply or transformer compatible with the LED strip, a pair of scissors or a utility knife, a measuring tape, and a clean cloth.
  2. Measure and plan. Measure the perimeter of your mirror, keeping about 2 inches of distance from the edge. This measurement will help you determine the length of LED strip needed. If you have a circular mirror, you can multiply the diameter by 3.14 to get the approximate length required.
  3. Cut the LED strip. Most LED strips have designated cut lines marked along their length. Use your scissors or utility knife to trim the strip to the desired size, making sure to cut along these marked lines.
  4. Clean the mirror. Use the clean cloth to thoroughly wipe down the back of the mirror, ensuring it's free from dust, dirt, or any other debris that could prevent the LED strip from adhering properly.
  5. Attach the LED strip. Slowly peel off the adhesive backing from the LED strip and carefully affix it to the back of the mirror, following the perimeter you measured earlier. Apply gentle pressure to ensure proper adhesion.
  6. Connect the power supply. Locate the designated connection points on the LED strip and use the appropriate connectors to link it to the power supply or transformer. Ensure all connections are secure.
  7. Test and adjust. Plug in the power supply and turn on the LED strip to ensure it's functioning correctly. If necessary, make any final adjustments to the positioning or connections.
  8. Mount and enjoy! Once you're satisfied with the result, carefully mount or hang your newly backlit mirror and enjoy the warm, inviting glow it adds to your space.

Backlighting a mirror is a unique and eye-catching way to add depth, dimension, and drama to any space.

Unlike traditional vanity mirror lights, which are typically mounted above or around the mirror to provide task lighting, backlighting involves placing a light source behind the mirror itself.

This creates a soft, ambient glow that not only illuminates the mirror but also casts a warm, inviting light into the surrounding area.

Backlit mirrors are becoming increasingly popular in modern interior design, adding a touch of luxury and sophistication to homes, hotels, and commercial spaces alike.

The effect is particularly striking when the mirror is mounted on a wall, creating the illusion of a glowing, floating piece of art.

Vanity Mirror FAQs

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about vanity lights and mirrors:

How long do LED light strips last?

These light strips can last 20,000 to 50,000 hours. The LED lifespan outshines the lifespan of the incandescent bulb by thousands of hours. 

Can I replace a bulb on an LED light kit or strip?

Unlike standard bulbs that can easily be unfastened, integrated LED bulbs are built into multiple electrical circuit boards and they can’t be easily replaced. The entire integrated fixture must be replaced.

How do you hang lights on a mirror? 

To hang lights on a mirror, you can use an LED light kit or light strips with adhesive backing. Clean the mirror surface, measure and mark the desired placement, then carefully peel and stick the lights around the mirror frame or edges. Secure any loose wires with electrical tape or cable clips.

Can you put a light over a mirror? 

Yes, you can install lights above a mirror to provide overhead lighting. Wall-mounted sconces or vanity light bars are popular options for placing lights over a mirror. Position the lights about 18-24 inches above the mirror for optimal illumination.

How do you backlight a mirror? 

To backlight a mirror, you can use LED light strips or a backlit frame. For light strips, measure and cut the strips to fit the mirror's dimensions, then adhere them to the back of the mirror. Backlit frames are designed with built-in LED lights that cast a glow around the mirror's edges, creating a dramatic effect.

Can you mount a light on a mirror? 

Yes, you can mount lights directly onto a mirror's surface. Adhesive-backed LED light strips or light bars are suitable options. Clean the mirror thoroughly, peel off the adhesive backing, and firmly press the lights onto the desired location. Ensure the mirror's surface is flat and smooth for proper adhesion.

Can I replace a bulb on an LED light kit or strip? 

Unlike traditional bulbs, individual LEDs on light kits or strips cannot be easily replaced. The LEDs are integrated into the circuit boards, and if one fails, the entire unit needs to be replaced. However, LED lights have a significantly longer lifespan compared to incandescent bulbs, reducing the need for frequent replacements.

How much does a frameless glass mirror cost?

A frameless mirror can cost anywhere from $10 to $100 depending on the size and quality you need. You can expect to pay more for a framed mirror, which can range from about $50 to $250 or more.

Why Buy a Professional Mirror?

While professional-grade vanity mirrors can cost more than a regular mirror that you add lights to yourself, the quality and lighting will be far superior. 

When deciding what you’re looking for in a lighted mirror, it’s important to know your space, your needs, and the look you want.

Professional mirrors offer different levels of magnification, lighting, styles, and sizes. 

Lighting, as we’ve discussed, is vital to proper makeup application. Consider where your mirror will be located. Is there a window or is the room completely devoid of natural light?

Many professional mirrors offer different color temperature settings that range from cool to neutral to warm, as well as adjustable brightness, so you can test what you look like in various lighting.

Professional quality mirrors have an assortment of high-end features like built-in Bluetooth speakers and touchscreens that make it easy to change or pause your music while putting on your makeup.

A DIY vanity mirror with lights can be a lot of work to create. If it doesn’t turn out right it can look cheap, fall apart, and give you bad quality finishes and lighting.

With a professional-quality mirror, you can know what you’re getting by checking through reviews and seeing pictures of the product before making a decision to buy. Opting for a professional mirror will also save you time, planning, and energy.

Whether you decide to go the DIY route or buy a mirror, always have a clear idea of what you want.

Professional Vanity Mirrors

When deciding on a mirror to purchase it’s important to know what size you want your vanity mirror to be, your budget, the dimensions of your vanity table, and the look you want from your vanity mirror.

If you want an overstated piece, you might want to go with a larger mirror. If you want to focus on magnification and don’t want a mirror that takes up an entire wall, you might want to go with a table top mirror.

Below are a few quality professional mirrors to consider:

1. PRO Hollywood Mirror with Bluetooth Speakers

This mirror offers a durable and sturdy structure with an aluminum frame and iron back.

It has balanced illumination with wrap-around lighting and a sleek all-glass surface. 

This mirror provides touchscreen lighting options, music controls, and dual Bluetooth speakers, making it perfect for jamming out while doing your makeup. 

2. Crystal Vanity Mirror with Bluetooth Speakers 

This mirror offers luxury with an elegant, illuminated crystal border and touchscreen controls that offer three color temperature settings with different brightness levels.

You can select cool, neutral, or warm lighting depending on the occasion with a range of 3,000 Kelvins to a near natural sunlight level of 6,400 Kelvins.

3. Hollywood Table Top Makeup Mirror

While tabletop mirrors can be a cheaper option, a professional tabletop mirror doesn’t necessarily mean you get less.

This mirror has touchscreen light controls, a glamourous Hollywood look, extra magnification options, a 360-degree swivel mirror, and a sturdy iron frame.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Vanity Mirrors