Last November, I purchased a vanity table w/ chair from Bed, Bath & Beyond and set it up in the corner of my bedroom. I wanted a little space I can call my own and do my makeup in peace. I ended up getting the Conair light up mirror for my vanity table. But it was not enough lighting so I also got a tabletop lamp.
Then I saw the Hollywood Vanity Girl Mirror as seen here in Christiana's setup. I wanted one so bad, but saw the price tag ($384 w/ tax and shipping). I wasn't ready to shell out that much. I waited a bit, but then the price went up ($399 plus tax and shipping)! It was definitely not a justifiable purchase so I looked to cheaper alternatives.
I searched and found DIY alternatives. I was skeptical because it had to do with wiring it yourself. But I thought about it, I'm pretty handy when it comes to stuff like this so I bit the bullet and dropped by Home Depot and Lowes and picked up the items I needed to make myself a vanity mirror!
I wanted to keep my budget to $100 or less. So here is what I came out with.
Items needed for this project:
- Vanity Light Bars
- Extension Cords
- Power strip
- Electrical Tape
- Light bulbs
- Power Drill
Here is the before picture of my vanity.
All complete with new vanity light and mirror installed on the wall.
Ok let's get started. This is the step by step process I took to complete this project. It may and will vary depending on what look and style and size you are going for.
If you look at the before picture of my vanity table, you'll see that there is already a mirror in there. And because I was going to close that top lid, the mirror was going to be deemed useless so I thought about it and decided to use that mirror instead of purchasing one.
Little did I know that it was glued to the the lid itself. HAHA, I thought I had to end up purchasing a new mirror, but I grabbed a knife and some rubbing alcohol and widdled away at the glue and was able to get the mirror off. *Note: Be very careful doing this. It took me a good 30 minutes or so getting it off. Luckily, I didn't break it.
Ok let's continue...
Step 1: Determine the size and layout you want to go with. What I would do first is measure the area you are working with. Then choose the vanity light bars you want to go with, find those measurements and then find a mirror that measures to the vanity light bars.
In my case, my mirror was 12x12, which is a pretty small mirror, but for my setup and size of my vanity table, it was perfect. I went with the 3 light vanity bar which measured 18x4.25.
Step 2: Wiring the vanity light bar. The vanity light bar is meant to be hard wired into the electrical system of your house. This is where extension cords come in. When you open the light bar to expose the wires, you'll see 3 wires: a black one (hot), a white one (neutral) and a grounding copper wire. You can remove the grounding copper wire as we won't need it.
Ok so now we need to splice the extension cord and expose the wires. The ribbed side of the 2 wires is the neutral side and the smooth side of the 2 wires is the hot side. Connect the ribbed side to the white wire on the light bar and the smooth side to the black wire on the light bar. Cover the exposed wire with the electrical wire nut and tape it up with the electrical tape. Then tape the wires onto the bar to keep it clean. Once done, plug it in to test it. Do this for both light bars.
And we have light!
Step 3: Placement. Figure out where you want to put the mirror and screw the mirror into the wall. You'll place the light bars vertically on each side of the mirror. Make sure that where you place it is in the middle of the vanity table. Use a level to make sure that what you're putting up is even.
Step 4: You should have 2 extension cords (1 for each light bar). Plug those into the power strip. For easier access, mount the power strip on the wall a little higher off the ground so that you can push the switch to turn on the lights.
Step 5: Once you got the light bars mounted, replace the cover and install the light bulbs. The light bulbs I chose were the EcoSmart 14-Watt (60W) Daylight CFL Light Bulbs 5000k Color Temp. These light bulbs are not dimmable. These are the whitest lights so that you won't have a yellowish cast when doing your makeup or taking pictures in front of your vanity mirror.
And here is what it should look like installed.
Step 6: And with that, you're done! Clean up and organize your tabletop.
Here it is with only the lights from the light bar turned on.
and a quick picture to show the whiteness of the light bulbs.
So what do you think? Pretty simple, huh? This project took me about 2 hours to complete from start to finish. Wiring the first light bar took me a while because I wanted to make sure I was doing it correctly and didn't want to mess up. Once I got it down, the second light bar was easy.
Pros: Cost! This setup cost me less than $70, only because I didn't have to buy the mirror. And if mounted properly, it looks professional, don't you think?
Cons: You gotta do it yourself. If you aren't confident enough to do this yourself, definitely have your hubby or boyfriend do this for you. Once installed on the wall, it's not easily movable. So if you rearrange your room or move, you gotta remove it and re-mount the mirror and bars. Lights can be a bit bright and because the light bulbs I chose are not dimmable, I didn't install a dimmer.
Now that we have the step by step tutorial, pros and cons listed, let's talk price.
Cost associated with my project:
- Mirror (already had one, but you can easily find a decent size frameless mirror for $10-$15 )
- Vanity Light Bar x2 $10/each (the ones I got are from Lowes)
- Extension Cord x2 $1.50/each
- Power Strip x1 $3.50
- Electrical tape x1 $0.70
- Light Bulbs x6 $11.50/2 pack
Total Cost: $61.70 + tax
I've recorded a quick video talking about my new vanity mirror. If you're interested in watching it, see video below.
J.Rose Online Disclaimer: Attempt this at your own risk. Above tutorial is how I installed my own vanity mirror. If you are not sure in what you are doing, consult a professional. I cannot guarantee your results will resemble mine. With that said, Good Luck! :)