Sarah’s Bathroom Renovation Part 6: The Lighting

March 29, 2011 — Leave a comment

Quoizel Sconce w/ glass shade, $138

The Sconce:

One of the first things we picked out for Sarah’s bathroom was this sconce. So beautiful and sparkly! We looked at several sconces including some plainer options but Sarah instantly loved this one. I like that there is a frosted glass diffuser to help soften the light at the mirror.

Heath Flushmount, Restoration Hardware, $149-$269

Overhead Light Fixture:

Finding a coordinating ceiling light proved more difficult than I was expecting.  I considered a small chandelier but almost none of them are UL rated for damp locations. For surface mounted fixtures, many manufacturers are not currently offering Chrome/shiny finishes  (it seems like rubbed bronze is the finish of choice). In the end we went with this simple but elegant fixture from Restoration Hardware. Although not cheap, it seems like a reasonable value to get the UL damp rating. I also wanted to avoid fixtures that have an open top above the diffuser. I find that these collect a lot of dust and bugs. A closed fixture should minimize this problem.

Good to know:

UL Rated Fixtures:

When you are picking light fixtures for the bath you really want a UL damp rated fixtures due to the humidity in the air. These will hold up much better in the moisture, particularly for a ceiling installations. Also for fixtures in the shower or above a bathtub you should pick a UL wet rated light fixture. The specifications for any light should tell you whether it is rated for this application.

Wall/Task Lighting:

-Ideally locate light fixtures on either side of the mirror at eye level. This will provide enough lighting around the face to avoid shadows.
-Use fixtures that have frosted diffusers/glass in front of the bulbs to soften the light.
-If you don’t have space on either side of the mirror consider a light above the mirror. In this case you are better off choosing a higher output fixture that lights upward so that the light will bounce off the ceiling and down. A direct downlight will tend to cast unflattering shadows.
-Consider separate switching and dimmers. For general use you don’t typically need a full strength light at the mirror, but for those times when you need that bright light to put on your makeup, you can adjust the light all the way up. Dimmers are economical because you are saving energy by reducing the power going to the fixture and also extending the life of your bulb. (Note: Not all bulbs are designed for dimming. Many florescent bulbs won’t work with dimmers).

General/Ambient Light:

-Use overhead ambient light for general illumination and to help balance the light from the task lighting.
-Again consider a dimmer for this application. These are especially nice at night when your eyes aren’t use to the bright light.

Additional Lighting:

-Consider a separate light in the bath/shower area. This should be UL rated for wet locations.

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