Bathroom Lighting Debacle

Let me start out by saying originally we planned to do these bathroom remodels last year but we spent what was supposed to be the bathroom budget on the geothermal system. We’re sooo glad that we did but I’ve been saving inspiration pictures and planning the bathroom design for a long time! One of the first things I started looking for was bathroom lighting because the layout of the rooms weren’t finalized but I had an idea of the general lighting scheme I wanted. No bathroom light strips above the mirror anymore! Those things are hideous. I’m also not a big fan of the fixtures with two-three lights over the mirrors either. Don’t get me wrong they are a huge improvement over the dreaded light strip and many people use them to replace that but that’s exactly what they look like someone upgraded their lighting without wanting to move the electrical. No if we were going to take the time to start from scratch I wanted sconces on either side of the mirrors.

No more strip lights

I’ll go through the lighting I picked out for the main bathroom in a different post. This post will be all about the master bathroom because I have too many pictures.

In addition to the sconces I also wanted a small chandelier over the master bath tub because they look cool. I’ve always preferred bathrooms where when you walk in the first thing you see is the tub not the toilet, shower, or even the vanity. The tub is what screams, “Look I have a big enough bathroom to have a separate tub and shower!” And “I’m so wealthy that I spend lots of time relaxing in my deep soaker tub.” OK maybe the last one is a stretch but you get the idea. Ideally, I wanted a view of the tub from the door and a small chandelier over it. But finding a matching sconce and chandelier that I liked proved to be a challenge.

As we remodel the house we’re trying to bring in more of a vintage feel. Overall we’re going for “craftsman inspired” which basically means we’re putting in craftsman trim and doors but the furnishings and finishes aren’t necessarily from the craftsman period. I had a hard time figuring out a bathroom scheme because I was drawn to more glamorous spaces that have marble and are very white and bright. All of the craftsman bathrooms I’ve seen have bold colors and a lot of wood. I also like the spa look of frameless glass shower surrounds and big rain showerheads. So I tried to streamline the glamorous bathrooms with simple lines while having cherry cabinetry with shaker style doors (instead of a built in linen closet) and incorporated the spa shower. I guess you could call it “glamorous craftsman spa?” Ha, yeah I shouldn’t be allowed to make up style names.

The whole point of that explanation when it comes to light was that I don’t want a frilly, busy chandelier or sconces. I want something streamlined but still elegant which is apparently hard to find with such ugly lighting out there.

After a lot of searching i eventually decided on these fixtures:
lighting, shades of light, soho scone, $190
lighting, shades of light, soho chandelier in antique brass, $360
These pictures are from Shades of Light but I’m going to buy them from Circa Lighting (Bryant Sconce & Small Chandelier) because the price is better. Designed by Thomas O’Brien. Man I have expensive taste in lighting.

I know they are a bit of a splurge but I really think they will make the space. When I started this search I was looking for silver colored fixtures because I want to use brushed nickel faucets. But now after seeing these fixtures in antique brass I’m in love! Yes, I’m mixing metals and I don’t really care. The brass just has such a nice warm glow to it don’t you think? Plus, the fixtures are visually very light so it’s not like you notice “whoa that’s brass!” I’m also planning to not have a metal frame around the mirrors so that they won’t clash with the sconces.

 

So that has been my plan for bathroom lighting for some time now. I was going to just go ahead and order them this week when I was talking to someone from my work’s lighting department and found out that you can’t hang a chandelier over a tub or jacuzzi. I was like, “What do you mean I can’t hang a chandelier over a tub? I have a million inspiration pictures showing that?!” Well after consulting the NEC Handbook I found that you can hang a chandelier over a tub but it must be a minimum of 8 feet above the rim of the bathtub or 3 feet horizontally in front of the tub. This also applies to track lighting, pendants, and ceiling fans. The idea is that anyone that slips in the tub wouldn’t be able to grab a light fixture and possibly electrocute themselves. Recessed lights, flush mounted ceiling fixtures, and “securely mounted” wall sconces are OK in this area. Ahh that explains why my inspiration pictures show tall and vaulted ceilings with chandeliers! Seeing that we are stuck with 8’ ceiling heights and 3’ in front of the tub is right where the door swings open my dream of having a chandelier won’t be happening.

Not wanting to start the search all over again I’m now looking for some brass flush mount lights that would match the Bryant Sconces. This is what I found:
lighting, circa lighting, basil flush mount, $240
Basil Flush Mount, also from Circa Lighting

Otherwise I considered putting a sconce on either side of the window over the tub or just a plain old recessed light there too. Then I got a call from the Circa Lighting rep and got some even worse news…the Bryant Sconce can’t go in the bathroom either because the natural paper shade would be ruined by the humidity and the fixture isn’t rated for a damp location.

So I need to start my search all over again! Looking through my massive collection of inspiration pictures again I’ve found what style of lighting I’m drawn to. Sconces with shades seem to be the overwhelming favorite. Uplights and downlights throw the light in one direction but shades give off light in both directions and diffuse the light you’ll use in the mirror. There were also flat bottom and curvy bottom sconces in my inspiration pictures as well as torch inspired sconces. I’ve sorted my inspiration pictures into these groups as well as some sources for similar style lighting:

 

 

Flat Bottom Sconces*
Overall these seem to be a more modern looking option.

 

overall, house of turquoise, by garry mertins, 1
Source: House of Turquoise, by Garry Mertins

shower, hgtv
Source: HGTV

lighting, restoration hardware, nolan sconce, $150 2
Source: Restoration Hardware, Nolan Sconce, $190

tile floor, mirror and lighting, elements of style
Source: Elements of Style

vanity towel holder, at chiacgo, country living
Source: Apartment Therapy Chicago, From Country Living

overall, lighting, mirrors, vanity, houzz, by becker architetcts limited
Source: Houzz, By Becker Architects Limited

tile, afterall insp 3
Source: Asfterall

vanity, olson design and construction
Source: Olson Design and Construction

 

lighting, restoration hardware, nolan sconce, $150 1
Source: Restoration Hardware, Nolan Sconce, $190

lighting, gerorge kovacs wall sconce
Source: Lighting Universe, George Kovacs, P470 Wall Sconce, $64

lighting, troy lighting, saratoga wall sconce, $125 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Troy Lighting, Saratoga wall sconce, $126

lighting, bathroom mirror wall light nickel, vaughan online
Source: Vaughan Online

lighting, hudson valley, 591 grayson, $110 at lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Hudson Valley, 591 Grayson, $110

lighting, hudson valley, 361 dillion collection, aged brass, $140 lighting direct
Source: Lighting Direct, Hudson Valley, 361 Dillion, $140

lighting, hudson valley, 366 dillon 6 light chandelier, in antique nickel, $650 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Hudson Valley, 366 Dillon 6 light chandelier, $650

lighting, restoration hardware, reese sconce, $185
Source: Restoration Hardware, Reese sconce, $165

lighting, minka lavery, glass note bathroom light, $80 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Minka Lavery, Glass Note bathroom light, $80

lighting, hudson valley, 2801 miramar collection, old bronze, $72 from lighting direct
Source: Lighting Direct, Hudson Valley, 2801 Miramar, $72

lighting, hudson valley, 2814 miramar collection 4 light, old bronze, $450 from lighting direct
Source: Lighting Direct, Hudson Valley, 2814 Miramar 4 light, $450

lighting, shades of light, linen shade chandelier 5 light, $500
Source: Shades of Light, Linen Shade Chandelier, $500

lighting, candice olson, 668 4 light chandelier, $540, lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Candice Olson, 668 4 Light Chandelier, $540

 

 

Curvy Bottom Sconces*
Note there are a lot more curvy sconces and chandeliers out there these are just a few of the streamlined options I’ve found. Curly cues and swirls need not apply.

 

cabinet, cote de texas
Source: Cote de Texas

backsplash, houzz, by robin muto
Source: Houzz, By Robin Muto

color scheme, la dolce vita, angie hranowsky and the coastal living idea home 09, circa lighting
Source: La Dolce Vita, Coastal Living Idea Home 2009, By Angie Hranowsky, Lighting from Circa Lighting

overall, southern exposure, from ashley whittaker
Source: Southern Exposure, By Ashley Whittaker

overall, old but modern, houzz, by robin muto
Source: Houzz, By Robin Muto

overall, little gree notebook, fabric shade post
Source: Little Green Notebook, Fabric Shade Post

lighting, things that inspire, by nate berkus
Source: Things That Inspire, By Nate Berkus

 

lighting, sea gull stockholm sconce, $64 lighting universe
Source: Sea Gull Lighting, Stockholm Sconce, $68

lighting, sea gull stockholm 5 light, $200 lighting universe
Source: Sea Gull Lighting, Stockholm 5 Light, $282

lighting, hudson valley, 1811 rockville, $180 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Hudson Valley, 1811 Rockville, $180

lighting, hudson valley, 171 logan, $200 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Hudson Valley, 171 Logan, $200

lighting, shades of light, optic crystal sconce, $200
Source: Shades of Light, Optic Crystal Sconce, $200

The sconce is nice but wow the matching chandelier has a big price tag!
lighting, shades of light, optic crystal chandelier, $1000
Source: Shades of Light, Optic Crystal Chandelier, $1,700

lighting, thomas lighting, trillium 6 light, lighting universe, $297
Source: Lighting Universe, Thomas Lighting, Trillium 6 Light, $238

lighting, progress lighting ashbury 5 light chandelier, $500 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Progress Lighting, Ashbury 5 Light Chandelier, $518

 

 

Torch Sconces*
These are my personal favorite! I don’t know if it’s the old school feel of having a light that barely resembles a torch on the wall or just the visual balance between the shade and extension below the bracket.

 

hardware, gold hardware, not a fan, the ugly duckling house, may be from wildinkpress 2
Source: Wild Ink Press

marble floor, honed, things that inspire, Lori Tippins 1
Source: Things That Inspire, By Lori Tippins

overall, colors and tiles, houzz, by biglarkinyan design
Source: Houzz, By BigLarkinyan Design

mirror & lighting, emily a clark, Charlotte Homebuilders Association Tour
Source: Emily A. Clark, From Charlotte Home Builder Association Tour

lighting, hudson valley, 8901 trinity bathroom light, $110 lighting universe 2
Source: Lighting Universe, Hudson Valley, 8901 Trinity, $110

tile, floor, hex and wainscotting, decorpad, by anne chessin 2
Source:Decorpad, By Anne Chessin

mirror, from southern exposure blog
Source:Southern Exposure

lighting, hgtv
Source: HGTV

lighting, restoration hardware, lugarno, $69 2
Source: Restoration Hardware, Lugarno, $89

storage, molly frey design
Source: Molly Frey Design

mirror, la dolce vita, texas french home place des vosges
Source: La Dolce Vita, Place des Vosges

overall layout, houzz, by bockman forbes plus glasgow architecture
Source: Houzz, By Bockman Forbes + Glasgow Architecture

lighting, sconces, decorpad, artistic designs for living
Source: Decorpad, By Artistic Designs for Living

mirror, harmonyandhome dot blogspot dot com
Source: Harmony & Home

vanity backsplash, houzz, work well for main bath, by elizabeth dinkel design
Source: Houzz, By Elizabeth Dinkel Design

sink, two separate sinks, from cote de texas, ca home for sale
Source: Cote de Texas, From CA Real Estate website

lighting, tile and curtians, VInteriors, candice olson
Source: VT Interiors, By Candice Olson

tile, floor, hex and wainscotting, decorpad, by anne chessin
Source: Decorpad, By Anne Chessin

tub surround, faucet in wall, a lifes design, from my home ideas
Source: A Life’s Design, From My Home Ideas

lighting, a lifes design, metropolitan home
Source: A Life’s Design

shower wall surround, design sponge, jessica helgerson
Source: Design Sponge, By Jessica Helgerson

lighting, decorpad, by alisberg parker architects
Source: Decorpad, By Alisberg Parker Architects

lighting, design sponge, jessica helgerson
Source: Design Sponge, By Jessica Helgerson

lighting, efedesigns, by barbara berry
Source: Efedesigns, By Barbara Berry

lighting, with similar style mirror, from design sponge
Source: Design Sponge

lighting, houzz, by de humphries
Source: Houzz, By De Humphries

basket weave tile, phoebe howard, east hampton
Source: By Phoebe Howard, East Hampton Home

vanities, on either side of the door, vt interiors, from m elle design
Source: VT Interiors, By M. Elle Design

lighting, the newlywed diaries, by amy morris, her parents home
Source: The Newlywed Diaries, By Amy Morris

 

lgihting, DVI halifax wall sconce, $74 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, DVI, Halifax sconce, $82

lighting, DVI Halifax 5 light chandelier, $300 lighting universe
Source: DVI, Halifax 5 Light Chandelier

lighting, restoration hardware, lugarno, $69
Source: Restoration Hardware, Lugarno, $89

lighting, hudson valley, 151 spencer, lighting universe
Source: Hudson Valley, 151 Spencer,

lighting, hudson valley, 8901 trinity bathroom light, $110 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Direct, Hudson Valley, 8901 Trinity, $120

lighting, kichler wall sconce, $90 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Kichler Lighting, $95

lighting, kichler quinn sconce, antique pewter, $100 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Kichler Lighting, Quinn sconce, $105

lighting, kichler quinn 5 light chandelier, in antique pewter, $390 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Kicher Lighting, Quinn 5 Light Chandelier, $418

lighting, hudson valley, 621 aberdeen, $150 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Hudson Valley, 621 Aberdeen, $150

lighting, hudson valley, 626 aberdeen collection 6 light, old bronze, $650 lighting direct
Source: Lighting Direct, Hudson Valley, 626 Aberdeen 6 Light, $650

lighting, quoizel, ferrara sconce, lighting universe, $142
Source: Lighting Universe, Quoizel, Ferrara sconce, $158

lighting, quoizel, ferrara 5 light, lighting universe, $358
Source: Lighting Universe, Quoizel, Ferrara 5 Light, $398

lighting, laura ashley lighting, state street wall sconce, $85 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Laura Ashley Lighting, State Street sconce, $85

lighting, laura ashley lighting, sate stree 5 light chandelier, $306 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Laura Ashley Lighting, State Street 5 Light Chandelier, $306

lighting, restoration hardware, riley sconce, $155
Source: Restoration Hardware, Riley sconce, $120

lighting, arras cone wall light us, vaughan online, nickel with large backplate
Source: Vaughan Online, Arras Cone wall light

lighting, candice olson, 675 margo wall sconce, $118 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Candice Olson, 675 Mango sconce, $118

lighting, candice olson, 668 4 light chandelier, $540, lighting universe 2
Source: Lighting Universe, Candice Olson, 668 Mango 4 Light Chandelier, $558

lighting, access lighting, vienna wall sconce, $68 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Access Lighting, Vienna wall sconce, $68

lighting, access lighting, vienna 5 light, $280 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Access Lighting, Vienna 5 Light Chandelier, $288

The price of this one has doubled since I saved it!
lighting, meyda, tiffany 4 light chandelier, $570 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Meyda, Tiffany 4 Light Chandelier, $1000

lighting, currey and company, 4 light chandelier
Source: Currey & Company, 4 Light Chandelier

lighting, shades of light, soho scone, $190
Source: Shades of Light, Soho Sconce, $190

lighting, circa lighting, bryant sconce, antique brass, $168
Source: Circa Lighting, Bryant sconce in Antique Brass, $168

lighting, shades of light, soho chandelier, $360
Source: Shades of Light, Soho 4 Light Chandelier, $360

lighting, circa lighting, bryant small chandelier, antique brass, $360 2
Source: Circa Lighting, Bryant Small Chandelier, $360

lighting, shades of light, soho chandelier in antique brass, $360
Source: Shades of Light, Soho Chandelier, $360

 

 

Other Lighting*

lighting, and double vanities on either side of door, houzz, by blount architecture and interior design
Source: Houzz, By Blount Architecture & Interior

lighting, chandelier over tub and different looking sconce, decorpad
Source: Decorpad

lighting, my design dump blogspot dot com
Source: Mydesigndump

lighting, emily a clark, Charlotte Homebuilders Association Tour
Source: Emily A. Clark, From Charlotte Home Builder Association Tour

 

lighting, csn lighting dot com, Quoizel laurie smith millenium wall sconce in gallery gold, $110
Source: CSN Lighting, Quoizel, By Laurie Smith, Millennium sconce, $115

lighting, quoizel, millennium 3 light pendant, $270 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Quoizel, By Laurie Smith, Millennium 3 Light Pendant, $310

lighting, csn lighting dot com, Quoizel laurie smith millenium wall sconce in gallery gold, $730
Source: CSN Lighting, Quoizel, By Laurie Smith, Millennium sconce, $760

lighting, troy lighting, sausalito sconce, $160 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Troy Lighting, Sausalito sconce, $162

lighting, troy lighting, sausalito 5 light large pendant, $560 lighting universe
Source: Lighting Universe, Troy Lighting, Sausalito 5 Light Large Pendant, $558

 

 

As you can see a lot of designers get around the matching sconce and chandelier issue by not matching them at all. I like the look but for the master bathroom I think staying consistent will help tie everything together. The bathroom will already have an identity crisis with the glamorous/craftsman/spa combo!

So now I have to go research all of these fixtures that still look interesting. Anyone have any suggestions?

*Disclaimer – I’m not an interior designer and I have no idea what these sconce styles are really called but this is what I’m calling them. OK? It’s my blog and I can do what I want.

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11 Responses to “Bathroom Lighting Debacle”


  1. 1 Mel January 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Wow. you must have spent all of the weekend up-loading.
    Craftsmen style in a ranch will be a feat. I like that
    look as well and am always drawn to those porch columns
    built on an angle. We will be watching with interest.

    Mel and Janie

  2. 2 Robin January 18, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    The uploading was really easy actally with Flickr Uploader. It was getting them in the order I wanted and finding all of the old links that was time consuming. But yes I’ve been working on this post for a while. It was supposed to be a “I’ve ordered my bathroom lighting” post originally.

    Yes, it won’t be a true craftsman by any means. The big craftsman inspired changes we want to do are exterior like turning a screened in porch back into a covered porch with craftsman tapered columns (with a stone base). Adding architectural interest by putting stone on the bottom half of the house and upgrading to craftsman style doors (which will have to be fiberglass with a wood grain because of the lack of overhang over some of our doors but at least they will match the new garage doors). It might end up looking like more of a prairie style actually with the low roof. That is OK because Frank Lloyd Wright lived in a nearby town so we have a bit of prairie style in the area.

  3. 3 meryl rose January 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I am TOTALLY with you on lighting on both the sides of a mirror, WAY better than above. Sadly, in BOTH of our bathrooms we couldn’t have lights on either side of the mirror, which made me very sad :( In the main bath we didn’t have any room for lights near the mirror, but we had plenty of ceiling light so it was okay. And in the back bath the sink hits right into a wall, so the right angle gives us no room for a light on the left. Booo. I hunted long and hard for a light above the mirror that didn’t make me cringe and I think I found it, but I’ll still always wish we had room for double sconces….

  4. 4 Julianna January 22, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    It’s funny to read the post and comment about lighting next to the mirror. We had sconces on the side of our mirror in the master bath and that was the first thing I couldn’t wait to change when I remodeled. I moved that electrical up over the mirror as fast as I could. You do have gorgeous taste in lighting though and I appreciate the tip in the next post about finding out the designer’s name to get lights for less. Good luck with your renovations.

  5. 5 Craig February 1, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Robin,

    Love the website! You have both done such a great job and it’s been really fun and a great learning experience to follow you through your remodeling.

    A quick note about lighting. Have you heard of BBC Lighting in Milwaukee? Their selection is incredible and their prices cannot be beat. Not affiliated in any way here, but we had our fixtures priced out here in Madison and BBC was about half of their price. Also, they have free popcorn!!

    Feel free to email if you have any questions and keep up the great work!

    • 6 Robin February 2, 2011 at 8:20 am

      Thanks Craig! Yes actually we’ve been to BBC Lighting! That is where we got our entry chandelier from. I looked at the all of the lines they carry but ended up liking the Restoration Hardware bathroom lights better. We do plan to use them as much as we can in the future.

  6. 7 Craig February 9, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Robin, probably a silly question here but I’m assuming that you asked BBC if they can get any of the Restoration Hardware lights? Only reason I ask is that we found some pretty funky pendant lights online and when we asked BBC they were able to actually get them cheaper, even though it wasn’t a line that they had on the showroom floor.

    Hope all is well at your house and that you’ve gotten dug out from the fun of last week’s weather!

  7. 8 sachinji10hin August 25, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Bathroom lighting are the most important part for interior desinning

  8. 9 Haleh Ghanizadeh August 26, 2011 at 6:35 am

    I am very interested in placing a ceiling light or chandelier over the bathtub, however I uderstand that building codes require that the fixture be 7′ from the tub water level and be damp listed. None of these pictures appear to support this code. Have they been switched post inspection?

    • 10 Robin August 26, 2011 at 10:25 am

      Yes I’m guessing most of them were put in after the inspector had been through the house. Some of the chandeliers may be hung their but not connected too. People recommend candle chandeliers if you want the look and it still follows code
      .

  9. 11 http://tinyurl.com/avmc4zz January 5, 2013 at 4:27 am

    “Bathroom Lighting Debacle 3 acres & 3000 square feet” in fact got me personally simply addicted on your site!
    I actuallydefinitely will be returning even more often.
    Thanks a lot ,Stevie


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This is the story of two twenty something newlyweds who are learning to adjust to life in their first house, a 1973 fixer-upper.
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