Damp Listed Lighting for the Bathroom

With my previous lighting picks for the master bathroom thrown out the window I started my master bathroom lighting search all over again. This time I was looking for UL rated fixtures for damp locations. The fixture over the tub proved to be the hardest to come by. Per code any light fixture within 8’ vertically and 3’ horizontally of the rim of the tub needed to be rated for a damp environment. My problem is that the bathroom is fairly narrow and anything outside of that zone would be in an awkward location. Three feet in front of the tub would mean the fixture is directly over the door and between 4 sconces when I need light on the other half of the room. Three feet to the right and it would be over the shower which means it would need a wet rating which is even harder to come by. Three feet to the left and it would be over the toilet which I really don’t want to emphasize. So the lighting fixture was going to stay where it was and I just had to find something damp listed. Now most people would just stick a recessed light there (which are easy to find in damp and wet listed styles) and call it a day but I want something there to look at.

I started scoring the internet lighting sites most of which don’t have a separate category for damp listed lighting. Typically, damp listed lighting is just listed under “Bath” but just because it’s in that category doesn’t mean it is damp listed. You need to call or go to the manufacturer’s website to find out in most cases. What I did find was with websites that do list the dry, damp, or wet environment you can usually do a search for “damp” to find what is damp listed. The same goes for some manufacturer’s websites. Lighting Universe and Circa Lighting are two sites where this is searchable.

I also have been talking to our lighting department at work who gave me access to more lighting manufacturer’s catalogs than I knew what to do with. After a week of intense searching I was sitting on the floor surrounded by 6 bookcases full of lighting binders I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and had to quit. If I saw one more bathroom light strip I might choke someone! The urgency stemmed from the fact that the fixtures I was leaning toward are on sale for a limited time only right now. Even though we’re ordering the lighting far in advance I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to pass up an annual sale. I learned two things from my extensive search for lighting:

1.) There is a lot of ugly lighting out there! Seriously. 90% of it I would never consider putting in my house. Lighting manufacturers will copy each other no matter what. If the original light is ugly the next 10 knock offs aren’t going to be any better people! The “boob light” is a perfect example of this:
Who ever came up with this design and decided to make 3,587 different versions of it?! I’m guessing it was a guy.

2.) People are willing to pay big money to not have to search for lighting. There are just too many options on large lighting websites. When you look at the bathroom category on Lighting Universe there are 13,088 lights! 3,387 of them are nickel finished wall lights. Have fun with the next 85 pages of searching! Then when you’ve done narrowing out the 5 decent looking lights you get to search through the 8,060 flush mounts they have. Fun!

Instead many websites pick out some of the nicer looking lighting and tack on a nice premium. Take this light for example:

The “Lucia 3-Light” Chandelier from Horchow is $625

The same light from Lighting Direct is $399. That’s a $225 savings people!

Your best bet is to find something you like and search around for the manufacturer. A lot of sites won’t give you that but you can try searching by the name of the light. The Lucia light above is from the Murray Feiss Lucia Collection…how original. Once you have the manufacturer’s name you’ll get a lot more hits in your searches and you can go to the manufacturer’s website directly for more detail information and specifications.


Below are some of the nicer looking damp and wet listed flush mounts I’ve found. Starting with wet listed these are the only fixtures allowed in and over a shower.
Wet Listed Flush Mounts:
This one is sleek yet traditional!
Hudson Valley Lighting, Geneva 715, 15”D, $359

Circa Lighting, Milton, 9.5”D, $400

Circa Lighting, Garey, 11”D, $588


Damp Listed Flush Mounts:
Damp listed fixtures are required over a tub in the zone 8’ vertically and 3’ horizontally from the rim of the tub. Per code the only type of lighting allowed are flush mounts, recessed lights, and sconces. Chandeliers, pendants, track lighting, and ceiling fans are not allowed at all.

Hudson Valley Lighting, Newport 6515, 15”D, $279

Restoration Hardware has the best selection of damp listed lighting I’ve found so far.
Restoration Hardware, Dalton 17”D, sale price $245, regularly $329

Restoration Hardware, Barton 17”D, sale price $245, regularly $329

This one is my favorite. I love how the bracket detail gives it some visual interest.
Restoration Hardware, Heath 17”D, sale price $185, regularly $249

This guy is also damp rated but it only comes in a bronze color. Not exactly what I’m looking for but it would go nicely with the bronze Riley sconces below.
Restoration Hardware, Valencia 15.5”D, sale price $199, regularly $259

This one comes in an iron finish which would match the bedroom lighting fixture I’m looking to get but I have no idea what sconces I’d use with it. It is damp listed but for some reason it isn’t on sale right now for the Annual Bath Event.
Restoration Hardware, Quentin 17”D, $359


Damp Listed Sconces:
The damp listed sconces are required if they are in that zone around the tub but aren’t required per code over a vanity. It is a good idea though and is considered best practice.
I love the interesting structure of this one but I think it looks best in bronze.
Hudson Valley Lighting, Hamilton 5801, $149

Unfortunately the matching ceiling fixtures 5811F and 5813F are only dry rated.

Not that I could hang the second one up over the tub anyway because it’s a chandelier. But why bother getting only part of a line damp rated when the matching pieces aren’t?

This was one I had to call to find out if it was damp listed. I confirmed that everything listed under “bath” is in fact damp listed plus a few other fixtures like the flush mounts I posted above. For some reason this information isn’t listed online and Hudson Valley wants you to work through a dealer but they just have to call Hudson Valley to find out if things are damp or wet listed anyway. So I did some sleuthing and found Hudson Valley’s direct number. It is 1-845-561-0300 for anyone interest.

Now this is my dream fixture!
Restoration Hardware, Riley Sconce, sale price $90, regularly $119

As soon as I found out my first choice wasn’t going to work I tried to buy these fixtures in polished nickel but I quickly found out that is a discontinued color! I even called the store and got the list of stores whose inventory said they might have some left but I called each one only to find out their inventory was out of date.

The only colors they had left in this style fixture are bronze and antique silver plating (which is a darker silver color).

I didn’t want dark colored light fixtures in the bathroom because we planning to keep the room very light colored. To me dark colored faucets or lighting in white rooms become the black hole of the room. They are the first thing you’re eye is drawn to and I want you to notice the lighting but I don’t want it to be the only thing you notice. Instead I wanted polished nickel lighting. It will go with the warm colors in the room and the brushed nickel faucets we plan to get. My plan is brushed nickel for all the things you touch and polished for things you don’t touch like lighting.

Looking at the other damp listed lighting Restoration Hardware had…
I like this one but it only comes in a non-descript “Silver” color which seems to resemble chrome not nickel
Restoration Hardware, Reese, sale price $100, regularly $165

I’m not digging the crystal balls on the Wilshire and Crystal Ball sconces. Too girly for me!

The Campaign is too chunky for my style.

Finally, I came to the Lugarno. It definitely had the traditional feel I was going for and it came in polished nickel. I wish it was a little taller but the $65 price (plus $20 shade) won me over. I really wanted a sconce that would take their silk English-Barrel Shades because they are mildew resistant.


I’m leaning toward getting the Lugarno sconces along with the Heath flush mount.

On the other hand I love the Hamilton sconces too but I’m not sure how much I’ll like them in polished nickel. If I went with the bronze color it would go nicely with the craftsman feel and I could put bronze hardware on the cherry cabinets (uber craftsmanny). But then maybe I should go with the Newport flush mount from the same manufacturer to be certain it will be the same color.

But then if I’m considering bronze as a color maybe the Riley ones would be better…they just look so much better in polished nickel. Sigh.


I drew up a quick sketch of how each set would look in the space. Sorry it isn’t in color. I’m much better with CAD than Sketchup.

Option 1 – Lugarno sconces & Heath flush mount:
RH other

Option 2 – Riley sconces & Valencia flush mount:

Option 3 – Hamilton sconces & Newport flush mount:

The Hamilton sconces seem a little big don’t they? Flannel Man is “OK with any of these” which means it’s my decision but I’m torn. What do you think? Please take a moment to stop by and leave a quick comment on what you think I should pick!


9 Responses to “Damp Listed Lighting for the Bathroom”

  1. 1 Christine January 23, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    OMG, you said it aloud, boob light! I always look at those and think the same thing but never said it out loud. The one we had in the bedroom screwed on at the top but the glass looked like an uncircumsized penis peeking out. I finally took it off and now have a bare bulb. It is ugly but better than looking at that.

  2. 2 Jim January 23, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    The Quentin would be my vote, looks really good. Simplicity and elegance.

  3. 3 kitliz @ DIYdiva January 23, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    I died at the boob-light comment. Never noticed it before, and now I’ll never be able to not see a boob when I look at them… hahaha.

    I really love those lugarno sconces. I thought the idea of a chandelier over the tub was awesome, so I’m having a hard time picturing the flush mount. Question: if the fixture is flush mounted but then you put some chandleiery looking things over it, does that count?

    Like this thing: http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Lead-Crystal-Ball-Flush-Mount-Ceiling-Chandelier/4274411/product.html?cid=123620&fp=F&mr:trackingCode=2EBCB334-52C1-DF11-98FF-0019B9C043EB&mr:referralID=NA

    How could you pull that into the tub? It probably doesn’t meet your damp rated requirements though.

  4. 4 Robin January 23, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Ha yeah I said it BOOB LIGHT!

    Wow Kit I hadn’t seen anything like that! All of the ones I’ve seen hang down at least a little. But odds are those are not damp listed since they don’t mention it. Plus that style is very hard to make damp listed. Everything needs to be sealed completely. The only non-flushmount I found that was damp listed was a circular shade that hung down only 1″ from the ceiling plate but it cost a fortune for what it was so I didn’t consider it.

    It’s not just about pulling the fixture into the tub it’s touching a fixture with your wet hands that may have exposed/not sealed wiring. That’s why a lot of electricians put the lighting on GFCIs.

  5. 5 Jackie January 24, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Hi. I really enjoy reading your blog! I hope to one remodel my bathroom and kitchen. So, it’s nice to learn these things up front. My preference would be option 3. I find it visually pleasing (if that makes sense). Of course, that just my opinion. You’ll be the one who has to live with it and look at it everyday. 🙂

    Good Luck!

  6. 6 simon January 26, 2011 at 8:12 am

    I put the “boob lights” in my rental units merely because every time I re-lease, the prior tenants lost some part to the fixture while changing a bulb and I can’t get it back together. The boob lights are at least cheap (I can get 6 for $30 most of the time)..

    I did try wall sconces in one of my apartments. Two months later I go in and the one is smashed and the mirror (that opened towards the sconce) had broken glass. Last time I do that! 🙂

  7. 7 sonneman August 12, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Fabulous lamps! Nice work! Thanks for doing this blog. I absolutely love it! lighting can change the entire appearance of a room! Amazing!!!

  8. 8 Donna December 15, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Thanks for the info! I am struggling with just these issues right now as we choose lighting for the “dream addition” to our current home. We’re installing a big jetted tub with window view out to Mt. Rainier and need one of those “damp” lights over the tub. I agree with your comments on how many ugly lights are out there and how tough and time consuming/wasting it is to wade through the mountains of crap to get to the too few gems. Thanks again. Keep on blogging. Good luck with your projects. Funny about the Boob Lights. I’ll never see them in quite the same way again.

  1. 1 Master Bath Idea Board « 3 acres & 3000 square feet Trackback on January 26, 2011 at 8:17 am

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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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