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Old 09-29-2009, 05:26 PM
 
2,091 posts, read 2,592,862 times
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I've just begun construction on a small custom home and am in the process of choosing lighting fixtures. So far all my choices have been a snap, but I'm a little stuck on the bathroom vanity fixtures. My current bathroom has some weirdo basket-like wall sconces with those thin halogen bulbs, together with a simple flush-mounted overhead light. I like this arrangement pretty well because the wall sconces provide light from in front of me as I stand at the sink, but it's muted, and the overhead light, in which I use small wattage bulbs, isn't too bright.

This weekend I was visiting a friend who had a small bathroom with a 4-light vanity light and no overhead light. The vanity light had white glass shades open at the bottom with bare bulbs visible. Oh my Hubble. I had no idea what my pores really looked like until I stood under that light. It was worse than the fluorescent lights in public bathrooms!

My question is, is this a function of the direction and/or number of the lights? Would I be better getting a 3 light strip with the shades facing the other way if I don't want such bright light shining down on the sink area? I'm not sure, but I believe the vanity light will be the only light in the bathroom. This is why I'm concerned about them providing enough light.

Has anyone got any experience lighting a bathroom with only upward-facing vanity shades?
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Old 09-29-2009, 06:18 PM
 
Location: LI/VA/IL
2,480 posts, read 3,033,712 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelbug View Post
I've just begun construction on a small custom home and am in the process of choosing lighting fixtures. So far all my choices have been a snap, but I'm a little stuck on the bathroom vanity fixtures. My current bathroom has some weirdo basket-like wall sconces with those thin halogen bulbs, together with a simple flush-mounted overhead light. I like this arrangement pretty well because the wall sconces provide light from in front of me as I stand at the sink, but it's muted, and the overhead light, in which I use small wattage bulbs, isn't too bright.

This weekend I was visiting a friend who had a small bathroom with a 4-light vanity light and no overhead light. The vanity light had white glass shades open at the bottom with bare bulbs visible. Oh my Hubble. I had no idea what my pores really looked like until I stood under that light. It was worse than the fluorescent lights in public bathrooms!

My question is, is this a function of the direction and/or number of the lights? Would I be better getting a 3 light strip with the shades facing the other way if I don't want such bright light shining down on the sink area? I'm not sure, but I believe the vanity light will be the only light in the bathroom. This is why I'm concerned about them providing enough light.

Has anyone got any experience lighting a bathroom with only upward-facing vanity shades?
I don't understand upward lighting either.
We moved into a new construction home the past December and all our bathroom vanity lighting bars are facing downward. Why would anyone want the lighting upward. This is an enigma to me. Maybe some one else can shed some light on this.
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Old 09-30-2009, 10:16 AM
 
2,091 posts, read 2,592,862 times
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Originally Posted by DKVA View Post
I don't understand upward lighting either.
We moved into a new construction home the past December and all our bathroom vanity lighting bars are facing downward. Why would anyone want the lighting upward. This is an enigma to me. Maybe some one else can shed some light on this.
Facing down, as in the shades are open at the bottom? This is what I didn't like at my friends' house - the light was way too harsh. In my current bath, the lights face up, i.e., the bulb is visible from the top of the shade, not the bottom, and the light is much softer. I guess this is one of those things that's just personal preference - like so many other things in home construction and decoration!

However, I looked at the photos of a similar home the builder built last year and he actually had an arrangement I think will work fine for me. There is a flush-mounted ceiling fixture, and then a single downward-facing light on either SIDE of the vanity. So the harsh light isn't right on your face.

The other thing is, I suppose it's easy enough to turn the fixtures around if you don't like the direction they're pointing.
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Old 09-30-2009, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Oregon
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The problem may be the type of bulb. There really is a difference! Our master bathroom has a 4 bulb vanity that sounds alot like the one you mentioned and I have no problems with it. In my case, it is a large bathroom and it also has a standard ceiling light. That may make a difference, not having all the light concentrated in one area.

I couldn't imagine upward facing lighting being a good option, unless it is not your only light supply.

Good Luck!!
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Old 09-30-2009, 02:06 PM
 
2,091 posts, read 2,592,862 times
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Originally Posted by dsh1127 View Post
The problem may be the type of bulb. There really is a difference! Our master bathroom has a 4 bulb vanity that sounds alot like the one you mentioned and I have no problems with it. In my case, it is a large bathroom and it also has a standard ceiling light. That may make a difference, not having all the light concentrated in one area.
Good point - perhaps their bulbs were too bright for the small space.
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Old 09-30-2009, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
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I often think that multi-light fixtures have way too high total light wattage for the area in which they are used. Does a bathroom vanity really need 240-300 watts of light?
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Old 09-30-2009, 03:27 PM
 
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Uplight = soft, downlight = too harsh/bright for me.

I honestly like the frosted bulb strips that looks like an old hollywood make-up setting. Put a dimmer on those and it can be soft or bright. If you wear make-up you should put that on in daylight for best visual results.
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Old 09-30-2009, 04:07 PM
 
2,091 posts, read 2,592,862 times
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I agree about the too-high wattage. 4 bulbs of almost any size seems like it's overkill for that small bathroom at my friends' house, even without a ceiling flush-mount. You wouldn't have 4 table lamps in an area that size - and lamp light is much more muted from the lampshades.

Thanks for the insights, everyone. I think putting lower-watt frosted bulbs in downward-facing shades might be the answer - and not having so many lights on the strip in the first place, since I'll have an overhead light.
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Old 09-30-2009, 04:16 PM
 
2,091 posts, read 2,592,862 times
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Aha. This is interesting. I was looking at a lighting website and among their choices for vanity lights was this. Notice the number of styles available for each:

* Either Up or Down (265)
* Only Facing Upwards (124)
* Only Facing Downwards (36)

Now I feel a little vindicated in my preference for the lights to face upwards. :-)
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Powell, OH
886 posts, read 1,910,167 times
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Great thread.

Our current home had all vanity lights facing upward. I did not know that most fixtures were interchangable. I liked the fixtures, so I just changed them to shine downward.

Now, don't shot the messenger, but my neighbors all liked the change in my bath fixtures. They said they never understood why the previous owners liked the upward, thought it was odd. Go figure.

I guess it's personal preference. For most of us, it is just what we are used to. Guess upward light is a recent trend?
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