View Full Version : How much light and where?
12-24-2006, 08:25 AM
I have a 6x6 foot Bathroom, the only lights we ever had were above the medicine cabinet mirror. There were three large decorative globe-type bulbs, 60 watts each. There are no windows, my wife always complained the bathroom is too dark.
I am thinking about doing exactly the same thing, that is, put a new row of four decorative lights above the medicine cabinet mirror. Then in addition, 3 or 4 recessed lights into the ceiling. I already purchased three 6 inch recessed fixtures, and I bought a trim ring with a glass lens that completely covers the bulb, the trim lens is supposed to be safe above the shower area.
I do not want to rip up a perfectly good ceiling, my question is....
Does recessed lighting work in a bathroom, what are the pros and cons??????
What are you guys using for lights?
12-24-2006, 08:54 AM
Recessed lighting is fine. Check your local codes, because in many areas, the inspector will require overhead lighting in bathrooms and kitchens to be fluorescent. Fluorescent can lights are available.
You only need a sealed trim if the light is directly above the shower.
Do you have an exhaust fan? There are nice fan/light combos available, and this would be a chance to upgrade to a quieter, higher CFM fan.
12-24-2006, 10:04 AM
I have already installed a so-called "quiet" nutone fan....It went were the original fan used to be. It doesn't have a light.
I have a ceiling fan in the kitchen, it has three 60 watt bulbs underneath it, they seem to provide adequate lighting in a larger room. So I started thinking that three 75 watt incandescent recessed lights in my bath would be enuf, but maybe not
I jury-rigged one of my sealed lights up, and held it up to the bathroom ceiling. it only provided a very dim yellow light, I think a recessed light blocks much of the standard light bulb. I think that I may need spotlight-type bulbs that direct the light downwards. I may use one sealed light over the shower and place two spotlights over the vanity and toilet.
I recently remodeled a 5' X 8' bathroom that had strip lighting above the medicine cabinet that held 3 40W clear small globe style light bulbs. The 3 globe lights seemed sufficient. However, with the remodeling process we went with the same style lighting arrangement but got a 4 strip. This lighting works even better and still is not an overkill for the size of bathroom it is we have found. I have seen an actual formula at one point used to figure out the proper amount of lighting to use within a space. I am pretty sure with a bit of research you can find this formula or other methods to get the right lighting... Happy lighting..
In my bathroom besides several can lights with standard flood lamps, I installed a 12" tube skylight and that gives impressive lighting in addition to the bulbs.
12-25-2006, 06:29 PM
Don't know if you want to go through the trouble of cutting holes in the ceiling but I installed 2 2-tube 4' T8 32 watt fluorescent recessed fixtures in my kitchen. This is my first experience with the T8 tubes (electronic ballast) and they are a big improvement over the older T12 tubes. They come on instantly when turned on and they are about 15% more efficient than the T12s. Being recessed, they look very clean and unobtrusive. Cost about $54 apiece at HD.
12-27-2006, 08:13 PM
The best lights are sconce lights on both sides of the mirror, at about face height. They provide multiple aspect illumination because they reflect off the mirror as well as provide direct light.
I have two 25 watt compact flourescents in sconce fixtures that provide so much light that the 100 watt ceiling light hardly makes a difference. I have also seen small (18") vertical fluorescents on both sides of a mirror.
The other thing that sconce lights do is eliminate the strange shadows in eye sockets, under nose, and under chin, that you get from lights that are located above the head.
If the mirror is not flush (if you have a medicine cabinet that sticks out from the wall) then the sconce bulbs must be away from the wall enough to reflect off the mirror to your face. My mirror is on a flush-mounted medicine cabinet.
Light colored finishes also help a lot.
12-28-2006, 05:32 PM
You didn't mention if the ceiling is insulated- if so, you'll need IC (insulation contact) rated cans.
Yes, you need incandescent reflector bulbs at a minimum, halogens are even better because they provide more lumens per watt.
Halogen PARs can leave an unpleasant light pattern on walls, sandblasing or glass beading the face of the bulb fixes this, there is at least one company that sells pre-sandblasted bulbs.
Personally , as a bath designer, I don't like recessed downlights in the proximity of the vanity or in small bathrooms because the light is too directional. Faces look like a horror show and specular reflecrtions off the countertop can be blinding, depending on the reflecxtivity of vanity top finish.
For small bathrooms like yours I prefer a "Hollywood Strip" fixture like you have combined with a flushmount 2-bulb fixture with a frosted dome. If you can't find a frosted dome (try Quoizel) then a halophane shade will do. And your Shower light if desired, although you probably won't need it once the diffuse light from the flushmount is bouncing around in there.
I always try to design with higher values than a photometric worksheet would call for, and use a dimmer that allows a preset ramp rate and threshold rate. My current choice is the Insteon dimmers because you can make a switch in the bedroom act as a 3-way for the bath without rewiring anything, etc- and the switches have pilot indicators so you can find them in the dark.
12-28-2006, 10:53 PM
Alot is going to depend on personal preference. In commercial applications (restaurants) the Alabama health department comes in with a photometer to check for proper lighting. The add-on bath in my last house ... I used a sealed can light in the enclosed tile shower which gave good soft light. I used one small cloud type fluorescent centered in front of the 24" shower door and a 4 bulb light bar over the flush mounted vanity mirror in a 6 x 8 mud room... all worked great for us and was multi pupose whether applying make up, washing clothes, or taking a bath.
12-29-2006, 02:58 PM
I jury-rigged one of my sealed lights up, and held it up to the bathroom ceiling. it only provided a very dim yellow light, I think a recessed light blocks much of the standard light bulb. I think that I may need spotlight-type bulbs that direct the light downwards ...
I will soon be facing your challenge by figuring out how to properly light a 5x12 bathroom. Rather that spotlight-type bulbs, I would think floods would do better. Also, the type of lens that covers the bulb would seem to make a big difference here. An inexpensive tough-plastic fresnel lens can "spray" light in a wide pattern the same way a showerhead causes a small stream to cover a larger area, and I just might purchase some and cut them to fit.