akcorcoran

Can you really get *good* light from sconces with shades by vanity?

akcorcoran
March 15, 2013
I had a bad experience finding sconces for my guest bath reno and found that I really didn't get even light that could be used for the mirror from lights that had shades. But, I really prefer that look for all that it brings to a bathroom design?

I put Pottery Barn sconces (Sussex tube sconces) in my daughters' bathroom and they provide great light, but might be a bit modern for our master bath look?

*So, I see them all the time all over Houzz - can you get GOOD vanity lighting from sconces with shades? Any tips or suggestions of specific brands?*

I've attached the photo of the master vanity - there are individual mirrors above each sink - they are Uttermost 27" x 42" tall with room for sconces on each side of them.

(The vanity will have at least three sconces, once between each mirror. Possibly four - a single, then double, then single depending on the fixture. As for other light, there is a hanging chandelier in the room back by the tub, but I didn't want recessed overhead b/c it provides such shadows on your face.)

I also put a photo below of the ones I like with shades - Suzanne Kasler for Visual Comfort - Margarite Single Sconce - the paper shade on it in the photo is awful (and doesn't come with it,) but I just want to be sure there is good light in our bathroom!

The other one I like is the Visual Comfort Openwork long tube but I'm afraid it might be too modern with the rest of the room?

Your thoughts? Thanks!

Comments (148)

  • akcorcoran
    Here's the Astor sconces (open at only the end) - I had to put in a background color and there is no picture of these straight on so it's a bit weird. I think the size is better but it only comes in brushed nickel or polished nickel? Even though the mirror has silverleaf, I'm not sure that the brushed nickel really works?
  • olldroo
    No, no, no, back to the original. In fact in doing that you have only proved to me how great the first ones are. They need the detail top and bottom so they don't get lost with the mirror.
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  • akcorcoran
    This is Tras's later suggestion from Circa - Calliope by Thomas O'Brien (for Visual Comfort) - I think it's a similar idea to the Open Work set above. BUT these are $500 retail - so even if I find them discounted, I'm not sure they are that much better to spend that much extra $? Yikes!
  • akcorcoran
    Hmmm - I do think those are pretty. Still the detail at the ends to your point, roo, but a little less heavy. Ugh - maybe I can find them on sale somewhere...?

    What do you think, Roo, compared to the first ones (Open Work)?
  • olldroo
    I love the idea of being able to just close the doors on everything although when it comes to cupboards and drawers, I am an anal neat freak. The kitchen will be a little weird shape, but it does work for me, I have the entrance and on the left the pantry will take up the whole space to the end wall. To the right will be two fridges in what will appear like a little passageway, then the bench space will start with drawers underneath and I have a hatch to the dining room at the back, I will put a lazy susan into the corner cupboard and that wall opposite the door will be all bench with windows in the midde and a sink under the windows. I hope to have more drawers under there and practical storage under the sink for all the washing up bits and maybe recycling stuff and then the dishwasher. I will put another lazy suzan into the corner and on that small wall going up to the pantry, which is only half height and opens to the family room I will have my hot plates and a wall oven beside them. I will also have room for top cupboards along the wall over the fridges and around the corner over the sink. I currently have open shelving there, may just leave the bottom shelf open. The only space I haven't found room for is the microwave. I'm hearing about drawer microwaves which sound really good but I don't think we have them here yet. Everything is pretty much as it is now, just going for drawers where possible as my knees don't like the floor anymore.

    I like the way the butler's pantries open to both the kitchen and dining room. Great spot for having everything laid out ready to go. I think you made a good decision there.
  • olldroo
    Oops we are crossing here, is that $500 for the 3 or each???? That is insane. Well at first I liked Tras's ones because I like simple but didn't feel they would do much in your space. Now you put them up like that, me seriously likey. They really are neat and let the mirrors sing without getting lost themselves. Do me a favour and put the two photos side by side. How much cheaper are the others??
  • akcorcoran
    uh, for EACH. This IS insane. It's about $150 less for each of the open work (original) ones, so they still are sort of a budget buster!

    Sigh, I do like the way the Calliope (second ones) look though - a bit more delicate, mirrors really are the star. and, I spent a ton on the backsplash border tile that will be below it (the Julius) so I want to see that too.

    Oh dear. :(
  • akcorcoran
    The ONLY thing I'll say - I sort of worry about the actual light in the Calliope (second one)? It's showing up sort of weird in two bands - maybe that's just the photo but it's not all over light. I'd really want to see it...?
  • shelleyuk
    I like both but this is where you put on your sensible head and think about budget. I always think about what else I can do with the saved money. Go with the cheaper ones and think about the others no longer.
  • shelleyuk
    Glad you think our tile looks ok. It was the cheapest in the shop at only £7.00 per square metre (although its because its discontinued) and I've been worrying about it. But needs must, Im thinking of giving up work but have a large house to renovate. The two aren't particularly compatible!
  • olldroo
    TRAS!!!! You caused this!!!! Get over here. Now I'm feeling guilty, this is all my fault - teehee.

    That is seriously ridiculous, how can they justify that, I doubt they would sell out here - maybe to a very small market. See what you mean about the bands, it is off-putting isn't it and at that price it would not be unreasonable to see them. The other one seems to have darker shading in the midde but it isn't as obvious as the stripes and probably more expected.

    While Calliope (love that name, used to work with a girl named that) doesn't interfere with the mirrors, I think the open work rather adds to the mirrors because it is all in the same theme which also goes so well with Julius. Just sitting here looking, looking .................. nup the open ones will be fine, I think they actually strengthen the mirrors. You will have all three things making a statement - the same statement so they will strengthen each other and they look like a very bold and confident choice, where Calliope looks like you couldn't find anything to match or were too scared to. ????
  • olldroo
    Shelley, isn't it crazy how prices vary so much country to country. My tiles were $33 for the floor and $35 for the walls after I had haggled and that was at the lower end of average price. For 7 quid, you did damn good.
  • trasgorshek
    Sorry! :). I was just looking at ideas to work with mirror but not pull the eye from them. I love both and agree the banding on the open work works beautifully with the mirror...but will share the focus, which is okay. The $ ticket would win in our house but you are still getting a very beautiful light. I would install the open work then if years later you want a change then you could switch out. The wires are more then likely around the same spot so you wouldn't have to worry about your junction box placement.

    Shelly, your bathroom is coming along beautifully! And Akcor so excited about all of your transformations! Too bad they didn't get flooring in! That would have made life easier.
  • olldroo
    We know you were being helpful Tras, just a pity about the price tags. I thought of changing them out down the track, but the others are pretty pricey too, be different if they were super cheap to have as an infill.

    The more I sit and look at them, the happier I am with the open work ones.
  • akcorcoran
    OK, gals. I think I should go with the Open Work and then call it for good. There are also 15" cabinets (his and hers - we don't like to mix our stuff!) beside those lights on the outer sides so maybe the Open Work would hold their own more against those better than the ones with really no outer metal. Listen to us all trying to get away from the reality that those are $500 each. :-)

    Wow - I'm going to tell my hubby who hassled me to no end about our tile pricing. That tile in our guest bath is actual limestone and was $7 / square foot. I can't imagine how hard it is to find options when your selections start at those prices! The only thing up there like oldroo's prices for me was the border in the Master Bath (the Julius.)

    So, ignore me when I complain about budget in the future!

    Shelly, anything new today?! They put in the tile in our powder room yesterday and I'm very pleased with it. No grout yet but I'm very pleased. It's still the traditional hexagon tile that is in colonial homes here in the states but updated to be with natural stone (some of which is polished and some is honed.) My vanity for the powder room is a vintage piece of furniture that is open at the bottom (pictured below,) not a cabinet, so you'll get to see all the tile. Wahoo!

    Lex

    (Oldroo, I can imagine you now saying it's so busy compared to your style! Hee, Hee - I already know you too well!)
  • shelleyuk
    No update today I'm afraid. It's chucking it down with snow and so the bathroom guys wimped out of trying to get to out to our home deep in the woods.

    I'm constantly shocked at how cheap things are in the US. My tile at £7 was an absolute bargain. Generally even basic
    plain white tiles are about £5 per square metre. For limestone here you'd be looking at in the region of £50.

    Good decision on the lights. I think they're the best.
  • shelleyuk
    Really like the combination of colours in the hexagonal tile. And I love your vanity. I hunted high and low for a vanity here but all that is really on offer is ultra modern wall hung boxes ikea style.
  • akcorcoran
    Thanks, shelly - on all fronts! That's too bad about the snow (love that you say "chucking it down" - I'm going to use that here! :-) No progress is so NOT fun when you've been making progress!

    I'm very pleased with the powder room things (although I still don't have a mirror for there.) I have lights that my mother gave me as a gift in 1997(!!!!) that were hard wired so I never had them installed in any of our different apartments or condos. They are iron with a blue-gray rust finish so I think it will come together nicely.

    I also looked high and low for the furniture vanity - and in the end, I found the vanity on a sale website here called One Kings Lane. I could never of afforded it in real life but it was a shockingly low $499 down from an original price of $1699 so I snapped it up! Had to pay shipping, of course, and it's still not here but I'm so excited because it looks like a statement piece to me! Don't know yet if the bottom doors open - I hope they do, but I won't care if they don't b/c I think it looks so nice. :-)

    OK, time to buckle down and buy the lights. Ugh - wish I could find them here somewhere so I could pay some in cash and my hubby wouldn't know! The tricks I play!
  • trasgorshek
    Ohhhh, Akcor, we all have our tricks! Too funny! Shelley, we've been getting snow also. My sons speech teacher just told me were expected to get 7" tomorrow. Just crazy! I thought it was spring time! Ugghh. Akcor, we are on spring break also, unfortunately we didn't have much fun thanks to the weather! :( Love the vanity for powder room! Beautiful! Did you try onestoplighting for the lights? They might be a little cheaper plus they have the $ back if they don't get to you in the time frame they say.
  • trasgorshek
    Hi Roo! I've been missing our chats! Little one has me going in circles while on spring break.
  • PRO
    Scott Design, Inc.
    Sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner. Yes, the wall sconces I suggested are over your budget. At some point in this discussion the use of a glass clip-on shade was suggested. There is such a ribbed frosted glass shade available from http://lampglass.nu/clip-on-shades.html . It could possibly work with the Visual Comfort French Deco Horn. It's a much lighter approach in style compared to the long openwork sconce. You should call Visual Comfort directly and ask them for their opinion on the size and style of the shade and what they would recommend. If you go online and look under French sconces, you should find less costly sconces that could possibly work with this shade. Please note that even a frosted glass shade will reduce the lumens from the bulb but certainly not as much as paper or cloth.
  • olldroo
    Thanks Scott Design - you realise we have been agonising over this for a week :) At least we have had a lot of fun going off on otherthings too.

    Alcor - don't get me wrong, I like plain and simple for me in my home as it is. My home is just a basic contemporary home which just doesn't go with anything else. However for your colonial, your choices are great and the sort of things that would be used in colonials here too. I have always loved that hexagon tile - I might add here, I am 70 years old so I actually remember all this. When we were building our home, the colonial style for new homes was raging, so this was what everyone was using. Because it was so "trendy" at the time, we avoided it not realising of course it would trend, go and retrend over and over. Even the old colonial homes were initially modernised but they are all going back to roots now. The vanity is perfect and it looks a beautiful quality............. what a price!!!! This is the vanity I chose for my main bathroom after months of looking, everything was so impractical. I eventually found this place online who had basic units but I could modify to suit my needs. Still not wonderful, very little in storage, but it was on special for $1,350. Anywhere else I would have paid over $2,600.
  • shelleyuk
    Oh for goodness sake, more snow! No plumbers today to fit the shower. This is the view of the garden
  • shelleyuk
    Kids are enjoying it though!
  • olldroo
    How beautiful - provided you don't have to go out in it. I just couldn't handle driving.

    Dare I say, we are having a little out of season weather too. Been up around 30 deg C. Bit of storm activity this afternoon that came to nothing except increase the humidity to an uncomfortable level.
  • trasgorshek
    Your kids are darling! Ugghhh the snow looks like us this afternoon. I'll be working to get everything done by noon before it starts. Roo, love the cabinet! Very clean, love clean lines.
  • PRO
    Railroadware
    To answer the question about wall sconces with shades. "Good light " is a relative term. Most wall sconces are uplights designed to wash the wall and illuminate the ceiling. They are usually located at eye level or above so there is no glare. The lighting levels can be adjusted with a dimmer. My point is location and bulb visibility is important in selecting a sconce. I hope that helps. Come see our lights at www.railroadware.com
  • olldroo
    Thanks Tras, I'm just disappointed that it isn't as practical as it could be but short of having someone do a special build there is just no choice these days. The drawers look nice and deep but that is only the front of them, the sides are only half the height - at least mine do have sides, many, even in more expensive ranges, only have a bar across half way up so everything in draws has to be in containers to keep it in the drawer. Lord knows what idiot came up with this idea. It is nowhere near as deep as vanities used to be either and although it gives me more floor space in the bathroom and makes the bathroom look bigger, I still need storage. So glad I revamped my old vanity in the ensuite now.
  • olldroo
    Railroadware, love your insulator pendants.
  • PRO
    Railroadware
    Thanks, looks like you have plenty of advice. Hopefully you can use some of these suggestions and comments.

    The light source and quality of light is important especially in a master bathroom. However a guest bathroom or powder room may just need ambient light. and low lighting levels and you can concentrate on style and perhaps select a theme in your lighting choice not just the quality of the light.

    Attached photo shows a low warm lighting level using a single insulator light pendant (no sconce) as the lighting source and Railroadware hardware toilet paper dispenser.
  • olldroo
    That toilet paper dispenser is pretty quirky too.
  • PRO
    Railroadware
    This is a little bit off topic for sconce lighting but very appropriate for bathroom sensibility and style...
    Quirky is not really the word I would use to describe RailroadWare products. Most folks settle for the traditional and conventional what is expected especially when it comes to the bathroom.

    Why not surprise your guests with something they have never seen before that is simple elegant and works like a charm especially with "Charmin." lol
  • olldroo
    Just finished both my bathrooms, pity we don't have much creative like yours, if we do they cost a bomb. Most of our stuff is plain, simple, practical, modern.
  • trasgorshek
    Love your towel bar, railroadware! Just went through your site. Pretty cool!
  • PRO
    Railroadware
    Thanks, here is the RRWare Towel Bar for the kitchen or bath.
  • shelleyuk
    Hi guys we made it back from our night away despite the foot and a half of snow. Bathroom fitters are parking on the roadside and walking the half mile in to the house tomorrow!! I feel a bit mean but I need progress!!
  • olldroo
    shelley I saw on TV the massive snow dump in then north-east I think they said??? Cars were completely buried on freeways, it was eerie. Maybe you need to install a tow rope and skis for the workers.
  • shelleyuk
    We have some progress at last with the snow having thawed a bit (although more predicted for the weekend). Tiles are grouted, cabinet is on the wall and the coving (crown moulding??) is up.

    Any more lighting decisions akcor?
  • shelleyuk
    Look, look, look!! Lights and cabinet are up!

    What do you think?
  • olldroo
    Hey, Shelley, happy Easter, looks like a really exciting one for you. Love your ceiling light - pure indulgence for a bathroom. Did you say that mirror was a cupboard? It is a lovely mirror, I love the bevelled edges. The sconces really intrigue me now, they don't look like I expected - don't get me wrong, they are still great- I was just expecting the glass to throw the light around a bit more, although they could be different in real life. I'm looking at them in relation to alcor's expensive ones with the bands she wasn't keen on and yours are doing the same thing. Do you have two globes in them or one, if one, what is causing the banding??

    Is your home new or old?? I love the tiles, but I'm really liking how you have laid them. Amazing the difference, my tiles are the same size but I have stood mine on end and not staggered them.

    Just realised alcor has gone quiet, I almost feel like we have taken over her thread, but that is part of the fun things that happen on Houzz. Must be busy. Hope she hasn't had any dramas.

    How much more do you have to do with the bathroom?

    My daughter just sent a parcel out with a friend of hers and included in it was a fabulous bathmat she got in Costco. It is double sided cotton with none of that rubber backing and is so thick and soft, I feel like I am stepping on a cloud. Makes me feel really pampered.
  • shelleyuk
    Hi Olldroo, Happy Easter!

    It's all gaining momentum now. The plumber should be arriving in an hour or so to fit the sink toilet, radiator, towel rail and shower. Then I will post more pictures.

    Yes the mirror is a cabinet. I'm really pleased with it since it was only £59. We've put the electrical socket inside the cupboard too so that its out of the way.

    I have yet to see how the wall lights look in the dark and whether they give out much light. The banding isn't as obvious in real life as it is in the photos but yes it is there due to the fact that the two light bulbs which came with the lights are quite small. I shall have to investigate whether long bulbs reduce the banding at all.

    I think the other issue is that the wall lights are obviously set back from the mirror (with the mirror being a cabinet). Had we had the budget we would have sunk the cabinet section into the wall but it was a big hassle.

    Our house is late 1950s. It's a project which we are taking our time over because the house is at the top of the market in terms of price and we don't want to do anything that looks too cheap (but at the same time we don't have a massive budget for doing it up)!!

    Problem is I spend hours on Houzz looking at beautiful pictures and get ideas way above my budget!!
  • trasgorshek
    Shelley, beautiful home! Love how the bathroom is taking shape! Looks fabulous, the ceiling light is just stunning and what a steal for the cabinet! Tiling is gorgeous but I'm a sucker for tile (tile and molding...love, love, love).

    Akcor...where are you?? How are things going? I'm still waiting patiently for the mirrors to show up. Other then that, the walls are done and just need faucets, knobs, accessories stuff. Just waiting...tick, tock. Last they said was April 1st, so hopefully Monday! Yea!
  • olldroo
    Wow, your house is beautiful, lucky girl, but I don't envy you the cleaning - haha, I have a one track mind. It looks so lovely and clean and fresh looking, I want to keep looking at it. Looks like you have a lovely lot of land for the kids to play too. Is it Good Friday there? You have a plumber working on a holiday??

    That is a great price for the cabinet. I put the power point in mine too, looks so much better than looking like a pimple on the wall and the door still closes easily when I am using my hair dryer.

    I was curious about the age of the house as I felt that tile pattern suited an older house. Don't know how prices are over there but while it is nice to modernise it all, you do have to watch you don't overcapitalise too, although if you are there for the long haul, that isn't quite as important. Here we have quite a bit of leeway, it can be worth spending $100 or $200K on renovations, you can get your money back and more. Is your hubby handy for DIY projects? Mine is about as useless as a dead cat, but he tries............and tries my patience. Taking your time doing it lets you really look out for great bargains too so you can get an expensive look on a budget, plus it is nice to take a breather and get the house back in order between work. I quite enjoy looking at the photos on Houzz and then working out ways I can get the same look on my budget. Just furniture layouts make a whole different look to the house, that is what I like, getting different perspectives on rooms as well as accessories and the way they can be placed. Like you, we are restricted for choice a lot too, so that helps keep me under control.

    When I was first introduced to this site, just as we had decided to blow the budget and totally renovate the house - our last Hurrah, so to speak - the hours and early mornings I spent browsing, it had to add up to absolute months. I also started checking out homes for sale in my immediate area and went to open houses to see the state of the homes, what people had done to them and the price they were asking. The agents can be so pushy, so I was pretty upfront with them and told them I was "researching". I actually got a good response from that and they have become very friendly and very interested in how I am going with it all. Of course I'm sure they are seeing $$$ from a potential sale no matter what I say.

    When I got basic things happening I then discovered the comments on the weekly ideabooks and got drawn into them and found a whole new world of friends that I chat to pretty much daily and we swap ideas and critique each other's projects. That is how I got to know Tras so well.

    Knowing you have two globes in each light puts a whole different perspective on them, I think it might diffuse the light better. Just wondering now if we will confuse Alcor again, especially when the "banded" ones were so expensive.
  • olldroo
    Hi Tras, hope your Easter is enjoyable too. Do you not have a holiday on Monday? We must be spoilt, Easter is a 4 day break for us and the kids get Tuesday off school as well, unless it falls in school holidays.

    Sort of taking a backward step with my things at the moment, BH leaves for LA on Wednesday so am finding every little job I can for him to do before he leaves and then I have peace and quiet to push one with the things I want to do when I want to do them. At the moment, the minute I start something, he pokes his head in with "do you have a minute". Giving the kitchen a huge deep clean today - climb up to the top cupboards to empty them - do you have a minute - put the vacuum on - do you have a minute - stick my hands in a sink of soapy water - do you have a minute - arrrgggghhhhhhhh!!! Had a pretty good purge though, finally was able to let go of so much of my mother's stuff, actually didn't realise just how much of her's I still had, and then got into trouble for filling all the bins up.
  • trasgorshek
    Hi Roo! No, unfortunately we do not get extended days for Easter. Some government positions still get Good Friday off but majority of people still work...stores open,etc. Monday everything will be back to normal business...sad really! But that's a whole other soapbox for me to get on.

    Hubby actually made it home today! He leaves again Sunday but we do get a real date tonight, if you can believe it! We are going to dinner and a movie...finally! And guess what!? We got the call today that the mirrors are in. So we will picking up this evening while we are out! Yea!! Christmas all over again! Date with my hubby and another step closer to finishing my current project! Yahoo!
  • olldroo
    Wow, I can't believe a day of such religious significance doesn't get recognition. Definitely would be a soapbox issue.

    How lovely Hubby home, hope you have a great weekend and everything goes well.

    I'm off for a day at the beach for GS birthday.
  • shelleyuk
    We get Easter off over here. We are off work Good Friday and Easter Monday. We have a school holiday over Easter too and so the kids are off for almost three weeks!!

    Plumbers are busy upstairs (struggling with the incredibly heavy thick glass shower door). Hope to have more pictures later!!
  • shelleyuk
    Update - we are so nearly there!!

    Radiator needs to go back on as does the heated towel rail. We then need to paint the cornicing and the window frame. Wall lights have been dismantled by my husband which is the clutter you can see on the sink and whilst the shower looks lovely, it needs a new pump (fortunately in the airing cupboard behind it). But we are so very nearly there and I had a celebratory bath in the new and very deep bath last night.

    Thoughts? In particular what do you think of the bathmat. I haven't yet decided on the fabric for the blinds and whilst I love the bathmat I'm a bit worried it might be too busy with two patterns in there. Would a big white fluffy one be better?
  • olldroo
    Hi, Shelley, bet you feel like a queen already. All looks great, so lovely and clean and it will be easy to keep that way. When I first looked at the photos and before I read your comment, I thought you had used a patterned tile on the floor and then realised you hadn't said anything about that.

    While I do like the mat very much, I am definitely a fluffy mat sort of person, just feels more luxurious to me. Unless you went for a spot or a stripe in your blind, I don't think I would like it with the other patterns you have chosen. Definitely I would accessorise the mat to your blind.

    Do you plan on putting any shelving on the walls near the bath? I feel I would need something there to stand things on. I used just plain glass shelving in my shower with a narrow chrome bar across the front to stop things getting knocked off. Very minimalist and you hardly see it. I like your coral but am thinking once you get your blind in, you won't be able to keep it on the window sill and it would be nice to have it somewhere.

    My daughter just sent me out a fabulous mat she got in Costco. It is double sided like a chenille cotton and is so thick, it feels amazing. She was able to get it in the perfect off white to go with my tiles and she has another one to send in the blue accent I have used. It is their own Kirkland brand and I think it was quite cheap but it looks really good and doesn't have the rubber on the back that usually perishes after a while. You have Costco there don't you? Check it out.

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