Vanity sconces: is 60 watts enough?

kmcgApril 14, 2012

I was looking at Restoration Hardware sconces today, and now I have a question: these RH single sconces take up to 60 watts only, while other lighting I've seen can take 100 watts. If I have one sconce on each side of the vanity, is that 120 combined wattage going to provide enough light? Or should I go for double sconces, for a total of 240 watts? There will be one other light - overhead - in a bathroom that's about 8x9'.

Also, the home design books say we should go for side-lighting at the vanity. I've always had overhead, but now that I'm starting from scratch, I'm inclined to follow the experts' advice. Do any of you have opinions on whether having lights on the side really is better? I've got somewhat limited room on the sides of twin medicine cabinets, so overhead might actually fit better. Please help!

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A 60 watt incandescent bulb produces ~ 800 + lumens.

Assuming a 25 lumen per sq ft requirement 8 * 9 * 25 = 1800 lumens.
20 lumens per sq ft 8 * 9 * 20 = 1440 lumens.

Side lighting is preferable since it is less likely for shadows to be cast, but if you are space constrained, wall washing / overhead lighting in front of the mirror can be used. There are office washrooms where this is done and the lighting works quite nicely (imo).

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 11:57PM
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Thank you, davidtay! Do you know if frosted glass covering a bulb will decrease the lumens rating you gave?

My vanity will be 54" long in a kind of alcove (short walls (24") on each side). I'm thinking maybe it would work to put sconces on the side walls to direct light toward the center of this space.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 1:15PM
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Yes, the frosting will decrease the light output. To compensate, you could over budget by 10% for incandescent lighting.

On the other hand, using the Robern Candre CFL sconce as an example, the output from the 26W CFL is such that there might not be any need to compensate.

There are other ways to address the issue - such as
1. Using a combination of sconces and overhead lighting located between the mirror and vanity front edge.
2. Using lighted mirrors.
3. More sconces.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 6:58PM
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