Questions about Lighting Needs & LED Color Temp & Application

enduringMay 20, 2012

I'd like to do something in my bathroom remodel with LED to provide soft low lighting and night lighting. I would have this hardwired in by my electrician. I also want to get opinions on my planned lighting in general.

Background on the remodel:

1) The bathroom is next to the kitchen. It will have a black slate floor. There is one window in the room. The walls will have white tile 4' up, and the upper walls will be painted a medium light gray color. The room is 9.5' x 6.5'. I am going with an open painted wood vanity with a lower shelf. I will hang a mirror above this vanity.

2) For my current planned lighting, I will have 2 sconces on the wall, either side of the mirror, over the vanity. These sconces are rated for 100w incandescent bulbs. I will put these sconces on a dimmer. In the past, 2 florescent tubes next to the mirror (of the 18" variety) gave plenty of light for the whole room. When that fixture failed, a lamp with a 60watt bulb provided plenty of general lighting, but not enough lighting for the vanity mirror area.

3) I have a 7' ceiling so I don't want a flush mount as I am concerned that my 6'4" son and other taller extended family members will hit there heads. This is an old house. I don't want to put a canned light into the ceiling.

So, I thought a stretch of LED lighting under the vanity shelf would look good and provide soft low level light. The floor is not shiny, so will not glare or be too reflective. I would also use a dimmer. I would use about 2.5' feet of h20 proof lighting, at 1.44 watts/ft and 70 to 78 lumens/ft, depending on the color temp.

Another thought I had was to surround an oval piece of primed and painted plywood (smaller than my vanity mirror) with a strip of the same lighting (h2o proof) and mount it on the wall, then hang an oval mirror over this fixture. I would have it on the same dimmer so that the intensity would match the vanity light strip.

I just don't know if lighting around a mirror is TOO over the top for this remodel that is not of a contemporary or modern design. The mirror will be a dark iron oval, unadorned. The main function of this lighting would be to give soft lighting in the evenings for the use of this heavily used BR.

I have LED in my kitchen and LOVE them. I used the warm color around 2700K, I believe. They are dimmable with a switch.

My questions are:

1) Are my 2 sconces at 100watts each enough lighting for this room?

2) Would the addition of LED lighting under the vanity shelf add a nice night light?

3) What color temp would be best for this cool colored bathroom? I have 2 choices, 2700k or 5000k. I have 2700k in my kitchen and sometimes they are slightly too yellow looking, but it is ok because I have warm colors in my kitchen. I am leaning towards the 5000k temp because of my cool color scheme in the BR.

4) Is the mirror idea too over the top and just goofy? The mirror lighting would be on with the vanity and not necessarily used with the sconces for makeup, shaving, etc.

5) Should I go with 12v lighting only or take the option of going with a 24v system.

6) Last, where is LED going in the future?

I appreciate the time it took to read this long post. Any input would be helpful.

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1. 2x 100 watt incandescents will provide sufficient lighting.
2. LED lighting could be added/ used as night lights.
3. 2700k - 3500k lighting is more easily procured.
4. The mirror idea needs more consideration. If done, you'd probably be hiding rigid light bars behind.
5. 12V or 24V depends on a number of factors such as pricing, output, power requirements.
6. LED will dominate the lighting industry with time. Expect to see new light forms as designers realize that they are no longer constrained by tube or bulb design considerations.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 7:59PM
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Enduring, why only 2700k or 5000k for the LED strip? Something in the range of 3100-3500 is readily available for cheap. 5k is a bit out there, and would not match your sconces if you are putting incandescent in them. I have a lot of mismatched color temps right now, trying them out in the same room to see what I want, but they can't stay that way.

Here is a link that might be useful: LED strips cheap

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 8:27PM
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Thanks davidtay for your response. I think the flexable h20 strip lighting would be flexable enough to wrap around the 1/2" profile edge of a piece of plywood. But, I haven't tried it and the bend could be too sharp to work.

Atofarad thanks for you input. The cooler temp would be a problem to use at the same time as my sconces. I wonder if the warmer temp will look weird with my grayish & white walls? I checked out the link you posted and there is quite a variety of lighting to look at.

I've been looking at Elemental LED for products. I used their electrical wholesale supply lighting line, Diode LED, with my earlier kitchen remodel and like the product.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 7:50AM
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The bend should never be a sharp 90 degree.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 5:06PM
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Davidtay, thanks again for your response. So with your input on 90 degrees, it sounds like what I have in mind should work. I also talked to the dealer, but he had a difficult time visualizing my concept.

I don't know if I am being clear about this mirror/light idea as I've posted in this thread. For those that would like more information on my idea, imagine a small table top that is an inch thick. Then imagine that I wrap the periphery with a lighting strip, (like a hat band around a hat), mounting it so it will shine out sideways from the table top. This is what I want to do with an oval piece of plywood that is a bit smaller in diameter than my oval mirror. I want to mount the mirror on this oval that is mounted and hard wired to the 12v system. The result would be my mirror would have a back light that would have light shining out sideways from around the circumference of the oval plywood. So there should be no sharp bends, just a curve around.

I still wonder if it would look goofy or over the top with respect to "lighting gimmicks". Just because I can do it, doesn't mean I should do it. If anyone else has any thoughts on this idea, I'd be happy to hear you.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 8:04PM
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I can totally envision what you're describing, and love the idea of the backlit mirror. It sounds lovely. :o) Does it have to be an inch deep, though? It seems like the led strip could be easily visible from parts of the room that way.

Re: color temps . . . I'd say to go cooler than the kitchen, but not too cool, as it could make the room feel cold. Have you seen the room inspiration thingy at Here, check it out:

Watch how the curtains and color items in the room change how much the paint appears. I love that trick.

On the nightlight angle, (as the wife of an astronomy nut), cooler temp colors mess with night vision. There's a reason old-school led night lights are orange, and astronomer's led head lamps are straight red. (And don't get me started on those super-cold-temp high-intensity car headlights . . . ugh! . . . I can't hardly see after those go by.)

Soooo . . . where was I? Oh, yeah. I think I was done, and just got distracted by that pet peeve. G'night!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 1:44AM
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Andalee, thanks for posting, I think the IKEA site was very informative, showing the colors of the accessories and the lighting transforming the feel of the room.

I was thinking about how much to recess this strip and I think 2", maybe 3" would be sufficient to prevent seeing the lights from the side. My room is small and there is only one place that sight could be a problem and that is when one would be reclining in the tub. So that is a pretty important issue as there would be a captive audience - the bather..."do I continue to soak in this luxurious warmth, or do I get up and turn that d*m*ed light off? " :) I would hate resorting to hanging a towel over the mirror to shield from the light.

The light rep from the online source I've been considering suggested the warm light for residential use, and that he has only the warm light in his house. He stated the cool light was better for special applications. There is a color balancing model but it doesn't come in h20 proof, and its even more expensive.

Interesting light info on the night vision and LEDs, that was very helpful. I will go with the warm lighting. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 7:08AM
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