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Sconces? How many? and where do they go?

Posted by lotsofkids (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 13, 13 at 14:34

I asked about lighting for the basement bedrooms we are finishing that have 8-foot ceilings. The sizes of the bedrooms are 12x12, 12x13.5, and 15x15. I have found fixtures that I like for the ceiling (no booby fixtures), but we did want a little more lighting for those times when we need it. Someone suggested sconces instead of cans. I've never had sconces, and I have no clue how many we would need and where we would put them. Should I just forget sconces and use table lamps for extra lighting? Any lighting we want needs to be done now bc it will be really expensive to add once the drywall goes up. Also, are sconces trendy? We are not chronic remodelers. Not to say I will keep everything forever, but I don't want to hate it in 5 years either. We save trendy choices for non permanent things like decor that can be switched out easily and go more traditional on the rest.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Sconces? How many? and where do they go?

Hi lotsofkids,

Looking forward to your responses as we are needing to make similar decisions regarding our bedrooms lighting scheme.

I really like sconces, but pots with a centre fixture is also a good solution. I wondered if you posted your bedroom floor plans with the furniture arranged folks might be better able to help you figure out where to place the sconces. If you haven't figured out where the furniture will go, you may want to go back to do that before selecting the location and number of sconces.

Carol


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RE: Sconces? How many? and where do they go?

Carol I kind of feel like I can't win. When I posted a plan that predetermined the layout of furniture (with specific lighting), I was told that is too rigid and the furniture would be stuck forever. So I suggested a middle fixture with cans and was told that looks like swiss cheese and is all wrong for a bedroom, so I should use sconces, but it seems that sconces can also tie you to a furniture placement plan! AAAAAAHHHHH! I did get one great tip about sconces to place them on either side of a window. To me that anchors it to SOMETHING and doesn't seem so random, but doesn't look weird if I move furniture around. But it still provides more lighting that is also decorative and cozy.


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RE: Sconces? How many? and where do they go?

I feel your pain lotsofkids! I have been driving myself crazy with lighting information too. I have at least 8 books about lighting out from the library trying to microplan the lighting scheme for the bedrooms as well as the rest of the house.

Here is what I have been learning from my research: some pots in a bedroom can be useful for general lighting together with a centre fixture (i.e. bright lighting is useful on dark mornings to wake up by, for cleaning the room, and for kids needing to do homework and to stay awake at night for those late night studying sessions). However, pots on dimmers in a bedroom seem a must (and separate switch) so lower lighting levels are available to create a restful atmosphere. I would not worry about the swiss cheese look from pots as long as pots are used together with other styles of lighting (especially some uplights as pots are downlights) and I would likely stick with smaller pots to make them disappear more. With 8 foot ceilings pots lights make even more sense (used together with other lighting). I also like low voltage small pots (i.e. 2 inch ones) to highlight artwork especially for the master bedroom.

Lamps are great for a bedroom and can certainly be used instead of pots, but if it is a child's bedroom you have to worry if they will get broken. Sconces are beautiful, but as you said need to be planned careful around furniture placement. I don't think they necessarily tie you to one furniture placement if they are higher up on walls.

Bottom line, there is no right way to light a bedroom. There are many ways to accomplish your goals. Pots can be used, but can be replaced by other light sources.

I would be brave and post a layout with furniture positioned so others can advice you to your specific situation.

Carol


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RE: Sconces? How many? and where do they go?

Thanks for sharing what you've learned. I'm so stressed about so many things with this basement finish, the impending birth of baby #6 and my other 5 kids that I just think my brain might explode. The details are driving me nuts.


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RE: Sconces? How many? and where do they go?

Congratulations on the newest addition soon to arrive. I am a mother of 5, so get how the combo of building and raising a large family is very stressful (and how both are very costly) to say nothing of how hard it is to do all this while pregnant! Kids' bedrooms don't require as much upgrading in lighting as master bedrooms. Are the windows in the basement above grade windows and therefore offer lots of natural lighting?

Carol


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RE: Sconces? How many? and where do they go?

Thanks. I have 6 weeks to go, and we are trying to finish before she gets here! Annnnnddddd we just started the HVAC yesterday. Aaaaaannnnnnnndddd we haven't chosen any of our other contractors. Fortunately we are only doing 3 bedrooms and a bathroom and not the rest of the basement. That will have to wait until my brain can handle it. I'm hoping to put it off for a couple of years. Doing just part of it was the compromise. It is a walkout basement. One of the bedrooms has a window well that is west facing. The other two bedrooms' windows are above ground and also western facing. We have family coming in and out of town all summer, which is why we are trying to get these bedrooms done.


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RE: Sconces? How many? and where do they go?

Well hang in there. Maybe your kids can continue to share rooms and baby can sleep with you if you don't get it all done within 6 weeks?

Just read a chapter about lighting a child's room if the room will also be used for a playroom. It seems lighting for a child's room is different than an adult's room (perhaps many of the comments you received from other threads might have been based on lighting adult bedrooms). The author of the book The Home Effects Lighting Bible said in reference to a child's room used also for playing: "you can never have too much light as long as it is dimmable. Lighting in a playroom needs to be bright enough to be able to see everything clearly including toys and other activities on the floor and it has to be welcoming". Taken together with the fact that one bedroom will have a window well and even above grade basement windows tend not to be as bright as upstairs windows you will want to ensure there is a way to brightly light the room at play times (assuming they will sometimes play in their rooms). Therefore, if it was my house I would not want only an overhead light and fragile lamps in a child's room. I appreciate good lighting when I am locating loose pieces of Lego on my son's carpet before vacuuming them up LOL!

Another lighting trick we will are considering in the kids' rooms and our room too is to light the closet doors with a wash of lights using low voltage down lights using a medium beam (27 degree). The result is a wash of lights down the closet doors that reflects a pool of light on the floor below. (ideas from the Home Lighting Effects Bible).

Are you working at all with an interior designer? Maybe speaking to an expert will help you decide.

Carol


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RE: Sconces? How many? and where do they go?

That is also great information. These are kids rooms, not a master bedroom. And the truth is, the kids won't be down in the basement for a few years (our oldest are 6). These are guest rooms for now, and an office for my husband/exercise room for me (he currently takes call from Japan in our bedroom closet, even video calls so he can have some privacy and quiet). We are staying squished up here for a while. So that brings me back to a central fixture, 4 cans, and lamps if we want them :). We tried an interior designer and found that his suggestions were completely impractical, extremely expensive to implement, didn't meet our needs, and, um, against code. So we gave up on that. We did get a couple of good suggestions, but most of it we can't use. I got tired of explaining to him why this or that didn't work for us. I kept having to tell him, "I realize that looks really cool, but it would also be completely not functional for us, so what's the point? It has to work for our purpose. We will be using this space." Over. And over. We also love really good lighting. At this point they have a play room upstairs, so bedrooms are for sleeping and dressing, mostly. As they get older there will be homework, etc.


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RE: Sconces? How many? and where do they go?

Hi lotsofkids,

LOL about your husband needing to take business calls in the closet. I imagine your home is a busy place. Too bad you did not get good guidance from the interior designer. I have discovered in building this house that designers can only help so much and in the end you have to do your own research and weigh the pros and cons of every decision.

If you do choose to use pots around the perimeter of the room with centre fixture in the middle, you might want to research more if you want the pots accenting room features and angled to bounce light off walls/closets or just doing flood pots to light the general space. Perhaps Davidtay on this forum might be able to help you figure out the best locations, size and whether low or high voltage pots are best.

Carol


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RE: Sconces? How many? and where do they go?

Something I've learned in the last 18 months is that I have a vision, and contractors doubt me, and then they love what I planned. My landscaper gave me all kinds of grief over the garden I had designed. And then when I was done he asked if he could take pictures and put it in his portfolio. Um no. I designed it, I built it, I paid for it, you did nothing. Same thing happened with our built ins. The carpenter/design guy fought me over the design I made, and then he loved it and put it in his portfolio (since he actually built it). And same with the barn door and the antique doors on our living room that I salvaged from a nice hotel and painted and changed a little. Now he shows pictures to everyone, and even tried to buy them off of me. Same with the dining room paint color. Everyone thought I was crazy until they saw it, and everyone who comes over comments on how much they love it (but I've also gotten paint colors WRONG). I'm in no way a designer. It's not a talent I possess, but I do get the occasional good idea, and I won't let the expert talk me out of it. I do tons and tons and tons of research as I make my choices, and I agonize over it, but in the end, it turns out the way I want it to, so the agony is ultimately worth it. The granite in my kitchen goes in on Wednesday, so we'll see if that agony was worth it :)

The difference is, these projects were one detail at a time. When I did the built ins, it was the ONLY design type thing I did. Same with the garden, the doors, the paint. It took me all winter to design that garden. These bedrooms and bathroom are too many choices all at once! Too many details! It's overwhelming. I thought I would have a few YEARS to make these choices, not weeks. This came up kind of suddenly. I've never once had to think about lighting in my life. It was always just there. And now I'm hyper aware of it, and I don't have enough time to process it along with all of the other details.

I admire those with the natural talent to do these things. I wish it came easily to me. Thanks for sharing what you know Carol. It has helped a lot. I"m going to worry less about reflecting light and more about providing sufficient light to the room. I'm not sure I can handle more than that :)


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RE: Sconces? How many? and where do they go?

Lotsofkids, the good news is, if you choose pot lights with deepish baffles that also let you rotate the angle of light because they swivel, you can play with it after they are in. Lamps can always be added later too for more uplighting. I think you will be happy with the light in the bedrooms with pots and centre fixture and you will likely never think of it again after they are in. I totally get what you meant by taking long periods of time and being overwhelmed with hundreds of details. I am walking that line daily. Best of luck with your buidling and the new baby!

Carol


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