Ask Design Mom: Bathroom Lighting

May 22, 2007

Gabrielle, I love your blog and read it often. I just have one quick question for you: I have recently been redone my kids’ bathroom (they are a 6 year old boy and 1 year old girl). The only thing thing I have left that I am really struggling with is the lighting. Currently it has the boring, plain, vanity light with the 4 exposed bulbs. I want something youthful, fun, maybe even a little color. The only place available for lighting is the spot above the vanity — so I am limited. If you have any insight on good places to shop, let me know. Thanks!! — Mel

Design Mom Answer:
Fun question Mel. Bathroom lighting is on my mind as well, but like I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m having a bit of busy morning and won’t be able to give you a great answer until later.

I’m posting this now in the hopes that in my absence, Design Mom Readers will start the ideas flowing. Then I’ll be back later today to finish the post. . .

Okay. I’m back.

My deal with bathroom lighting is there needs to be a lot of it. Meaning, no matter how cool the light fixture, if it only allows for one bulb, it’s no good. I like a lot of wattage — especially in a kids bathroom, where I tend to clean scraped knees and pull out slivers — these are not activities you want to engage in with dim light.

This “more light in bathrooms is better” theory of mine leads me to be drawn to really well-designed, but fairly traditional light fixtures. Sure some might feel more modern and clean and others feel more vintage or antique, but I still think of them as traditional in that they’re probably not making the evening news or winning any lighting awards. (And there is some really gorgeous, award-winning, eye-popping stuff out there. But I might not put it over the sink in my bathroom.)

I like this one and this one from Restoration Hardware for example. To add some color, the second one is especially good, for it comes with textile shades available in a dozen or so subtle fabric choices. Or, I’m sure you could have some made (or make your own) in a brighter material of your choosing.

Also, I fully agree with the readers who have recommended Ikea. If you’re looking for color and youth and fun, it’s hard to beat Ikea.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sara May 22, 2007 at 8:43 am

Ikea has all kinds of fun, colorful, interesting shaped lighting for children, i would check out their kids lighting department (and also the grown up one, they have some interesting wall mounted stuff as well)


2 Huckaby Fam May 22, 2007 at 9:24 am

Like Sara, I would send you to Ikea! If possible, go in person. Although they have a website, I find that going in person will give you a better feel for how the lighting will really look. Our church chose these really cute little bug lights for their children’s area. I won’t be able to adequately describe them here. Suffice it to say Ikea has a ton of great choices.


3 MamaChristy May 22, 2007 at 2:49 pm

I’m with the theory that you should do something simple and classic. There will come a day when a “kid’s bathroom” won’t need to be a bathroom for kids but one for teenagers and adults. Since paint and towels and shower curtains are easier to change than light fixtures (Ahhhh! Electricity!), I would suggest that you pick something that looks good now and will be nice to have around when the look of the room needs to change. Good luck!


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