I see some gorgeous bathrooms every day.
But the number one mistake I see in some really beautiful baths is the placement of sconces. It is fairly simple to place them once you have them in hand, but it is not simple to plan ahead for that placement. (Unless you are realllllly good and have every detail outlined at rough in stage which would be the goal to shoot for!)
Sconce placement in rooms other than baths can vary widely as to height placed, but, in a bathroom, the light (center line) of the sconce should be somewhere in the 64″ to 68″ range off the finished floor. The idea is for the light to illuminate the face. A side note that affects sconce selection, but is about general lighting in the bath is to make sure you add enough general light if you can. Do not make your sconces have to work too hard to provide all the illumination in the room. This is just no fun because, no matter what, most sconces cannot light the entire space alone.
Granted, people come in all shapes and sizes and the sconce height is very important as is the location of the actual light output.
Meaning some sconces are “top heavy” or “bottom heavy” and this is the reason for my range of heights. It is not a science for certain, and I can look at my own photos of years ago and see where I could have placed sconces a bit better in terms of height. Most of those scenarios are when I allowed this important specification to be taken from my responsibility! Oh, how we learn!
I prefer to have the sconce in hand and place it myself on the job site.
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT allow the electrician to place it. They typically will place too high because they are thinking of standards set long ago for rooms OTHER than a bath. Lighting placement in general is critical to pulling off a look in a room, so make sure is well thought out.
It’s best to have your electrician run a whip in the wall and then, later, when you have the sconce in hand, you can place it where it should go in relation to the center line of the sink and the mirror etc.
Oh, and make sure you are paying attention to the center line of the sink when doing all your placement. Especially in a remodel when you cannot always be sure there will be space for the box exactly where you want it.. after the fact.
Determine the approximate location prior to rough in and have your bases covered.
If you know what fixture you will be using, kudos to you. If you do not, then you will have to give approximate area for the wire in the wall to be ran and then pull it through later. This is fine with codes in most areas, but you will need to verify. They can vary, but, usually, the electrician can do this and mount box later.
Here is my BIG pet peeve. (are you listening lighting manufacturers??)
MOST SPECS DO NOT GIVE CENTER LINE DIMENSIONS. Why is this important? Because the overall size of the sconce can determine if you can even use it in the application or not. This is a critical measurement and I am going to find SOMEONE in the industry to tell me why they are failing us by not providing this info. Serious pet peeve and makes my job harder, so I can only imagine how it affects a do it yourself remodeler!
Thanks for the information you have here. It will help us improve our bathroom designs.
This is the most helpful and thorough info I’ve found on bathroom sconces—thank you, thank you.
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