'L' for Lighting Basement Bathrooms

More Basement Bathroom Fixture Options

I had been considering several porcelain lighting options for the bathroom, but I realized that I needed something a little different. The space calls for a light that hangs down or it’s going to hit the ceiling. The half-bath has very short ceilings (6’2″ high) due to duct work. Luckily I found a porcelain sconce that would still work.

Sage Sconce, Streamline Porcelain Towel Ring (in white), and Streamline Porcelain Toilet Paper Holder (in white)

Then I started looking at more traditional chrome sconces, and I found myself really liking that look too.

Mercer Single Sconce, Mercer Paper Holder, and Mercer Towel Ring

So here goes. I’m going to try to explain the circuitous logic behind my choices for the bathroom so far. Ready?

First I thought that I would keep everything very clean, white, and minimal, and then get some really awesome industrial cage lights. Then I realized that you need a lot of natural light to pull of white walls (otherwise it will just look drab and institutional). So then I thought I would go with old-fashioned porcelain styles, but then I’d probably want to paint the walls a color. Or I could wallpaper! Wallpaper is always fun in a powder room. But then the porcelain or industrial style is out because it would compete, so that puts me at the classic chrome fixtures. Hmm, unless the wallpaper pattern was small-scale enough to work with the porcelain fixtures and octagon tile. That would probably look pretty good! Ah, but wait. What am I going to do for a mirror? I could do a quirky painted wooden one like I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago, but again I need lighting fixtures that will not fight it. So do I go with a simple rectangular mirror? With or without a frame? Oh, or maybe a frameless mirror in an interesting shape. OK. Pretty color on the walls + chrome fixtures + painted wooden mirror… Or maybe wallpaper + porcelain fixtures + frameless mirror. Yes, definitely one of those two options. Maybe. I think.

Still there? Yeah, those are the thoughts swirling around in my head these days. I can’t seem to make a decision until I’ve made all the decisions.

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  • Meghan
    January 10, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I have the Mercer fixtures and octogan tile in my small bathroom so I’m not exactly impartial, but I love the way that it looks together.

  • Elizabeth
    January 10, 2011 at 9:34 am

    What about painting the room a pale grey to pick up the grout color, using the porcelain fixtures and either a frameless mirror, or one with a porcelain frame like the mirror shown here: http://www.rensup.com/porcelain-mirror-frames/13161.htm

  • Felicity
    January 10, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Lowes carries a brand that looks exactly like the PB Mercer for much less $$. I think it’s Seagull lighting, but I’m not 100% sure. Check out Lowes.com and you may be pleasantly surprised. I certainly was when I bought our light fixture. And since I already had the Mercer I compared the two and am pretty sure they’re made by the same company.

  • Shelley
    January 10, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I’m nostalgic for my old Oak Park bungalow, so I have to vote for porcelain fixtures, octagon tile and retro-looking frameless mirror. Then paint the walls a pretty, soft color.

  • Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife
    January 10, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I love both…though, I think I might go for the matching Chrome.

  • Meka
    January 10, 2011 at 10:31 am

    We went with Rejuvenation porcelain fixtures for our bathroom renovation two years ago and we’ve already had to replace two of the towel bars. I wouldn’t recommend them for a bathroom that gets any regular use.

    • Making it Lovely
      January 10, 2011 at 10:18 pm

      Yikes. This will be a lesser-used room, but I still want something sturdy.

  • Nikki
    January 10, 2011 at 10:35 am

    I’m relieved that I’m not the only one who does this. When I try to explain my thought processes regarding decorating/renovating, my husband is baffled and overwhelmed. He wonders how I can make things this complicated. “Because they are.”

  • Kendra
    January 10, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I agree…Mercer is amazing. Just installed the double sconce in my bathroom and I love it. Totally classic.

  • Samantha
    January 10, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I would do wall paper, porcelain and frameless mirror. But I totally understand your thought process, it drives my husband crazy.

  • Brigitte
    January 10, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I ran into the same issue when working on my bathroom. I made one impulse purchase early on (a vintage medicine cabinet), but waited to pull the trigger on the rest until everything came together. I think I may have ordered all my fixtures, my shower door and the lighting in one afternoon.

    It’s ok to wait until it all clicks with that aha! moment.

    • Making it Lovely
      January 10, 2011 at 10:19 pm

      For me, it was the tile. I knew I wanted small white hexagon or octagon tile, so that part was easy. I’m sure I’ll do the same thing and order everything else in one go once I’ve made up my mind.

  • Elizabeth
    January 10, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I think like this too! I am so glad I’m not crazy!

    Half baths feel airier without wallpaper- don’t get me wrong, I adore a good wallpaper- but the pattern gets to me in a small room. I guess it conjures up all the claustrophobia in me.

    If it were my choice (in my dreams! :) ) I would choose chrome features, with a really interesting mirror and a delicious sweet colour on the wall. You can’t fight it- these things come together :)

  • Donna
    January 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I believe you sent a collective *sigh* around the world. My house is new, with newly bought furniture and blank walls. Every time I attempt to start decorating with pattern or color, I paralyze myself with the “snow ball” affect you describe. My husband too doesn’t “get it”. “Just start” he says. Oh if were only that easy! You are an inspiration to us blah and beige people out here in the world…you bring hope, color, and happiness with all your postings, and I just wanted to say thank you! Now, go and make some decisions so I can copy you!!!

  • Alison
    January 10, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Not that I’m trying to ruin your life, but I would advocate for this package instead: Pretty paint color + porcelain fixtures + frameless mirror. Painted walls and porcelain fixtures are such natural matches with octagon tile!

    I do agree that it has to be a package deal. You make one or two picks of things up front because you fall in love, or because they are features that can’t be changed. (In this case you’re all about octagon tile). Then you build a package look around those first picks with all the other choices. Makes total sense.

    Oh, look commenter Shelley votes for my package combo, too!

    • Making it Lovely
      January 10, 2011 at 10:22 pm

      I do like that option. And I agree, porcelain fixtures work exceedingly well with octagon tile.

  • Miss B
    January 10, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Lol, I lean towards the chrome, because I am boring BUT I like the idea of wallpaper! I think that would be so chic in a small space and not too spendy because of the size of the room. I have to say I wish this was all done already because I am DYING to see what you do!

  • Kris Mays
    January 10, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    My take on these types of things is very practical. If they are easy to clean, it’s a huge plus. The Mercer ones look like they have cleaner lines. Cleaner lines usually = easy to clean.

  • j
    January 10, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    If you go with the mercer- go with chrome (not polished nickel- I have them in the polished nickel, look great- but more expensive, and can’t get the water spots off)

  • Ana
    January 10, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    That’s exactly how I think. People around me don’t get it. When it all comes together, it looks great but getting to that point is mentally painful — so many options. If you go with X, then you have to change Y, which means that Z is out and you go back to A.

    If you live anywhere near a PB outlet, consider going there in person if you go with option 2. I always see Mercer and similar type fixtures on major sale. Example: If something is regularly $99, it’s less than $40 at the outlet.

  • Anna
    January 10, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    You aren’t the only one who thinks this way. I think you are a big picture thinker who needs to see the overall plan before working out the details. Three things which help me are (1) to create a storyboard/idea file with all the ideas and how they would work together – possibly detailing each sketched on a scratch pad and (2) deciding if there is one detail I am totally attached to to help me decide on one scenerio over another and (3) reminding myself that I don’t have to keep it that way forever (what do you love NOW?). For instance, if you are fixed on wallpaper, decide on the scenerio which allows you to pull it off. Hope that helps! =)

    • Making it Lovely
      January 10, 2011 at 10:21 pm

      I have design boards aplenty, and I have each option saved as a separate Photoshop layer. I keep mixing different combinations but I haven’t hit upon the right one yet.

  • Joy
    January 10, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    I love those chrome fixtures, and I think they would look lovely with wallpaper!

  • Krista
    January 10, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    I’m partial to the matching chrome fixtures. Odd, that I’m drawn to the classical more than retro for a change.

    Octagon tile makes me swoon.

    • Making it Lovely
      January 10, 2011 at 10:13 pm

      I know, I almost always like the vintage/retro stuff. There’s something really appealing about those PB chrome fixtures though.

  • Helen
    January 10, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Have no fear…..your mind is just right. After all, you married my son, Brandon. I SO understand your thought process. Sometimes a curse, otherwise the most fun…..to toss all the ideas around and around. I believe the BEST, and the most satisfaction will prevail. Go with the chrome (easy clean) and octagon AND simply, let them take the lead.

  • Nat
    January 10, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    no way, I have the exact same chrome fixtures in my powder room. I spent so much time searching for something edgy, but ended up buying the chrome ones. I can’t say they look bad. And they did give me room to play with other things, without splitting focus.

    PS. I did chrome fixtures with gray walls and bright white trim.

  • jbhat
    January 10, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    what a fun problem to solve. And I am so glad to know that I am not the only over-thinker out here. Lots of choices. Options abound. But I know you will come up with the perfect solution for the space/life.


  • Anne
    January 11, 2011 at 10:35 am

    I like both fixtures but I think polished chrome is hard to keep clean in a bathroom (that’s the experience I’ve had anyway!) Either one I am sure will look fabulous! I’m new to your blog so I am enjoying reading all your old posts.

    PS…my husband and I are expecting our first baby this summer and the nursery is TINY! Eleanor’s Nursery is just precious and I cannot wait to see how you transform it for your little boy! You have given me some good ideas :)

  • Jenny
    January 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Wallpaper, wallpaper, wallpaper! If I could afford it, I would have paper all throughout my house. There is a romantic floral by waverly with an an old world look to it that I would find divine just about anywhere. I love to start with something classic or traditional, that is long-lasting and timeless, then add something more modern or clean-lined to add some juxtaposition. Not to mention it can always be toned down a little with paneling or such below…I’m sure whatever you pick will be well-thought and gorgeous, though!
    Can’t wait to see more progress!

  • Kara
    January 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    You’re an inspiration. I love your vision. And I can’t believe I have something in my house you’re thinking about doing in yours.

    A couple years ago my husband and I renovated our upstairs full bath: white subway tile in the bathtub, chrome fixtures (the double Mercer for the light fixture) and a vintage dresser mirror…that I never got around to painting, but intended on doing.

    Heres a link to a couple pictures – Don’t look too closely, or you’re notice that the trim around the windows wasn’t exactly finished, and the dust hadn’t been cleaned from the light fixtures at the time the picture was taken. Also noted, my husband is no photographer :)

  • laura @ theshorehouse
    January 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I love the look of the porcelain, but wonder about the durability? Maybe I’m speaking from experience…I seem to remember a toilet paper holder chipping to pieces when I was a kid. I’m sure I had something to do with that. :-)

    In the midst of a major attic reno myself so love getting to see your basement in progress! Best of luck with it!!

  • Basement Bathroom | Making it Lovely
    January 24, 2011 at 10:19 am

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