The Green Cure: Greening The Bathroom, Lighting The Home

The Green Cure: Greening The Bathroom, Lighting The Home

Cambria Bold
Nov 20, 2009

Apartment Therapy reader KB used a string of globe lights to light her vintage bathroom, and was thinking about adding some sconces.

• Cure Clock: 2.5 weeks to go!
• Assignment: Read Week Six, pp. 185-204
  • Clean out your bathroom. Green your personal products.
  • Experiment with natural scents for your home.
  • Light to inspire with CFLs and LEDs. (It is possible!)

• Members: 1,735 (closed)

Whew! I'm sorry my Cure posts this week have been a little off schedule. Apartment Therapy's 2009 Holiday Giveaway launched today, and we were working really hard on it yesterday to get it all set and ready to go. (We're so excited about all the awesome gifts and think you will be, too!) But back to the Green Cure: how has your week been going? You've probably been making your way through your bathroom, but we also want you to focus on lighting in the rest of your apartment. Good light can transform a space, no matter how small. A well lit room should have at least three unique points of light that vary from bright, concentrated light to soft, ambient light. We advocate using energy-efficient light bulbs, of course, like LEDs and CFLs, but many people have trouble finding one that gives off a pleasing glow, much like an incandescent. Well, we have some recommendations for you!

This was our inspiration for the paper lantern "fixture" now hanging above our bed.
"With good lighting you can create a flow of light throughout your home, which leads the eye through each room and invigorates the space. In a more sophisticated room, even the intensities of the lights vary, from strong light such as reading or task lights to small twinkling lights such as candles and indirect illuminators such as floor or table lamps." -pp. 195

On Lighting:

We do not use the overhead lights in our apartment... at all. Occasionally we turn on the kitchen or bedroom light if we're looking for something, but in general we rely on lamps and paper lanterns. Thankfully, we get wonderful light in our apartment during the day, so the problems come when evening falls. We currently have two lamps in the living/dining room on either side of the couch, and a floor lamp with a sharp, concentrated beam of light that we aim up at the ceiling. It provides a nice, warm look to the room that we compliment with candles, but it's still pretty dark and not very well suited for certain things — reading, for example. We get nice ambient light from the twinkle lights coming from our kitchen, but the room really needs a pendant light over the dining room table, and perhaps another lamp.

Our bedroom is faring better. Instead of the overhead light, we bought 6 paper lanterns and hung them in a cluster over our bed. (I don't currently have a picture, but I'll try and take one this weekend!) We actually expected the light to be a bit more atmospheric, but it turned out to be very bright! The cluster covers the ugly ceiling fixture and, once turned on, provides a bright yet soft light that is very pleasing.

Another photo that inspired our cluster lamp. The Selby via AT:San Francisco

Which brings me to my next point: lightbulbs. We've been using energy-efficient lightbulbs in our home for a few years now, even though we were not always crazy about the light it gave off. The biggest complaint we hear about switching to CFLs or LEDs is that the it destroys the look... and if lighting is as important as we say it is, a too-harsh or sickly hue can really kill the mood. So what to do?

This is what I did: after doing a lot of research, from the likes of this post by The New York Times, this post from Popular Mechanics, and a number of our own posts, including this one on the best CFLs, we settled on vision 9 watt Soft White bulbs from Home Depot (equivalent to 40W) for the cluster lamp, and we've been very happy with them. Put 6 of them together, and it gives off a ton of light! We have them in our living room right now, but think we could use a brighter bulb for reading. All in all, though, definitely one of the better CFLs we've come across.

A good compromise: If you're not willing to swap out all your lightbulbs for CFLs, try this: put CFLs in some parts of your home (like your hallway, stairway, and exterior lights) and do a 50/50 mix with low wattage incandescent bulbs in your living room and bedroom, or rooms where you want a softer, warmer glow. Every little bit counts!

For more on energy-efficient lightbulb recommendations, check out these posts:

Where To Use LEDs in Your Home
The Best Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs
Best Compact Florescent Lightbulbs
Best CFLs
Pharox 6w Dimmable Lightbulbs
Warmer CFL Lighting
Incandescent Shaped Smart CFL Bulb

More Inspiration... provided by you!

We love how Flickr member Bugsywife put her mouthwash in a decanter. Such a simple and great idea!

Flickr member chloe & ivan bought new towels in a fall colors.

Twinkle lights in the bedroom, from Flickr member Patricia Snook


What do you do about lighting in your home? Do you use only energy-efficient bulbs, or a mix? Do you have a favorite brand? Share it with us?


Week 6 - Intro
Week 5 - Tips & Tricks
Week 5 - Intro
Week 4 - Tips & Tricks
Week 4 - Intro
Week 3 - Tips & Tricks
Week 3 - Intro
Week 2.5 - Show & Tell
Week 2 - Intro
Week 1.5 - Tips & Tricks
Week 1 - Intro


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