The type of lightbulb a fixture accepts is essential to its design impact.
Light fixtures are an extremely important and yet often overlooked element of interior design. Whether you are designing from scratch or looking for a replacement for your overhead lighting, task lighting, or wall sconces, it is important to ensure that the fixtures you choose not only deliver the desired design impact, but also deliver the right amount and type of light. This is essential to show off the room to its best advantage and to ensure that the room is functional for its intended use. For example, you wouldn’t want to install a fixture that gives off soft, moody light over your kitchen counter where you’ll be doing prep work with lots of sharp knives. Nor would you want to install the bright, directional task lighting that would be good for a kitchen counter in your elegant dining area.
Fortunately, at Mission West Kitchen & Bath we can help guide you to suitable designer light fixture options that will accept the types of lightbulbs needed to achieve the lighting effects you want.
Types of Lightbulbs
The mechanism by which the lightbulb actually produces light is very important, as this affects the color and brightness of the light that can be produced. Often, fixtures are designed to use one particular type of lightbulb, making it difficult or impossible to switch bulb types once your fixture is installed. This makes it absolutely essential to consider your choice of lightbulbs (ie light color and quality) before choosing your fixtures.
The most common types of lightbulb technologies include:
- Incandescent Bulbs: This is the traditional type of lightbulb that we all grew up with. They produce soft, yellow-white light that radiates in all directions from the bulb. This light can be directed by the light fixture, or by the addition of reflectorized coatings inside the bulbs that help focus the light. Incandescent bulbs are not very energy-efficient, but they are quite versatile.
- Halogen Bulbs: Halogen lightbulbs produce bright, white light very similar to natural sunlight. The bulbs can produce intense light even at smaller sizes, making them ideal for task lighting. However, they do get quite hot making it important to choose a light fixture that will not cause a fire hazard if it overheats.
- Xenon Bulbs: This type of lightbulb produces a light similar to halogen bulbs, but at lower temperatures. Xenon bulbs can be even tinier, making them ideal for strip lighting and under-cabinet lighting.
- Fluorescent Bulbs: Compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs, are becoming increasingly popular as replacements for regular incandescent bulbs. However, they tend to be a bit bulkier than incandescent bulbs making it difficult to switch to CFLs without having the bulb protrude from the light fixture. They come in varieties producing either warm or cool light tones.
- LEDs: Highly energy efficient LED lighting is becoming more and more popular for home lighting due to improvements in color and light quality. Right now the most popular application for LED lighting is under-cabinet lighting.
Achieve a big design impact in a small space with these tips.
Whether you have an older home built during the era when a 5×8 foot bathroom was considered ample or are designing a modest powder room for a new home, fitting your grand design ambitions into a tiny space can be challenging. Here are some helpful suggestions of how to achieve big design impact in your small bathroom while also maximizing available space.
Ditch the Bulky Vanity
While a large vanity cabinet does provide helpful storage, many small bathrooms just can’t support a large vanity. Instead, consider installing a sink that takes up less space but delivers a bigger visual impact. One option would be a slimmer cabinet topped with a dramatic vessel sink. Another possibility is a wall-mount sink which seems to hover above the floor. Finally, you might consider a pedestal sink. This type of sink has been a powder room staple for decades, and you will have your choice of traditional or contemporary shapes.
Use Task Lighting
Another excellent design tip for a small bathroom is to add task lighting to help create the illusion of a larger space in a small full bath. For example, if you add a pair of wall sconces flanking the vanity and a recessed light above the tub or shower it will make these two parts of the bath feel like separate spaces and thereby help the whole room seem bigger.
Open Up the Shower Area
Curbless showers are becoming increasingly popular, and lucky for you this design trend is a small bathroom’s best friend. By eliminating the bulky step into the shower area, and by replacing shower curtains with sleek glass doors or dividers, you can help remove barriers that would otherwise make your small bathroom seem cluttered.
Install a Low Profile Toilet
Compared to a traditional two-piece toilet with an elongated bowl, a low profile toilet can save quite a bit of floor space in the bathroom. One option is a one-piece toilet, which has a slimmer profile while still allowing for the same comfortable bowl size. However, for a really modern look try a wall hung toilet. These toilets come in a variety of shapes and can give you 9 more inches of clearance in front of the toilet.
Use Vertical Space
When floor space is at a premium, you can use vertical space to add more storage and interest to the room. If your small bathroom has high ceilings, you can make use of that space with slender floor-to-ceiling bathroom cabinetry. If your bathroom has low ceilings, you can create an illusion of more vertical space using décor elements like a ladder towel rack or an artistic screen panel.
Create a Focal Point
While a small bathroom can’t support too many competing visual elements, you can and should consider creating a focal point in the bathroom by using one really amazing statement piece. A common choice is to focus on the vanity, perhaps using a vessel sink or a fantastic designer faucet set to create your focal point. Another possibility is to create a recessed niche for storage in the shower and surround it with dramatic decorative tile.
Whatever route you decide to go with your small bathroom, Mission West Kitchen & Bath is here to help with all the high-end designer products you need from solid wood bathroom cabinetry to quality designer plumbing fixtures.
Pros and cons of the top 3 types of toilets.
If you are designing a new bathroom or remodeling an old one, the toilet may not be among your top priorities from a design perspective. Yet the toilet is certainly a centerpiece of any bathroom and should be chosen carefully. After all, your toilet is likely to get flushed 2,000+ times per year. Make sure you enjoy every flush by carefully considering the following styles and features before selecting your new toilet.
Choosing the Right Type of Toilet
As a first step to choosing the right toilet for your bathroom, you will probably want to narrow it down by toilet construction. You can choose from:
- Two-Piece Toilets: The two-piece toilet with tank and bowl connected by bolts is the classic model familiar to all Americans. This type of toilet is ideal for a traditional or vintage style bathroom. One shortcoming is that it is possible for the bolts joining to the two pieces of the toilet to rust or leak after a number of years, but many people appreciate that this type of toilet has a better price point than other types.
- One-Piece Toilets: One-piece toilets offer an updated look for the bathroom with sleek, uninterrupted lines and a slim profile. They are ideal for smaller bathrooms and people often tuck the tank beneath a countertop extension to save space in the bathroom. The one-piece design prevents any issues with rusty bolts and is also easier to clean.
- Wall-Hung Toilets: Wall-hung toilets are the most exciting type of toilet from a design perspective. They provide a very European look with the tank completely concealed within the wall and only the bowl exposed. Round, square, and octagonal shapes are available, often with matching bidets.
Extra Features to Consider
Beyond the type of toilet construction, there are many other features that can enhance the look and performance of the toilet:
- Touchless Technology: Touchless technology enables a hands-free flush to help keep bathrooms more sanitary.
- Dual-Flush: Dual-flush systems help conserve water by offering the choice of two flush strengths for different needs.
- Bowl Shape: Depending on the size of the bathroom, you might want a space-saving round-front or compact elongated bowl instead of the larger elongated bowl shape.
- Toilet Height: Chair-height toilets provide a more comfortable experience, especially for those who may have mobility issues.
- Skirted or Non-Skirted: Skirted toilets conceal the trapway beneath the bowl for a sleek look as well as a smooth surface that is much easier to clean.
Flair and functionality meet in the ideal family bathroom.
Designing for kids doesn’t have to be cutesy or dull. At Mission West Kitchen and Bath, we have all kinds of quality designer elements that will aid you in creating a family bathroom that is both functional and beautiful. Whether you are designing a family bathroom to be shared by the kids or by the entire family, you will no doubt want to consider some of the following elements.
In any shared bathroom, whether it is the master bath or a family bath, installing a double vanity is an excellent way of helping to create private domains in the shared space. We have many wonderful furniture-quality vanities to choose from in styles from traditional to modern. If you have kids, we suggest choosing drop-in sinks or undermount sinks rather than vessel sinks, as vessel sinks can add extra height that makes it difficult for smaller children to comfortably use the sink.
Having plenty of room for storage in a shared family bathroom is also important. This can be a mix of concealed storage for cleaners and personal items in bathroom vanity cabinets or display storage for towels and such on open shelving. We can help you design custom storage solutions so all elements will match.
In any high-traffic or high-use area, you want to be sure you are using durable materials that can stand up to the demands placed upon them. This can be especially true when kids are involved, as sometimes kids can be rougher on furniture and fixtures than adults. We can help you find durable, easy-to-clean bathroom countertops as well as solid wood bathroom cabinetry that will not warp or split if kids splash too much in the bathroom.
Sleek, Simple Fixtures
One final concern to keep in mind when designing a family bathroom is that keeping the fixtures sleek and simple may provide a better experience for all. Single-lever bathroom faucets are easier for kids to use than faucets with knobs that may be tough to grasp or turn. They are typically easier to clean too. You may also want to choose a skirted toilet model, as the exterior of this type of toilet is much easier to clean than a standard model. Skirted toilets have the added benefit of looking quite fresh and stylish for a family bathroom that meets the traditional needs of the family without being stuck in a traditional look.
Consider one of these 5 easy ideas to quickly give your kitchen a new look.
Do you feel like your kitchen’s look could use a little change? You might be surprised by how big of an impact a few small updates can make. Before you commit to remodeling the kitchen entirely, why not try one of the following ideas to give your old kitchen design a little kick.
Add Statement Lighting
The right lighting is absolutely essential in a kitchen, not only in order to enable to you to do your meal prep in safety and comfort but also to let your kitchen look its best. You may not be showing off all the features to their fullest advantage without the right lighting. In addition to providing these essential functionalities, kitchen lighting fixtures can also serve an aesthetic purpose all of their own, especially when a statement piece from a quality lighting design studio is chosen. At Mission West Kitchen and Bath, we can help you find the right lighting solutions to transform the look of your kitchen.
Get New Faucets
Another easy way to update your kitchen is by simply swapping out your kitchen faucets for a new set. While you will need to choose a set that fits your current sink and matches its finish, beyond these concerns you may have many different options to choose from. Again, choosing a statement piece for your kitchen faucet can change the tone of the whole kitchen.
Change Cabinet Hardware
Drawer pulls and cabinet door knobs are sometimes treated as an afterthought, but in reality they can be a powerful design element. Simply switching from traditional round knobs to sleek, minimalist tabs can radically transform the look of a bank of cabinet doors or drawers.
Changing the color of the paint on kitchen walls and cabinets is another relatively easy way to transform the space. You might try out a bold new color or just change your neutral shades a few tones. Either way it can make a big difference in the look of the kitchen.
New Cabinet Fronts
One final easy kitchen update idea is to change your cabinet doors. Provided your original cabinets are solid wood and in good condition, you might order new custom door fronts to change their look without the hassle of replacing all the cabinets entirely. You might also decide to remove some doors entirely to open up a small kitchen or create display areas for your fine china or other kitchen wares.
Upgrading your kitchen or bath can deliver a boost to resale values.
After a certain number of years, even the finest kitchen or bath can start to look dated. Maybe materials are becoming worn, or maybe the décor is simply no longer fashionable. In any case, you can turn to Mission West Kitchen and Bath for many of the supplies needed to give your space a makeover. We have quality cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, lighting, countertops, and hardware. When you shop with us, you know you are getting quality. And quality, more than cost, is a sign of enduring value.
When it comes to kitchen and bath remodels, it really is important to think more in terms of value than of cost. After all, data indicates that a quality remodeling job can almost pay for itself in terms of improved resale value. Take these examples from the Remodeling 2014 Cost vs. Value Report.
Small Bathroom Remodel
The Remodeling 2014 Cost vs. Value Report defined this project as including replacement of all plumbing fixtures as well as the tub tile surround, floor tile, and wallpaper or paint. According to 2014 data from the Los Angeles area, this project would cost about $20,400 and recoup the homeowner $19,800 in resale value for a 97 percent return on investment.
Master Bathroom Remodel
This project would include not only refreshing all the design elements in the bathroom, but actually enlarging the bathroom from 35 to 100 square feet to incorporate many luxurious new features. All the plumbing fixtures would be relocated to create a new whirlpool tub; a stone-topped vanity with custom cabinetry and his and hers sinks and medicine cabinets; a glass shower enclosure with designer tile walls and recessed shower caddy; and a one-piece toilet in its own private room. This project would cost about $60,000 and recoup the homeowner $49,700 in resale value for an 83 percent return on investment.
This project includes 30 linear feet of semi-custom wood cabinets, new laminate countertops, new double-tub stainless steel sink with single-lever faucet, new flooring, and custom lighting. All the appliances will also be updated to more energy-efficient and attractive models. This project would cost about $65,000 and recoup the homeowner $55,600 in resale value for an 85 percent return on investment.
Upscale Kitchen Remodel
This project includes many of the same elements as the previous kitchen remodel project, with the difference being that finer materials are used. For example, the laminate countertop and stainless steel sink would be replaced with a natural stone countertop incorporating a high-end undermount sink with designer faucets. The cabinetry would all be custom, with built-in storage accessories. The appliances would also be top-of-the-line and custom general and task lighting solutions would be installed. This project would cost about $124,500 and recoup the homeowner $97,200 in resale value for a 78 percent return on investment.
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