Best Bathroom Lighting Tips

Simple but effective advice to help you choose the right light fixtures for your bathroom

Best Bathroom Lighting TipsLighting a bathroom can be a challenge. Light fixtures must be chosen carefully to give the right amount and quality of light, and placed appropriately to support the overall aesthetic of the room. This is especially important in small bathrooms or bathrooms that have no natural light at all.

Depending on your bathroom layout and design, you may need to incorporate some or all of these 3 key types of bathroom lighting:

  • Task lighting
  • Ambient lighting
  • Decorative lighting

Fortunately, Mission West Kitchen & Bath can help you select the right fixtures for each of these functions. We have a wide selection of high-quality designer light fixtures to suit just about any style.

Read up on these bathroom lighting tips to get ideas for your project, and then stop by our showroom to browse quality fixtures in person.

Task Lighting Tips:

  • Wall sconces mounted at eye level provide excellent illumination for tasks like shaving and makeup, without creating shadows that could make you look old
  • Bathroom task lighting should provide 75 to 100 watts of illumination, which translates to 24 to 26 watt CFLs or 20 to 25 watt LEDs
  • Use softer task lighting in a powder room. 45 watts of illumination should be sufficient
  • Consider putting your master bath task lighting on a dimmer. That way, you can turn it up bright when you need to, but leave the light low for an easier transition early in the morning or late at night

Ambient Lighting Tips:

  • Ambient light should be placed so that all spaces in the room are lit evenly
  • Tucking sources of ambient light into and around architectural elements like cove or cantilever details can hide the fixtures and create flattering indirect lighting
  • Don’t forget to consider how your mirrors are going to reflect and direct ambient light

Decorative Lighting Tips:

  • Make the most of any accent niches or art pieces in your bathroom by illuminating them with appropriate accent lighting such as a recessed directional light
  • Designer pendant lights can add pop to your bathroom design and also help fill up otherwise blank space above a tub

Candles are another excellent option for decorative lighting in a bathroom. Whether you use a wall sconce or leave the candles on the vanity or tub rim, be sure they are well away from any flammable items

Top 9 High-Tech Toilet Features

Shopping for a new toilet? Today’s crop of high-tech toilets have some impressive features to offer.

Top 9 High-Tech Toilet Features These days, when you shop for a new toilet to update your bathroom, there’s more than just looks to consider. Today’s high-tech toilets also offer a dazzling array of features. Here are some of the most common ones you might want for your new toilet.

Automatic Seat Control: With some models, the high-tech toilet experience starts as soon as you enter the room, with sensors detecting your arrival and automatically lifting the lid of the toilet. Almost all models allow you to raise and lower the lid and the seat at the touch of a button, so you don’t actually have to lay hands on the toilet itself.

Cleansing: A bidet-like cleansing function is an absolute must for a high-tech toilet. With many models such as the Duravit SensoWash Stack offering the ability to personalize the position, pressure, and temperature of the water streams, there’s never been a better way to clean up after taking care of business.

Drying: Naturally any toilet with a cleansing feature has to have a drying feature as well. Many models offer a choice of air temperatures and fan speeds.

Heated Seat: The days when people used to keep the seat for their outdoor WC indoors during winter to avoid freezing their fanny are long gone. But even so, no one enjoys a chilly commode. Today’s high-tech toilets almost all offer heated seats, and the Kohler Numi even has a foot heater.

Air Purification: There’s no need to have an ugly can of air freshener cluttering up your space when you have a high-tech toilet. Many models include air purification features to eliminate embarrassing odors.

Self-Cleaning Features: A few high-tech toilets are designed to cut down the time you have to spend scrubbing the bathroom each week. Some have anti-microbial finishes and the Toto Neorest actually spritzes the bowl with electrolyzed water before use to give each flush 80 percent more bowl-cleansing power.

Touchless Flush: It practically goes without saying that a high-tech toilet should offer touchless flush capability. Even a standard toilet can benefit from a touchless flush kit, which helps reduce the spread of germs by keeping everyone’s fingers off the flush handle or button. Some high-tech toilets incorporate motion sensor technology to trigger the flush, others flush automatically when the lid is closed, and one model can even be controlled by your smartphone (though it’s hard to imagine you would want to do this).

Nightlight: Having a subtle nightlight built into the toilet can be a real convenience when visiting the facilities in the dark of night. However, some high-tech toilets go out on a limb with up to 7 different colors of lights, which can seem gimmicky.

Music: A little music can be nice when you have concerns about using a powder room near where friends, family, or guests are congregating. Some high-tech toilets actually have FM radio built in, which may be a bit excessive for a trip to the john but could make a nice replacement for the old fashioned shower radio when talking a bath or shower.

5 Points to Consider When Choosing Rain Shower Head

Enjoy a beautiful and relaxing shower with the right rainfall showerhead in your bathroom.

5 Points to Consider When Choosing Rain Shower HeadIf you’ve ever enjoyed a rain shower at a spa, you’re probably eager to bring that gentle and relaxing shower experience home so you can feel like you’re at the spa every day. Thanks to the wide variety of rainfall shower heads on the market today, you can definitely achieve this.

However, it is important to choose your rain shower head carefully if you want to get the best results. Here are the 5 most important points to consider.

Is Your Bathroom Style Sophisticated Enough?

First of all, you need to consider your current bathroom design. Is it sophisticated enough to support a rainfall shower head? Let’s be honest, just sticking a rain shower head into a bathroom that hasn’t been updated in decades isn’t going to look right. You may want to consider redesigning your entire bathroom to help make sure it supports the spa-like vibe you’re hoping to achieve with your rain shower head. Mission West Kitchen & Bath offers many resources to help you do this, including beautiful contemporary plumbing fixtures, custom bathroom vanity cabinetry, and quality bathroom countertops.

Wall or Ceiling Mount?

Originally, rainfall showerheads were all ceiling mounted. However, because running plumbing through the bathroom ceiling can be a big project, wall-mounted options are increasingly popular. These showerheads can mount right where your old showerhead did, yet still deliver the overhead rain shower experience because the shower arm arches out over and above your head to point the showerhead straight down. Wall and ceiling mounts obviously look very different and tend to have different price points as well, so you will want to choose carefully.

Choosing the Shape

Rainfall showerheads generally come in either a square or round shape. The choice typically depends on what the rest of your bathroom looks like. Square heads typically work better with contemporary bathrooms that already have a lot of angular elements in them such as a square bathtub.

Choosing the Size

Rain shower heads come in sizes anywhere from 6 inches across to 10 inches or more. Larger sizes obviously deliver a larger area of “rain” for your shower, but if you have bad water pressure, a larger size with more nozzles will make the problem worse. Smaller showerheads with fewer nozzles will have more pressure.

Choosing the Finish

Finally, once you’ve narrowed down the type, size, and shape of rainfall showerhead you prefer, you may have the option of choosing the finish. Depending on the manufacturer you may have dozens of finishes to choose from including different metal tones, brushed, polished, oiled, or rubbed finishes, etc. Don’t worry about matching the rest of your bathroom plumbing fixtures exactly—these days it is common to mix and match as long as the finishes complement one another.

How to Design the Perfect Kitchen Island

Use these design tips to help you decide what you’re looking for in a kitchen island.

How to Design the Perfect Kitchen Island In today’s era of the open-floor-plan kitchen, dining, and living area, kitchen islands are an absolute must-have for most homes. Not only does an island help create a bit of definition to for the kitchen space without interfering with sight lines to the rest of living areas, an island also provides extra counter space. This is often an essential part of making an open-floor-plan kitchen functional, especially in cases of renovations where the third wall of the kitchen has been lost.

With a kitchen island having such an important role in both the look of the home and the functionality of the room, naturally you want to be sure you get the perfect one. While there is no magic formula for designing the perfect kitchen island, taking a look at what’s hot—and what’s not—in kitchen island design will help, as will considering your specific needs and budget.

Here are some tips to get you started.

Work the Triangle

First off, think about the functional aspects of the island. Most kitchen tasks involve moving in a triangle between the sink, the stove, and the fridge. In an open floor plan kitchen all of these items might have to be in a row on one wall, or at best in an L shape if you have two walls. But add an island and suddenly you can start working that super-triangle and become very efficient in the kitchen. It’s typically easiest to add a sink to the island, but you could also put your cooktop there. Adding a cooktop will require adding an exhaust hood of some sort, so be sure you consider how that will affect your interior design.

Think Big

Kitchen islands are trending bigger and bigger these days. Don’t be afraid to give your island a large footprint. Just be sure that there is ample clearance around the island for working comfortably in the kitchen. Also, if you have chosen natural stone countertops, be sure you have budgeted for the cost of a large slab of stone to cover your entire island.

Beware of Pre-Fab Cabinets

Since your island has no back to press up against a wall, it is very important to ensure that the cabinetry looks amazing from every angle. Think very carefully before you settle for pre-fab cabinets on this important focal point of your home. Ordering custom cabinetry for the island will give a much richer look as well as provide you with more design flexibility in adding features such as a wine rack or decorative panels to the island.

Include Seating, But Not Bar Seating

In days gone by, it was common for kitchen islands to have two levels, one for prep work and a higher one for casual dining. This multi-level look is out! But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on the idea of your kitchen island doubling as a casual eating space. This is still very common, and some designers are planning for as many as 6 people to sit around some of the truly jumbo-size islands being built. Choose your seating based on your needs for entertaining or dining with your family. Using backless stools rather than your usual dining chairs will help keep everything looking sleek and spacious.

Welcome to the New Multi-Functional Kitchen Pantry

Learn about the benefits of an expanded, concealable pantry space in an open-concept kitchen.

Welcome to the New Multi-Functional Kitchen PantryHomeowners are increasingly demanding open floor plan homes where the kitchen space is integrated into the larger family living area. This offers undeniable benefits for the functionality of the home, but it can sometimes present a challenge to the functionality of the kitchen space, especially in smaller homes.

With one or more walls of cabinetry lost, storage can become a problem in smaller homes with open concept kitchen and living spaces. This leads to cluttered kitchen countertops, and because the kitchen is visible from so many parts of the house, clutter in the kitchen makes the whole home seem messy.

Fortunately, some designers have discovered a wonderful solution in the form of an expanded kitchen pantry/laundry room area, and trend gurus at sources including Better Homes and Gardens have identified this space as a serious contender for the next must-have element of a modern kitchen design.

Creating the Space

The ideal multi-functional kitchen pantry could combine all the functions of a traditional pantry, laundry room, and mudroom in one. It would be located between the kitchen and the garage, preferably on an outside wall so that a window could be installed to keep the pantry from regressing back to an ordinary closet-like space. To help keep the kitchen looking sleek and to maximize usable space, a pocket door or a sliding barn door would be installed for the ability to close off the room when needed.

The multi-functional kitchen pantry could include any elements you want, such as:

  • Cabinets and/or shelves for storage
  • Mini office or bill pay area
  • Laundry folding area
  • Coathooks/boot storage
  • Extra-deep sink for hand laundry, gardening projects, pet washing, soaking large dishes, etc.

Compartmentalization is Key

The beauty of the multi-functional kitchen pantry is that that you can close the door and hide it from the rest of your home. It’s the ideal solution to the clutter that comes with so many daily tasks like sorting the mail or making your shopping list. It also takes care of those extra food prep appliances or jumbo cereal boxes that just don’t seem to fit in the cabinets and always get left on the counter. With a well-designed kitchen pantry to pick up the slack, it’s so much easier to keep your open concept kitchen looking as beautiful as any magazine spread.

What’s New and Popular in Sinks and Faucets?

4 trends to consider for your next kitchen or bath update.

What’s New and Popular in Sinks and Faucets?Does your kitchen or bathroom need an update? Changing out the sink and/or faucets could be an easy way to embrace some on-trend changes, especially if the bones of your kitchen or bathroom are fairly neutral and timeless on their own. Here are some popular sink and faucet trends to keep in mind.

Apron Sinks

Apron sinks used to evoke a vintage or traditional look in the kitchen, but the latest generation of updated designs look perfectly at home in contemporary or modern settings. These sinks come in many colors and materials, but perhaps the most popular is the white fireclay apron sink. Fireclay is a tremendously beautiful and resilient material, and the white color serves as a perfect complement to the trend towards black kitchen countertops.

Pull-Down Kitchen Faucets

Pull-out sprayers are a person’s best friend when washing large, bulky dishes by hand in the kitchen sink. Unfortunately, some of the types that have been on the market for a long time are now looking pretty dated. Some types even have a plastic head on the pull-out sprayer which looks downright cheap. Fortunately, a new generation of kitchen faucets is now available that gives you the sprayer functionality you want without the clunky, outdated look. The shape of the faucet has been changed to include a high arc spout with pull-down spray head, which allows more clearance for washing bulky pots and creates a more modern and sophisticated look. Some of these faucets even feature gentle, automatic retraction for the sprayer when you’re finished using it.

Touchless Faucets

Touchless, no-handle faucets are becoming popular for both kitchens and bathrooms. In either space, the ability to turn on the water without touching the handle is both convenient and more sanitary. These faucets come in a broad array of styles to suit any interior design scheme.

Satin Nickel Finishes

One final faucet trend worth mentioning is an increased interest in satin nickel finishes on faucets of all kinds. Satin nickel was actually the most popular finish in 2014 according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Design Trends Survey for that year. Speaking of finishes, it’s also worth mentioning that experts have also noticed a trend towards including multiple different tones of finishes of metal in one room. While people still like to have their tub and sink fixtures match, they seem to be more open to using different metals and finishes on light fixtures, cabinet pulls, and accessories.

If you would like to learn more about what’s new in kitchen and bathroom sinks and faucets, please come visit our showroom soon.

Looking for Materials to Restore a Craftsman Home?

Come to Mission West Kitchen & Bath for an excellent selection of high-quality products.

Looking for Materials to Restore a Craftsman Home?Here in the LA area, we have many charming hundred-year-old craftsman style homes. Unfortunately, as tastes changed over the years many of these homes were subjected to all kinds of indignities such as having all their lustrous woodwork painted white or having the original cabinetry, tile, and fixtures ripped out in favor of “modern” replacements that are now ugly and dated.

The good news is that it is possible to restore these Craftsman beauties to their former glory, though in some cases the necessary renovations may be quite extensive. One thing you can count on is that you can find many of the period-appropriate materials and design elements you will need through Mission West Kitchen & Bath.

Custom Kitchen Cabinetry

With such a heavy focus on detailed woodwork in Craftsman style homes, naturally you are going to need beautiful solid wood kitchen cabinetry. If the current cabinetry is beyond salvaging, or if you want to expand or reconfigure the kitchen, Mission West Kitchen & Bath can help. We can assist you in conceptualizing a design with just the right amount of detail for your style and then commission your custom cabinetry from experts who produce furniture-quality construction worthy of a Craftsman home.

Lighting Fixtures

The last thing you want is for bland, boring, modern lighting to detract from the look and feel of your Craftsman home. Fortunately, at Mission West Kitchen & Bath we stock an entire line of beautiful hand-made lighting options made by Arroyo Craftsman. You can choose from chandeliers for the foyer or dining room as well as pendants, flush mounts, and wall mounts. A variety of different finishes and glass types are available.

Plumbing Fixtures

If the bathroom is too small to accommodate a large wood vanity, a pedestal sink is the next best thing. You can find many retro designs suitable for a Craftsman style bathroom at Mission West Kitchen & Bath. We also have some excellent faucet options. Copper faucets are an excellent choice because they acquire character with age just like a Craftsman home itself.


The Craftsman style is all about celebrating the quality and uniqueness of hand-crafted items and natural materials. Our selection of hardware offers an ideal way to continue this style all through every detail of your home. We have just about everything you need from drawer pulls and handles to grille covers and doorknobs.

Spa Bathroom Design Ideas

Explore ideas for transforming your bathroom into a spa-like retreat

Spa Bathroom Design IdeasIf you’re considering a bathroom update, why not go all out and create a space that is inviting and serene as well as functional? Consider incorporating some of these top ideas for creating a spa-like space in the bathroom.

Soaker Tub

A luxurious soaker tub is an absolute must-have for a spa-like bathroom. While the choice between a free-standing bathtub or a tub set in a beautiful tile tub surround will depend on your personal preferences, you will want to make sure that whichever option you choose is paired with beautiful faucets. Mission West Kitchen & Bath can help you create the perfect combination.

Spacious Curbless Shower

A shower curtain can easily spoil the spa-like effect in your bathroom. Eliminate the need for a shower curtain by using glass walls instead. This will help create a feeling of spaciousness in the bathroom too. For the ultimate in convenience and style, consider a curbless shower with no step dividing the shower from the rest of the bathroom. If you have a lot of space to work with, you might consider enclosing both a tub and a separate shower area behind glass in their own “wet room” within the bathroom.

Soothing Tones

Picking the right color scheme is very important for cultivating an atmosphere of peace and relaxation in the bathroom. Neutral tones are typically the best, and grays are especially popular right now for creating a spa-like atmosphere that can be masculine or feminine. Busy patterns are best avoided—instead rely on the natural variations in wood or marble to provide the texture and contrast you crave.

Custom Cabinetry & Shelving

When creating a spa-like environment in your bathroom, choosing what to reveal and what to conceal becomes very important. You obviously want to keep your everyday essentials like toothbrushes and hair products hidden away, but leaving plush towel rolls and soothing candles on display can actually help support the spa feel of the room. Custom bathroom cabinetry is an excellent way to build in just the right mix of hidden and open storage while ensuring that the materials and style support the high-end look you’re creating in the room.

Enclosed Toilet

The toilet is of course the most-used fixture in any bathroom, but having your toilet prominently displayed doesn’t necessarily support the class and elegance of a spa-like bathroom design. Consider concealing the toilet in its own “water closet” within the bathroom. This provides greater privacy as well as a nicer look.

Maximize Storage Space with Custom Kitchen Cabinetry

Clever cabinet design ideas to meet your unique storage needs.

Maximize Storage Space with Custom Kitchen CabinetryCustom cabinetry offers tremendous benefits over factory-made cabinets. First of all, there is simply the quality issue. Custom cabinets are built and designed almost like furniture, not slapped together from pressboard, so they have an extremely long service life and will not warp, crack, or bend.

Secondly, there is the design aspect. With custom cabinetry, you aren’t just choosing colors and panel designs from a selection of pre-made options. Instead, you have complete control of the design process from start to finish. In addition to letting you achieve the exact look you want in your kitchen, this design freedom also enables you to tailor all the practical aspects of your cabinetry to your specific needs. In other words, you get to make sure you get the storage solutions you want.

For a start, you’ll be able to eliminate gaps and wasted space around appliances and walls with cabinetry built to the exact dimensions of your space. You’ll also be able to choose whether to extend the cabinets all the way up to the ceiling to maximize enclosed storage space, or leave a gap to be used as a shelf for displaying little-used or decorative items.

You may also want to consider incorporating some of these unique storage ideas into your custom cabinetry:

Pull-Out Spice Rack: Your spice collection can take up a lot of cabinet space, especially if you don’t like to stack spices on top of each other. Installing a special slide-out rack to corral your spices in orderly rows can be a big space-saver and an organizational boon.

Hidden Dish Towel Rack: Keep dish towels accessible but out of sight with a fold-out dish towel hanger or rack attached to the inside of one of your lower cabinet doors.

Island Wine Rack: In addition to providing extra counter space for food prep or casual dining, a kitchen island can also provide bonus storage. One interesting way to use this space is by turning the narrow end of your kitchen island into a wine rack. This will keep your wines handy while also adding some design interest to the island.

Appliance Cabinets: If you love the convenience of kitchen appliances like microwaves, coffeemakers, blenders, etc. but don’t appreciate the cluttered look they create on your countertops, consider creating a permanent, hidden home for them with a custom appliance cabinet. You can have an outlet built into the cabinet or a secret hole left in the cabinet wall to let you run your cords to an existing outlet.

Cookbook Bookshelf: If you love to cook, you may want to consider adding a built-in bookshelf to one of your cabinets to keep all your cookbooks organized.

Seating + Storage: Need a place to “store” your guests while you cook? You can create a custom bench seating area along the back of an island or in a corner of the kitchen. Be sure to maximize the space under the bench by installing deep drawers or shelves.

Busting the Myths about Marble Countertops

Marble countertops are easier to care for than you may think.

Busting the Myths about Marble CountertopsMarble is simply a beautiful stone. White marble in particular is an excellent choice for kitchen countertops. The overall tone of the stone delivers a clean, elegant, bright look while the veining of the stone keeps your white countertops from appearing cold or sterile.

Unfortunately, many people are afraid to get marble kitchen countertops due to various marble myths, such as:

Marble is Expensive

Not all marble is expensive! The cost of a given stone depends on a variety of factors, including availability and demand. For example, one luxury marble, Calacatta marble, is expensive because it is rare and highly sought after for its bright white color and dramatic dark veins. However, Carrara marble looks very similar to Calacatta at a bargain price. Carrara marble is abundant, but it tends to have finer, lighter veins which give the stone a grayer cast. It is also a bit more porous, which means it requires more care and maintenance.

Marble Isn’t Meant to be Used

One common misconception people have about marble is that it is a luxury stone that is not really meant to be used—think marble floors in a king’s palace. However, in reality marble is not just for people who maintain their homes in a perfect, showroom-like state of cleanliness and order. Marble can stand up to hard use, including daily cooking in your kitchen. It’s actually very helpful for baking because the cool surface is ideal for rolling out or kneading dough. The key is you have to know how to clean and care for your marble to keep it looking beautiful.

Marble is High-Maintenance

Now, just because you do have clean and care for marble doesn’t justify its reputation of being high-maintenance. Marble is actually just as easy to clean as any other countertop material, provided it has been sealed to keep stains from penetrating deep down into the stone’s pores. Most messes need just a bit of warm water and dish soap to remove, and any worrisome potential stains can usually be lifted out by leaving a paste of baking soda and water on them overnight. Don’t be afraid of marble because it needs to be sealed—many people find they never need to reseal their countertops after they have been sealed once professionally.

Marble Gets Ruined by Scratches

Marble is a relatively soft stone, and it is vulnerable to scratches as well as to etching from acidic foods and drinks. However, it is not true that one scratch will ruin your marble. If you are concerned about scratches, you should simply choose marble with a honed finish. This type of marble countertop has been sanded to give it a soft, matte look that hides scratches exceptionally well. Countertops with a polished finish, by contrast, show scratches and etch marks more clearly.