Help me light my loo
November 21, 2017 8:54 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a nightlight solution for our bathroom. It just needs to be barely bright enough to illuminate the way, so we can navigate a nocturnal path to it.

Our bedroom's bathroom is in a corner that gets no natural light. It also has no outlets. So a typical nightlight with photo-sensor currently doesn't cut it. For now, I have a battery powered tap light like this that I leave always on. I don't really mind this, nor changing the batteries, but occasionally, it will get bumped off, or run out of batteries with no warning, plus, that's just so inefficient. I could (probably pretty easily) add an outlet in there, and therefore add a plug-able nightlight, but... I'm wondering if there are other solutions I haven't thought of. For example, there is a regular light switch, and separate fan switch. Is it possible to utilize one of these to power a night light? Looking for creative solutions, and I don't mind spending a few bucks to save me the effort of adding a new outlet!
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra to Home & Garden (22 answers total)
They make switch/outlet combinations that may do the trick for you.
Link to what you probably want
posted by pdoege at 9:11 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

There are switch plates with integrated lights, you might find one that matches your wallplate configuration.

Example at home depot
posted by nickggully at 9:12 PM on November 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I got this great clock that glows in the dark and it was the PERFECT solution. Just enough light to see my way in and out without mishap plus I could read the time without wearing my glasses. And thank you for asking this question because I broke it a couple of months ago and when I went to replace it, it was discontinued but it's apparently back in stock now so yay!
posted by janey47 at 9:15 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

You can replace the light switch and fan switch with a combination switch (tons of options available). Adding an outlet to the same double-gang wall plate and the same circuit most likely won't be up to code since you need a separate 20 amp circuit for bathroom outlets, but you should at the very least install a GFCI outlet there since the switch will be used by people with wet hands. I installed a single-gang combo nightlight/GFCI protected outlet near the sink in my bathroom. It works well.
posted by halogen at 9:25 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

How about battery-powered motion-sensing night lights? I recently stayed with some friends who had these in their dark hallway. Your question reminded me that I wanted to get some myself!
posted by kiripin at 9:46 PM on November 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

the charge light on my braun electric toothbrush is bright enough to get me to the bathroom but sometimes it is so bright that i have to close the bathroom door.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:22 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I bought a four-pack of "micro LED" strands from Costco for this purpose. They are just bright enough to prevent one from stumbling around in the dark, and seem to be going through their AA batteries very slowly. They run for eight hours before automatically shutting off; if you wake at all hours you can just bung up two and have another eight hours from the second. They're pretty hard to notice during the day, cheap, and give off just the right amount of glow at night.
posted by kmennie at 10:24 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Those micro led strands are super cheap and available in all sorts of configurations. They also make a micro led tape that uses a little battery pack and can be cut to length. So many cool lighting options.
posted by irisclara at 10:46 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

These lights are similar to ones we use on our stairs. They only go on with motion.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:51 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

The motion sensor lights work well, I have one on my stairs. Only downside is if you have cats, my little buggers like hanging out in front of the sensor light so I think I go through batteries faster than strictly necessary.
posted by kitten magic at 11:31 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Note that not all locations with just a switch will have a neutral connection. If there is only a switch leg in the box then an outlet won't function correctly.

I haven't used it but the concept sounds perfect: motion activated toilet bowl night light.

There are also rechargeable glow in the dark powders available that you can mix with clear epoxy and then apply like a paint. They don't really illuminate the space but painted along say the baseboard gives you a spatial reference of where you are in the bathroom. You would have to charge the material by having the lights on in the bathroom for a few minutes at bed time.
posted by Mitheral at 2:00 AM on November 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have a bunch of led ‘candles’ with timers and a dim/bright setting that I got at Costco. I keep one in the bathroom on a 10 hour timer on the dimmest setting. Works perfectly.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 4:46 AM on November 22, 2017

This is Extreme Overkill but if you were tempted to join the Philips Hue ecosystem anyway, you can set up a Hue motion sensor to turn on a particular bulb as a nightlight for a few minutes when it detects motion. I have this setup and it works well.
posted by katrielalex at 6:06 AM on November 22, 2017

We have always used a regular night light with an old (non-led) Christmas tree light in it. Red seems to be the least irritating colour. We leave it on all the time, as turning it on and off shortens the life of the bulb. Green also works well, but blue for some reason is very bright.
You may have to buy an old strand from a thrift shop, as it's hard to come by the old fashioned light bulbs, now.
posted by Enid Lareg at 6:16 AM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have one of these motion sensor lamps on top of the toilet cistern and it one of the most helpful things we've ever done in this house, especially when the grandchildren are here. It stays on long enough for a quick wee but a slight sway left or right brings it back on for, ahem, longer jobs.
posted by humph at 7:18 AM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

The motion-sensitive toilet bowl light is great. I was seriously dubious when my husband brought it home, but I've come to love it.
posted by Lexica at 11:04 AM on November 22, 2017

The motion activated toilet bowl night light is... intriguing. I'm having Poltergeist flashbacks, though.
I'm a fan of GloNation glow in the dark paints. I've used them on a storm cellar door interior, and the green paint over a white surface did work well and last until the next morning after exposing it to light. I purchased a multi pack of "bright time" paints and a 4 oz. tub of the green, rather than the "off-white daytime" neutral or invisible paints.
Note that the green and aqua neutral shades are advertised to last over eight hours, and the red-based shades only last minutes after exposure to light. I've added some red to a white or yellow, but the glow time is still short compared to the blues and greens.
posted by TrishaU at 12:05 PM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I love all these suggestions - so many great ideas! One thing though, about the motion detection... I love that idea, except it's far enough away, and so dark, that probably the only way that would work is if the motion sensor could control the light remotely. Not sure if that's an option? Not to mention, if I put it near the bed, it probably would get triggered by just normal rolling over? Basically, I need to see from a distance where I'm heading to, which is why right now I just leave the tap light on all the time. (Also, I'll never remember to turn it on before bedtime, so it has to have some autonomy.)
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 2:16 PM on November 22, 2017

I also use those Mr. Beams, stick on, motion activated LED night-lights. I put one in the hallway and one behind the bathroom door. So, when you go into the hallway, light comes on and then open or walk into the bathroom, light comes on. When they start blinking, it means replace the batteries. I have rechargeables that I cycle through.

While I'm waiting for our addition to get completed, our queen bed is in a too-small room. So the pathway around the bed is narrow and not what we are used to. I put one of those night-lights under the bed and it lights up and makes pathway to the bedroom much brighter without waking my partner. The Mr. Beams lights have a stick-on wall plate that the lights themselves hook onto so it was just a matter of unhooking it and setting it under the bed. Maybe something like that works for your situation? It did not seem to get activated by normal bed movement.
posted by amanda at 3:01 PM on November 22, 2017

It's ridiculous, but I've stayed in a house with one of these motion-sensor toilet bowl lights and can attest to its effectiveness as a bathroom night light.
posted by neushoorn at 2:17 PM on November 23, 2017

Thanks for all the great ideas! I think I'll probably just use nickggully's suggestion, since it's so simple and self-contained, assuming the light is always on and bright enough. If not, I'll probably do pdoege's suggestion and add a plug-in night light.
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 7:47 AM on November 24, 2017

I couldn't find a suitable switch with built-in night light at Lowe's, so I went with pdoege's suggestion and added a switch/outlet combo and plug-in night light. Thanks!
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 7:15 AM on December 10, 2017

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