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Beautiful Bathrooms, the Fab Five to follow

We are often asked, what lighting is best for bathrooms?


To answer this, you need to break down the question into 5 categories.


  1. General and feature lighting

  2. Task lighting

  3. Night lighting

  4. Lighting control.

  5. Zones and IP ratings,



1) General and feature Lighting

How much light should you have in a bathroom?

LED downlighters offer good general lighting within bathrooms and you should consider light placement over commonly adopted grids of downlighters, such as 2 rows of 6. For example, 1 spot downlighter over a sink (further task lighting is required for mirror use), over a towel rail and place downlighters close to walls to provide scallop effect providing interest and drama. If possible, consider indirect lighting for the general lighting, perhaps building a coffer and using LED linear solutions to light the ceiling thus obtaining indirect reflection, such as LED tape within a profile.

Also consider in ground uplighters behind baths, within niches and by arches or shower entrances to provide further layers of that allowing various scenes of lighting.


2) Task Lighting

What lighting should I have in a bathroom?

The key area of lighting in a bathroom will be mirror lighting for tasks such as cleansing, shaving and application of beauty products. Downlighters/uplighters/LED linear tapes provide general lighting, offering variety of scenes but light directly onto the face via either wall mounted luminaires, of via a lit mirror should be adopted. A trending solution is also suspended pendants with the appropriate IP rating. This light source should ideally have a colour rendering index of 90+ and to be of white origin, 3000k warm white to 4000k as desired.


3) Night Lighting


What’s the best lighting at night for a bathroom?

Low-level lighting which comes on automatically as you enter your bathroom during the night, provides ideal discreet lighting that doesn’t fully awake you. Ceiling mounted PIR sensors can switch just this low-level lighting on, consider warm glare free lighting where you will not see the lighting source, such as small niches or lighting under a floating sink. Be sure to use appropriate frosted diffusers under sinks to eliminate undesirable LED spotting effects from reflective flooring


4) Lighting Control


What’s the best way to control bathroom lighting?

If you have  3 of more lighting circuits, such as mirror, downlighters, under sink for example, to create an amazing lit bathroom your general lighting should be dimmable and controlled via a smart lighting control solution, such as Lutron. To create the perfect balance to the layers of light, dimming control is essential. Amazing lighting is achieved by have scenes such as morning, relax, shower where lighting can dim/turn off/automatically come on all via scene keypads of PIR sensors providing the appropriate lighting as desired.



5) Zones and IP Ratings


Can I use any lights in a bathroom?

Absolutely not! Bathrooms have 4 dedicated Lighting Zones to ensure that water and electricity do not mix. These zones ascertain the lighting fittings (luminaires) required IP (Ingress protection) rating. An IP rating is made up from 2 digits. The first digit refers to protection from solids, and the 2nd digit protection from liquids. For both digits, the higher the number the higher the protection.


Bathroom Zones explained:

Zone 0:                In the bath itself. 

Zone 0 IP:            Luminaires in the bath need to be low voltage and rated at least IPx7.


Zone 1:                The area around the bath or shower up to a height of 2250mm from the floor with a radius of 1200mm from the water outlet.  

Zone1 IP:             A minimum IPx4 rating, however we suggest a minimum IPx5 in a shower cubicle.


Zone 2:                An area of 600mm outside the perimeter of the bath or shower and to a height of 2250mm from the floor.  The area around a washbasin within a radius of 600mm from the tap is to be treated as Zone 2. 

Zone 2 IP:            Fittings in Zone 2 need a minimum IPx4 rating.


Zone 3:                (outside zones): Anything outside Zones 0,1 or 2 (subject to specific limits) and where no water jet is likely to be used for cleaning purposes. 

Zone3 IP:             No specific IP rating is required, *but ipx4 is still suggested as many luminaires offer this rating as standard.





What do the numbers for IP rating mean?

First Number

Protection against solid objects

0 - No protection

1 - Protection against solid objects over 50mm, e.g. accidental touch by hands

2 - Protection against solid objects over 12mm, e.g. fingers

3 - Protection against solid objects over 2.5mm (tools/wires)

4 - Protection against solid objects over 1mm (tools / wires / small wires)

5 - Protection against dust – limited ingress (no harmful deposit)

6 - Totally protected against dust

Second Number

Protection against fluids

0 - No protection

1 - Protection against vertically falling drops of water

2 - Protection against direct sprays of water up to 15 degrees from the vertical

3 - Protection against sprays to 60 degrees from the vertical

4 - Protection against water sprayed from all directions – limited ingress permitted

5 - Protection against low pressure jets of water from all direction – limited ingress permitted

6 - Protection against strong jets of water, e.g. for use on ship decks – limited ingress permitted

7 - Protection against the effects of immersion between 15cm and 1m

8 - Protection against long periods of immersion under pressure

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