If there is one important lesson we all learn in life, it's that water and electricity don't mix.

That's why buying bathroom lighting can often be a minefield. The bathroom is covered by stringent safety regulations when it comes to electricity, so you will need to hire a qualified and experienced electrician to carry out the job (that is, unless you are an experienced and qualified electrician yourself!).

But none of this should stop you choosing the right bathroom lighting for your home. In our handy buying guide, you'll find a whole lot of useful information when it comes to the IP rating of your lights, bathroom zones and the types of lighting you can choose from.

IP Ratings explained

Each light we sell has its own IP rating. IP stands for "Ingress Protection" and shows how resistant each light is to water. The higher the rating, the better the protection - it's that simple.

Each IP rating contains 2 numbers. The first number demonstrates the degree of protection the lighting unit offers from foreign objects and the second number demonstrates its resistance to moisture.

You'll need certain IP rating for bathroom lighting used in certain bathroom zones (which we'll move onto shortly).

IP rating examples:

IP20 First number (intrusion protection) - 2 = Protection from a large part of the body such as a hand (but no protection from deliberate access); from solid objects greater than 50mm in diameter. Second number (moisture protection) - 0 = No protection.

IP44 First number (intrusion protection) - 4 = Protection from entry by tools, wires etc., with a diameter of 2.5mm or more. Second number (moisture protection) - 4 = Protection from spray up to 60° from vertical.

IP65 First number (intrusion protection) - 6 = Protection against dust that may harm equipment. Second number (moisture protection) - 5 = Protection against water spray from all directions.

Bathroom zones explained

Depending on how big your bathroom is and where certain items are situated, your bathroom will be split into different zones which are suitable for different electrical items.

This diagram demonstrates the different zones and clearances between different elements in your bathroom:

Bathroom electrical zones

You can find out more about bathroom electrical zones in our bathroom electrical installation blog post.

Types of bathroom lighting

Now you know more about the safety aspects involved, it's time to get on with the fun part! Choosing your new bathroom lighting.

Ceiling lights

Bathroom ceiling lights have always been viewed as very functional, with a general lack of design choices. That is until now...

Whilst you can still find quite simple designs, such as flush fitting bathroom ceiling lights, you are now faced with a greater choice than ever before. Choose between elaborate designs that match your bathroom decor, like decorative bathroom chandeliers, or more contemporary fixtures.

Bathroom lighting chandelier

Looking to create a glamorous bathroom? A chandelier will make things "crystal" clear

Downlights and spotlights

A more modern choice for your bathroom lighting comes in the form of downlights. Fitting into, and sitting flush to, your ceiling, these lights are extremely discreet and provide a more even illumination across your whole room.

They may require more installation work than a single lighting outlet, but the overall effect is impressive. Plus, with some downlights, you can specifically angle the beam to highlight certain elements, such as your bath or basin.

Bathroom downlights

Bathroom downlights are a modern alternative to the single lighting fixture

You will also find shower lights that are designed specifically for the ceiling above your shower, turning a daily wash in the gloom into a more illuminating experience. These usually have a higher IP rating, e.g. IP65.

Wall lights

For a more subdued mood, wall lighting is the perfect choice. Some wall lights can also work independently to your main lighting, with a pull cord operating a switch. Just make sure any wall lights are placed away from bathroom zones 0 - 1.

Bathroom wall lights

Cabinet lighting

Something you may not have considered is making a feature of your cabinet with lighting. This can be achieved in 3 main ways:

  1. A strip light that attaches to the underside of your cabinet
  2. An LED light that attaches to the underside of your cabinet
  3. Flexible LED lighting that can be shaped to follow the contours of your cabinet

Whichever method you choose, this can be an effective and impactful way of bringing added illumination to your bathroom.

Other things to think about

Electrical installation

As with any electrical installation (and especially in the bathroom), do not attempt any of the work yourself, unless you are a fully qualified and experienced electrician.

Light switch

Bathroom lights are normally operated either by a cord which hangs from the ceiling, or a wall switch external to the bathroom. In both cases, they should be by your bathroom door, for ease of use.

Energy saving

Most modern bathroom lights come with energy-saving features as standard, but there are still ways you can save on energy.

  • Turn off your main bathroom light as soon as you leave the bathroom - this will get you into good habits
  • Use LED lighting as much as possible - it's more energy-efficient
  • Replace any old bulbs with modern, energy-saving bulbs

Bathroom lighting

Now you have the know-how, why not browse our fabulous range of bathroom lighting for lighter, brighter interiors.