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 a certain IP rating for bathroom lighting used in certain bathroom zones (which we'll move onto shortly).
IP rating examples:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
A wall light provides extra illumination, right where you need it most
Something you may not have considered is making a feature of your cabinet with lighting. This can be achieved in 3 main ways:
- A strip light that attaches to the underside of your cabinet
- An LED light that attaches to the underside of your cabinet
- 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.
Make a real impact with flexible LED strip lighting
Other things to think about
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.
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.
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
Handy hint: See our top 10 energy-saving tips for your home.
LED lighting, like the Forum Bubble 3 light spot light pictured above, uses energy more efficiently than conventional bulbs
Buy bathroom lighting
Now you have the know-how, why not browse our fabulous range of bathroom lighting for lighter, brighter interiors.
Still searching for inspiration? Why not browse our bathroom lighting ideas?