Bathroom Lighting Guide
March 20, 2021
Perfect lighting in bathrooms, creates a luxurious and relaxing atmosphere. Bathrooms are a place we visit every day and spend time to perform certain tasks such as makeup, shaving, showering, etc. so, having the right lighting fixtures in your bathroom is very important. It is sometimes not possible for a single light fixture to illuminate the whole bathroom. For adequate lighting, bathrooms can sometimes need multiple light fixtures. In this guide, we will explain some important points on choosing the right lighting fixtures, importance of IP ratings, bathroom electrical zones and the products which you can use in your bathroom.
Three Lighting Layers
Ambient, accent and task lighting are the three basic types of lighting in the world of interior lighting design. Let’s look at the functions of these three lighting layers and the products you can use to achieve perfect lighting in your bathroom.
Ambient lighting also known as general lighting, is a natural lighting that comes from windows. It can also be achieved from substitutes of natural lighting such as pendant lights, flush/semi flush lights, ceiling lights, downlights, or recessed lights. This is the base layer of three lighting layers.
The second layer, accent lighting also known as decorative lighting is used to highlight decorative elements in the bathroom such as architecture, paintings or artworks. Wall scones, picture lights, ceiling lights and spotlights are the most popular light fittings which are used to achieve accent lighting.
The final layer of the three lighting layers is task lighting. This type of lighting makes your tasks easier and provides best lighting to perform certain tasks in the bathroom such as shaving, showering, makeup etc. It can be achieved with several options, but the most effective solutions are wall lights when placed on both sides of a mirror to ensure an even flattering light with no shadows on the face. If you do not want to mount any lights on the wall, you can hang two pendants on both sides of a mirror to ensure an even lighting just like wall lights or installing illuminated bathroom mirrors which comes with integrated LEDs.
Now you know, the importance of the three lighting layers in interior lighting design. With the right lighting fixtures, you can achieve perfect lighting in your bathroom.
Why IP ratings are important to check before installing the light fixtures in your bathroom and what are bathroom lighting zones? Read below for more information.
Bathroom Lighting Zones
It is very important to follow all safety regulations and check IP ratings when installing lighting fixtures in your bathroom. The bathrooms are typically divided into different zones with different IP rated fittings. Below is a diagram to demonstrate different bathroom zones for a better understanding.
Area inside the bath or shower comes under zone 0. The light fittings used in this zone must be low voltage and IP67 rated.
This is the area directly above the bath or shower up to 2.25 metres from the floor. Light fixtures that have IP44 rating or above is required but to ensure safety, IP65 rated light fittings must be used in this area.
This area refers to 60cm (0.6 metres) radius around bath or shower. An IP44 rated light fittings are required here. This area also covers wash basin.
The areas which are outside of zones 0, 1 and 2 refers to zone 3. These areas do not require any special IP rating unless any water equipment for cleaning purposes is used in these areas. Light fittings which are IP20 rated are safe to use but it is recommended to use IP20+ rated light fittings (if there are no water jets being used on these areas). However, if there are water jets being used for cleaning purpose in zones 1, 2 and 3, a minimum IP65 rated light fittings must be used.
Importance of IP Ratings
IP stands for “ingress protection”. It is very important to check before installing any light fixture in your bathroom. Every lighting fixture comes with an IP rating which will provide information on the level of protection against liquid and solid objects. An IP rating can be identified with two letters “IP” with two digits after it. The first digit provides the information of protection against solid objects and it will be a number between 0-6. The second digit refers to protection against water, that will be a number between 0-9. When it comes to bathroom lighting, it is very important to check the second digit as electricity and water do not mix. See the below IP rating chart for a better understanding.
FIRST DIGIT - PROTECTION
0 – No protection.
1 – Protection against solid objects which are larger than 50mm (accidental contact with hand).
2 – Protection against solid objects which are larger than 12mm for e.g. finger touch
3 – Protection against solid objects such as tools and wires over 2.5mm
4 – Protection against solid objects such as tools and wires over 1mm.
5 – Limited protection against dust and other particles (satisfactory performance of internal components).
6 – Fully protected against dust and other particles.
SECOND DIGIT - PROTECTION
0 – No protection.
1 – Dripping water (no harmful effect).
2 – Dripping water (no harmful effect when the enclosure is titled at 15 degree angle).
3 – Water falling as a spray up to an angle of 60 degree from the vertical shall have no harmful effect.
4 – Protection against splash of water from all directions (limited ingress permitted).
5 – Protection against low pressure jets (6.3mm) of direct water from all directions (limited ingress permitted).
6 – Protection against powerful jets (12.5mm nozzle) of direct water from all directions.
7 – Full immersion protection for up to 30 minutes at depths between 15cm and 1m (limited ingress permitted).
8 – Protection against long period of immersion under higher pressure.