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All You Need to Know About Bathroom Lighting

Lighting serves many purposes in the bathroom. Not only is it used for practical purposes, but it is also used as a decorative touch.

Both night owls and early birds will understand the problems that arise from poor bathroom lighting; your lighting should bright enough to provide good visibility at night and on dark mornings. You should also install different lighting depending on what your space needs. Your main source of light should come from the ceiling light, while task lighting can then be used to light up specific areas.

The following terms will help you make an informed decision on what lighting you need for you bathroom:

  1. Colour temperature
  2. Bathroom Zoning
  3. IP Rating

The Effects of Colour Temperature

Colour temperature refers to the colour of the light provided by a light bulb. The colour temperature of your lighting can greatly affect the look and feel of your space, so it’s important to choose the right one for the mood you want to create.

Colour temperature is measured in the unit Kelvin (K). Different temperatures on the Kelvin scale represent different colours such as warm, natural, and cool white light. All of these colours will change the appearance of things in a room.

Warm White

Warm white is between 2000K-3500K and looks more orange/yellow.

Natural / Neutral White

As the Kelvin increases, the colour changes to more of a “paper white” known as natural or neutral white (between 3500K and 5100K).

Cool White

Finally, the kelvin scale increases into a bluish white known as cool white (5100K-20000K).


Bathroom Zoning & IP Rating

Bathrooms are considered to be a ‘special location’ for electrical goods. This is because they will be in close proximity to water. For this reason, care and attention needs to be taken when installing them.

All light fittings are assigned an ‘IP rating’. This indicates how effective it seals against moisture and dirt. The higher the numbers are, the better the protection will be.

The bathroom is also divided into zones. Like all electrical appliances in the bathroom, it’s important that your lighting is placed in their designated zone for your safety. Each zone has a minimum IP requirement that must be met if a fitting is to be installed in this area.


Zone 0

Zone 0 is anywhere inside a bath, basin or shower. It’s defined as ‘any area within a bathroom that can hold water’. Any fitting or appliance used within zone 0 must be a maximum of 12 volts (SELV) and fully protected against both partial and total immersion in water (minimum rating of IPX7).

Zone 1

Often labelled as the ‘splash zone,’ Zone 1 is where installed equipment is likely to get wet but would not necessarily be submerged. This is the area directly above zone 0 to the height of 2.25m from the bottom of the bath or shower. It also covers the width of the shower cubicle or length of the bath. Any appliance within zone 1 must be minimum IPX4 (splash proof) or better, as well as a maximum of 12 volts (SELV) with the transformer located beyond zone 2.

Zone 2

Zone 2 is the area stretching to 600mm above or to the sides of your bath or shower. This is typically the area that is least likely to get wet, but there is a possibility for it to be splashed. Any fitting or appliance within zone 2 must be IPX4 (splash proof) or better, as well as a maximum of 12 volts (SELV) with the transformer located beyond zone 2.

Outside Zones (Beyond Zone 2)

When the size of a bathroom extends beyond zones 0, 1 and 2, portable equipment can be used if its flex length does not enable it to be used in zone 2. For instance, a hairdryer can be installed in the outside zones as long as its stretched length does not allow it to be used in zone 2. Although installing electrical equipment beyond zone 2 is permitted without an IP number, it is always encouraged that electrical items have some sort of mechanical and moisture protection.


The Importance of Bathroom Lighting


The bathroom is usually the first place we go to at the start of the day, and the last one before we go to bed. When done right, your bathroom lighting will help you feel good and ready for the rest of the day, as well as help you relax and unwind for the night. It’s therefore important to set the right ambience with the correct lights. Set the mood with beautiful pendants or wall lamps with shades, and go for warmer lights instead of harsh, bright ones.

Task Effectiveness

Your daily bathroom routines include washing, putting in contact lenses, shaving, grooming and applying make-up. These tasks require good lighting for precision and effectiveness. For example, good vanity lights installed around your mirror can help prevent you from missing a spot when shaving or turning up for work with the wrong shade of eyeshadow!


According to the National Accident Helpline, 26% of homebased accidents happen in the bathroom. Bathrooms are often damp or wet and slippery, making it easy to slip and fall. Secondly, bathrooms are usually dark, enclosed spaces with little to no windows, so without proper lighting, it can be difficult to see where you are going or what you are stepping on. It is therefore important to keep your bathroom bright and well-lit to keep you and your family safe.

Bathroom Lighting Ideas

When it comes to bathroom lighting, there are many types, styles, shapes and sizes to choose from. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind when choosing bathroom lights:

  • A light over the bathtub and/or shower will make washing and grooming easier. It’s perfect for reading in the bath too!


  • Vanity lights mounted either above or on both sides of your mirror will prevent shadows from falling on your face. Stay away from fluorescent lights – LEDs provide better task lighting.


  • Unless you want your bathroom to feel like a warehouse, go for lights with dimmers if possible. This means you can easily adjust the brightness in the bathroom according to mood and use.


  • Lights with brass and chrome finishes give a bathroom a classic feel and go well with most décors.


  • Turn up the glam factor in the bathroom with a statement light, like a pendant or chandelier!


  • Ceramic and acrylic products are made from different materials, so even though they are white, they may not always appear the same shade. Therefore, a cool white light bulb will neutralise any variances in shade for a uniform, crisp look.


Bathshack Lighting Brands

At Bathshack, we have a number of different lighting solutions to suit a range of tastes and requirements.

Our Josef Martin Range is exclusive to Bathshack and consists of wall lights in a variety of styles. All Josef Martin lights include an LED setting and a 2-Year Guarantee. They are also IP44 Rated so are certified safe for use in the bathroom.

Our Forum Lighting range is our most extensive collection, so it offers something for everyone. Forum lighting is renowned for its high-quality products which have gone through rigorous testing to maintain high standards. All traditional lights come with a 2-year Guarantee, while the LEDs come with a 3-year guarantee.


Learned all you need to know about bathroom lighting? Shop the full range online and brighten up your bathroom today. Alternatively, you can call into one of our showrooms on the island of Ireland to meet the team and view a selection of our lighting up close.

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