Bathroom Lighting Buyer’s Guide

At what stage of the build should you plan your bathroom lighting and why? 

The lighting solutions for bathrooms are often fairly low down the list of priorities in comparison to other rooms in the house, but with the increasing focus on luxury, larger-than-life bathrooms, a well-thought through lighting solution is integral to the space. Bathrooms tend to be bright and clean, so ensuring that there is enough task lighting overhead is of integral importance. Then, you will need to focus on creating a relaxing, spa-like atmosphere that people will be able to enjoy, whether they’re indulging in a long hot bath or pampering themselves ahead of a big night out! The flexibility to transition from day-to-day tasks to evening detox is vital, and something you will need to consider before you begin to implement bathroom lighting. 

When looking for bathroom lights, there are a number of considerations apart from the style you wish to use. For example, you might think, I can only use certain bathroom lights or IP rated fittings because my electrician said so. However, this is not always the case and we recommend trying to better understand the regulations so that you are aware of all the options available before you begin work on your new bathroom. There is more on IP ratings below, but it’s worth remembering that there is no IP rating requirement for using lights in zone 3 and beyond, do don’t limit yourself to just ‘bathroom lights’ for the rest of your bathroom. 

What do you need to take into account when planning bathroom lighting?

You should consider the layout and also the convenience of the lighting; since bathrooms are next to bedrooms in most houses you want light that is soft and not Bathroom Lighting Buyer’s Guideblinding to disturb others that might be sleeping in the next room. 

One of the most common mistakes when it comes to bathroom lighting is not providing enough of it. That said, people will often counter this issue with a plethora of fixtures on the ceiling, which can look busy and overcrowded. Those who often use a bathroom for vanity should avoid light positioned directly overhead, and should instead be fitted over the walkway, so you are illuminated from behind when looking in the mirror. Lights should be symmetric and placed either side of your mirror if opting for wall lights to avoid an uneven glow. While clear bulbs with filaments are a popular choice around homes in 2018, they will cast a shadow on everything, so you’re better off opting for something opaque or frosted instead.   

Whilst we all once lusted after glamorous, spacious bathrooms with larger than life free-standing tubs taking precedence in the centre of the room, 2018 has finally caught up with the fact that this simply isn’t possible for most households or hotel rooms. Small, cosy, compact bathrooms with plenty of storage are on the up, which is fabulous news for lovers of lotions and hair product hoarders! This leads to a focus on small-scale luxury and efficiency, and storage doesn’t always have to be in the form of the clunky, ugly cabinets that could be found in the bathrooms of your grandparents; sleek, neat storage is the way forward! Wall lights positioned either side of the mirror can also give the illusion of more space, whilst highlighting features or accessories located in the background.

Whilst design experts may disagree on colour schemes, accessories and flooring options, there’s one thing everyone can agree on; there has been an unmistakable shift in recent years in the role of the bathroom as a practical room to an additional living area. Perhaps a result of the hectic nature of 21st-century living, or possibly a reflection of the increased focus on personal care; as people spend more time relaxing in the bathroom, it’s décor has changed as well. Soft furnishings, chic lighting fixtures creating an ambient atmosphere, complex mirror arrangements and indulgent rainfall showers with all-over body water jets are just some of the features found in many modern bathrooms. Gone are the days where bathrooms were a 2-minute shower and a scrub of your teeth before dashing out the door – unless you’re really late!

Less of a trend, and more of the law, but that’s not to say abiding by the rules shouldn’t be popular in 2018, particularly if you’re designing a bathroom for trade. Contrary to popular belief, and the rumours we’ve heard surrounding the do’s and don’ts of bathroom lighting, all of our lights can be used in the bathroom, providing they are installed in the correct zone. Here at Industville, we have a range of IP44 rated lights that can be used providing it is positioned 0.6m outside the perimeter of the bath and to a height of 2.25m from the floor and a 60cm radius away from any tap. All of our lights are IP20 rated, meaning they can be used in areas outside these zones! 

Finally, we recommend avoiding fabric shades on fixtures, particularly if you have a Jacuzzi tub, and cast bronze and brass are more delicate, so they tend to corrode sooner. Brushed chrome, nickel, and stainless finishes do better.

What are the latest functions and smart solutions that can be incorporated into bathroom lighting?

LED vintage bulbs have taken the world of interior design by storm in recent years, and it’s not difficult to see why. LED energy-saving follow a minimalist style for a contemporary, smooth look in the bathroom and they are as practical as they are decorative as you won’t need to replace the bulb for years. The increased wattage of modern LEDs provides a warm and relaxing glow that can be used in combination with incandescent bulbs for a polished finish. 

Bathroom Lighting Buyer’s GuideWhat bathroom products now come with integrated lighting?

As a result of the increased uses of bathrooms as vanity rooms, mirrors are now available with integrated lights for a luxury, Hollywood-style room. Bathrooms need to be both practical and decorative, and more and more shelving units are being lit from above or below for a minimalist, tidy aesthetic. Lights can also be installed in cabinets for the perfect space-saving solution for smaller bathrooms, and this will usually provide adequate task lighting for when you need it most, such as in front of a mirror. As with many aspects of design, preparation is key, so it’s a good idea to research the current market for what’s available before deciding on what’s right for your home. 

Is it worth employing a bathroom lighting specialist, instead of a regular electrician and how do you find a reputable electrician?

Planning is an essential part of preparing for any bathroom project. It is a key element in ensuring that projects go smoothly and more importantly that you get what you want at the end of the day and experienced bathroom specialist can help to avoid costly errors. They also often offer free bathroom consultations.

It depends on your budget to be honest, if you know where you want to position the light then an electrician should be absolutely fine. You can ask an architect for a reputable electrician but now there are many websites you can visit with great recommendations and reviews.

Can you fit your own bathroom lighting if you're competent at DIY?

Aside from burning a candle, all bathroom lighting will involve using electricity, and due to its proximity to water sources, we always recommend using a professional. All electrical installations in bathrooms should be certified by a qualified person in accordance with Part P of the building regulations, and the 17th edition of 7671 requirements for electrical installations.

If you have lights installed in the bathroom with no certificate of installation, this can cause you problems further down the line and you might even find it difficult to sell your house. Regardless of how competent you are at DIY, it’s always worth investing in certified persons to ensure all rules and regulations are adhered to and avoiding potential costly mistakes for the future.

When designing an ensuite, how can you ensure that your bathroom lighting flows naturally from the bedroom lighting scheme?

You are able to choose from a range of bathroom ceiling lights that match the interior design of your bedroom, be it the same style, colour or design. Many modern fittings come with motion sensors, removing the requirement for a cord and there is a wide range of bathroom wall lights to choose from, including attached to wall cabinet style, or mounted with a fully adjustable arm.

Can you explain the different IP ratings? 

Yes sure, firstly all of our lights are CE certified: CE-2161. And our three IP ratings are 65,44 and 20.

IP65 Enclosure - IP rated as "dust tight" and protected against water projected from a nozzle.

IP44 specifically indicates protection from the intrusion of water. Lights which are IP44 rated are designed for use in bathrooms and other environments where water spray is a risk. 

IP20 means you are protected again solid objects up to 12mm (2) but there is no protection against liquids 


Marketa Rypacek 
Managing Director, Industville Ltd
020 7971 7871 |


October 31, 2018

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