Bathroom lighting ideas have been flying around the office all week. Want a bathroom with a designer edge or a spa-like feel? (Don’t we all?) Or do you just wish, like me, that you could have lighting that’s actually flattering and helps you prepare properly for the day? Then your bathroom lighting is super important to get right…
Why are bathroom lighting ideas important, I hear you ask? Well, an expertly planned lighting design carefully balances ambient glow, creates a cosy mood, helps with practical task solutions such as shaving or applying makeup, as well as showcasing hero features – and often all within a compact space.
While this sounds daunting, it really doesn’t have to be. Kitchens Bedrooms & Bathrooms writer Jill Morgan has broken down key things to consider, while our picture gallery will give plenty of inspirational ideas! Let’s go…
(P.S. You’ll need to know all the ins and outs of IP ratings – you can learn more about them here.)
BATHROOM LIGHTING IDEAS: GETTING THE BALANCE RIGHT
Careful planning and thoughtful layering of different bathroom lighting ideas can really change your scheme’s atmosphere. We advise thinking of illumination in three categories: general, task, and ambient lighting.
General illumination means the main ceiling fittings. Task solutions, as the name suggests, are for specific purposes such as applying make up or shaving; this tends to be around the vanity area.
Lastly, ambient lighting, such as an indirect glow in a recess is to create a softer mood.
Beautiful but practical details are a real win in a bathroom, right? Hanging rails and shelving are always handy for keeping towels and other essentials off the floor, and when they also combine lighting are hard to beat.
Illuminated shelves are usually rated as IP44, making them suitable for use in Zone 1 and Zone 2. This means up to 225cm above the floor and at a radius of 60cm from the water outlet or tap.
Depending on the size and layout of your bathroom, they look stunning on the wall just inside the door or when making good use of an alcove or space above the toilet.
Or, why not choose a mirror with backlighting with that all-important ambient glow?
DAZZLE FROM ABOVE
If you fancy a luxurious bathing area or walk-in shower, why not include a dedicated spot and downlights in these areas?
Just be sure these light fittings are rated for use in Zone 0. This means they must be low voltage with a maximum of 12 volts and rated at least IP67 or IPX7.
Bathroom lighting ideas
It’s also wise to opt for low-level illumination, ideally on a movement sensor, as this means you won’t be blinded by bright overhead lights at night. If you’re able to, incorporate Bluetooth control, as this allows you to easily adjust the levels or set the scene depending the mood and purpose.
Fit downlights close to the edge of the room, rather than in the centre, for a more flattering light. It’s also a great way to highlight textured tiles or panelling and add an extra dimension.
FRAME THE MIRROR
Bathroom lighting ideas
Besides being aesthetically pleasing, bathroom lighting – particularly around the basin and mirror – has to be practical.
Wall lights should ideally be fitted as a pair around eye level to provide the most flattering light. But if the wires in the wall are tricky to install, you can hang pendants from the ceiling so they act as wall lights.
More bathroom lighting ideas
When it comes to fitting illumination around the basin area, you will need to be mindful of the different zones in a bathroom.
A qualified electrician or lighting specialist will be able to advise you. However, as a guide, a light will need to be IP44 rated or higher if it’s within a 60cm radius of a tap or water outlet.
This area is known as zone 2. Outside of this area – known as zone 3 (or sometimes called unzoned) – it can be lower, but IP44 is still advisable.
BATHROOM LIGHTING IDEAS: LED STRIPS MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
More bathroom lighting ideas
Include LED strips to wash your walls with a soft, inviting glow. This technique also works well for alcoves, recesses and below wall-mounted cabinets – but careful planning and fitting is essential.
You can achieve a backlit effect by setting the mirror away from the wall to create space for an LED strip, which gives a gentle reflected light towards the face.
Remember to always allow for multiple circuits to add flexibility, so you can independently operate task and atmospheric lighting.
HIGHLIGHT KEY FEATURES WITH YOUR BATHROOM LIGHTING IDEAS
More great bathroom lighting ideas: illuminating the area around a tub instantly transforms bathing into a spa-like experience.
While discreet LED strips tucked on the underside of a recess are perfect for casting an even band of light that gently fades. For a similar look, choose lighting with a rating of IP65 that can be fitted within bathroom zones 1 and 2, which means at a horizontal distance of 60cm from the bath or tap and a height of 2.25m from the floor.
Another option is to install eyelid under-cabinet lights at regular intervals. With a tapering surround, they disguise the product from view and cut out glare, resulting in a pool of gentle glow.
MAKE A FEATURE OF BATHROOM LIGHTING IDEAS
What could be more eye-catching and playful than a bold hanging light or chandelier? (We simply love a beautiful pendant as the centrepiece.)
Hung centrally above your bath, an elongated light positioned horizontally draws the eye in and brings the whole space together.
But don’t forget to opt for more practical task lighting in areas such as the basin. This is very important when it comes to considering bathroom lighting ideas.
Also, make sure you opt for a light fitting that is IP44 rated or higher if the light fitting is within 60cm
of the water outlet.
CLUSTER PENDANT LIGHTS
Extra bathroom lighting ideas: if you’re after a spectacular feature, choose multiple hanging lights and place them at different heights.
A good idea would be to then use a similar style in your bedroom above your bedside tables to create a connection between the two spaces.
If you like this bathroom lighting idea, make sure your chosen pendants are rated at least IP44 and are at least 60cm away from the basin tap.