Modern bathroom with mirror and light

What Lights Can You Use in a Bathroom?

How much thought have you put into your bathroom lighting? While we often ponder over which bathroom suite and tiles we want, we usually don’t query our lighting too much.

Nevertheless, getting your lighting right is a vital part of remodelling a bathroom. Achieving the perfect glow can transform your space from dingy to delightful in a simple flick of a switch.

To choose a bathroom light, there are three main things you need to know:

  1. Which safety regulations you need to follow
  2. How you will use the lighting in your bathroom
  3. What style of lighting you will need

Read our guide to picking bathroom lights to find out which lights you can use in a bathroom, plus more expert tips...

How Do I Choose a Bathroom Light?

This all comes to a number of matters you need to consider, which we've gone into more detail...

Know Your Bathroom Lighting Regulations

The most important thing to consider when choosing your bathroom light is whether they are safe to use. Bathroom lighting does have special needs to keep in mind - of course, we all know that water and electricity are not a good mix!

To help you work out which lights you can use in a bathroom, every light fitting is given an IP rating. These ratings are used across the world and refer to the extent lighting fixtures stop water from getting inside them.

When picking your bathroom light, you need to make sure you choose the correct IP rating for the bathroom zone you will be placing it in.

Forum Milan 3 Light Bathroom Light

Shop All Bathroom Lights

What are bathroom lighting zones?

Along with IP ratings, you also need to know your bathroom zones in order to choose your lighting. Bathrooms are split into 4 zones based on how much water is present.

Here is a quick guide to what IP rating is required for bathroom lights and their zones:

  • Zone 0 - this refers to lights that will be fully submerged in water, such as inside a bath or wetroom floor. You will need IP67 for these lights.
  • Zone 1 - these will be the lights you place directly over your bath or shower. An IP67 rating is recommended.
  • Zone 2 - this is probably the most common bathroom lighting requirement for home bathrooms. It usually covers the perimetres of your zone 1 area, plus the radius of your sink. This will need IP44 rated lighting.
  • Zone 3 - anywhere outside the zones above where no jet water will be used is classed as zone 3. You don’t need any special lighting in this area of your bathroom, though IP20 minimum is recommended.

Find our full bathroom lighting zones diagram here for further information.

How Will You Be Using Your Bathroom Lighting?

Once you know which zone and IP rating you need for your bathroom lighting, your next step is to get an idea of what you will be using it for.

There are two main options for you to choose from, each having a drastic effect on the look and feel of your bathroom:

Bathroom Wall Lights

Wall lights give a more ambient glow, and aren’t usually the sole source of light - use them to accentuate particular areas, instead.

Read more: Bathroom Mirror Styles and Trends

  • Best used around mirrors for a vanity light
  • Mount wall lights at eye level rather than above a mirror to prevent shadows
  • Low voltage is often preferred for a more flattering light level
  • Use a dimmer to be able to control the brightness you need
  • If you have a dark recess in your bathroom, add in a wall light to bring it to life
  • An LED bathroom mirror is a possible alternative

Shop Bathroom Wall Lights

Forum Oslo LED Crackle Wall Mounted Bathroom Light

Bathroom Ceiling Lights

Ceiling lights are often the primary source of lighting in a bathroom. Try to avoid making them too bright, as this can seem harsh - especially with white suites!

  • For larger bathrooms, place downlights toward the edges of the room rather than in the middle for a better sense of space
  • Directional spotlights can help you accentuate different parts of the room
  • Avoid placing ceiling lights directly over your vanity - this will create shadows on your face
  • Connect your ceiling light to your extractor fan so it comes on when you have a shower
  • Downlights can be used over your shower, bath or in your wetroom

Shop Bathroom Ceiling Lights

Forum Milan 4 Light Bar Bathroom Light

Make a Show of It!

Finally, once you know your safety requirements and have decided on what you need them for, you can choose your lighting style!

Read more: Design Inspiration: Luxury Look on a Budget

Your bathroom lighting can become a real feature, so don’t shy away from making a statement!

Here are some bathroom lighting ideas to help inspire you...

Pendant Lighting - Can I have it in a bathroom?

Many people often wonder if you can have a pendant light in a bathroom. The answer is, as long as it has the correct IP rating, then yes!

Pendant lights and chandelier styles work best in bathrooms with high ceilings for an added sense of luxury. They are best placed as the main feature of your bathroom lighting, so think carefully about where you will put it and how it will work with any other lighting fixtures you have.

Forum Vela 3 Light Chandelier Bathroom Light

Can I Have Bathroom Spotlights?

It is also often asked if you can have spotlights in a bathroom. Again, so long as you choose the correct IP rating for your bathroom zone, they are a great choice!

Bathroom spotlights are often also referred to as downlights. While some are fixed into the ceiling, others are mounted at an angle, so you can adjust them to complement your room. Diffusing the light in different directions like this gives a more gentle illumination, allowing you to relax easier.

Forum Scorpius 3 Spotlight Bathroom Light Fitting

Bathroom mirror lights


If you don't want a LED bathroom mirror but are looking for a way to increase lighting over your mirror then a clip-on bathroom mirror light might just be the solution.

With the ability to simply clip to the top of your mirror without any long installation times a bathroom mirror light is perfect for increasing lighting for tasks such as applying makeup or shaving.

If you're looking for further bathroom design inspiration, take a look at the following posts - Copper & Gold Design Inspiration - Elevate Your Bathroom: Art Deco Bathroom Ideas - His and Hers Bathroom Ideas.

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