Selecting bathroom lighting involves slightly different criteria for lighting throughout the rest of the home, with some regulations and requirements to be aware of. A bathroom lighting scheme may include a variety of fixtures, such as ceiling lights, wall lights, vanity lights and spotlights.
There are safety rules around the use of electrical fittings in bathrooms. The bathroom is divided into zones, divided by their proximity to water. Placement of a light fitting in a zone which is close to water means that the light you purchase will need to have a higher IP rating. IP means ‘ingress protection’ and it indicates how well the fitting is sealed, against any foreign bodies and in this case, moisture. An electrician can guide you on the relevant electrical code, or the information is available online.
Your lighting plan also needs to consider the same points as lighting in any other room. Is there a low ceiling? If so, any pendant light hanging from the ceiling could be obstructive, depending on the location. Is there any natural light? For small bathrooms with no window, you may need additional fixtures. Bathroom lighting needs to be functional, but having dimmable lights means you still have the flexibility to create your desired mood.
Some of the most popular fittings for bathrooms are ceiling mount lights, often also called oyster lights. These can range from very simple, with an acrylic or glass shade over the bulbs to provide a diffused light, to more elaborate designs. Recessed lights are also popular for a sleek, modern and minimal look.
Bathroom lighting should include vanity lights. These provide task lighting, for make-up application and grooming. They are usually mounted above or either side of a mirror, over a sink or vanity, to give clear illumination with no shadows. The design may be simple, such as a straightforward bar in housing an LED, to more elaborate, such a vintage style sconce. Decorative sconces can be striking set over a double sink.
Some extractor fans for bathrooms may also double as a light fitting, and you can also find fittings which provide heating as well as a light source.
As with fixtures elsewhere in the home, there is a wide range of bathroom lighting fixtures available to suit your decor. There are many basic and functional fittings, typically in black, chrome, brushed nickel or white, on offer. If you are looking for a more unique fixture, there are fittings to suit all styles from mid century modern to Victorian, nautical to traditional.
LED globes are a popular choice for bathroom lighting because of their energy saving benefits and long lifespan. They also give flexibility on the quality and type of light you prefer. A cool colour temperature LED, around 5000K will provide a clear and bright light closer to daylight. Or warm white LED, around 3000K, which gives a warmer, cozier ambience (the K after these figures stands for Kelvin, the unit of measurement). You can also choose the lumens (brightness) of the LED, with around 800lumens being roughly equivalent to a 60W halogen.