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Let there be light.

Lighting can often be one of the last decisions on the list when it comes to renovating, refurbishing or installation a new bathroom. However, the impact of lighting, no matter the size of the family bathroom, ensuite, or cloakroom, should not be underestimated.

A well-planned lighting scheme in a bathroom can add a wow factor, create a spa-like ambience, or make day-to-day routines that bit easier. The key to excellent illuminations is to create different layers, using multiple sources – from task solutions around the mirror, accent spotlights, pendants, wall lights or floor level down lighting creating a hotel-like feel.

Including your lighting scheme early on in the plans for your bathroom is key. However, before buying any lights, make sure they conform to the correct ingress protection (IP) rating for where you want to install it. Bathrooms are split into three specific lighting zones. Zone 0 is inside the bath or shower. Lights fitted here must be rated at least IP67 which means it is waterproof. Zone 1 covers all lights in the area above the shower or bath up to 2.25m from the ground. These lights need a minimum rating of IP45. Finally Zone 2, which covers the area around the basin within 60cm of any tap. These need to be rated at least IP44. Outside of these areas there are no specific ratings but minimum of IP44 is always recommended.

Dimmer switches work particularly well in bathrooms adding flexibility and allowing you to adjust lighting and create different atmospheres at various times of the day – ideal for those needing to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Where you position lights is also key and can have quite an impact on the final result. Positioning downlighters directly above a vanity or mirror, for example, will cast shadows below eyes, nose and chin making it difficult to apply makeup or shave. A better solution is to position lights at eye level either side of the mirror. If you have enough height in your bathroom, installing a glass drop chandelier, for example, over a bath can create a touch of sheer indulgence and luxury.

Lighting technology is constantly changing and becoming more environmentally friendly. LED lights, therefore, are ideal and can last up to 25yrs as well as being able to reduce energy usage which is why many mirrors, sanitaryware items, and furniture have them all built in – some brands now offer integrated rainfall showers with colour-changing LED lights that fit flush to the ceiling – perfect for a streamlined wet room.

Whether your bathroom is particularly large or more compact, impactful lighting will without a doubt enhance your overall design.

19th Jul 2021