Bathroom lighting, the rules!

When it comes to bathroom lighting there are a few rules which we have to follow. Recently on Pinterest I saw some photographs of pendant lights hanging above bathtubs. People were commenting below the images saying how beautiful it all looked. Trouble is, each lighting arrangement in each photograph was not only dangerous but you wouldn’t find a single electrician out there who would fit them. Let’s not forget that any accidents caused by such a fitting wouldn’t be covered by your home insurance either. Sorry to disappoint all you Pinterest bathroom loving people. For your own safety, you need to stick to the rules of bathroom lighting.

Pendant lights hanging over a bathtub

Pendant lights hanging over a bathtub. Highly decorative, highly unsafe & highly illegal. Don’t cut corners for the sake of look in a bathroom.


The first thing to appreciate is that your bathroom is separated up in to 4 zones. These zones are numbered, and each depends upon how close they are to a water source such as taps & showers. Zone zero is actually within a bath or shower tray itself. Zone 1 is any area directly above the bath or shower tray up to a height of 2.25 metres. Zone 2 is anywhere within a 60cm distance from zone 1 and also 60cm around a sink or wash basin. Anywhere outside of these zones are classed as outer zones.

The zones of a bathroom shown to help you choose a light fitting

The zones of a bathroom shown to help you choose a light fitting


These zones, where you want to fit a bathroom light, have a bearing on a lights IP-rating!

Wait, what? What’s an IP-rating? Sorry if this is all a bit technical, but it’s honestly not as complicated as it sounds. ‘IP’ stands for Ingress protection, which basically tells you how sealed the light is from moisture and dust. An IP rating is always shown as the letters IP followed by two numbers. The higher these numbers, the greater the lights ability to withstand dust and more importantly in a bathroom, moisture. It is a legal requirement for every light suitable for a bathroom to display the fittings IP rating on both the products box and on the products manufacturer sticker, always found somewhere on the light.

This lights packaging identifies it as being IP44 rated

This lights packaging identifies it as being IP44 rated


So how are bathroom lighting zones and IP ratings related? If you can identify the zone in which you want to fit your light, then you will discover the lights IP rating that you will need to fit. So, the first thing to do is to identify the zone.

As unlikely as it seems, if you wanted to fit a light actually physically inside your bath or shower tray (zone 0) then these lights would have to be both low voltage and IP68 rated (which is immersion proof).

A light fitted in zone 1 would need to be IP44 rated, unless within that zone is a shower head or demountable shower hand fitting, in which case an IP65 light would be required. So basically, if fitting a light above a bath, you would need IP44 if there was no shower or bath tap shower head, or IP65 if there was either of those things.

A light in zone 2 would need to be IP44 rated. If there is danger of a direct jet spray, then IP65 would be required.

A light fitted in to an outside zone doesn’t require any kind of IP rating as they are deemed to be not at risk of moisture.

Bathroom chandelier light

This bathroom chandelier light is IP44 rated, which means it has been especially designed to be fitted above a bath (without a shower) & is fully compliant!


Bear in mind that these are legal requirements in bathrooms so it’s important to fit the correct type of light fitting. It is also a requirement that any mains voltage bathroom lighting should be on a circuit protected by a 30ma residual current device (RCD). If you are at all unsure, it is always recommended to speak to a qualified electrician.

All the bathroom light fittings at Lightahome, including bathroom spotlights, bathroom wall lights & bathroom ceiling lights all display each products IP rating in its description. If you need any more advice, then feel free to contact us on our Facebook page or by calling us on 024 7671 7043.

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16. April 2018 by ekmwarmmead
Categories: Bathroom Lighting | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Bathroom lighting, the rules!

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