Bathroom lighting used to be a bit neglected in the past. It was all about functionality, and people didn’t think about the rest, focusing instead on choosing the under cabinet lighting for the kitchen, beautiful chandeliers for the living rooms, and setting the mood in the bedroom. But it has changed.

A bathroom can still be a bit tricky when it comes to picking the right lights. When you decorate your house, you want it to be consistent in style. There is no reason why it shouldn’t be, but you have to bear in mind that the bathroom equals water and humidity, which don’t go well with electricity. However, safety measures limit your choices only a little as long as you follow some simple installation guidelines.

Because of their versatility, energy efficiency and safety, downlights (mostly LED downlights) are one of the most popular choices for bathroom lighting, and not only that, as you can find them in all rooms or even outdoors. If you still haven’t decided what you want in your bathroom, this article will provide you with all the necessary information about bathroom down lighting you can choose from:

Do You Need Special Downlights for a Bathroom?

There aren’t any downlights explicitly designed for a bathroom, but there are various types that may differ in features. What you need to consider while choosing the lighting for bathrooms is the IP Rating, which specifies if the product is protected against other, potentially damaging particles (solid or liquid). What should interest you it’s its resistance to water.

So, when it comes to a bathroom, the absolute minimum are the products of an IP44 rating. However, if we’re talking about placing lights very near water sources (zone 1 of a bathroom), you should opt for at least IP65 or above to be 100% sure of its safety.

What Are the Best Downlights for Bathrooms?

When it comes to bathroom downlights, the final decision should be yours and yours only to meet all your style and functionality expectations. But, as lighting experts, we would like to make this choice a little bit easier for you. So, whether you’re looking for LED downlights for your own bathroom, or you’re in search of commercial lighting, we hope you will find our list of the best LED downlights inspiring.

With its efficiency and water resistance, it is one of the most suitable choices for every bathroom, also when you’re looking for a light to be placed directly above your bath or a shower. It’s IP65, which means it can withstand water splashes, even some low-pressure jets of water. This stylish, brushed chrome light will make a great addition to every bathroom, as it won’t rust or tarnish. Plus, it’s dimmable, so it’s both functional and capable of setting the right mood.

This IP65 light is suitable even for zone 1 of any bathroom. It’s fully dimmable, plus, available in both cool and warm lighting options so that you can adjust it to your design and needs. It has a 90-degree beam angle and the recessed diffuser, which means that you can reduce glare without having to give up the right angle or brightness.

This fashionable polished chrome light will go splendidly with all modern designs. Considering its IP65 rating, it is 100% to place it anywhere in your bathroom, even directly above your shower. It’s made of die-cast aluminium, making it rust-resistant, which is a valuable feature when it comes to lighting a constantly wet room. It’s also dimmable so you can have the right light for both tasks requiring some precision and setting the mood.

What Are the Bathroom Lighting Zones?

To choose the lights with the right IP rating, it would be useful for you to know what the bathroom lighting zones are.

Zone 0 refers to areas submerged in water, such as the floor of your shower. For this zone, you will need at least IP67.

Zone 1 is the area very near to a water source, e.g., directly above a shower. Here, an IP67 is recommended as well, but IP65 would also be enough.

Zone 2 indicates the perimeters of Zone 1 for which you will need IP44 rated lighting, which is the most common rating for bathroom lights.

Zone 3 is where there will be no water used, but considering the humidity of the whole room, you should opt for at least IP20 rated lights.

What to Consider While Choosing Downlights?

The abundance of LED downlights available on the market right now can be overwhelming, so we have prepared a short list of things to consider while choosing to make the whole process easier for you.

Brightness

The brightness of a bulb is measured in lumens (lm), and it tells you how strong (or weak) a light is. It can make or break the lighting in the whole room, so make sure you know what kind of an effect you aim for.

Beam Angle

Beam angle tells you how wide the light beam is, so for focal points and accent lighting, you will need a narrower beam angle and the other way around.

Cool or Warm?

Light comes in a variety of colour temperatures. Warm whites are better for creating a calming, relaxing atmosphere, but they aren’t very good for performing any tasks. Cool whites, on the other hand, are brighter and clearer, which makes them perfect for work but a bit tiring for relaxing.

Style

The trim is the only part visible in a downlight, and since it doesn’t influence the overall quality and performance of light in any way, it only has to please you and fit your style. Make sure to choose something that will go well with your bathroom decor. White trims are the most universal and, therefore, most frequently chosen.

Fire-rated

Obviously, all lights need to be carefully tested, but not all of them are fire-rated, which means that they meet all the fire safety standards.
Where Should Downlights Be Placed in a Bathroom?
The positioning of your bathroom downlights is crucial for achieving the most satisfying and useful effect.

The first and the most important thing to remember are the safety measures. If your lights differ when it comes to IP rating, make sure you put the right lights in the correct zones.

Then, you need to know how you will be using your bathroom downlights to choose the proper brightness, temperature and beam angle. For example, a mirror where you put your make-up on or shave your facial hair is an important focal point that should be well-lit.

If you don’t want any pendant lights in your bathrooms, LED downlights are the best choice for ceiling light.

How Many Downlights Do You Need in a Bathroom?

Of course, the final number will depend on the size of your bathroom and the desired effect, but since all bathrooms are divided into three zones, three downlights are an absolute minimum.

Downlights are versatile enough for you to experiment – you can either create some focal points in a room or light it up entirely. It’s crucial to determine all focal points to make sure that you will have the right lighting whenever you need it – for reading in a bath or doing your make-up in front of a mirror. Then, you should consider the height of your ceiling, as it may turn out that having only the ceiling light is not enough.

If you have any doubts, it’s always better to have too many lights and use a dimmer switch than end up with too little light and being helpless.

Final Thoughts

Bathroom LED lights have many advantages, including their energy and cost-efficiency. As lighting experts, we truly appreciate the versatility of downlights that can benefit your bathroom significantly. However, don’t rush into any decisions. Make sure to think everything through carefully to identify your personal needs and expectations. The effect is entirely worth it.

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Interior designer with a special interest in lighting and how it shapes our perception of a space. Ever since I was a little girl, I loved to rearrange and reimagine virtually every room I’ve gone into, often to the great despair of my family members. I continued to pursue this inclination into adulthood, which has led me to obtain a Master’s Degree in Interior Design from the University of Brighton. Currently, I work as a freelance design consultant, helping new homeowners create a warm and welcoming atmosphere with a special emphasis on the right use of lighting. As a writer for the Simple Lighting blog, I hope to use my field experience to help countless people brighten their homes and utilize their living space in the best way possible.

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