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The Ultimate Bathroom Lighting Guide [How to Choose and What to Consider]

bathroom with blue tiles and wall lights - choosing bathroom lights guide

Fitting new lights in your bathroom? This bathroom lighting guide will help you navigate the many types and styles of lighting, ultimately helping you decide which lighting is best suited to your unique bathroom style and needs. Use our guide below to determine which kind of lighting you need based on style, finish, IP rating or function.


Choosing Bathroom Lighting: By Style

What kind of style aesthetic are you looking to achieve in your bathroom? Our bathroom lighting guide covers both modern and traditional styles, plus a selection of designs from pendants to wall lights and downlights, so take a look at the options below to see which style would best suit your interior vision.

choosing bathroom lights - a modern silver chrome bathroom light
choosing bathroom lights - a traditional brass bathroom light with three lights
choosing bathroom lights - a slim modern pendant light

Modern Bathroom Lighting

If you’re not sure on design but you know you want something contemporary, our modern bathroom lighting collection should help you find the precise look you need. Whether you’re looking for sleek chrome, minimalist glass or futuristic shapes, this is a great place to start when choosing your bathroom lighting for a modern aesthetic.

Traditional Bathroom Lighting

Prefer the traditional look? This style of lighting design covers a variety of looks and finishes, characterised by opulent detailing, stained glass and classic metals like brass and copper. Investigate the lighting in this collection if you want to create a stylishly-old-fashioned aesthetic in your bathroom, rather than something sleek and modern.

Pendant Bathroom Lighting

If you know you specifically want a hanging light in your bathroom, a pendant light is the perfect choice. Ideal for bathrooms with high ceilings and plenty of space, a pendant light can make a fantastic central room statement or a great way to draw focus to room features such as a bath or sink unit. Be sure to check IP ratings and ceiling heights before choosing your light if you’re installing above water sources. Jump ahead to our IP rating section below for more help on this.

choosing bathroom lights - a silver chrome set of bathroom spotlights with three lights
choosing bathroom lights - a mirrored bathroom wall light
choosing bathroom lights - a silver and glass bathroom chandelier

Bathroom Downlights

Downlights and spotlights are highly popular choices for bathroom lighting due to their compact, barely-there design, easy maintenance and suitability for wet environments. Whether set flush into the ceiling or attached to a track, these lights make ideal choices for small bathrooms or those looking to achieve a contemporary finish.

Bathroom Wall Lighting

Ideal for bathrooms with low ceilings and less available space, wall lights are a popular and versatile option when choosing bathroom lighting. Available in both modern and traditional styles, bathroom wall lights are well suited to bathroom installations and work especially well when placed above bathroom mirrors as a combination of both task and accent lighting.

Bathroom Chandeliers

If you’re looking to create an extra level of grandeur and statement design in your bathroom, a chandelier might just be the perfect choice. These do take up a large amount of space due to their size and hanging design, so they are best suited to larger bathrooms with high ceilings. These make great central room statements for any opulent bathroom design, providing astonishing brightness and sparkle for a blend of modern and traditional style.

Choosing Bathroom Lighting: By Finish

If you have a specific style and aesthetic in mind, choosing your bathroom lighting by finish is a smart place to start. This will allow you to create a coordinated look across your entire bathroom, with matching finishes across all lighting styles. Browse the most popular bathroom lighting finishes below to find the right look for your vision:

chrome and silver bathroom lights - choosing bathroom lights silver texture
brass and copper bathroom lights - choosing bathroom lights brass texture
glass and crystal bathroom lights - choosing bathroom lights crystal texture

Chrome, Silver & Stainless Steel

All providing very similar aesthetics, these cool-metal finishes make ideal choices for modern bathrooms. If you want something that will work with any colour scheme and provide a light, bright feel, then chrome, silver, aluminium and stainless steel lighting finishes are complete no-brainers.

Copper & Brass

Better suited to traditional-style bathrooms, copper and brass finishes create warm, glowing aesthetics with a stylish, old-fashioned feel. Choose copper and brass bathroom lights to create charming, opulent or industrial-chic styling in your bathroom.

Crystal & Glass

Crystal bathroom lighting adds glamour and opulence, while glass bathroom lighting can create a modern, minimalist aesthetic, depending on the design you choose. Glass and crystal help reflect and intensify the light from your bulbs, creating a brighter, dazzling space to enjoy.

Choosing Bathroom Lighting: By IP Rating/Zone

Bathroom lighting needs to have certain IP ratings depending on where in the bathroom you plan to install it. Bathrooms are split into 4 zones based on proximity to water, so use the guide below to choose safe lighting with the right IP rating for your needs.

choosing bathroom lights IP67

Zone 0 - Directly inside bath or shower

If you’re planning to install lighting inside your bath, hot tub or shower stall, you will need to choose bathroom lights with the highest IP ratings of IP67 or IP68. These can withstand water immersion of up to 1 metre or more.

choosing bathroom lights IP45

Zone 1 - Directly above bath or shower

This is a very common IP rating for bathroom lighting, particularly essential for those looking to install downlights or spotlights directly above shower stalls and baths. IP45 rated lights can safely withstand splashing water and any contact from strong water jets when installed up to 2.25 metres from the floor.

choosing bathroom lights IP44

Zone 2 - Either side of bath, shower or sink

You will need IP44-rated bathroom lights if you’re planning to install lighting either side of your shower, bath or sink unit at a distance of up to 600mm from the water source and up to 2.25 metres from the floor. These can withstand moderate spraying or splashing of water, but nothing more powerful.

choosing bathroom lights IP20

Outer Zones - All other areas

If you’re installing lighting higher than 2.25 metres from floor level or outside of the above zones, you can take your IP rating as low as IP20, however, we would always recommend using lighting of IP44 minimum in bathrooms for added safety.

Still not sure which IP rating you need?

Read our complete guide to bathroom zones and IP ratings for more in-depth information about this highly important bathroom lighting consideration.

Choosing Bathroom Lighting: By Function

If you don't have a fixed idea of finish or style in mind, the best thing to do is to shop by function. What do you need your bathroom lights to do? 

General Bathroom Lighting

If you simply need some general lighting for day-to-day use, your best choice would be a classic bathroom ceiling light or a series of downlights. These will create an even spread of light across the entire room and create an inviting, comfortable ambience for everyday access and general bathroom use. 

Task / Vanity Lighting

Bathroom vanity lighting is often a necessary supplement to your general lighting and is needed for tasks such as shaving and applying makeup. The most common form of bathroom vanity lighting is a mirror light or cabinet light, which provides bright light combined with a mirror and storage for convenience.

Accent/Decorative Lighting

Like vanity lighting, any decorative or accent bathroom lighting is purely there to supplement your main light source for aesthetic reasons. You can add LED light strips to the undersides of cabinets or units for a modern glow, or you can install downward-facing wall lights above mirrors or pictures for added ambience.






Our bathroom lighting guide has all needs and requirements covered, but if you’re still in need of advice on how to choose bathroom lighting you can give our sales team a call on 020 8925 8639.