Bathroom lighting is really important. Of all the rooms in the house, the bathroom needs to have the most flexible lighting scheme. Bathroom lighting must also be safe and comply with IEE bathroom lighting safety requirements, check out bathroom lighting zones for help on getting the right bathroom lights.

If you’ve inherited a dingy, depressing bathroom or want to update your old one, there are lots of things you can do with the wiring that’s already there, to improve bathroom lighting. If you’re fitting a brand-new bathroom plan the bathroom lighting carefully and as early on as possible. If the new tiles have been laid over the cabling, for example, it will be very hard to change the bathroom lighting.

If you are altering the bathroom lighting, take care to use bathroom light fittings that are designed for use in bathrooms.

Bathroom lighting top tips

  • To maximise natural daylight, take down blinds, fussy curtains and unnecessary window dressing. If you’re worried about being overlooked, a cheap solution is to frost your window – either pay a glazier or use a frosting-effect spray from DIY stores
  • The bathroom light switch must either be located outside the bathroom or be a pull cord switch
  • If you only have a harsh central light operated by a pull cord, install a dimmer
  • Stud the ceiling with several low-voltage spotlights or down lighters, which wash the bathroom walls with light
  • To light your bathroom mirror, install a row of light bulbs, dressing-room style, around it.
  • Make sure you can see when you’re in the shower with the cubicle door shut – you can fit a pressure-mounted waterproof light inside the shower door
  • Lights specifically designed for underwater use, such as fibre optics, can look fantastic
  • Ensure bathroom lighting is ambient and soothing. Opt for light bulbs with rosy, peachy tones to make skin tones glow.
  • Eyes need a break from artificial lighting so try to use natural sunlight or candles turning the bathroom into a soft glowing grotto
  • If you like to read in the bath, fit a light either above or to the sink of the bathroom to prevent eye strain

Try to install bathroom lighting that creates an atmosphere by focusing on and around shelving, mirrors and shower enclosures. You can even set up two separate circuits to create the ultimate flexibility.

No natural light in bathroom

Sometimes bathrooms have no natural light but of all rooms in the house bathroom lighting is perhaps the most unforgiving. No windows mean there are fewer privacy issues and if the room is small you can use all available wall space. Most people only use the bathroom early in the morning or late at night so electric bathroom lighting will be required more often than not.

Bathroom lighting should be bright enough to enable you to put on make-up or shave, but you don’t want to take a relaxing bath under a 100 watt bulb. Remember bathroom lighting safety at all times.