Using designer lighting in a bathroom – a safety and style guide

What designer lighting works best in a bathroom – and what are the safety regulations for ceiling pendant lights and wall lights? Here’s our guide…

We’re often asked about using Pooky’s designer wall lights and pendants in bathrooms. So if you’re worried about the safety regulations for installing light fittings near water, or just want some tips on making your bathroom beautiful, this guide will answer your questions.

What is an IP44 rating? Can I have a IP67 rated light? Where should I put an IP45 rated light? Is an IP65 rated light safe for a bathroom? The burning questions for choosing the correct IP ratings for your home.

Don't worry we've explained IP ratings in this handy guide...

IP rated electrical light fittings have a number consisting of two digits. The first digit refers to the fitting’s protection against penetration by solids (e.g. dust) and the second digit refers to its protection against moisture. The higher the number, the more resistant it is. Here’s what each digit means…

First digit
Protection from solids
Second digit
Protection from liquids
No protection.
No protection.
Protected against penetration by solid objects 50mm+.
Protected from vertically falling drops.
Protected against penetration by solid objects 12mm+.
Protected from water drops falling at a max angle of 15°.
Protected against penetration by solid objects 2.5mm+.
Protected from water as in the rain at a max angle of 60°.
Protected against penetration by solid objects 1mm+.
Protected from splashing or projection.
Dust Protected.
Protected from low pressure jets.
Dust Tight.
Protected from high pressure jets.
Protected from temporary immersion.
Protected against long periods of immersion.

Safety regulations: Can you use ordinary non-IP rated light fittings in a bathroom?

There are safety regulations for installing electric light fittings near sources of water, but as long as you follow some simple guidelines it’s perfectly fine to use ordinary light fittings in a bathroom. Basically, if you situate lights inside designated ‘zones’ in a bathroom, the fittings need to have an IP rating (explained below). But outside those zones then any standard lights are fine to use. The shaded areas in this picture show the zones:

Zone 0 (dark grey) is actually inside the bath, the bottom of the shower or the sink. Any fitting used in this zone must be low voltage, (max 12v) and be rated at least IP67 (see below for an explanation of the different IP ratings).

Zone 1 (medium grey) is the area above the bath or shower to a height of 2.25m from the floor. In this zone a minimum rating of IP45 is required (but most shower lights are IP65, which is the generally recommended minimum).

Zone 2 (light grey) is the area stretching 60cm outside the perimeter of the bath and to a height of 2.25m from the floor. Around a sink or wash basin it is a 60cm radius of any tap. In this zone an IP rating of at least IP44 is required.

Outside these zones (the white areas) any light fittings are fine to use. So in a nutshell – when you’re installing lights in showers and in the zones 0 and 1 close to baths and sinks you need the specialist bathroom lights with the relevant IP ratings (e.g. sunken LED lights.)

We have a range of IP44-rated wall light fittings suitable for Zone 2 in a bathroom, which you can view here. But otherwise, outside the shaded Zones, you can happily put in any of Pooky’s designer pendant or wall lights and make your bathroom as stylish and beautiful as you like!

Form and function in bathroom lighting

For obvious reasons, the bathroom is one place where functional task lighting is very important. Lights inside the shower, and shaving lights to help you see what you’re doing in the mirror, should be specialist IP rated fittings (as described above). But lights aren’t just for helping you see. Good ambient lighting creates a lovely, indulgent atmosphere when you’re soaking in the tub. And there’s no reason why you can’t employ designer decorative lighting to make your bathroom stylish, just as you do in your sitting room or bedroom. In other words, prioritising your lighting’s function doesn’t mean you should neglect its form.

Using brass wall and pendant lights in a bathroom

Brass is a great material for bathrooms because it doesn’t steam up and you can choose a finish to match your bathroom fittings. Something like the large and long Humph trio of wall lights in antiqued silver will give you plenty of ambient light as well as a very cool, industrial look.

Humph large and long wall light - shop here Browse all of our brass wall lights here and our brass pendants here.

Using glass wall and pendant lights in a bathroom

Bulbus pendant - shop here

Clean, clear glass is also perfect for a gorgeous bathroom. The Bulbus glass pendant light (above and top), with its a smart brass fitting has a lovely liquid droplet shape that looks sensational… and after all, why shouldn’t your bathroom have a stunning showpiece? Or you could go for ‘understated charm’, a clear fishbowl style like the Espere looks very clean and cool on a bathroom wall…

smaller plumb wall fitting in antiqued brass with smaller espere in clear glass

Espere glass wall light with IP44 fitting- shop here For wall lights, the Dahlia wall light is a hand-finished glass shade fizzing with thousands of tiny bubbles…

Dahlia wall light - clear glass

Dahlia wall light - shop here 

Or you can use glass to introduce some subtle colour. Blues and turquoises work extremely well in bathrooms, while this is the amber Dahlia blown glass "bubble" shade, with an PI44-rated swan neck wall light in antique brass...

Dahlia wall light in amber with IP44 fitting - shop here

Browse all of our glass wall lights here and our glass pendant lights here.

As long as you follow the correct safety procedures and make sure you install lights outside of the zones requiring IP rated fittings, you can use any lighting to make your bathroom as stylish as you like.

We have a range of IP44-rated wall light fittings suitable for Zone 2 in a bathroom, which you can view here.

Otherwise, Pooky’s lights do not have an IP rating but as long as they are fitted outside of the zones 0, 1 and 2 as explained above, they are perfectly fine to install in a bathroom. You may find that some electricians have a policy that means they will not fit anything in a bathroom unless it is IP rated. That is their right, but it is not what the regulations require.

Please note that we recommend consulting your electrician before purchasing lighting for high moisture areas, such as a bathroom, whether IP rated or otherwise.