Bathroom Lighting

Bathrooms should be both practical and luxurious spaces where we can escape for a little alone time or feel energised before the day ahead.
Collaboration Ina Rinderknecht
Collaboration Richmond International
Collaboration Richmond International

Bathroom lighting design is often overlooked. It’s an important space in our homes in terms of function, privacy and escape. With expert bathroom lighting, you will want to spend time pampering, restoring and relaxing in the bath. Kate & Sam’s extensive experience of hotel bathroom lighting can be used to maximum effect in residential schemes using bathroom wall lights, reflective mirror lights and flattering bathroom ceiling lights. Treat yourself to a luxury bathroom experience with professional advice.

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Image courtesy of Adare Manor Hotel
Collaboration Ina Rinderknecht
Collaboration Richmond International
Bathrooms should be both practical and luxurious spaces where we can escape for a little alone time or feel energised before the day ahead. The three main functions of bathroom lighting are to wake you up as you prepare for the day, provide a light and airy space for body maintenance and finally a more subtle, spa-like lighting for relaxation and bathing. Kate & Sam can help you with bathroom lighting ideas you haven’t even considered referencing many years of experience in both hotel and residential bathroom lighting.

One key suggestion is to incorporate dimmer settings from outside the door to control and create the perfect balance to the layers of light. Different circuits will allow greater flexibility and control. Bathroom mirror lighting positioned at head height in 2700K will be flattering to your face whilst still being bright enough to shave, wash and put on your makeup. The early morning wake up routine requires lots of light to force your retina to pass the ‘bright’ message to your circadian rhythm. Avoid downlights directly above the mirror as they will create uncomplimentary shadows. Pendant lights or wall lights either side of the mirror can be both decorative and practical, so too can a backlit mirror – all of which should be IP rated if located near a water source. Kate & Sam can advise on all the technical aspects of bathroom lighting.

Strategically placed ceiling lights in other areas of the bathroom can create streaks or pools of light for daytime use, depending on your natural light source. Gone are the days of down light grids, there are more creative options available. 2700K is recommended for good general lighting. (**You have quoted this for early morning wake up lighting too – please check*)
Low level, energy efficient LED’s will help you create the spa-like and spacious effect to aid relaxation. Controlled by a different circuit to the mirror lights means you will enjoy the subtle effects without activating any other bright lighting. There are many clever effects that can be achieved such as simulating night lights, reflective surfaces and floor washes.

For relaxing and bathing you can have some fun with uplights, a dimmable pendant or clever shadow gaps. One tip is to lie in the bath and test the light levels to avoid glare in your eyes. If there is no time or budget for rewiring then candles can work wonders for relaxation. There is also the option of lit niches or motion sensor cupboard lighting for extra impact or when visiting the bathroom at night time.

Kate & Sam will help you master all these lighting challenges with both practical and creative flair.

Meet Kate and Sam

Sam Neuman

Having made a career in architectural lighting design, Sam has worked alongside a number of leading practices from Imagination to NDYLight, WSP and more. Sam is an active member of the lighting community and regularly presents lectures and publishes articles around his areas of expertise.

Sam has worked with several leading practices and has dedicated his career to architectural lighting design. He is active within the lighting design community by presenting lectures and publishing articles.

Kate Wilkins

Kate has worked on a number of lighting projects for a wide variety of live performance, architectural and artistic lighting designs since 1991. Fascinated by the way lighting can change our moods, Kate also loves to explore human behaviour with experimental lighting projects.

Kate is particularly fascinated by the mood altering effects of light and the deep connection to our senses. She is currently researching sleep patterns and optimising bedroom environments for both adults and children.


How much light do I need in my bathroom?

Bathrooms should be both practical and luxurious spaces where we can escape for a little alone time or feel energised before the day ahead. The three main functions of bathroom lighting are to wake you up as you prepare for the day – Bright, provide a light and airy space – Medium and finally a more subtle, spa-like lighting for relaxation and bathing – Low.

What IP rating do I need in the bathroom?

We all know that water and electricity are not a good combination. In the bathroom there are 3 different zones for ligts and electrics around the wet areas. Depending where the light is proposed different IP and power ratings apply.

  • Zone O – In the bath or directly submerged lighting needs to be IP68 with an extra low voltage supply.
  • Zone 1 – Over shower and around the bath a minimum rating of IP44 applies but depending on how high the ceiling is and how wet the area will be IP65 is generally recommended.
  • Zone 2 – Outside 0.6mm the perimeter of the bath and sink up to a height of 2.25m IP44 generally applies.

These rules should only be taken as a guide and each instance needs to be assessed based on your lighting design. A qualified electrician will be able to advise on exactly what IP and power ratings are suitable.

What colour temperature of lighting is best in the bathroom?

We generally recommend a colour temperature of 3000K/2700K but some people prefer cooler colour of lighting, in any case what is important is the colour rendering or CRI. The colour rendering of the lighting needs to be CRI 90+. The lighting needs to make you feel and look good.

What lights can I put next to the sink?

This is a great place to make your bathroom feel like a luxury 5-star hotel. There are also now so many great wall light options suitable for the bathroom. Providing the lights are more than 60cm from the water then IP44 will generally be sufficient but this will need to  re-confirmed by your electrician before installation.

What is the best mirror lighting?

The best mirror lighting will make you look and feel great. We generally recommend a colour temperature of 2700K but some people prefer a cooler white. The skin needs to look good. Lights needs to be at head height and bright enough to clearly see and inspect. Ideally the mirror lighting is on a dimmer allowing a bright setting for make-up and shaving and low setting for evenings and late.

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“Kate was absolutely brilliant at coming in and designing a lighting plan that suited our space and practical requirements that delivered atmospheric layers and pockets enabling us to flexibly complement our interiors and design.”

Vicky C

“Excellent, practical advice that was simple and affordable to implement.”


“We have been working with Kate&Sam for many years now. They provide the expertise and technical knowledge, which bring our designs to life. Sam always goes the extra mile to ensure we receive the best lighting solution for our clients which provide maximum effect for the budget.”

Anne M

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Find out more information on the perfect home lighting ideas for you. Book an online consultancy and discover how we can help make your house a home.

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