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Bathroom lighting explained

Flexible lighting solutions to help you get the most out of your bathroom design.

We often overlook the importance of good lighting in bathroom design, but it can be the pivotal element in creating a space that is comfortable, attractive and functional. The results of poorly thought out bathroom lighting are familiar to all of us.  Think back to staying in a hotel room after a long travel day, looking in the bathroom mirror and thinking, “I can’t see myself very well.”

A well-planned lighting scheme can enhance any bathroom layout. Below we consider the best locations for bathroom lights, the most suitable styles and materials, and the statutory regulations for the use of lights in bathrooms.

Positioning of lights

One of the primary functions of bathroom lighting is to provide targeted lighting to complete daily routines, especially when using the vanity mirror. It is best to mount the light between shoulder and face height, using one light either side of the mirror at 45 to 60 degrees, to give an even distribution of glow across your face. Avoid downlights as they tend to create downward shadows on the face.

If there is no space to position a light on the wall above or on either side of the mirror, a linear light above or on the mirror, lit mirrors and magnifying mirrors are potential solutions. Enlightened Living’s Mirror Mounting Kit allows wall lights to be directly mounted onto the mirror, compatible with a multitude of contemporary styles.

General lighting in the bathroom can range from a single ceiling light to multiple downlights installed across the ceiling. The Arezzo and Altea 300 ceiling-mounted lights are effective IP-rated solutions that are suitable for bathroom applications. You may also consider the Minima Round Fixed in black or matte white as a stylish fixed downlight option.

Altea 300 Ceiling by Astro Lighting | Available via Enlightened Living

Styles and materials

Bathroom lighting can be used as a decorative element, with designs and styles ranging from the minimal to the opulent. As bathrooms are inherently wet environments, product materials should be carefully considered to ensure they meet statutory requirements and respond well to moisture.

For example, fabric shades are often used to diffuse gentle lighting across a bathroom space, but some fabrics may deteriorate over time, and can become a reservoir for mould and mildew. Instead, look for products that are easy to clean, and come with sealed surfaces.

Arezzo Ceiling by Astro Lighting | Available via Enlightened Living

IP rating and zoning requirements

Quality light fittings should have an Ingress Protection (IP) rating, which is a classification of the level of sealed protection the fitting has against solids and liquids. The higher the IP rating, the greater the light’s protection against ingress.

Electrical equipment must offer a certain degree of protection against water. In bathroom design, rules for this are set out in AS/NZS 3000:2018, which is better known as the “Australian Wiring Rules”. This Standard divides the bathroom into different zones depending on how much water is likely to be present, and specifies the required IP rating for fittings installed in that zone.

Elena by Astro Lighting | Available via Enlightened Living

For example, Zone 0 refers to the bath, basin, or shower base; luminaires in this zone must be able to withstand immersion for a short while and thus must have a rating of IP67 or better.  Other zones allow fittings with lower IP ratings, so it is best to consult with your supplier to find a compliant solution.

Enlightened Living is proud to bring some of the world’s leading lighting brands to Australia. To discover their bathroom lighting range or talk to their lighting experts, go to their website here.

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Mille by Astro Lighting | Available via Enlightened Living
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