Can You Put LED Lights In Your Bathroom?

LED lighting has many advantages so you probably wonder if you can also put LEDs in your bathroom. It is possible, but it isn’t as simple as you think. If you aim for the best bathroom lighting, you need to consider the IP rating, color temperature, and type of light.

Why Do Bathrooms Require Different Lights?

Electricity and water should never mix up. That’s why bathrooms need special lights for safety purposes. You must use lights that are safe in a wet and moist environment to avoid trouble.

Water splashes and steams could penetrate the light fixtures and cause faults resulting in property damage or injury. Bathroom lights are regulated and designed with specific IP ratings to ensure safety and protection. The ratings vary where the lights are placed within your bathroom.

IP Ratings Defined

IP stands for Ingress Protection, which determines the LED light’s protection against dust or any other solid particles and water.

An IP rating is composed of two digits. The first digit shows the degree of protection against any solid objects while the second digit shows the degree of protection against water or any liquid that could leak into the light.

A higher IP means a higher shield against dust and water. Here are the descriptions for the first digit in the IP Rating:

  • 0 – unprotected or unsafe
  • 1 – safe from items bigger than 50 millimeters
  • 2 – safe from items bigger than 12.5 millimeters
  • 3 – safe from items bigger than 2.5 millimeters
  • 4 – safe from items bigger than 1 millimeter
  • 5 – safe from a mass of dust
  • 6 – totally safe from dust

For the second digit in IP Rating:

  • 0 – Not safe
  • 1 – safe from vertical leaks of liquids
  • 2 – safe from leaks of liquids to 15 degrees from straight down
  • 3 – safe from misting liquid up to 60 degrees from straight down
  • 4 – safe from misting liquid coming from all directions
  • 5 – safe from liquid fountains
  • 6 – safe from pressurized fountains
  • 7 – safe for liquid immersion up to one meter
  • 8 – safe for continuous liquid immersion for about 1 meter and beyond

What IP Rating Suits Bathrooms?

This highly depends from the exact location in your bathroom. For example, IP44 is safe from splashes of water, which may come from any direction. But this also means, this light must not be immersed in water. To find out the minimum required IP rating for each location, you need to know the following bathroom zones.

What are Bathroom Zones?

Aside from IP ratings, it helps to know about bathroom zones to guide you on which light fits a particular area in your bathroom.

For bathroom lights, there are identified zones or areas which require different IP ratings for your LED lights. Here are the zones and their descriptions.

Zone 0

This area is located inside the shower. You must choose a light with an IP rating of at least IP68. It’s also required to only use low voltage fittings with 12V maximum.

Zone 1

The location of this zone is the area above your bathroom’s shower. Its distance is at least 2.25 meters from the bathroom floor. You will need an IP rating of minimum 44 for your lights here. However, we recommend to use at least IP65 for additional protection.

Zone 2

This zone includes the area above your bathroom sink, which measures 0.6 meters from the faucets. To be safe, choose a light with an IP rating of at least IP44. But again, if there’s a chance that a jet of water hits your light fitting when cleaning your bathroom, you should also choose IP65 here.

Zone 3

The bathroom’s Zone 3 is far from the water sources and is considered the safest area for the lights.

Because it’s safe from splashes of water, any IP rating for your lights will be enough. However, we still recommend you choose IP44 lighting for precautions.

Helpful Bathroom Lighting Tips

We’ve gathered some helpful lighting tips to guide you when choosing lights for your bathroom.

  1. Mirrors and countertops must be lighted well for your convenience and to maximize their purposes.
  2. Choose to use LED bulbs in your bathroom for superior light output.
  3. Choose lights with the appropriate IP rating for specific bathroom zones.
  4. Don’t overdo your bathroom lighting. Evaluate the bathroom area before deciding where to place the lights and how many lights you need.
  5. The general rule is to use warm white lighting in your bathroom interior. It gives the ideal light temperature for the area.
  6. Colors influence your bathroom lighting as well. When you have a choice, choose pale and light colors for your paint or tile because they reflect light better than darker ones.

You can also check out our article about bathroom lighting ideas to get some overall inspirations.

Bathroom Color Temperatures

Kelvins is the measurement used to determine color temperature. Choose a light with higher Kelvin to illuminate your bathroom with the ideal color temperature of white.

Warm or soft lighting in your bathroom will give you a soothing ambiance. Choosing lights with lower Kelvins, such as 2700k will make you feel more relaxed.

Choose lights of 4000k to give you a brighter light in your bathroom. These lights are ideal when you’re cleaning or doing some personal stuff such as putting on makeup.

Types of Bathroom Lighting

Lighting approaches also differ for each area in your bathroom. You must select the correct type of light to be more efficient with your light design and its function. Here are the types of bathroom lighting:

Task Lighting

Task lighting requires bright light to help you with personal and complex tasks. It’s perfect to use near the bathroom mirror. Task lighting is also used for accessory lights hanging from the bathroom ceiling.

Ambient Lighting

This type is helpful for a soothing bath to help you relax. It provides illumination in key areas inside your bathroom.

It’s also very useful if your bathroom doesn’t have much natural light. Choose lights with a natural hue for ambient lighting.

Accent Lighting

This light adds elegance and design to your bathroom but it’s not essential or most useful. Accent lighting is used to highlight an architectural element or work of art.

Decorative Lighting

Like accent lighting, this light is more of a design benefit. It’s a form of indirect lighting built into corners and edges of the bathroom walls or ceiling.

Cove lights and wall decor lights are a few examples of decorative lighting that makes your bathroom more attractive.