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The best ceiling lights for your bathroom

Author: Peter Hopper
Published: March 27, 2013

Providing lighting for the bathroom presents its own special problems and contradictions. The bathroom gets used at all times of the day or night, so lights are essential.

Lighting means electric light. The bathroom is frequently quite wet and we all know electricity and water do not mix well. Bathroom ceiling lights are the best option for the main lighting in the bathroom because the ceiling is as far away from water as you can get. However there is still steam to consider, even with a good extractor.

Zones and Ratings

Electrical safety regulations divide bathrooms into zones , Zone 0 being the wettest, actually in the bath or shower tray and Zone 3 being the least likely to get wet. Any area more than 2.25 metres above floor level is in zone 3. The average ceiling height in modern properties is around 2.4 metres, higher in older houses, so bathroom ceiling lights are likely to be in zone 3.  For more in-depth details of this topic take a look at our complete guide to bathroom zones.

This zoning is to enable electricians and anyone buying lights to know what degree of protection is needed for a given location. To find the degree of protection provided to a light, look for the IP Rating. This consists of the letters IP followed by two digits. The first digit refers to protection against fingers, solid objects, dust etc., the second to protection against the ingress of moisture. The higher the figure in each case the higher the degree of protection. Our guide to IP Ratings will give you the full rundown of what is what when it comes to IP ratings.

Be safe – use a professional

Installing bathroom ceiling lights should always be carried out by a qualified electrician. However you may well be choosing the lights yourself for him or her to install, so even a basic knowledge of the requirements will save you time and trouble and may even impress your electrician!

IP as standard

Bathroom ceiling lights to be installed in Zone 3 do not actually require an IP Rating at all. However remember, the regulations prescribe minimum requirements and it makes sense to use only IP rated lights anywhere in the bathroom if only because they are likely to last much longer, quite apart from any safety aspects. All the bathroom ceiling lights sold by Lighting Direct are IP rated to at least IP44.

Flush is plush

A small bathroom of a regular shape may only need a single bathroom ceiling light. Others may require several lights. In either case the use of flush fitting ceiling lights not only looks attractive, they keep cleaner and having their working bits concealed behind the ceiling helps to protect from the steam generated by a hot bath or shower. Here is a selection of bathroom ceiling lights available from Lighting Direct to help you find the right bathroom lighting for you.

Recessed downlights

We’ll start with multiple recessed downlights. Lighting Direct recommends any of the following six examples.

  1. Fireguard recessed downlights are available in a variety of finishes to suit every taste. These are LED lights giving superb light with very low energy consumption over an incredibly long life. All are rated IP65 which is more than adequate for use in any bathroom zone other than inside the bath or shower, Zone 0.
  2. If you want a bathroom ceiling light that is not completely flush then the Vancouver Downlight - Round from Astro is a robust choice. This fitting has a double layer of frosted inner and clear outer glass. It carries an IP65 rating and has a 5 year guarantee so you know it is of the highest quality.
  3. Designed specifically for use within a shower cubicle the Fire Rated Shower Light  from Eterna is, again, rated IP65 and is suitable for use in Zone 1, anywhere in the shower above the actual shower tray. It’s a very neat flush fitting with mountings designed to accommodate differing ceiling thickness's and uses a halogen bulb for bright light with excellent economy.

To flush or semi-flush – that is the question

Lighting Direct also has many recommended flush or semi-flush bathroom ceiling lights. Full details of all of them can be found in our bathroom lighting section but here is a brief look at some of them.

  1. The Carina LED Flush  is another good sized light flush fitting. Featuring a 330mm diameter, its LED light offers extreme economy and life together with fantastic light. It’s IP65 rated so you can use it anywhere in Zones 1,2 or3.
  2. Another bathroom ceiling light suitable for a single installation, the Encore Low Energy Flush Fitting is 255mm in diameter. IP rated 44, it can be used in Zone 1 but is better suited to Zones 2 and 3.
  3. Offering traditional style, the Barclay Semi Flush Fitting is also rated IP44 so you can use it in the same places as the Encore. This one is a bit bigger at 380mm diameter, has a domed glass and fixes to the ceiling surface.
  4. Bathroom ceiling lights come in so many different styles and the Cafe Semi Flush is different to any we've looked at so far. It combines a beautiful scallop shape design with an opal glass diffuser. Its IP44 rating makes it ideal for Zones 2 and 3.
  5. Another very stylish modern design is the Mantra Semi-flush  fitting. This one is a large square fitting that would grace the most elegant of bathrooms. IP44 rated it is safe to use anywhere in Zones 2 and 3.

A little bit more

If you really want to inject style into your bathroom via your ceiling lights and have sufficient ceiling height that a more protruding design is suitable, you will probably love the Crystal 4 light Plate. This stunning light is also available in a single version. Both are IP44 rated so you can use them in Zones 2 and 3.

The choice is yours

The best ceiling lights for your bathroom could be any one of the above. Having said that, you know your bathroom best and if these don’t quite give you what you want feel free to browse our full selection of bathroom lighting to find your ideal bathroom ceiling light.

Looking for more inspiration and advice? Try our Lighting Ideas section.

Where Next?

  Bathroom lighting zones where next   IP44 bathroom lights where next   Bathroom vanity lighting where next