1. Bathrooms should be able to be brightly illuminated when they need to be – e.g. for bathing children or it might just be so that they can be cleaned properly.
  2. If the washbasin mirror needs to be used for making up or shaving (particularly for wet shaving!) then it needs lighting that doesn’t create shadows. If your main light source is going to be ceiling downlights, there’s nothing wrong with picking out a feature washbasin with one. To eliminate shadows, provide an illuminated mirror with the lights to either side (or all around, a la theatre dressing rooms) using a pair of wall lights or a pair of ceiling pendants.
  3. Don’t dazzle yourself with ceiling downlights when lying in the bath. If you want even illumination, you’ll usually need them over the bath, so either make them dimmable or put them on a separate circuit so you can turn them off completely.
  4. Our bathrooms are sanctuaries today so build in some background/night lighting. This is another way to allow yourself to relax when bathing and is great for middle of the night trips to the loo. Low light levels can be enough to do what you need to do without stimulating the hormones that will wake you up.
  5. If ensuites are separated from the bedrooms with dressing rooms, consider some kind of marker lighting to guide you to the bathroom without waking anyone else or yourself up too much.
  6. Follow the principle of highlighting features that you feel are particularly special into your bathrooms. I’ve previously mentioned picking out feature washbasins, but this could equally apply to architectural radiators, built in joinery or artwork.
  7. Just like storage in any other rooms, consider whether you need to be able to see what’s in linen presses, airing cupboards or other built in storage and either incorporate lights or illuminate from outside as appropriate.
  8. I’d recommend being able to operate the bathroom lighting from within your bathrooms if you can. From a practicality point of view no-one can leave you in the dark by playing with switches outside the bathroom! However, if you have more than one lighting circuit multiple ceiling pull cords look messy and take up a lot of ceiling space. Washbasin lighting could be chosen to have its own pull cords and some mirrors and cabinets have discretely integrated sensors. If you are having a lighting control system many of these are permissible in bathrooms as they aren’t mains powered. If you aren’t having one consider some of the single room controls that are appropriate for bathrooms. What can be better than dimming the lights from the bathtub!
  9. Make sure that any lights in the floor where you might step on them operate at a low temperature.
  10. Make sure that any lighting that you purchase for bathrooms has the appropriate IP (water tightness) rating for the particular Zone where it will be installed. Electricians are completely within their rights to refuse to install any lighting that doesn’t have the correct IP ratings and should do so. Don’t be caught with lights that you don’t have a home for and the costs of getting your electrician back when you have the correct lights!

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