Lighting the bathroom requires special attention not only with regard to the position of the light points in the different areas (mirror, shower, etc.). A proper lighting design of this space must also and above all take into account the safety factor, in particular where the accumulation of humidity or water splashes can create interference with the lighting devices or even situations of risk. Let’s see what this means in detail.
Although the bathroom is not an outdoor location such as the garden or the porch, the degree of protection must in any case be higher than that provided in other rooms and rooms of the house, such as the corridor or the bedroom.
Lamps and LEDs installed near taps and shower heads must be chosen not only on the basis of aesthetics and functionality, but also in relation to the IP degree guaranteed by the manufacturer. Let’s start by better understanding how to interpret this value, after which we move on to a general scheme indicating for each area of the bathroom the IP degree required and some examples with real photos.
WHAT IP RATING MEANS AND WHERE TO FIND THIS DATA
The IP degree indicates the international degree of protection of a device against the penetration of foreign solids and liquids. This is a very important value for lamps, as it attests to their ability to withstand dust, steam and other elements without being damaged. The IP rating is divided into two numbers. The first number indicates the degree of protection against solids and ranges from 0 (no protection) to 6 (total protection against dust). The second number indicates the protection from liquids and goes from 0 (no protection) to 8 (protected against the effects of continuous immersion). The IP rating scale therefore ranges from a minimum of IP00 to a maximum of IP68. This information is usually already indicated in the product packaging, on the outside, otherwise it can be found in the instruction and assembly manual. Be wary of lamps and devices that do not report this information! What about the lamps in our bathroom? Which degrees of protection should we be looking at?
THE THREE TYPICAL ZONES AND THE IP DEGREE OF BATHROOM LAMPS
In the diagram below we have divided the bathroom into three “standard zones”. Be careful not to confuse the three complements (sink, bathtub and shower) with the three zones (zone 1, 2 and 3). The areas to which a different IP rating corresponds are precisely the coloured ones: in white the area furthest from water and steam sources (where an IP rating of 20 or more may be sufficient), in blue the intermediate area (IP rating up to 44, sufficient to protect the device from splashes), and finally in blue the area closest to splashes and humidity (IP rating 45 or higher to guarantee anti-nebulation protection).
EXAMPLES OF BATHROOM LAMPS WITH DIFFERENT IP RATINGS
Given the IP degree and the respective areas to be illuminated, we just have to propose some models of lamps valid for the bathroom, each with its own specific IP degree.
For zone 3 (white area) we can mention the recessed LED spotlights, ideal for mounting on the ceiling or wall, with IP rating from 20 to 44.
Recessed spotlights are very versatile and in addition to the functional side can be used to enhance niches, specific areas or make your bathroom a small spa that we all need every now and then! Contemporary LED technology allows us to create excellent systems, including chromotherapy, at really high costs. (But we would talk about this topic in more detail in one of the next posts, because it certainly deserves to be investigated properly. In the meantime on Mesretail you can find a post on how to design LED lamps for the bathroom).
For the intermediate zone 2 (blue area), we could use instead design lamps with compact shapes, with little space, to be placed over the mirror or washbasin, see for example the wall lamp Halfpipe with IP protection degree equal to 44. The light of this lamp with its essential and elegant shape diffuses along the sinuous curvature, adjustable at 35° to direct and distribute the brightness in a targeted and direct way only where it is needed. And certainly the mirror and washbasin areas are those where we need the most functional and adequate light.
Finally, for zone 3 closest to taps and shower heads, we recommend using the latest generation of professional LED strips with high brightness and efficiency, highly appreciated for their ease of application and freedom of installation on any surface, with an IP rating of 65 or 68. The strips in IP65 or 68 are equipped with a silicone cover (therefore they do not need other supports) that allows frontal protection from external agents such as water, dust, etc.. In any case, it is also possible to use LED strips with a lower IP degree but suitably glued inside the special aluminium profile and sealed with the cover/diffuser, thus making them protected.