Our guide to bathroom lighting zones

If you’re after a bitesize guide to bathroom lighting zones and need-to-know regulations, you’ve come to the right place. A bathroom, also known as a wet room, is a designated space where water can be used, splashed and sloshed freely. But, since modern bathrooms also incorporate electric lighting, you must be mindful of your fitting – since water and electricity should never come into contact.

Bathroom lighting zones explained

Zone 0

This is the area inside a bath, shower or sink. Fittings in Zone 0, also known as The Zone, require a low voltage lumen, rated IPx7 or above.

Zone 1

This is the area around a bath or shower. It extends up to 2250mm from the floor and has a radius of 1200mm from the water outlet. Fittings in Zone 1 require a minimum rating of IPx4, while lighting inside shower cubicles must be rated IPx5 or more. If a 240v fitting has been used, a 30ma residual current device (RCD) will protect the circuit.

Zone 2

This area lies 600mm outside the perimeter of a bath, shower or washbasin, and extends up to 2250mm from the floor. Fittings in Zone 2 require a minimum rating of IPx4.

IP ratings for bathrooms explained

To make sourcing the right light fitting easy, the IEE Wiring Regulations have also given lights an IP rating – or Ingress Protection Rating. These numbers indicate when and where a fitting should be used, thanks to the natural protection against solids (the first number) and liquids (the second number), e.g. IP34 or IP57. In both instances, the higher the number, the greater the protection. Below, we have explained the meaning behind the second digit – protection against fluids. Please note, real liquid protection starts at IIPx4, and we have not defined the protection against solids.


Zero protection against any liquid.


Some protection against vertically falling drops of water, i.e. condensation.


Some protection against direct sprays of water, up to 15° from vertical.


Some protection against direct sprays of water, up to 60° from vertical.


Protection against water sprayed from all directions – limited ingress permitted.


Protection against low-pressure jets of water from all directions – limited ingress permitted.


Protection against high-pressure jets of water (for use on a ship deck) – limited ingress permitted.


Protection against the effects of immersion, from 15cm-1m.


Protection against long periods of pressurised immersion.

For more information about bathroom lighting zones, please read the IEE wiring regulations (17th edition) or contact your local, qualified electrician.

If you have any questions about the IP rating of our products, please contact customer services on customerservices@buyitdirect.co.uk or 0871 244 0935.

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