Lighting Guide

An easy guide to lighting...

IP Ratings Explained

IP rating stands for ingress protection rating, the numbers that follow 'IP' determine the protection provided against solid objects (including body parts like hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact, and water. IP ratings are usually shown as IP44 or IP65, with the first number being protection of solid objects and the second number determining the protection against liquids.

Solid objects:

Solid Object Rating Object size protected against Effective against
0 No protection against contact and ingress of objects
1 >50 mm Any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part
2 >12.5 mm Fingers or similar objects
3 >2.5 mm Tools, thick wires, etc.
4 >1 mm Most wires, screws, etc.
5 Dust protected Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment; complete protection against contact
6 Dust tight No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact


Liquid Rating Protected against Testing for Details
0 Not protected
1 Dripping water Dripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no harmful effect. Test duration: 10 minutes

Water equivalent to 1 mm rainfall per minute

2 Dripping water when tilted up to 15° Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle up to 15° from its normal position. Test duration: 10 minutes

Water equivalent to 3 mm rainfall per minute

3 Spraying water Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect. Test duration: 5 minutes

Water volume: 0.7 litres per minute
Pressure: 80–100 kPa

4 Splashing water Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect. Test duration: 5 minutes

Water volume: 10 litres per minute
Pressure: 80–100 kPa

5 Water jets Water projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects. Test duration: at least 3 minutes

Water volume: 12.5 litres per minute
Pressure: 30 kPa at distance of 3 m

6 Powerful water jets Water projected in powerful jets (12.5 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects. Test duration: at least 3 minutes

Water volume: 100 litres per minute
Pressure: 100 kPa at distance of 3 m

7 Immersion up to 1 m Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion). Test duration: 30 minutes

Immersion at depth of at least 1 m measured at bottom of device, and at least 15 cm measured at top of device

8 Immersion beyond 1 m The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. Normally, this will mean that the equipment is hermetically sealed. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects. Test duration: continuous immersion in water

Depth specified by manufacturer


With bathrooms, to help determine which IP rating is required a bathroom is split into 4 'Zones'

Zone 0 is inside the bath or shower itself. Any fitting used in this zone must be low voltage, (max 12v) and rated at least IP67 which is immersion proof.

Zone 1 is the area above the bath to a height of 2.25m from the floor. In this zone a minimum rating of IP44 is required. If a shower is present a minimum IP65 rating will be required

Zone 2 is an area stretching 0.6m outside the perimeter of the bath and to a height of 2.25m from the floor. In this zone an IP rating of at least IP44 is required

Zone 3 (or outside zone) does not require an IP rated fitting although often it is often recommend to use IP rated fittings of at least IP44 for the whole bathroom.

What Type Of Ceiling Lights Should I Get?

It is often difficult to determine what type of light would suit a certain room, they are however certain things to think about when selecting lights. It is often wise to have multiple light sources in a room to provide interest and/or a relaxing light, a wall light or table/floor lamp can completely change the look of a whole room:

Central Light

Central lights can be either functional or decorative, overall they are usually easy to install if there is an existing power source. Central lights offer good, overall spread of light, however the intensity of light will diminish the further you get from the light. If you have a large room it might be wise to have two fittings offering good light rather then one fitting with too much light nearby and not enough on the edges of the room.

Central lights can often be supplemented by floor lamps, table lamps, and wall lights to provide optional lighting for relaxation or for specific tasks such as reading.


Downlights are a great way to light a whole room, however it's important to make sure that the downlights are spread the right distance so no dark spots occur. Naturally downlights offer a cone of light, a good general rule of thumb is to spread downlights around 1m apart from each other - this ensures an even spread of light.


Spotlights provide easily directional lights to offer light where you need it most. An important thing to note with spotlights is that they do what they say - offer a 'spot' of light, therefore it's important to make sure there are enough spotlights to prevent dark spots in the room.


With all three options it can be beneficial to use supplement lighting from wall lights, table lamps and floor lamps to have flexibility and option.

Other Rooms

Bathroom Lighting

One of the most important and used areas of the bathroom is the bathroom mirror. They are a huge amount of options when it comes to mirrors - a cabinet can often provide light and space to hold toiletries for example. Many mirrors are available with optional lights, shelfs, shaver sockets, and demisters. It is important to think about where the light will be situated for a mirror, light directly in front of you while looking in the mirror will provide the best lighting:


Living Room Lighting:

It is important to remember that in the living room there are many functions that are done. Therefore it is important not to just have one main ceiling light in the centre. An adjustable reading light beside or behind your chair which can be switched whilst seated will prove invaluable, a simple free standing light with an adjustable arm or mother and child will give you the flexibility to read, sew or do anything that needs an intense light.

Two or three table lamps placed around the perimeter on tables, shelves or furniture will give the room a more spacious feeling as the light radiates inwards. These small pools of light also create interest, along with the attractiveness of the table lamp. Illuminating pictures or features such as a bookcase or cabinet will also make the room look more attractive, a simple picture light or spotlight will do the job in this instance.

Having dimmers also gives the flexibility of controlling the mood of your lighting, when watching TV the lights can be dimmed down or when you have guests round then the lights can be put to full power, the flexibility of dimming will prove invaluable.

Kitchen Lighting:

The kitchen is a working area and thus needs much light, one thing that some people ignore though is the need for under-cabinet or under-shelf lighting, it is vital that light should be directed onto the work surface so you will not be working in your shadows. There are a couple of lighting options with regards to under-cupboard lighting, fluorescent tubes are still quite popular as they give off little heat, halogen is quite popular as it gives a nice, bright light, another good source of light is LED which is becoming all the more popular as it uses very little energy and gives off virtually no heat.

For the centre main light there are basically three popular choices:

  • Spotlights or track - With spotlights and track you have a lot of flexibility and the light can be directed to your desire.
  • Fluorescent Tube - When people think of fluorescent tubes in the kitchen they often picture a bulky, plastic fitting which many find unattractive. Thankfully, though, many lighting manufacturers have created attractive, modern looking fittings with metal finishes and attractive glass diffusers. This has been helped by the introduction of the ultra-thin T5 tube, which can help to make nicer looking fittings. The advantage fluorescent tubes have over spotlight bulbs is that they give a more rounded light, instead of giving ‘pools’ of light like halogen spotlights.
  • Recessed Down lights - These fittings are getting ever more popular as they can be recessed in the ceiling, and are available in halogen, fluorescent or LED options. New technology has also enabled them to be fire-rated straight from the box as well. Before, to make a downlight fire-rated you needed to use a massive ‘firehood’ (basically a big blanket) but now using materials that expand under intense heat that seals the fixture and ceiling cut out to stop all heat, smoke and flames from spreading into your second story floor or loftspace. They are ultra compact and comply with Part-B, E, C, and Part-L UK Building Regulations.

Dining Room Lighting:

The main importance in this room is for the light over the dining table to be bright enough to see for tasks other then eating, however, when eating it might be wise to put the main light source on a dimmer to create mood lighting. If having a hanging pendant, remember not to hang a pendant so low that your diners have to peer round it, about 60cm above the table is about right. Many pendants can be adjusted to your taste at point of installation.

Bedroom Lighting:

Sadly, the bedroom sometimes gets forgotten as regards lighting. The bedroom is perfect for creating a warm mood with nice lighting, after all the bedroom is one of the rooms we spend most of our time in.

For bedtime reading it is wise to have either a table lamp or wall lights, or with a double room two tables lamps or individually switched spotlights. A mirror will give the room a bigger feel and will also be handy for putting on makeup and looking at our hair.

For the main centre light it is nice, if possible, to create a statement piece. This can be done by putting a chandelier up. For a convenient and practical source of light, a fan with lights will not only light up your room but also cool it.