Good bathroom lightingPlanning the perfect lighting in the bathroom

The bathroom is the first port of call in the morning and the last in the evening before going to bed. A bathroom with a homely atmosphere is the best way of getting the day off to a positive start and bringing it to a relaxing conclusion. Harmonious bathroom lighting plays an essential role here. Our guide can help you to find the right lighting for your bathroom.

Lighting explained – what do kelvin, Ra, lumen and lux mean?

Lighting is an important part of interior design and can have a significant impact on the atmosphere and mood of a room. Colour temperature, colour rendering, brightness and illuminance all play an important role here.

Illustration of colour temperature with different kelvin values (©

Colour temperature (kelvin) – how warm or cool the light is

The colour temperature defines how the colour of light is perceived. It specifies how warm or cool the light appears and is measured in kelvins (K). The higher the kelvin value, the cooler the light appears (bluish). Meanwhile, lower kelvin values are perceived as a warmer light (yellowish). For example, conventional light bulbs have a colour temperature of around 2,700 K, which makes them appear warmer and with a yellowish tone. In contrast, daylight has a colour temperature of between 5,000 and 6,500 K and appears cooler with a bluish tone.

Different lighting moods in the bathroom with the Geberit ComfortLight lighting concept (© Geberit)

In general, a differentiation is made between different categories of white light:

  • Warm white has a colour temperature of below 3,300 K and generates warm, homely lighting. It is often used in living areas, such as bedrooms, living rooms or corridors.
  • Neutral white or universal white has a colour temperature of between 3,300 and 5,300 K and generates a pleasantly bright light used in working areas, such as offices, schools and libraries.
  • Cool white or daylight white has a colour temperature of over 5,300 K and generates a cool, bluish light that is often used in operating theatres, laboratories, industrial facilities and other places where increased concentration and attention are required.

Colour rendering (Ra value)

Colour rendering relates to how naturally the colours of objects appear under certain lighting conditions. In the bathroom, this is particularly important when looking in the mirror in order to show natural skin and hair tones and the colour of clothing or make-up.

This is represented by the Ra value, also known as the CRI (Colour Rendering Index). On a scale of 0 to 100, it specifies how accurately a light source renders the colours of objects in comparison with natural daylight. The higher the value, the closer the rendered colours are to the original. A Ra value of 100 corresponds to colour rendering as achieved by natural daylight. At lower Ra values, colours look distorted or altered. Overall, a high colour rendering helps to create a natural, pleasant atmosphere in rooms.

Our tip: Values of 80 Ra and above are a good reference point for interiors. In the bathroom, a value above 90 Ra is recommended for the natural rendering of skin tones.

Illustration shows how light is reflected from surfaces and perceived by the human eye (© Tribecraft). The light of the light bulb radiates in all directions; how bright it is is expressed in lumen. When the light hits a surface, it is referred to as illuminance, which is measured in lux. The human eye perceives the colour of light - whether it is more yellowish or bluish. This colour temperature is indicated in Kelvin.

Brightness (lumen)

The lumen (lm) value indicates how bright a light source is. The higher the lumen value, the brighter the light.

Illuminance (lux)

Illuminance defines how much light falls on a certain surface at a certain distance from the light source, and is measured in lux (lx). The higher the lux value, the brighter and more intense the lighting on the respective surface. The lux value is important in ensuring that the lighting in a room is sufficiently bright and kind on the eyes.

Our tip: Illuminance and brightness are strongly influenced by the surrounding walls, their texture and colour. Wherever possible, always look at a lighting solution in a realistic context with a suitable bathroom size, wall colours and materials.

Tips for optimal lighting in the bathroom

Tip 1: Mixture of direct and indirect lighting

Interior designers try to strike a good balance between direct and indirect lighting in the bathroom.

  • Direct lighting: Lamps with a focused light beam generate direct lighting. This promotes the formation of shadows and results in a natural vividness (if coming from above). However, direct lighting also generates high contrasts and thus unfavourable shadows in some cases.
  • Diffuse lighting: Diffuse lighting occurs when a light beam is filtered or scattered by a screen or shade.
  • Indirect lighting: In indirect lighting, the light source is reflected by an object or wall. Both diffuse and indirect lighting distribute the light more evenly, but provide only dull lighting when used on their own.

Tip 2: Combine between five and seven light sources

A combination of several light sources is recommended for creating balanced lighting for different activities. How many depends on the size of the room, the type and intensity of the desired lighting, and individual requirements.

The Swedish interior designer Frida Ramstedt coined the “5 to 7 rule” in connection with lighting. She believes that every room should have between five and seven light sources. Some people even recommend up to nine sources. Another of her tips is to use light from different categories.

In the bathroom, a combination of the following lighting types is recommended:

  • Main light: Distributes light around the entire room, for example ceiling lights, a bathroom mirror with lighting or mirror cabinet with lighting.
  • Furniture light: Emphasises interesting elements and creates a sense of atmosphere, for example lighting of open furniture areas or lighting underneath furniture.
  • Atmospheric light: Used mainly for decorative purposes, for example spotlights directed on an object, fairy lights or candles.
  • Equipment light: Sanitary products with integrated light sources that offer additional functions, for example actuator plates with orientation light that is activated as soon as someone approaches the toilet.
Graphic shows the different illuminated zones in the bathroom at the WC, washplace and shower (© Tribcraft)

Additional light sources used in bathroom design:

  • Lighting of the furniture interior, for example drawer light
  • Illuminated magnifying mirror
  • Indication lights that show the device status

In the bathroom shown, the room and mirror image are lit optimally thanks to the combination of direct and indirect light sources. The mirror cabinet with lighting is used as the main bathroom light. A bathroom mirror with lighting is also possible. Niche lights in the mirror cabinet and shower elegantly illuminate the used spaces. Lighting on the actuator plate and underneath the toilet and bathroom furniture are an architectural highlight and also contribute to the homely atmosphere.

Geberit solutions for harmonious bathroom lighting

Bathroom lighting from Geberit uses connected light sources to create harmonious lighting and optimal lighting conditions for a range of different requirements. Your bathroom products become a source of light that can be tailored to your daily routine.

The advantages of the Geberit ComfortLight lighting concept at a glance:

  • Sanitary products and bathroom furniture with Geberit ComfortLight showcase the room and offer perfect lighting for any time of day.
  • Adjustable brightness and light colours ensure a feel-good factor in the bathroom.
  • The connected light sources can be controlled simultaneously and perfectly coordinated at the touch of a button.

Discover the possibilities of Geberit ComfortLight

Man and woman in perfectly lit bathroom with Geberit ONE bathroom furniture and ceramic appliances (© Geberit)
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What should I look out for when lighting the bathroom?Expert tips

Lighting expert Andreas Janser in the light laboratory at Geberit headquarters in Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland (© Geberit)

Product manager and qualified electrician Andreas Janser played a major role in the development of the Geberit ComfortLight lighting concept. He and his colleague worked hard on achieving optimal bathroom lighting in the light laboratory at Geberit headquarters, which is fitted out with movable walls and ceilings, ceramic appliances, furniture and glass partition walls. Here, the expert is on hand to give some tips on bathroom lighting.

Products for more comfort in the bathroom