Bathroom Lighting Jargon Buster

Dark bathroom

There are lots of technical terms used to describe different types of lighting and light fittings, so if you’re feeling a little lost amongst the terminology, check out our handy jargon buster.

Accent lighting

Part of a layered lighting scheme to highlight a specific focal point or feature in a room (such as framed art or ornaments).

Ambient lighting

This describes the general lighting within a space providing illumination for orientation.

Cabinet lighting

Specially designed lights which fit inside a cupboard or cabinet to light up the space.


A technical device which lowers the intensity of a light by reducing the wattage the light operates at.


Can refer to certain lights and bulbs which are specifically designed to use less energy and, therefore, may help reduce energy bills.


Part of a conventional incandescent light bulb and usually made of tungsten. The filament produces energy in the form of heat and light when electricity passes through it.


A type of incandescent light with a special filament surrounded by halogen gases, which causes the filament to operate at a higher temperature and, therefore, give off a brighter light.

Hotel lights

A stylish wall light which adds a touch of art-deco panache to your space. These lights fit to the wall to provide supplementary lighting. Hotel lights can also be used as part of a task lighting scheme, fitted either side of the mirror with another one above the mirror.

Incandescent light

A conventional style of light bulb which uses a tungsten filament that gives off energy in the form of light and heat when an electric current passes through it.

IP rating

A safety rating given to different lights so they can safely be installed in different areas of the bathroom. Higher IP ratings are the most water-resistant and can be safely installed into an area of the bathroom that is the most exposed to water.

IP zone

Bathrooms are divided into four different zones which specify areas of the bathroom that are most exposed to water. The lower the number, the more exposed the area is.


LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. Made from a solid semiconductor which glows when an electric current passes through it, an LED bulb gives off energy in the form of light, but not heat. LED bulbs are much more energy-efficient than conventional halogen incandescent lights.


This measures the quality of light given by a lamp, bulb or light source.

Plinth lighting

A series of small LED lights which provide subtle mood lighting. With a built-in sensor, they can be used to light your way during a late-night trip to the bathroom.

Pull switch

A type of light switch which fixes to the ceiling with a long pull cord within arm’s reach, which is pulled to turn the light on or off.

Recessed ceiling light/shower light

A style of down light which is recessed into the ceiling to provide general illumination in the bathroom. Because they have an IPX5 Zone 1 rating, recessed lights can be safely fitted anywhere in the bathroom, including over the shower or bath.

Task lighting

Part of a layered lighting scheme, task lighting is generally supplementary to other lights within the space, specifically placed to provide light to assist with a certain action or task (such as applying make-up or shaving).


A material used to make the filament inside a conventional incandescent light bulb.

Wall light

A light which fits directly into the wall to provide vertical illumination in the space.

Now you’re all clued up, check out our range of Bathroom Lighting.



Writer and expert