How to Light up a Bedroom using Bedroom Lighting Design and Ideas
While a house has many rooms, the bedroom is your comfort cocoon. This space is your sanctuary where your day begins and ends, and it’s also the room where you retreat when needing solace from life’s daily grind. Yes, the bed is important, and so is the bedding, curtains, and wall paint, but they will all look oh-so-dull and just-not-right without the correct lights.
Bedroom lighting is the soul of a room. It’s the single ingredient that gracefully projects the right ambiance and mood. It effortlessly highlights the beauty of other decor elements while also lifting your spirits and imbuing you with a dose of relaxation every time you walk in.
Picking bedroom lights shouldn’t be an afterthought. It requires time and careful planning.
This comprehensive guide will give you all the information to help pick the right lights for your bedroom.
The Trick to Master Bedroom Lights Hides In Layering
Before we introduce you to the different types of bedroom lights, let’s start with a concept that’s fundamental to make lighting work-- layering.
One-light-fits-all doesn’t exist. The best way to bring your bedroom to life is by layering ambient, task, and accent lighting. Using a combination of these will pave the way for an effortless transition from daytime to night and give you the freedom to create the right ambiance to watch a movie, read, relax and spend time with friends or someone you love.
Bedroom Ambient Lights
An ambient bedroom light refers to the foundational source of light in your room. It adds elements of warmth and depth to the room. It provides a soft, universal illumination across space with little glare. This type of light is enough to perform the most basic tasks, like folding clothes, dressing, and cleaning.
A natural ambient light source includes skylights or a large, bright window. Artificial ambient lights, on the other hand, are ceiling fixtures like chandeliers, pendant lights, and flush mount lights. In some cases, floor lamps can also play the role of an ambient light source.
Bedroom Task Lights
While the bedroom is often associated with only sleep, plenty of activities happen within the four walls of this room. From reading, writing, studying, working, or knitting while watching TV, the bedroom is more than just for sleeping, and this is why you need task lights. This type of fixture provides focused lighting in an area where you frequently perform a specific task.
Wall sconces, table lamps, and arm lamps are all examples of task lights since they provide a controlled light source to illuminate spaces commonly used for certain activities.
Bedroom Accent Lights
Accent lights are both mood lights and spotlights. It helps set the ambiance of the space to support an atmosphere, whether it be romance or relaxation. It also draws a person’s attention to a specific area of the room, whether it be a couch, bed, interesting art piece, display unit, dressing table, etc. The lighting itself lends a warm glow, which is very similar to ambient light.
Some examples of accent lights are taped lights, recessed lighting, or any low-voltage spotlights.
11 Common Types of Bedroom Lights
- Flush Mount- A light fixture that firmly sits directly on the ceiling, Flush mount fixtures do not hang down like chandeliers or pendant lights, and they are often merely a bulb with a dome or drum-shaped cover. Flush mount fixtures radiate an even glow of light in all directions, and these are perfect for bedrooms with low ceilings.
- Semi Flush-Mount Ceiling Fixtures- A semi-flush-mount fixture is one that’s suspended down just a few inches with the help of a rod that sits attached to the ceiling. This type of fixture often emanates bright light, so keep them for large bedrooms with ceilings that are at least 10 feet tall.
- Sconces- Bedrooms come in all sizes, and sconces are perfect for spaces that don’t have much room for floor lamps or hanging lights. Sconces are a type of bedroom wall lights that stay mounted to the wall and splendidly illuminates a small section of the room. Many people fawn over sconces because they are beautiful, functional, and free-up critical bedroom space.
- Ceiling Fan with Lights- The humble ceiling fan with attached lights is so ubiquitous because of its functional versatility. They are dual-purpose fixtures since you get a good amount of lighting along with a refreshing breeze, which is a lovely welcome on summer days when you don’t want to turn on the AC.
- Recessed Fixtures- A recessed light, or downlight, is a type of light fixture design where a metal unit that’s seated above the ceiling plan, contains the bulb. Recessed fixtures can prove to be a sleek lighting choice for large bedrooms. These fixtures layer perfectly with other lights. The remarkable thing about recessed fixtures is that they will work on any ceiling height. When situated around the perimeter of the room, it gives the illusion of an even higher ceiling. Recessed lightings provide a subtle, dramatic glow and need strategic positioning, or they can cast not-so-nice shadows.
- Table Lamps- Table lamps are the most ubiquitous light fixture of all time. With so many options available, these can be sculptural pieces that are aesthetically stunning while also giving you enough light to read and relax.
- Floor Lamps- As the name suggests, a floor lamp is a lamp that rests on the floor instead of a table. Floor lamps come in a plethora of designs and can accentuate any home decor style. They are portable and are a fantastic lighting option for a small bedroom that doesn’t have any traditional ceiling light fixtures. You can even use floor lamps with adjustable heads for nighttime reading.
- Track Lights- Track lights give you the option to distribute light across multiple sources, and you can adjust one beam to focus on a painting or another object while the other points to a general area. Since these can be bright, they are often affixed pointing towards a display shelf or a piece of art, or the wall. This way, the light will reflect back into the room in a much softer form.
- Pendant Lights- A type of hanging lights for bedroom, pendant lights are practical, visually spectacular, and architectural show-stoppers. These lights sit like a pendant held on a necklace by a chain(s) or rod. Pendant lights in the bedroom can light vanity or, when hung down from either side of the bed, can act as an attractive alternative to bedside lamps. Pendant lights are best suited for bedrooms with high ceilings, and if you plan to use this as a general light, consider placing them towards the center of the room.
- Chandeliers- No lighting fixture is as dramatic and glamorous as an exquisitely ornate chandelier hanging down the middle of your ceiling. The high-decorated chandeliers are suited more for other spaces in your house, but a small chandelier that goes with the style of your room can make the whole space elegant. But, make sure that the one you choose for your bedroom casts a diffused and not a bright light.
- Profile Lights- Linear aluminum profile lights are an innovative way to discreetly illuminate the room while keeping your bedroom's decor sleek and modern. These are a type of ambient light that can be wired with a dimmer to lower its intensity when winding down after a busy day.
Factors To Consider When Picking your Bedroom Lights
- Mind the size- A fundamental step before making any bedroom lights decor decisions is to gauge the size of your room. Every light fixture you add must align with the room’s scale. Adding too many lighting elements can make the bedroom too bright, and placing oversized fixtures can mess up the visual balance in your room.
If you want to include hanging lights for bedroom, like a chandelier or pendant lights, in your bedroom, here is how to figure out the perfect size--
For the ideal diameter of the light fixture:
- Determine the length and width of the room in feet. Add them together. For example, 12 feet + 24 feet = 36 feet
- Switch the unit of your answer to inches, so 36 feet becomes 36 inches.
The ideal diameter of a light fixture in this bedroom would be 36 inches wide.
To find the perfect height of the light fixture:
- Determine the floor to ceiling height of the room. For example, 12 feet.
- Multiply the height by 2.5” to 3” per foot, which should give you 30 - 36 feet.
- Switch the unit to inches; in this case, 30 - 36 inches.
The ideal height of the light fixture for this bedroom would range between 30 - 36 inches.
Use the steps above to find the appropriate fixture dimension before investing in a chandelier or any hanging lights for bedroom.
- The shade of the light fixture- Light fixtures, like bedroom wall lights or chandelier sconces, come with shades, and this can affect the intensity of light it radiates. A shade blocks, filters, or directs light to a surface. The shade you pick should suit your needs. If you want a task light for specific activities like reading, then go for a dark shade as it will direct the light downwards to the pages of your book. On the other hand, if you want the fixture to work as an ambient light as well, then pick a lighter shade.
When it comes to glass light fixtures, bulbs encased in a frosted or marbled shade is always an attractive choice since it produces soft, calm light.
- Placement- Figuring out where to place a hanging light fixture, and deciding how low is too low can be a little confusing. Here are some general guidelines that will help:
- Leave at least 7 feet space between the chandelier and the floor. If you have a ceiling higher than 8 feet, hang the chandelier at least 3 inches higher for each foot over 8 feet.
- For recessed lights, space them three to five feet apart.
- If installing sconces near your bed, they should be within your reach, which means about four to six feet to the side.
- Dimmers- Dimmers are a necessary addition to the bedroom. They allow you to set the mood by adjusting light levels. If your ambient, or a general light source, is very bright, then a dimmer is a very cost-effective way to subdue that brightness and keep the room ready for any event or mood. Dimmer adds a third dimension to your room— that phase between bright light and complete darkness. They also lower energy consumption and increase the bulb’s lifespan. All ambient lights, or overhead lights, should be paired with a dimmer.
- Wall Color- Dark wall colors can cause your bedroom to look smaller. Using a directional lighting fixture, like track lighting, can help bounce light back from those dark walls and soften the harshness of the wall paint.
- Light color- Not all light is equal-- You can change the feel of a room easily by changing the color of the bulb. Warm lights keep the ambiance soft and welcoming, while brighter lights add to the allure of the room. Some people prefer using bulbs that emanate a light that mimics daylight because it makes it easy to get going in the morning.
3 Bedroom Lights Decor Ideas
With so many options available, bedroom lighting ideas come with endless possibilities. Here are 3 bedroom lights decor to get you started:
- Use pendant lights to save-space- If you have a small bedroom, you don’t want to fill the limited floor space with lighting fixtures. Instead of putting table lamps on the bedside table, hang pendant lights from the ceiling. This way, you can place other useful things on your table, and save space.
- Add geometrical fixtures- Not every lighting fixture in your bedroom needs to be ornate. Homeowners are increasingly opting for modern bedroom lights decor that revolves around clean and minimalistic design. Instead of adding excessively embellished lighting fixtures, feature lighting with attractive geometric designs in neutral colors. These designs are functional, modern, and can stand alone as an accent piece.
- Go Smart- Smart technology has undeniably made its presence known across all facets of our lives, including our bedrooms. Swap your existing bulb with smart bulbs. With these, you can control the lights in your home through your smartphone or smart assistants like Google Assistant or Alexa. You can even dim the lights through your phone even without a dimmer switch. If you have different types of light fixtures such as lamps, sconces, or recessed lighting, instead of buying smart bulbs for each of your fixtures, just get a smart light switch. With this, you can control all current bulbs through your phone or a smart assistant.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How bright should the bedroom lighting be?
The recommended brightness level for bedrooms ranges from 2,000 to 4,000 lumens.
- Where do I place the floor lamps in my bedroom?
There are no hard rules when it comes to an ideal floor lamp location, but place it at an uncluttered spot, so you don’t bump into it. They can also be placed in an empty, unlit corner or even beside your bed. You can also use an arched floor lamp to light up the dressing table or the reading table.
- What type of light is best for a children's bedroom?
When it comes to lighting fixtures in a child’s room, choose something that isn’t breakable. Recessed lighting would be safe since it won’t get hit with a ball during playtime. Also, a reading lamp would be a fantastic addition to a little one’s room for storytime.
Avoid harsh lighting, especially if the child is small because bright lights can make their eyes hurt. Also, floor lamps may not be the right choice when it comes to children’s rooms because if your child is a crawler or a toddler, the lamp is a hazard since it could easily tip over and cause an accident.