When planning a lighting project, it’s important to take a look at how you’re using your bedroom and if the current lighting setup is helping or not.
Almost every bedroom can benefit from placing different types of light at different heights and in single or multiple groupings around the room. Spreading out your light sources throughout the space will help to eliminate dark corners and shadows while providing the perfect combination of ambience and functionality throughout the day and night.
There isn’t really a one-size-fits-all template for lighting a room because the décor of your bedroom, how the space is used, and personal preference, play a major role in how a room should be lit. A good place to start thinking about the best lighting picks for your bedroom is to understand the different types of lighting.
The Three Types of Lighting: Ambient, Task, and Accent
Interior lighting can be divided into three basic groups: ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Each group serves a different purpose, and each group has lamps and fixtures that are best suited for supplying its type of light.
Ambient lighting can be understood as the lighting that will replace natural day light from windows when the sun is down (or if the space is short on windows). Ambient lighting should usually be somewhat brighter than other light sources, and it should project a uniform light around the room. High-lumen bulbs with a frosted finish tend to work best for this application.
Task lighting can be restricted to a few key areas, such as reading lights near nightstands and lighting for vanities.
Task lighting tends to be relatively bright and highly directional, giving light to only the area that needs it. Lights with metal shades tend to work well as task lighting because they direct the light to the work area without letting much light escape.
Accent lighting serves an ornamental purpose, meaning that it’s designed to highlight and accentuate. If you have a piece of artwork or an interesting architectural feature in your home or bedroom you’d like to highlight, accent lighting is a great solution. Exposed filament bulbs are a form of accent lighting that can add a soft and warm light that elevates the mood and ambience of the room.
The Trending Lighting Options
Providing your bedroom with enough light for dressing, while keeping the tone warm and relaxing is your main objective.
Recessed lighting or can lights controlled by a dimmer can give you a softer light when you’re winding down for the night, while also giving you plenty of daylight-bright lighting when you want to start being active in the morning.
A ceiling fan with a light helps to keep the room cool and provides a nice source of ambient light while larger lamps can serve as task lighting or ambient lighting.
Floor lamps are a great option to light up a dark corner, use as task lighting and add another layer of light to a room.
Size is important when thinking about buying a floor lamp. Floor lamps should be tucked away in a place out of direct traffic. You don’t want them to get knocked over.
Bedside Lamps and Wall Sconces
Free up valuable nightstand space by using wall sconces or pendants next to your bed.
Wall sconces on either side of the bed can make nighttime reading all the more enjoyable. The rule of thumb for sconce height in a bedroom is 6 feet, with some adjustments if the ceiling is higher than average, or the bed is lower to the ground or on a higher frame. Be sure upward facing sconces are above eye level so the bulbs are not visible.
When using bedside table lamps, remember to place it so you’re not looking right into the bulb when lying down.
If you expect to do activities that require a bit more focus, like reading, working or applying makeup, then consider layering on top of your general lighting with task lights.
Pendants are used increasingly in place of a chandelier and often give greater flexibility in terms of design and layout. A pendant is smaller than a chandelier with typically only one or two lamps.
Hanging pendant lights on either side of the bed frees up precious space on bedside tables. Hanging them over dressers and vanities contributes to the fashion and function of the room.
Reflected light is a light that bounces, or reflects, off the presence of reflective materials. Using a reflective material increases the light by over 30%.
Mirrors reflect light instead of absorbing it, so they trick the eye into thinking the room is brighter and larger, depending on where they are placed.
Shiny wallpaper will greatly magnify the artificial light and help to give the illusion of a larger space. Reflective wallpaper used as a focal wall behind the head of your bed can reflect your nightstand lamps, wall sconces, and other light around your bedroom. A very high gloss paint can also achieve this reflective quality.
Experiment with Different Shades and Bulbs
It’s helpful to experiment with different shade and bulb combinations with your lamps and fixtures. A dark cloth shade will let a different amount of light through than a light cloth shade, and both will behave much differently than a clear glass shade or metal shade.
A sconce with a clear and exposed filament bulb makes for a handsome accent light that provides a soft, warm glow. The same fixture could make an ideal task light when paired with a metal shade and high-lumen bulb.
Comfortable Lighting Design for your Bedroom
Of all the rooms in your home, your bedroom is probably the only one you spend time in when it’s completely dark, completely bright and completely somewhere in between.
Getting your bedroom lighting design just right is essential to making it a comfortable place to rest your head at night, to rise and shine each morning and go about your day.
Between appropriate lighting layers, dimmers, and bulbs getting these aspects right is a sure-fire way to ensuring comfortable lighting in your bedroom.
Get creative and choose the best lighting picks for your bedroom scheme. And please add your own ideas and experiences in the comment section below!