Small bedroom lighting ideas - 12 ways to illuminate the smallest of rooms in style

Create a cosy haven to escape to with the ideal small bedroom lighting ideas that save space in a compact room

Bedroom with striped black and white wallpaper and floating black bedside table.
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Your bedroom may be decorated just how you want it, with everything in its place, but if the lighting is wrong, it just won't look, or feel, right. When it comes to small bedroom lighting ideas, they should be thought about before you decorate. This will give you time to consider if you need to put in extra sockets or if you want to have wall lights wired in. 

This is even more important in small bedroom ideas as you have to carefully consider how to make the most of the space. There are three types of lighting - ambient, accent and task - so thinking about how you want to use them will benefit the room. Ambient lighting is general, overall lighting, such as overhead lights offering a comfortable level of brightness, for dressing in the morning. Accent lighting focuses on a particular area or object and includes things like lamps and wall lights. Task lighting is defined as operational lighting, giving enough brightness for reading in bed or applying make-up.

Small bedroom lighting ideas

Bedroom lighting ideas will differ slightly for a small room due to the lack of space. ‘Small bedrooms should be sensitively lit,' explains Peter Legg, lead designer at dar lighting. 'An easy solution is to use a dimmable pendant light that can provide a strong stream for any tasks such as getting dressed in the morning and a relaxing gleam at night.'

From wall-mounted lights to dimmer switches we've rounded up the best small bedroom lighting ideas to illuminate your petite space beautifully. 

1. Go for a statement pendant

White bedroom with gold fringe lighting and pink bed

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Oversized pendants have become really popular and are a trend-led way to make a design statement, especially when teamed with strong colours.  Fringed lampshades came back into style as part of the ‘granny chic’ look and are here to stay.

There are multiple ways to position a pendant lamp to complement your small bedroom decor ideas. A large pendant over the bed will make a splash, however, two pendant lights at either side of the bed is a smart space-saving move. 

'Pendant lights dropped from ceiling height are brilliant solutions for those who don’t have room for a traditional bedside,' explains Peter. Just be careful you hang them with enough clearance so you don't keep catching your head on them.

2. Add a wall sconce

Bedroom with striped black and white wallpaper and floating black bedside table.

(Image credit: Future PLC/Heather Young)

In a small bedroom, utilising wall space and taking furniture off the floor will help to make it feel more spacious. By opting for a floating bedside table and a wall sconce, the area around a bed will feel less cluttered.  

Bedroom wall light ideas will be the most useful tool in a more compact room and also provide a hotel-esque aesthetic. If you have a double bed these should be placed symmetrically on either side of the bed at the right height to read.  However, you can also use this tip if you can only fit in a smaller singe bed. 

3. Fix it into a headboard

Bedroom with blue panelled headboard and white globe wall sconce.

(Image credit: Future/Bee Holmes)

One way to make a small bedroom look high-end and wholly practical is by adding a light to the headboard. This saves as much space as possible by not even taking up room on a wall, plus it makes reaching for a light when in bed super convenient. 

A simple way to achieve this is through DIY headboard ideas where you can create a set-up that is custom-made to fit the specific space you have available. This way, your bedroom looks expertly designed and contains everything you need.

4. Create a cosy feel with a traditional bobbin lamp

bedroom with floral wallpaper, orange bedside table and bobbin lamp

(Image credit: Future/Polly Wreford)

When you have a small bedroom, sometimes it's best to lean into the cosy feeling with traditional-style furniture. This will create a warm and inviting haven that is calling for you to relax in. 

The bobbin trend is easy to integrate into a bedroom lighting idea as there are so many lamp bases both secondhand and on the high street, like this winning paint-your-own option from Dunelm.  The result is a bedroom that feels reminiscent of a classic family home that won't age. 

Jason Brownless, senior editorial designer at Dunelm, adds, 'Drawing inspiration from traditional 17th-century craftsmanship, the Bobbin trend has taken the design world by storm this season. This resurgence can be attributed to the increasing desire for homes that exude nostalgia and authenticity.'

5. Arrange matching lamps for symmetry

White bedroom with grey curtains and bed

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Apparently, human brains strive to see things symmetrically, as it represents order and makes us make sense of the world around us. And we certainly need that in the bedroom where we want to wind down after a long day. 

If you have space for bedside table ideas on either side of the bed, make them symmetrical. Opt for identical matching lamps on both sides, alternatively, if you don't have space for a table you can mimic the same effect with plug-in wall-mounted lights like the Fulton easy to fit lamps, £32 from Dunelm

6. Think about the inside of cupboards

Light inside a wardrobe

(Image credit: Sharps)

Lighting inside cupboards or wardrobes is often overlooked. However, in a small bedroom when the option and space to include lighting is on the short side it is a smart idea to consider illuminating your small bedroom storage ideas

Installing lights with sensors that come on as you open a wardrobe door will go a long way in making your wardrobe feel just that little bit more luxurious.

7. Choose a layered lighting scheme

Blue bedroom with painting over bed and lamps

(Image credit: Future PLC / Brent Darby)

The best way of lighting any bedroom, even a small one is with layered lighting. 

‘Generally speaking, cool white or even daylight bulbs are only really good for high task or workspace areas where there is no natural light.’ Says Niki Wright, Co-Founder of Lights & Lamps. ‘Layering warmer light is a more natural way to brighten your bedroom and help transition the day into evening. The use of brighter ceiling fittings in the day is often a subtle enhancement to natural daylight. Dimming them down in the evening and complementing with low-level lamps can transform a bright space by day into a cosy room by night.'

They don’t have to match, in fact, it’s a more eclectic look to mix it up. In a small room think outside the box and try layering different heights and sizes of wall-mounted lighting for a charming, but functional bedroom feature wall idea.

8. Use accent lighting to create atmosphere

Grey bedroom with headboard and white light fitting

(Image credit: Original BTC)

Wall lights don’t have to be task lights, they can be decorative and beautiful too. Lights made out of porcelain, like this one, give off a wonderful warm light and illuminate the wall in a subtle way. 

It’s a lovely soft light in a bedroom in the evening, and as it’s wall-mounted, doesn’t take up space on the bedside table.

9. Position hanging lamps strategically

Navy blue bedroom with gold lights

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Lighting is the perfect opportunity to play around with the illusion of space in a small bedroom. Placing hanging lamps above bedside tables makes the room appear to be wider than it really is. 

For an extra dose of glamour opt for gold or brass hanging lamps. These will add warmth and a luxurious touch.

10. Install a multi-arm light for a contemporary look

Blue striped boys bedroom with light

(Image credit: Future PLC / Brent Darby)

Known as modern chandeliers, multi-arm lights are a modern take on a classic light fitting and are a great choice for modern bedroom ideas. With four or more arms they can be quite bright, so install a dimmer switch so that you can alter the light levels or use low lumen bulbs. Team with complementary task lamps for a complete look.

11. Compensate for a tall ceiling with a long flex

Green bedroom with pendant light

(Image credit: Future PLC )

If you are lucky enough to have a tall ceiling in your small bedroom, while it can help to make the room feel bigger it can be tricky to find the right lighting.

A chandelier - traditional or contemporary - will look good, or a single pendant.  Don't shy away from going big, just because your bedroom is small. However, it is important to consider how high you hang the lamp. Make sure the lighting fitting has a long flex, so that it is hung at the right height to look balanced in the room. Choose a fabric flex too, they come in lots of different colours, to add to the designer look.

12. Choose lighting to enhance your decorating scheme

dark mauve bedroom

(Image credit: Future / Dominic Blackmore)

Lighting should be very much part of your bedroom colour scheme, and choosing coloured glass lights to team with your décor will give it a sophisticated look. 

Placing two lights instead of a single pendant light, and hung low over the bed is an alternative small bedroom lighting idea. With lights like these, make sure you choose an attractive flex, traditional fabric flex cables come in all sorts of colours and provide the perfect finishing touch.

What lighting is best for a small room?

‘Every room should have a mix of lighting, including overhead (or ambient), accent, and task lights including a bedroom,' says Suzanne Duin, Founder of Maison Maison.  'Whether you are designing a warm and relaxing space for the evenings, carving out a nook bright enough for reading, or working from home, the key is to balance these layers of lighting to help bring a room to life and emphasize different aspects of a scheme for different purposes.'  

How do you make a small room look bigger with light?

‘We would treat a small room in the same way as a large room and ensure we had 3 or 4 different light sources, each with very different characteristics. The logic being if you treat it as a small room, it will feel like a small room,' says Tom Housden, design director of lighting brand Hand and Eye Studio.

‘A small room could have a small reading light, a directional light and a wall light as well as a free-standing light such as a floor lamp. The only difference is we would recommend a reduced lumen output in each light bulb to ensure the room is not overpowered. This way a range of light sources will make a small room will look bigger.'

Don't be put off layering because of budget – clever use of home decor discount codes should allow you to create your scheme for less.

Where should lights be placed in a small bedroom?

‘Layering your lighting is the key to creating the perfect balance of warmth, cosiness and function in your home,' says Jo Plant, Head of Design, Pooky. ‘This is particularly important in a bedroom as you will need a combination of task and ambient lighting solutions for relaxation, reading or getting dressed.

Use a matching pair of bedside wall lights to frame your bed and create an elegant, tailored approach to the bedroom. Carefully consider the purpose of the lighting, as bulbs shaded with material create a more warm and ambient light as opposed to bulbs shaded with glass, which provide a more direct source of light that isn’t always ideal for a calming environment. 

'On the other hand, ceiling lights provide an opportunity to be more creative. Consider hanging pendants over each bedside table for an interesting alternative to a wall light or table lamp which often takes up space.’

Space-saving, practical and stylish - we think it's hard to go wrong with these small bedroom lighting ideas. Your nighttime routine is about to be much more illuminated. 

Alison Davidson

Alison Davidson has been working as an interiors and lifestyle journalist for over 30 years. She has been Homes and Gardens Editor of Woman & Home magazine and Interiors Editor of House Beautiful magazine, she has also freelanced and worked for most of the interiors magazines at one time or another. She is currently embracing the move to digital using the same knowledge and expertise to produce high quality features.

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