15 small bedroom lighting ideas to make your tiny space look bigger and brighter

The best ways to brighten the room and make it appear bigger than it is without using too much surface space

A bedroom with a palm leaf wallpaper, a white bed with matching bedding and ceiling downlights
(Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Snook)

Lighting is an important element in any room, setting the tone and atmosphere for the space whether that’s cosy or bright. But it’s especially crucial to get it right in a small space like a bedroom as the wrong lamp style can make the room look unbalanced and simply weird. That’s why we bring you 15 small bedroom lighting ideas so that you can get it right.

But even if we set looks aside, incorporating lighting into a small bedroom idea requires a lot of ingenuity and clever solutions as usually, there is not a lot of surface space to work with. That’s why we’ve asked lighting experts to give us their top tips on how to illuminate a small bedroom effectively without taking up too much of its precious space.

Small bedroom lighting ideas

‘Lighting a small bedroom effectively but also in an aesthetically pleasing way involves striking the perfect balance between functional and ambient lighting,’ notes Matthew Currington, technical director at The Lighting Superstore.

And these bedroom lighting ideas for small spaces are the best ways to strike that much needed balance.

1. Consider proportion

A teal-painted colour-drenched bedroom with colourful bedding on the bed and a matching table lamp on the bedside table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jon Day)

Just like with anything in interior design and room decorating, you should always start with scale and proportion. Especially when you’re dealing with a small room as getting something that’s too large can overwhelm the space. And lighting is no exception.

‘Getting the scale of your lighting in alignment with your room’s layout and size is vital to ensure it creates the desired impact within your space – both practically and aesthetically,’ says Marlena Kaminska, designer at ValueLights. ‘The proportion of your fixtures is one of the easiest factors to overlook but can cause one of the biggest aesthetic eyesores and distractions in a small space.’

Matthew agrees, ‘In smaller bedrooms, it is best to avoid overly large light fixtures as they will look out of place and overwhelm the space, making it feel cluttered.’

2. Include multipurpose lighting

HOMCOM Modern 3 Tier Floor Lamp with Shelves in a bedroom

(Image credit: The Range)

Multipurpose furniture and homewares are just as important in a small living room idea as they are in a tiny bedroom. And while it might not occur to you at first that a lamp can serve any other purpose than that of lighting, it in fact can.

‘Multipurpose furniture is a lifesaver when it comes to furnishing a small space allowing you to get several functions out of one item and freeing up this space for other pieces. If you’re struggling to fit shelving into your bedroom, why not opt for a floor lamp with built-in shelves?’ Marlena says.

Or you can opt for one with an integrated table so you don’t have to try and fit a separate bedside table next to your bed. Not to mention a floor lamp is perfect for lighting dark corners which can make a room appear even smaller than it already is.

‘Floor lamps are also a great option as you can light corners without adding a table for the light to sit on,’ confirms Kelly Collins, interior designer and head of creative at Swyft as the brand's recently launched its first collection of lighting.

3. Opt for light colours

A bedroom with white bedding and cream wall panelling with a contrasting black bedside table displaying a wavy table lamp with a pleated lamp shade

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

The best small bedroom colour ideas tend to be on the lighter end of the spectrum. And that should be carried over to your lamps and lampshades too.

‘We would always recommend lighter shades in smaller bedrooms; this allows light to bounce around the room and give the illusion of more space,’ says Julian Page, head of lighting design at BHS.

Matthew at The Lighting Superstore agrees, ‘If someone is worried about ensuring their room doesn’t feel dark and cramped it’s wise to stick to light colours such as white, cream and perhaps pastel colours to help reflect light around the room rather than absorb it as darker shades tend to do.’

But he adds, ‘That being said, if the general decor and aesthetic of the room is light and airy, pops of colour will be welcome additions to creating intrigue and some fun in the space.’

4. Save space with spotlights or flush lights

A bedroom with a palm leaf wallpaper, a white bed with matching bedding and ceiling downlights

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

Ceiling flush lights, downlights and spotlights are all great options as they take zero space while illuminating the space. And there are several styles to choose from, from decorative flush lights to simple, minimalist downlights.

‘Flush lights or spotlights will light a room without overwhelming it and with many different designs on offer you don't need to compromise on style,’ Julian at BHS says.

Matthew confirms, ‘In a small bedroom, I recommend flush and semi-flush downlights because the only space they take up is ceiling space without hanging down into the already small space the room has.’

5. 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. 

6. 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.

7. 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. 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.'

8. 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

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

'Lighting is an incredibly useful tool when it comes to crafting a sense of space. A great trick to make a room seem bigger is to create a vertical path of vision; using long pendant lights will draw the eye upwards, bringing attention to the height of the room, no matter the ceiling height or the room’s square footage,' Marlena at ValueLights says.

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.

15. 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 is the best lighting for a small dark bedroom?

‘Rooms with north-facing windows often lack direct sunlight, meaning light levels remain relatively stable but can appear gloomy,’ says Marlena Kaminska, designer at ValueLights.

To counteract the issue of a dark north-facing bedroom, it’s important to choose the right light bulbs more than anything else.

‘I'd make sure to use warm yellow lighting to contrast with the dark bedroom,’ says Kelly Collins, interior designer and head of creative at Swyft. ‘Using a bright and cold light can make a dark bedroom look quite clinical rather than cosy.’

Marlena agrees and adds that daylight bulbs like these ones at Amazon are the way to go, ‘In these rooms, always use warm-toned daylight bulbs to mimic natural light. This is especially important for any overhead ceiling lights.’

A peach-painted attic bedroom with a tonal bedspread on the bed and downlights at the ceiling

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

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 at 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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