Bedroom lighting ideas to create a restful retreat and peaceful ambience

From overhead lighting to reading lamps, bedroom lighting is all about creating a relaxing haven
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  • Bedroom lighting can make or break a bedroom decorating scheme. You can create a gorgeous colour palette, fill the room with lovely accessories and a show stopping bed. However, a badly chosen light fixture can ruin the entire effect. Offering up an unflattering glare, rather than a gentle illumination.

    Want more bedroom ideas? Check out our dedicated channel for inspiration.

    The bedroom lighting that you decide on will depend on the size and design of your room and on your preferred decorating style. In a very small room, for example, wall-hung lights will tend to be preferable to table lamps as you may not have the space for bedside tables. In a more traditional scheme, classic sconce-design wall lights with silk or glass shades might be preferred over angled, adjustable styles in stainless steel or chrome, which are best suited to more contemporary decorating schemes.

    Larger bedrooms will naturally allow for larger lamps – look at floor-standing versions that you could position in corners or behind bedheads or bedside tables. Fitted storage headboards may be suitable for built-in spotlights, while open shelving above a headboard is the perfect perch for clip-on reading lights.

    What type of lighting is best for bedrooms?

    There are three types of lighting to consider in the bedroom ambient, accent and task lighting. Ambient lighting serves the same function as natural sunlight, bathing your entire bedroom in light. Accent lighting highlights visual features and task lighting makes light work of reading in bed. Your bedroom should be a place to relax, so make sure your lighting scheme reflects that.

    While most bedrooms will need an all-over ambient pendant light alongside task lights that you can operate from the bed. Don’t let this stifle your creativity when it comes to opting for clever lighting solutions in smaller bedrooms.

    Just be sure to pick out styles that you love and that you will appreciate every time you wake up to them.

    Bedroom lighting ideas

    Illuminate with LED lights

    Image credit: Robert Sanderson

    1. Install wall-hung bedside lighting

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    Image credit: David Giles

    If you don’t have space for a bedside lamp, consider opting for a wall hung lamp. This dark shaded number will cast a cosy glow over the bed at nighttime, providing just enough light to read a few pages of a book before heading to bed.

    2. Hang fairy lights

    Hang fairy lights

    Image credit: Emma Lewis

    Cast a comforting glow in your bedroom. Give fairy lights a permanent home and they’ll add a magical glow to any space. Fairy light ideas are the perfect solution if you live in a rented property and don’t have the freedom to decorate. This set of fairy lights twinkles like stars against the midnight sky tones of the wall.

    3. Opt for a table lamp with a patterned shade

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    Image credit: Georgia Burns

    A striking lampshade in a bold floral pattern draws the eye in this eclectic bedroom. The strong geometric design on the walls is carried through to the accessories and soft furnishings. While the navy blue accents help to unify the room.

    4. Illuminate with LED lights

    Illuminate with LED lights

    LED spotlights have been built into the frame to illuminate this vanity mirror, perfect for grooming and make up application. Here, the black-framed mirror with LED lights is a direct reflection of the framed prints on the opposite wall.

    5. Make the most of available space

    Make the most of available space

    If you only have space on one side of the bed, then consider an adjustable wall-hung lamp. This lamp has a long arm that can be angled to make it easy to read or perform a variety of tasks when the main light is off.

    6.Make a statement with an exposed bulb

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    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Bedroom lighting doesn’t need a fancy lampshade to make an impact. In this guest room the bare bulb in this white washed fisherman style light is small, but packs a punch. It works beautifully with a coastal theme, however when choosing a bulb be careful to opt for a low wattage bulb for a softer glow.

    7. Multi-task with an adjustable main light

    bedroom lighting ideas 11

    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    In a small room you want to use as few lights as possible to avoid cluttering the space. In this room instead of opting for a traditional central light, an adjustable lamp can be pulled up and down to illuminate different parts of the room. While this means bedside lamps aren’t essential, you can still add in a few decorative lights if you have the space to spare.

    Want more small bedroom ideas? READ: 14 small bedroom ideas – how to decorate a small bedroom stylishly

    8. Hang lights in a cluster from the ceiling

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    Image credit: David Brittain

    Wall-mounted or ceiling-hung bedroom lighting is particularly practical as it leaves you with more floor space to use for furniture, as well as access to the bed, drawers and cupboards. In this space three bedroom lights have been hung together to create a focal statement in a relaxed bedroom scheme. To get the position absolutely right, first position your bed.

    9. Flank the bed with pendant lights

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    Image credit: Brent Darby

    A combination of pendants lamps is used to light this rustic bedroom. A large overhead light illuminates the whole room, while two smaller matching pendant lights hang at eye level over the bedside tables. These lower hanging lamps create a soft relaxing glow perfect for when you’re getting ready for to drift off.

    10. Mismatch bedside lamps

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    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    If there isn’t space for matching bedside tables, consider opting for different styles of lamp to flank the bed. In this room, the top of a dresser has been turned into a bedside table, providing plenty of space for a traditional standing lamp. While on the other side, the light has been wall mounted  to free up space on the smaller built in bedside table.

    While the styles might not match, the colour and shape of shade match perfectly, helping to hold the room together.

    11. Add visual interest with a sculptural lampshade

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    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    A sculptural pendant light in a soft putty colour works with the earthy green palette of this bedroom, adding a layer of visual interest. The soft rosy glow provided by the shade will help emphasise the sensory appeal of the relaxed linen sheets and waffle knit blankets used to create a sense of calm and peace in this rustic bedroom.

    12. Light an alcove with wall sconces

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    Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

    An alcove in a bedroom can be the perfect space for a bed, but it can leave you lacking in space for a bedside lamp. Invest in wall sconces flanking the bed to illuminate the space. They are a space-saving way to provide additional illumination in this cosy alcove and evoke a sense of nostalgia in the pretty bedroom.

    13. Combine different lighting effects

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    Image credit: Ti-Media

    In this room the different styles of lighting work together beautifully. They white simple lamp shade will cast a lovely bright glow over the whole room. In contrast the black wall sconce discreetly melts into the dark blue wall of this glamorous bedroom. It is perfectly places to offer a simple reading spotlight over the bed.

    How bright should a bedroom light be?

    When it comes to bedroom lighting it needs to serve too purposes. On the one hand it needs to be bright enough to offer functionality, for example, in a wardrobe or as a reading light. However, it also needs to offer softer atmospheric lighting to promote relaxation.

    ‘Ideally, your bedroom light should be adjustable,’ says Debbie Drake, head of design at Dunelm. ‘This allows you to achieve bright light in your bedroom during the day, when you are getting up and dressed, putting your make up on or organising your desk.’

    ‘However, in the evenings adjustable lights will allow you to dim lighting to a relaxing, ambient level with focused light where you need it, for example above your vanity mirror, or as an angled bedside light for reading.’

    How to improve existing bedroom lighting

    Light bulbs play a big part in bedroom lighting. Bulb that gives out a blue or white light will inhibit sleep, which is not what you want in a bedroom. While a warmer yellow bulb will help promote relaxation. So transforming your lighting scheme could be as simple as a bulb swap.

    ‘A great way to improve existing lighting in the bedroom is to add a dimmer switch and dimmable bulbs,’ explains Debbie. ‘The latest trend for bedroom lighting are these adjustable wall lights, which attach to the wall but can be plugged in to a standard socket. Since there is no wiring required, they’re also a great housewarming gift for renters.’

    How should I choose a ceiling light for a bedroom?

    When selecting a ceiling light you need to consider not just it it will cover the bulb, but how it will diffuse light. You want something that will help create a relaxing glow, but not dim the bulb too much.

    It is also important to remember that you will mainly be viewing the light from below when lying in bed, rather than when you are standing up.

    What is the best lighting for low ceilings?

    ‘The best lighting for low ceilings are spot lights within the ceiling,’ says Debbie. ‘Another good option is to use standing lamps and wall lights for soft, ambient light.’

    ‘If you’d prefer a focal point on the ceiling, but don’t have much headroom, you can also try flush ceiling fittings such as as the Endon Cagney 3 Light Semi Flush Ceiling Fitting in Chrome.’

    Looking for more blue bedroom ideas? READ: Blue bedroom ideas – see how shades from teal to navy can create a restful retreat

    Have you been inspired by any of these bedroom lighting ideas?

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