How to light a Bedroom

Of all the rooms in the house, your bedroom is probably the only one where you spend your time when it's completely dark, completely bright and completely in between.

Therefore, it is important to properly design the lighting in your room so that it is a comfortable place where you can rest at night, get up and shine every morning and take care of everyday business.

We have developed this bedroom lighting guide to teach you how to properly light your bedroom. The first part covers some basic bedroom lighting tips and shows you how to organize your lights using mood, accent and task lighting.

To know the main criteria to look for a chandelier see our article on: how to choose your chandelier.

We will also help you to choose the right bulbs for your room, so that their brightness and color match your room perfectly.

The second part of our guide to lighting a room is a question-and-answer session with our guest, whom we will call Paul, known for his ability to combine vintage and contemporary decor, who shares his secrets of a modern room that is well lit, functional and relaxing.

Knowing how to organize your lighting is essential to create the best lighting for your room. This means finding the right balance between ambient, task and accent lighting. By creating this balance, you will be able to create the right lighting for every mood and activity with just one switch.

Ambient lighting

From the general to the detailed, you will want to organize your lighting layers according to what you plan to do regularly in your room. To get started, start by building a lighting base using ambient or general lighting.

Adequate ambient lighting includes daylight through large windows or skylights or artificial lighting; anything that provides a decent amount of light for general tasks such as cleaning, folding clothes and preparing your bed.

For artificial lighting, ambient light is best obtained with ceiling lights (such as recessed ceiling lights, chandeliers, pendant lights, etc.). Both types of lighting provide enough light for activities that do not require it. It is not bright, focused light.

If you wish to take the plunge then feel free to browse through our collection of room chandeliers where you will find different styles.

Work Lighting

If you plan to do activities that require a little more concentration, such as reading, working or applying makeup, consider applying layered work lamps to your general lighting.

Targeted lighting should not be limited to traditional office lighting. Consider bedside lamps, low hanging lamps on either side of the bed, wall sconces, wall sconces on either side of the headboard or other directional lamps above.

In this sense, a bedside lamp can essentially take any shape as long as it provides sufficient light for long-term concentration. In addition to the design and location, the functionality of the work lamp is also contained in its bulb (we will come back to this later).

Accent lighting

Accent lighting is designed to attract attention and highlight elements - such as works of art - in a given space. In a bedroom, accent lighting itself can act as a dimmed version of ambient lighting, giving off a pleasant glow and creating a warm atmosphere.

The use of integrated bedroom lighting, wall lights, ribbon lamps or other luminaires can be a way to incorporate this feature into your bedroom lighting design.


Dimmers play an important role in room lighting design. Not only do dimmers allow you to add an extra dimension to the room environment, they are inherently multifunctional.

From low light to maximum brightness, a dimmer can meet many lighting needs. At maximum brightness, the dimmer is suitable for general lighting, while at lower settings, it helps create ambience.

Because dimmers are easy to install (and as long as the bulb type permits), any luminaire can fulfill a multi-functional role.

Choosing the right bulb


When designing the lighting in your room, you should also consider the type of bulb you will use for each fixture. Depending on the intensity of the light and the color emitted, the bulb can have a positive or negative effect on your operation during and after the activity.

But before looking for an old bulb, you should determine your preferred brightness or light level. Although the suggested lumen values for a room are between 2000 and 4000, this is a subjective decision that varies depending on the mood you want in the room.

After determining the maximum lumen output of the bulb, it is necessary to determine if the desired bulb type is adjustable. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are difficult to control with a standard dimmer, as are some low-voltage LEDs. In such cases, you will need special dimmers for smooth adjustment without flickering or buzzing.


The color of light plays an important role in supporting certain activities. To begin with, consider the type of light bulb: incandescent / halogen bulbs generally emit a soft white glow, compact fluorescent lamps tend to diffuse a lot of blue (although they have evolved to cover a wider spectrum of colors), while LEDs can cover the full range of color temperatures.

Since the colors of white and blue light have been shown to promote alertness, lighting with these shades is best used in conjunction with task or directional lighting to support targeted actions.

Since blue and white lights increase alertness and then suppress the production of melatonin (or sleep-inducing hormones), they are not ideal if you are trying to relax in your room after a long day.

On the other hand, lights that emit warmer colors (such as yellow) do not interfere with melatonin production. Therefore, warmer lights are ideal for bedroom activities such as reading, watching TV or just relaxing.

As bedroom functions evolve, adequate lighting is required to support these functions. Between the right layers of lighting, dimmers and the right bulbs, concentrating these aspects is a foolproof way to provide comfortable lighting in a room. So be creative and choose the fixtures you need to get the lighting scheme for the room you want here.

Expert advice on bedroom lighting with interior designer, Paul

Now that we've covered the basics of light layering, it's time to dive into your room lighting design using Paul's expert advice.

How do you create a modern lighting plan for your bedroom?

Paul: I'm an architect, so we start with the design of the furniture and measure everything up to the location of the outlets. If there is artwork on the walls, mount projectors on the ceiling, two feet from the wall if it's a standard eight-foot ceiling, or further if the ceiling is higher.

You want the light to fall at eye level where the artwork hangs. If we use a suspended or semi-recessed ceiling, it is usually located in the center of the room, often above the bed. Therefore, we try not to hang it too low, usually 15-20 cm from the ceiling.

I like to use fairly large frames - my philosophy is that more and more elements of modern design have a greater impact. I don't use a lot of small or standard sizes. In my opinion, they seem to lie flat or look like tchotchkes. I prefer things that look, size and scale.

Is symmetry important for room lighting?

Paul: No. But there is balance and superimposition of light. I like different types of devices. For example, I can put a floor lamp next to the chair, table lamps on both sides of the bed, and a decorative light on the dresser. I always try to have something with shade to add a warm glow to the whole.

There are also indirect sources of lighting, such as wall lights reflecting off the wall, cornices rubbing against the ceiling or an architectural feature, or lamps or spotlights for artwork. art.

The goal is to move your eyes around the room, not just focus on the bed. By introducing light into different corners, you give the impression that the space is larger and more balanced. The goal is not to illuminate the room uniformly, but to illuminate the room in an interesting way so that the eye wanders from one light fixture to another.

To create a pleasant overall atmosphere, I will use a combination of the following types of lighting fixtures: I will place a floor lamp next to the chair in the corner and the suspension will be suspended about 18 to 24 inches from the ceiling, like a showcase. I would top it off with a pair of bedside lamps.

Today, many rooms are no longer just places to sleep, but also places to work, read and spend time with the family.

How can lighting help to accommodate all these activities in one room?

Paul: The key is flexibility and the ability to control the level of light, so if someone wants to sleep and someone wants to work, you can do that. Use different lighting in each room instead of a large ceiling light. In the office, use work lamps as well as ceiling lights to illuminate the entire space; this way you have options.

What to look out for when choosing bedside lighting?

Paul: If your reading lamp is a table lamp, choose a clear shade. A black or dark gray shade may look cool, but if it doesn't glow with light, you won't be able to read next to it.

If you're a serious reader, choose a work lamp with a swivel arm that is adjustable vertically and horizontally for maximum flexibility. But if you don't read much or only read on the iPad, the bright light is less important, you can opt for something more sculptural, like a blown glass light fixture.

The soft glow of the night would be soothing and incredibly warm.

What are the good alternatives to table lamps for bedside lighting?

Paul: We sometimes hang pendants on bedside tables. It's a good option, especially in small rooms, because they don't take up any space on the table. But it's more about mood lighting than reading.

What about sconces in the bedroom?

Paul: For reading, I like sconces with swivel arms. Sometimes I use a sconce to flank a door or an architectural element such as a wall between two windows. They can be used along the hallway leading from the bedroom to the bathroom. A more sculptural sconce can be used alone as a decorative element in a room.

How do you integrate modern lighting into a more traditional bedroom?

Paul: It's all about mixing. You have two options: either you choose an important element of expression - a contemporary setting in the middle of a piece that has scale and presence and is clearly an anomaly, something that breaks the rule.

Or you introduce modern lighting to create a rhythm and teach the eye that introducing this new design language is a deliberate gesture and not a mistake or a lonely remnant. The most effective are natural, textured and irregular materials such as wood, alabaster, natural stone, patinated metals and linen. Chrome and white glass can appear cold in this type of decor.