Just like any other room in the house, bedrooms benefit from several different types of lighting: ambient, task, and accent. A lot of fun can be had using light to make your space feel cozy, but sometimes, it's hard to know where to begin.
Our bedrooms aren't just for sleeping. They're also where people unwind after a long day by reading, knitting, conquering sudoku — you get the idea. It's also important to think about what kind of ambiance or mood you want to create. Or does your bedroom pull double duty as an office or a dressing area? Needless to say, it's important that your lighting be equal parts aesthetic and practical.
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"When approaching a lighting plan for a bedroom, I put into consideration the different tasks that will be performed in the space, the desired ambiance, and how to layer different types of light to create a functional and cohesive design," says interior designer Lisa Jane. "Generally, I use a combination of overhead lighting, table lamps, and floor lamps to create layers that enable one to adjust the lighting depending on the task and create a sense of depth in the room."
When considering your bedroom lighting design, there's no shortage of options. You may be starting from scratch when designing your space or looking to add additional lighting to what you already have. Starting at the top of your space, there are many options for the ceiling: recessed lighting, ceiling fans with lights, chandeliers, pendant lights, track lighting, and semiflush or flush-mounted ceiling fixtures. The rest of the lighting in the room — over which you have more control — includes wall sconces, floor lamps, and table lamps. For mood lighting, Jane recommends dimmable overhead fixtures, table lamps, and colored LED lighting. For task lighting, look into adding table lamps, floor lamps, or wall sconces.
Don't shy away from getting creative with your lighting plan. "Yes, you can mix and match different finishes with lighting to create a layered and cohesive design that adds visual interest and depth to a room," says Jane. "It's important to consider the scale and proportion of the room when choosing different finishes. A small room may be overwhelmed by large light fixtures with many different finishes, while a large room may need bigger and more substantial fixtures to fill the space."
With that in mind, here are some bright ideas that will help you transform what is arguably the most important room in the house.
25 Swanky Bedroom Lighting Ideas
1. Utilize swag lighting.
For your bedroom, consider an out-of-the-box lighting idea like the one used in this Scandi-chic setup by Avenue Design Studio. Here, two pendant lights are installed over the center of the bed. But in an unexpected twist, they are swagged over to opposite sides of the bed, providing stylish reading lamps.
2. Add height next to your headboard with table lamps.
Contemporary glass table lamps with black shades make a statement and add contrast without distracting from the decor in this sophisticated bedroom by Angie Hranowsky. The cool gray headboard, throw, and bench are balanced by the warmer walls, rust-colored accents, and hardwood flooring.
3. Install wall sconces above the headboard.
The natural light pouring in through the windows and the neutral-colored fabrics in this bedroom by Molly of Almost Makes Perfect already do a great job of keeping the space bright and airy. However, that doesn't mean that there is no need for light fixtures. Follow her lead and keep the lighting minimal with a pair of wall sconces hanging above the headboard.
4. Try out bedside pendants.
Need to free up space on your nightstand? Hang pendant lights on either side of the bed à la this gray and pink bedroom by Nicole Rosenberg of Liberty Interiors. The simple lighting idea means that you'll have more room for nighttime essentials, such as a book and a carafe of water. The copper shades tie in nicely with the rest of the rosy accents.
5. Bring the focal point up with an oversize light fixture.
An oversize, three-arm wall lamp makes all the statement you need in a small bedroom. When you're short on space, it's important to choose hardworking elements, as Brady Tolbert did in his bedroom makeover. This lighting idea is equal parts form and function, illuminating both sides of the bed while adding a big dose of drama.
6. Tie in the color scheme.
When selecting lighting for your bedroom, look to your color scheme for direction. This black-and-white bedroom shows us how it's done, showcasing a black rattan pendant light to tie the whole look together. Minimal table lamps that blend into the background add additional illumination.
7. Go for a sputnik chandelier.
Chandeliers don't always need to be glitzy and gaudy. For instance, in this light-filled bedroom by Jenni from I Spy DIY, a black sputnik-style fixture looks right at home. The design is simple yet still makes a statement. Pair it with black bedside lighting to complete the scene.
8. Embrace a linear light fixture design.
Oh là là! Take notes from this chic guest room at the Hotel Panache in Paris. The linear silhouette is an elegant and sculptural touch that pairs beautifully with the black lacquered cane headboard. Crisp white linens offer contrast and that signature hotel bed look that makes you want to dive right into bed.
9. Add flexibility with a swing-arm sconce.
A stunning bedside light is nice and all, but it's even better when it offers a little extra functionality. Studio McGee has the right idea in this bedroom, opting to use swing-arm wall sconces on either side of the bed. Not only does this fixture from Arteriors allow you to pull the light closer or further away but it also has a 180-degree swivel so you can direct the light exactly where you need it.
10. Opt for double-arm sconces.
When one light just isn't enough, opt for a double-arm sconce. Sarah Sherman Samuel did just that in this well-appointed modern bedroom design, and we wholeheartedly approve. The black finish pops against the wood paneling without distracting from the rest of the space.
11. Introduce an organic note with a woven rattan pendant.
You might be tempted to select fixtures that will blend into the rest of your space. However, you might want to consider going in the opposite direction. For instance, in this black-and-white bedroom, the rattan pendant really stands out. The natural material adds an organic note and a touch of warmth to the stark color scheme, plus the woven design will provide a brilliant display of light and shadows throughout the day.
12. Have fun with neon lighting.
Whether it's an abstract shape or the outline of a cactus, decorative neon lights pull double duty: They provide a bit of accent lighting and wall decor. Kate and Joey of Mr. Kate opted for this squiggly line design above the headboard. Although the luminous addition looks like neon, it's actually just LED rope DIYed to look like a neon sign. Genius!
13. Bring in French pole-style sconces.
French pole sconces are a timeless choice that play nicely with a variety of decor styles, including traditional, modern, and vintage. But don't just take our word for it — check out this more modern variation of the classic light fixture by Matt Alford Studio. The reading light can slide up or down the vertical pole, which means the height can be adjusted whenever your heart desires.
14. Opt for multiple pendant lights.
There's no shortage of beds in this bedroom, so the light sources needed to match. In the middle of the room hangs a large, linen pendant light by Imprint House that blends in seamlessly with the neutral surroundings. The smaller black pendant hanging near the bed offers a bold pop of contrast and of course more light.
15. Punctuate your space with black swing-arm sconces.
Ground a muted color palette with hardworking swing arm sconces in an oil-rubbed bronze finish as Shea from Studio McGee does in this bedroom. The modern cylindrical shape brings a bit of an edge to the traditional space without taking up a lot of visual real estate. A pivoting head maximizes direct lighting.
16. Keep it simple with minimal table lamps.
You can never go wrong with a trusty table lamp. This minimal design with a classic brass finish doesn't take up too much real estate on the nightstand yet still makes an impression. And bonus: If you're a renter, you don't have to worry about putting holes in the wall to mount sconces.
17. Introduce articulating sconces to your scheme.
The team over at Jute deftly combined texture and pattern in a neutral scheme, resulting in a calming bedroom escape. Streamlined swing arm sconces in oil-rubbed bronze lend a modern vibe without visual weight. Plus, these beautiful fixtures rotate in multiple directions, giving lots of flexibility.
18. Create unique shadows with your lampshades.
Even when there isn't room on the sides of the bed for sconces or lamps, you still need some form of light. That's when you look to the ceiling. These unique pendants not only illuminate the space but also cast fun shadows on the walls, giving the space a nice light show at night.
19. Fill a corner with a classic floor lamp.
Floor lamps are a simple addition that can add so much to a bedroom. Not only will it brighten a dark corner but floor lamps also add height to your decor. For example, the mid-mod design used in this room looks picture-perfect alongside the accent chair and dresser. And the best part is that floor lamps are easy to move from room to room if you ever want to switch things up.
20. Embrace a small orbit sconce.
The petite wall sconces spotted in this guest room at the Rivertown Lodge by Workstead match the simple yet refined design. And what they lack in size they more than make up for in style and function, offering a surprising amount of light and flexibility. The adjustable disc orbits around the exposed bulb, reflecting light in various directions.
21. Use different finishes for your lighting.
Don't feel like you need to stick to one finish for all of the light fixtures in your room. Follow the lead of this cozy setup in the Donerail House and mix and match. Here, the wall sconces flaunt a bold black finish while the chandelier showcases lustrous brass.
22. Fill blank wall space with hanging sconces.
If you have high ceilings, you already know that filling large, blank walls can sometimes pose a challenge, especially in the bedroom. However, this cozy retreat offers an ideal solution: hanging wall sconces and a tall headboard. Both features help fill up the empty wall space while also drawing your eyes up to the gorgeous wood plank ceiling.
23. Go vintage with your light options.
When in doubt, choose vintage fixtures. Danish midcentury wall lights infuse another layer of warmth into this casual and eclectic bedroom design. The teak wood arm swivels, and the shades are height-adjustable. Designer Katie Hodges hangs them high and directly over the headboard, ensuring ample focused light.
24. Keep it practical with a ceiling fan light.
Who says ceiling fan lights need to be ugly? Cassie Bustamante pulls off the look effortlessly in this farmhouse bedroom, opting to go with a modern design in black. Besides, this way you get both lighting and a cool breeze, which will come in handy during the summer.
25. Use articulating task lamps on your bedside tables.
Love the flexibility of articulating sconces but not the holes in the wall? Consider bedside table lamps with articulating arms instead. In this understated Shaker-style bedroom by Katie Martinez, the fixtures still have the same adjustable arms; the only difference is that they are perched on the nightstands as opposed to the wall. The elegant brass finish lends additional warmth to help balance the cool color palette.
Frequently Asked Questions
What lighting is best for bedrooms?
The best type of lighting for your bedroom is really up to you. Try to stick with warm or neutral white lighting for the bulbs to keep the space feeling cozy. Your bedroom is mainly used for winding down and sleeping, so you don't want to have harsh lighting. It's also a good idea to have two to three fixtures in your room from which you can choose depending on the time of day or the task you're performing. Mix overhead lighting with floor lamps and bedside lamps or sconces.
Are LED light fixtures a good idea in the bedroom?
LED lighting can have varying tones of light. This can be beneficial in a bedroom if you want your recessed lighting to give off a different hue than the lamps on your nightstands. LED lighting also mimics natural sunlight, so it won't feel too harsh. You can incorporate dimmable LED lights into your bedroom if you want to constantly switch up the tone of light.
How many light fixtures should be used in the bedroom?
Again, this really comes back to personal preference and will largely depend on the size of your room. As Jane said, when thinking about a lighting plan for your bedroom, consider the different tasks you perform in your room on a daily basis and incorporate the appropriate fixtures. A good rule of thumb is to have some sort of switch-operated overhead light and a reading lamp on either side of the bed. If you want more illumination, floor lamps are a great option.
Should I use a dimmer switch in the bedroom?
Using a dimmer switch in the bedroom is an easy way to bring in many different levels of brightness with just one fixture. It can be nice to dim the lights as you wind down from your day and get ready for bed, and then in the morning, you can choose to boost the brightness. Nowadays, smart dimmer bulbs can be set up to slowly come on in the morning as you wake up and slowly dim at night to mimic the sun rising and setting.