You are likely to have spent a lot of time and effort thinking about the decor and furnishings for your bedroom, but do you think about putting the same amount of effort into the lighting?
Getting the lighting right in bedrooms is a great idea if you want to create a cosy environment that invites you to relax and unwind. Here are some tips and tricks to make sure you fall asleep to sweet dreams and wake refreshed. Take a look at our general Lighting Design guide before you get started.
Bedrooms generally need to have both soft lighting and also the ability to turn up the lights when needed e.g. for dressing. So plan to have fittings that provide both soft pools of light that will make for a feeling of warmth and relaxation and also good overall general/ambient light. This will usually involve having a mix of an overhead light and also some wall lights or table lamps with some form of bedside lighting.
The first thing you need to think about is the range of things you do in the bedroom. Do you watch TV there? Is it a children’s room or an older person’s room? You might use the bedroom for sewing or study or the computer. Dressing tables will demand brighter light. Each of these have different needs and you should plan a mixture of lighting to give flexibility and enable you to perform the task you want e.g. get dressed, put on make up, read or gently fall asleep.
Think about the Size of Your Room
Before buying your bedroom lighting, think about the size of the room, and in particular the ceiling height. It’s important that any central light is high enough to cast light across the whole room. Bedrooms on the whole tend to have lower ceilings that other rooms, so take this into account when planning your central light feature. It should be in keeping with the style and scale of your room. You might also consider having dimmable downlights which work perfectly for both the bright light needed for dressing as well as being able to be turned down for a more relaxing atmosphere. With the increasing sophistication of LED lights, which now come in warm tones that match the more old fashioned incandescent bulbs, you can get the benefits of energy saving and avoid your bedroom looking like a retail outlet. Ideal LEDs downlights for bedrooms can be found here.
You may want to make a statement with a chandelier which always adds luxury to a room, but do make sure the size of the room can handle it. It’s now also possible to get great energy saving LED candle bulbs for chandeliers. A good selection can be found here.
Wall lights and table lamps are a great way to create soft pools of light that create an ambiance of relaxation, but avoid shades on lamps and lights that are too opaque. They may make a wonderful fashion statement during the day, but if they severely dim the light at night, they can end up making a room look gloomy and even spooky, especially if it’s a larger room with dark corners. When you buying a table lamp make sure the shade has a nice diffused glow and creates a warm ambiance.
When buying lamps as a bedside lights see how easy it is to turn them on and off from bed. There’s nothing more annoying than having lamps that have controls fitted halfway down the cord and that falls behind the bedside table in the middle of the night. Avoid the direct glare of light bulbs in bed by not installing lights directly over the bed. Soft light from the side is much more comfortable than direct light from overhead. You should be able to set the angle of bedside lights to suit personal taste, and also to ensure it doesn’t shine in your partners eyes when they’re trying to go to sleep. If you’re fitting lights from scratch, it’s a good idea to have lighting controls in the middle of the headboard so lights can be turned off on either side if they doze off. You can also get bedside lights that are dimmable from simply tapping them. These are great to dim for watching TV in bed (so you don’t get their glow reflected in the TV screen), but be aware that some energy saving bulbs like CFLs don’t dim so are not a good choice for this type of light fitting.
In the picture accompanying this post, note the skilful use of lighting. The bedside lights create a warmth with shades that are light enough to cast light both outwards and also up onto the eave – which opens the area up, making this a welcoming rather than constricting space. Also notice how the dressing table mirror reflects the plant and is lit to do so. Of course there’s a beautiful opulent chandelier in keeping with the decor, and wall lights are used to light the pictures on the wall which all adds to the vintage feel of the room. The lighting is very ‘warm’ and definitely creates a cosy, but well lit atmosphere. This comes from using a number of lower watt (lumens) bulbs rather than one very bright one. Overall the effect is stylish but practical.