5 Cozy Bedroom Lighting Tips


I don't know about you, but for me the bedroom is about more than just getting a good night's sleep - and before you grin like that, my personal second-favorite thing is to curl up in bed with a great book.

Of course, that means I need enough light to read by, and that meant planning my bedroom lighting pretty carefully. I wanted mood lighting, rather than bright lighting, but needed a good source of additional light for reading.

Lighting your bedroom depends a lot on what your bedroom means to you. Is it a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle, do you like to watch TV in bed, or do you spend half your life there? Here are five things to consider when lighting up your bedroom.

1 - Light gets in your eyes

Italian Murana Hand-blown Calla Lilies

These Italian Murano Hand-blown Calla Lilies provide beautiful indirect lighting

I've seen so many houses where a sconce or ceiling light is positioned right in the line of sight from the bed. All that's going to do is hurt your eyes and give you a headache. Positioning is very important for bedroom lighting, because relaxing is key.

Sconces, ceiling lights and chandeliers should be placed where they will give good lighting without getting in your eyes, but where they will give enough light for purpose.

2 - Brighter shades of pale

To create good mood lighting without being too dark, the right kind of shade is needed. You don't want the lights to be too bright or too dim, so using a shade that diffuses the light well will help strike that balance.

French Art Deco Nickel over Wrought Iron Floral Chandelier

This French Art Deco nickel over wrought iron floral chandelier provides plentiful, but diffuse light, thanks to the frosted glass shade

On that point, choose lightbulbs in warm white rather than cool white, to help create a warmer, more relaxing atmosphere.

3 - More is more

Don't feel you need to limit yourself with bedroom lighting. There's no reason to have just an overhead light and a couple of beside lamps. By playing with different levels of lighting you can create multiple levels of mood. 

Depending on the size of your room, you can include everything from chandeliers to table lamps, sconces to standing lamps to help illuminate specific areas and tasks, and create levels of mood.

French Art Deco Figured Wood and Bronze Floor Lamp/Torchiere

A well-placed French Art Deco figured wood and bronze floor torchiere can add just enough mood lighting to a dark corner

4 - Accentuate the positive

Now I know that, by definition, the bed really is the focal point of a bedroom and since I just said up in point one that you don't want to shine a light directly at it, the idea of accenting may seem counter-intuitive. 

There are, however, many different ways to accent something without lighting it directly. Try a little backlighting behind the headboard, or even incorporating lights right into it.

5 - Why so serious?

Pair of French Art Deco Alabaster Sconces

This pair of French Art Deco alabaster sconces could easily double as bedside lights

Have fun and get creative with lighting options. Are your bedside tables too small for a table lamp? Why not place a couple of sconces to serve as reading lights instead? Dressing area a little dark? Glam it up with an over-the-top chandelier.

Whether your bedroom is a high-traffic zone or a secluded area for one (or two), it's still a reflection on your personality and style. It deserves as much lighting attention as the rest of your home, so take time planning it and you'll have a bedroom to enjoy.

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  • Matthew Pillet
Comments 1
  • Margaret L Clarke
    Margaret L Clarke

    Thank you! – I’m about to move into a 1915 Arts and Crafts home and, with the bedrooms rather small, sconces would be just perfect alongside the bed. I didn’t think of it myself – I’m glad that you did!

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