We're bringing our favorite bedroom lighting ideas to the table, because perfect lighting is essential to make the most out of every space, but when it comes to the most intimate and personal room of all, it's plays an even more important part.
While lighting may not seem like a game-changer when it comes to bedroom ideas – especially when compared with the instant makeover results of paint or wallpaper, bedding and the like – for this room to be both functional and attractive, you need to add a mixture of lighting ideas for bedrooms.
That way, whether you're winding down with a book in bed or getting dressed and ready for the day – your room's lighting can be tailored to meet your needs.
Bedroom lighting ideas for a soothing atmosphere
From the best master bedroom lighting ideas, to all the information that you need to know about planning a bedroom lighting scheme from scratch, get it right and you'll see the difference in the finish of your bedroom design – instantly.
Small bedrooms and larger lodges included, there are loads of fixtures to try out for better accent, ambient and task lighting all around, no matter the size of your sleeping space.
'Our bedrooms are our sanctuaries, a place to retreat to at the end of the day,' says Natalie Mann, new product development co-ordinator, Iconic Lights.
'Getting the lighting right is essential to creating a space that feels both restful and functional. Layering the lighting will give you plenty of options depending on the task in hand.
'Bedside task lamps, clip-on lights and wall lights offer low-level light, ideal for reading or relaxing. Ceiling lights create a focal point over the bed and serve a practical function, or can be used to create a modern design feature when hung over both bedside tables.'
'Finally, don’t forget warm white bulbs and a dimmer switch. This will give you full control, from bright light to a softer mood lighting for the evening.'
1. Install a Scandinavian style pendant
Traditional Finnish handicraft techniques meet contemporary geometry with this design, which takes its name, Pilke from the Finnish word for 'twinkle'. A perfectly apt name for a bedroom lighting design, we think you'd agree.
Keep your Birch Plywood light looking on point by cleaning it with a handheld vacuum cleaner to get into all the nooks and crannies.
2. Create a luxury hotel feel
Inject luxury into your grey bedroom with lighting inspired by a boutique hotel. This Hotel Finley 5 Light Ceiling Fitting by Dunelm is a modern ceiling fixture, crafted with a clear acrylic design and stunning metal detailing, suspended from a height adjustable clear flex.
With a dimmable feature, light levels can be adjusted to your mood and is available in metallic gold and silver finishes. Two crisp white lampshades envelope the bed offering a fresh linen feel.
3. Upcycle a plain lamp to match furniture
We don't know about you, but this Annie Sloan bedroom scene is making us feel quite nostalgic. Cotton candy pinks, striped wall decor, draped circus tent motifs all stir up fun memories at the fairground.
But, all of these elements once started as blank foundations, so it's magical what the power of paint and upcyling can do. Here, a rattan bed frame and chest of drawers has been given a lick of chalky Olive paint.
However, our favorite piece is the lampshade which uses a similar design as the storage unit it sits on. As well as the aforementioned khaki hue, Emperor's Silk is used to create a design that reminds us of a merry-go-round.
4. Add lights outside of the bedroom
As well as adding lighting to your ceiling, surfaces and walls, make your interior spaces work that little bit harder by looking at the adjacent rooms too.
Ample hallway lighting and adequately-lit landings will ensure that you don't feel the urge to pump your bedroom with strong and harsh lightbulbs.
Light the way with the cream of the crop, best hallway lighting, as chosen by us.
5. Make lighting stand out with a feature wall
Painting an arch or a circle in an interior space is a quick and easy feature wall idea that most emulsion companies and design experts have got on board with recently. And we love this pink background by Benjamin Moore using their First Light 2102 – a lovely rosy pink.
Positioning a rattan bedroom light centrally will cast a gorgeous shadow onto this painted wall.
6. Match your shade to your wallcovering
Owners of white bedrooms needn't miss out on the fun when it comes to bedroom lighting ideas.
In this sleep space, accented with a purple-blue bedspread and bouquet – a feathered, similarly-colored Draycott lampshade which subtly matches the marble-effect walls.
7. Embrace nature with a bohemian design
Reminiscent of falling autumnal leaves, this hanging pendant bedroom lighting idea from The French Bedroom Co. features multiple distressed antique brass-coloured leaves.
The leaf structure gives the light a really natural aesthetic, and the light from the single screw-in bulb cascades gently through the leaves casting a warm glow across the room.
To embrace a bohemian bedroom, pair with a rattan chair, global soft accessories and a palm plant to really immerse yourself in this seventies-inspired scheme.
8. Add a tactile touch with a feathered side lamp
A mass of white feathers that sit on a tiered and boned circular ball structure, forming a beautifully dense cloud-like effect whether turned off or on in this Feathered Cloud design by The French Bedroom Co.
The styling of this lamp is thoroughly modern, with a nod to 1920s glamour. We love the combination of soft textured feathers against the brushed brass legs.
Fake or faux – colored or white – ostrich or peacock – this bird-based design is pretty fly. As a bedroom lighting idea, this design is extremely versatile. It can look great styled in a rustic bedroom or a more classic scheme.
9. Swap bedside table lamps for wall lights
A wall light is must in any bedtime reader’s bedroom, and an extendable wall light makes adjusting the light to your needs easy – plus it adds an on-trend industrial twist. Better still? It's a great idea for small bedrooms where bedside table space is rather limited.
10. Use a bedside lantern for soft lighting
You don’t have to live in a country cottage to enjoy a rural, farmhouse-style, traditional bedroom ambience.
White-washed walls and upcycled furniture are a must, but the right bedroom lighting is essential to getting the look right. Choose a bedside lamp with a traditional charm to complete the scheme.
11. Save space with bedside pendants
Putting pendant lights on either side of the bed creates a definite designer feel.
But this is a bedroom lighting idea that needs to be planned in early to a room revamp because, like wall lighting, it needs to be wired in professionally, rather than just plugged in like a lamp.
Ensure there are separate switches either side of the bed to control each light individually, too.
That said, it creates a lovely low pool of light and saves space on the bedside table. Choose your lampshade carefully – opaque ones will direct the light downwards which will look lovely, but won't be practical if you like to read in bed.
Another option for bedroom lighting is the dropped pendant or a grouping of pendants. Perfect for a stylish hotel look, group these in odd numbers and a range of sizes for best effect.
12. Combine lots of task lighting
This is a great bedroom lighting idea if you want different options for reading in bed.
So, for example, a stronger Anglepoise-style wall reading light could be good for creating a task light to read by, then a softer bedside lamp with a shade would be a better light for adding ambience or if you read from a backlit kindle so don't always need that bright light.
13. Hang soft shades as bedside lights
Firstly, that sage green, what a dreamy bedroom color, secondly, those lights. They have a slightly Japanese feel to them with the soft paper shades and they juxtapose the statement modern light beautifully.
Plus, just imagine the lovely glowy light they would give off, which is perfect for a soothing bedroom atmosphere.
14. Create your own DIY light fixture
This DIY bedside table, created with shelving and lighting from Ikea (see how in our step-by-step) performs two roles: it provides a soft light by the bed that's great for the room's general atmosphere and is just at the right level for reading by (see how the light lines up with the pillow. Clever.
Can't wait to do-it-yourself? Get started with this Ikea hack.
15. Pick a design that blends in
If your bedroom's focus is on a stand-out bedroom wallpaper idea or gorgeous headboard, don't make it battle for attention with the lighting.
Instead, pick a design that's subtle and blends into the background like this clear glass lamp with muted and fluted shade – only coming into its own when it's switched on.
16. Be bold
You'll probably rely on the central pendant in a bedroom less than you would a living room lighting idea, so you can afford to think less practically and more decoratively.
With so many beautiful options out there, it can be tricky to narrow down your favorites.
But as a starting point, if your bedroom has high ceilings, a larger pendant shade or chandelier will create a pretty focal point, especially in traditional bedrooms; lower ceilings might benefit more from smaller fittings or, in contemporary bedrooms, downlights or ceiling lights.
17. Use fairy lights for ambient bedroom lighting
With the simple addition of fairy lights, you can create a completely different atmosphere in your bedroom.
For a relaxed feel and a natural glow, choose warm white LEDs, while if you're looking for something brighter and more playful, you can opt for white LEDs or colored fairy lights.
String fairy lights around the bed, around the bedhead, around the frame of a four-poster, or from a high ceiling, as below.
'If you a real minimalist or lover of all things modern then you could opt for a string of festoon lights somewhere in your bedroom are the perfect match for a monochrome bedroom and would also look great in a contemporary studio apartment or strung against a white wall,' says Lucy Kirk, creative and photography manager, Lights4Fun.
'If your bedroom has subtle tones of black and white then a string of festoon lights on black cable would be a perfect fit. Looking for a splash of colour? We have multi coloured festoon lights too!'
'If you’d wish to enhance the light in your room even further, you could also try winding some white fairy lights around your bed frame or a mirror; use some bright white LED fairy lights on clear cable for a clean, tidy and minimalistic look, which will freshen up your room instantly.'
If you are inspired by this bedroom lighting idea, peruse our pick of the best fairy lights too.
18. Choose task lighting for dressing tables and desks
Whether you use your bedroom for putting on makeup or for work, having an angled desk lamp or a wall-mounted equivalent is a real bonus.
The Realhomes.com editor has a desk lamp on her dressing table and swears by it for accurate makeup application – especially when your eyesight isn't 20/20!
19. Accent with bedroom spotlights in dark corners
Spotlights or downlights are the best solutions for areas of the bedroom that tend to be always dark, such as walk-in closets and fitted bedroom storage units. If you have a freestanding wardrobe, you can use a clip-on or freestanding spotlight on top as an affordable option.
Walk-in wardrobes and complex fitted solutions will need a professional lighting installation – many fitted furniture companies will sell and install the lighting as part of the package.
20. Choose the right lampshades and bulbs to diffuse and warm light
Modern bedrooms can look cool with task lights and spotlights, but a good lampshade cannot be beaten for providing soft, diffused glow, especially important in more traditional bedrooms.
Choose the best quality lampshade you can afford, and pick an off-white or cream color for maximum warmth.
You can also warm up a cool bedroom (and save money) by choosing the right lightbulb.
21. Add a statement with a funky wall light
If you haven't got a ton of space in your bedroom for a statement pendant light or a floor lamp, you can get statement wall lights that will take up zero floor space.
We love this striking number with a cool contemporary shape that would work in any style room. It looks particularly chic in this all-white bedroom, with the blank canvas making it the star of the show.
22. Add a mirror behind your table lamp
This is such a great trick – positioning a mirror design behind your bedroom lighting will only enhance the light it gives off, plus it creates a lovely glow.
It works really well in a small bedroom too, as we are sure you know, mirrors expand space, creating the allusion of a bigger, lighter room.
23. Light up a shelf and create interest in you bedroom
We love open bedroom shelving ideas. They are the perfect place to store books and vases and of course the odd house plant.
They are also the perfect place to add some soft bedroom lighting. Fairy lights are an obvious choice, LED candles work too, they look subtle and give off the same atmospheric light.
How should you approach bedroom lighting?
'Introducing the perfect lighting will not only brighten up the space but also elevates the atmosphere by creating an eye-catching and ambient mood,' says Kerry Laird, interior designer at Fishpools.
Exposed bulbs are a great way to avoid overcrowding in a smaller bedroom. Not only do bare bulbs exude character, but they also add vintage charm. Additionally, exposed bulbs are extremely versatile and will suit most color schemes.'
'If you’re looking to create a statement but don’t have high ceilings for something as grand as a chandelier, why not looking to wall lighting as an alternative? On a practical note, wall lighting is great for illuminating a specific area like a piece of artwork, or an accessory table.'
'Choose a slim light for smaller bedrooms as a sleek addition to a minimalist space or to work effectively as a spotlight style to draw attention to hanging pictures and ornaments.'
'If statement lighting seems too much, try a subtle approach, and create a more inviting ambience with a table lamp. A muted lampshade that can be adapted to any interior vibe is a great alternative. Position on a bedside table and add some accessories such as a standing picture frame or house plants to complete the look.'
What types of bedroom lighting ideas do you need?
Task lighting – we're talking spotlights and reading lights – is a must for readers or if you use the bedroom as a home office. Wardrobes will benefit from spotlights, especially in larger rooms with insufficient natural light.
Ambient lighting mimics natural daylight and can be created with pendants, lamps and wall lights for soft pools of light and a relaxed atmosphere. Think dimmable overhead or bedside lamps will help fill your bedroom with soft, diffused light – perfect for winding down before drifting off to sleep.
Accent lighting is a bonus, created with spotlights, downlights and uplights, among other styles of lighting; this is especially used to highlight design features such as alcoves or artwork, but can also be created with table lamps to create zoned pools of light.
How many lights should be in a bedroom?
This depends on the bedroom lighting scheme you decide on but if you do choose to layer lighting to enjoy the best results, you will usually have the three types of light mentioned above in your space.
However, bedrooms that are usually only used at night and for varying lengths of time, look their best when lit with low light. So, while you may install the typical three types of artificial lighting – ambient, task and accent – you may rarely use all three at once, unlike in a living room, for example.
‘The best way to create an atmospheric lighting scheme in a bedroom is to use layers of lights,’ says lighting buyer Diane Simpson.
‘I tend to start with the ceiling and will choose a statement piece. Matching fittings create a more symmetrical look but think about what you use your bedside lighting for before you choose.’
Plan with purpose
The first thing to do when designing the lighting scheme for your bedroom is the amount of natural light that comes in. Then think about your needs and habits: are you much of a reader at night?
Then you'll need to invest in good quality reading lights. Or do you mainly use your bedroom for evening lounging in on the weekends? In which case, you'll want some atmospheric, low level and dimmable lighting. Do you need good lighting in winter to find clothes or put on makeup? Then you'll need good ambient and task lighting.
How will you control your bedroom lighting?
With a rough idea of the lighting effects you want to create planned out, you can think about how your lighting will be controlled – and this is where a bigger budget will come into play.
If you are renovating your home from scratch, it is worth talking to a lighting designer early on to include clever control systems in your scheme. ‘The lighting design needs to be finalized before the first fix electrics,’ says Sian Parsons, senior lighting designer at John Cullen Lighting. ‘This will ensure the scheme is fully integrated into the joinery and architecture of each room. The more information provided about the furniture layout and decorative scheme, the better the lighting will enhance your home.’
No bedroom lighting scheme will look its best controlled by one switch – putting your bedroom lighting on different circuits is a must. An average bedroom will need at least two or three circuits: one for downlights or the central pendant; one for table lamps; and one for wall lights, for example. Ideally, you should be able to control all of the room's lighting from just by the bedroom door and from the bed.
Set the right mood with dimmer switches
If you are designing a bedroom on a budget, dimmer switches are an inexpensive option and are great for changing the mood of a room.
There are several types: a touch dimmer, controlled by touching the light or switch plate; a switch dimmer, turned on by adjusting a rotating or in-line switch on the lamp or switch plate by hand; and a remote dimmer, usually a wall plate with a remote control-operated touch-sensitive switch. This last type can be programmed to remember your ideal lighting levels.
Dimmers can’t be used with energy-saving bulbs, but the dimming itself will usually save energy. Halogen bulbs can be dimmed but may need a higher wattage dimmer than the total wattage of the light fitting – a qualified electrician can easily deal with this.
Beware if you buy LED lamps for dimming, as you may experience flickering or overheating. This might be a sign that either the lamp isn’t dimmable in the first place, or the dimmer is only capable of dimming lamps from certain manufacturers, so check your bulb is compatible with your switch.
The best light bulbs for a bedroom
LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs last for more than 20,000 hours, give off a warm, white light, are cool to the touch and are as efficient as energy-saving bulbs. Dimmable versions are available, although they are not recommended for use with touch lamps.
Tungsten bulbs produce a warm, instant light, last about 1,000 hours, get hot when lit and are fully dimmable. They are being phased out in favor of bulbs with greater energy efficiency.
Halogen bulbs give off a bright, instant white light, last about 2,000 hours, become hot when lit and are fully dimmable. They also come in low-voltage capsule types for armed lighting, which may require specialist dimmers.
Energy-saving bulbs, also known as compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL), give off a warm, white light, take around 60 seconds to warm up and last for 8,000 plus hours; they are not generally dimmable, although there are some versions available, which are not recommended for touch lamps.
Can you install bedroom lighting yourself?
If you are on a budget, you might be tempted to install your own lighting, but if you are carrying out any electrical work in your home or garden in England and Wales, you will have to conform to building regulations.
This means using an installer who is registered with a competent person scheme to seek approval from a Building Control body. You do not need to tell Building Control about repairs, replacements and maintenance work, extra power or lighting points, or other alterations to existing circuits, unless the work is carried out in a kitchen or bathroom.