12 Creative Ways to Hang Lights in Your Bedroom

published Apr 18, 2023
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The way that you hang lights in a bedroom can play a crucial role in creating a calm, sensual escape. That’s especially true of small spaces, where oftentimes wall- or ceiling-hanging fixtures are your best bet in terms of maximizing square footage. Regardless, there’s no shortage of stylish, easy-to-install bedroom lighting options available today — from string lights to sconces to pendants — for both renters and homeowners alike. 

Looking for lighting design inspiration, or craving a brighter, cozier home? Check out some of the best, most creative ideas for hanging lights in the bedroom, including ingenious decorating tips you’d never thought to try before.

Credit: Cathy Pyle

1. Commit to a corner.

The bedroom corner of Laura Penny’s 370-square-foot London apartment is aglow with a single strand of big, bold lights. The oversized bulbs ensure sufficient brightness for late-night reading, while neatly framing the L-shaped nook with an additional decorative element. 

Credit: Erin Derby

2. Simplify with a plug-in pendant.

If hardwiring light fixtures sounds time-consuming, tricky, or downright impossible, you’re not alone! Luckily, plug-in pendant lights do exist and can offer a renter-friendly pop of unexpected color near your bed. Yes, the cord will be visible, but you can guide it through small adhesive clips along the wall and ceiling for tighter, straighter lines.

Credit: Urban Outfitters

3. Cover the whole wall.

Consider creating your very own hanging “light wall” focal point, using something like Urban Outfitters’ 98-foot-long copper firefly string lights. With the overhead lamps off, this customizable style will cast a moody glow over the entire space. Layer in art and a statement mirror to add more depth and visual interest, too. 

Credit: Erin Derby

4. Get the museum-inspired look.

Among the various lamps in her bedroom, New Jersey-based interior designer Beth Diana Smith used a picture light to spotlight artwork above her bed. Not only does this compact fixture give any print or painting a high-end feel, but it also increases the space’s overall brightness. Amazon carries rechargeable options in a handful of finishes, which even work well above a full-length mirror.

5. Turn lights into art.

The team behind The Design Office in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, used simple string lights to spell out a fun message in their communal work area. To translate this word art into the bedroom, pick your own meaningful short phrase, measure out a line on your wall where you’d like the bottom of the letters to hit (and even sketch an outline with chalk, if possible), then configure the shape on your floor using tape and LED rope lighting. Fasten your finished product with wall mounts, and voilà!

6. Balance your bedside with pendants.

Take a page from this art director’s Los Angeles home and hang modern pendants on either side of the bed (or even just one solo). This unexpected touch offers drama and sophistication, plus frees up more space on your nightstand. 

7. Sconce it up.

A classic, minimalist sconce makes the perfect small-space bedside companion, as well. Get inspired by IKEA’s adjustable RANARP wall/clamp spotlights, pictured here, which drill into the wall for a cordless look but can also plug into a regular socket. This industrial, black-on-brass design pairs well with any bedroom scheme, too. 

Credit: Williams Sonoma

8. Illuminate your windows.

Try adding a string light curtain, using something like Pottery Barn Teen’s two-in-one curtain panel with built-in fairy lights. Hang as you would a regular curtain, or drape from the ceiling for extra impact. Either way, it’s a dramatic, unique approach to styling lights in your bedroom.

9. Hang natural pendants for a warm touch.

These woven pendant lamps, hanging in the home of Dutch writer Ariena Ruwaard, transform an otherwise simple space into a cool, coastal oasis. IKEA and Pottery Barn have cost-friendly options to provide a neutral structural statement piece. 

Credit: Stacy Lee

10. Brighten up a bookshelf.

If you have a corner bookcase, hang small adhesive lights on the underside of each shelf. As seen in this plant-filled New York City apartment, the styling helps greenery grow and further illuminates the bedroom space. Or, get creative with string lights and drape a strand or two along the frame of your bookshelf for a playful finishing touch (especially using bright-colored bulbs!).

Credit: IKEA

11. Play with shape.

For narrow, dimly lit bedroom nooks, capitalize on vertical wall space to create a fluid light “shape,” as if working within a frame. IKEA’s Blötsnö LED string lights, shown above, demonstrate this idea well: The restrained, elevated look packs a punch while keeping the lights contained above a bedside table. 

12. Go fancy with a chandelier.

When I think of chandeliers, I often think of opulent dining rooms. But lately I’ve seen them placed all over the home — even Lady Gaga’s bathroom! Whether you’re a fan of modern or vintage, a statement chandelier converts any bedroom into a style-forward, luxe-looking space.