How To Properly Light a Bedroom

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

At first glance, the bedroom seems the least important room in the home, in terms of lighting. After all, we’re not really working in there much (unless it doubles as an office), and the primary goal of the space is to support sleep— which requires an intentional lack of light.

Once you start thinking about it, though, you realize the lighting needs of a bedroom— from general lighting for putting the laundry away to task lighting for doing your makeup and accent lighting for chilling out of an evening— are pretty complex. A bedroom lighting scheme should be as considered as that of any other room, so read on for a few tips on doing just that.


A good even light, cast from a central pendant or from windows (natural light from windows or skylights counts as general lighting!), is important in every space. Even if you don’t spend a lot of non-sleeping time in your bedroom, this basic light is what we get dressed by in the winter, clean the room to, and helps us see when natural light is low. However, you probably don’t want this space to be too bright, so consider a lower-watt bulb and the all-important dimmer switch.

(Image credit: Arthur Garcia-Clemente)


Unless you have a desk or office space in the bedroom, there is a limit to how much work you’ll be doing there. But for those of us who read in bed, a good bedside lamp is a necessity. Don’t be restricted to desk-style reading lights; a low-hanging pendant like the one above works, too. Think of the other things you do from day to day— do you apply your makeup or iron your shirts in the bedroom? Both require good, specific lighting. Wall sconces, floor lamps and directional spot lights are your friends.

(Image credit: Christine Lu)


In the bedroom, accent lighting is really mood lighting. Whether it’s to create a romantic atmosphere or just to support relaxation in the evening, a cosy glow in this room never hurts. It can be achieved through simple dimming of the light sources we’ve already talked about, or by adding decorative lights like fairy strings, corner up-lighters or candles.

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