13 of the Best Small Bedroom Lighting Ideas, According to Designers

updated Jan 30, 2024
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Decorating a small bedroom is tricky, but lighting one can be even more difficult. “It’s important to remember proportion and scale when selecting lighting for a small bedroom,” designer Anne Hepfer says. “Oversized lamps and ceiling lights can make the space feel overcrowded and uncomfortable.”

Not sure what lights to use in your own tiny bedroom? A few of our interior designer friends shared what small bedroom lighting ideas they swear by, and here’s what they had to say.

Credit: Erin Derby

1. Hang a plug-in pendant light.

“A plug-in pendant provides an ideal lighting solution for small bedrooms, eliminating the challenges of wall-mounted electrical installations while maintaining a carefully curated aesthetic,” says designer Alex Robinson of Mackenzie Collier Interiors.

Play around with different colors to find one that suits your space. Robinson suggests using a plug-in pendant with with adjustable cord lengths, which allows you to tailor the height to your room dimensions and lighting preferences.

2. Get creative with materials.

“When working in small spaces, make every piece count,” says designer Jeremiah Brent. Whether you’re shopping online or looking through your local thrift store, choose a light fixture that speaks to you and your space. The right lighting for you will brighten up your space in more ways than one.

Brent recommends a light like The Curtain Lamp by Analuisa Corrigan because it “incorporates the perfect mix of materials with its hand-sculpted base, brass hardware, and effortlessly draped linen.”

3. Make it double as art.

“I’m a big fan of wall mounted sconces or interesting sculptural lighting that does not necessarily resemble a light, like the clever illuminated sign in this Australian bedroom,” says designer Kristyn Harvey. “Utilizing wall space helps keep things off the ground and reduces clutter and having it double as art as well as lighting is important when you do not have much wall space to begin with. Wall lighting also helps direct your eye upwards which is important in making a small room feel more spacious,” she says.

4. Use string lights.

Take a page from this tiny but beautiful UK apartment and hang string lights for added lighting in your small bedroom. “String lights and illuminated art will contribute to the ambience, the mood and style of your space, while becoming great focal points,” says Jessica Velazquez, an interior decorator from Alberta, Canada. But, she says, “they are not enough if what you need is better light for work or study.” 

5. Add light to tight corners.

How to illuminate tight corners in a small bedroom? Think outside the box, says Velazquez. “Use a wall lamp with a swing arm that can be moved towards the bed, a desk or a reading chair.” We love the way this lamp perfectly fits into the tight space in this A-frame cabin bedroom

6. Install a dainty ceiling light.

Your bedroom ceiling is brimming with space-savvy design potential. “Airy fixtures such as open lanterns or options made from clear, acrylic elements are great ways to achieve successful lighting in a small bedroom without overpowering the space,” Hepfer says. 

If you’re a little more into glitz and glam, you can also going with something that’s crystal, which will help reflect what natural light you do get around your space. And if boho is more your bag, something with an open weave that’s made out of natural rattan or bamboo fiber will also work. It’s best to find something that’s a little smaller in scale so it won’t overwhelm your space.

7. Put a sconce on it.

Never underestimate the impact of a well-placed wall sconce in a tight space. “They are a must in small bedrooms, both for spatial constraints and for adding ambiance,” says designer Jessica Geller of Toledo Geller Interiors. “They keep your nightstand clear of clutter, while also adding a soft glow and a dash of architectural interest.”

8. The more lights, the better.

No matter what size of space you’re working with, designer Ana Claudia Shultz says employing multiple light fixtures will elevate the aesthetic of your bedroom. “Small bedrooms, like all rooms, should have different sources of lighting,” she says. “When you want to have lots of light, you can turn them all on, or you can have just a few for a warmer tone, and even less for a moodier feel.”

It’s also important that you place those multiple light sources within the room at different heights. Overheads are great, as are wall sconces. But adding a table lamp to the mix, for example, will also help keep things atmospheric and visually interesting.

9. Try a textured shade.

“Texture works wonders in a small space,” says designer Tali Roth. “A light source with a woven shade frees up space on your nightstand while bringing a fun touch to the room.” 

Opt for rattan for a coastal, Cali-cool feel or a fringed linen shade for a classic finish. This is also a good spot to go a little Grandmillenial style with something pleated or will ball trim.

10. Find a flush mount.

They call ceilings the “fifth wall” for a reason. “An eye-catching flush or semi-flush light makes a statement in the center of a small bedroom without taking up any surface or floor space,” Liz Caan says. 

If you can find something with a dramatic shape, this kind of light will also draw the eye upward without taking up a lot of space, making a room seem loftier. So you get a lot of bang for your buck here.

11. Make moves.

We’ve already talked sconces — but consider looking for one that has a built-in range of motion, especially if you are trying to max out space in a tight bedroom. “Wall-mounted swing arm sconces provide functional reading light and elegantly frame your headboard without cluttering your nightstand,” says Caitlin Murray of Black Lacquer Design.

Since you can adjust these kinds of fixtures and move the pool of light they create around the room a bit, they can also shed some light on whatever other tasks you might be taking on in your bedroom, from folding clothes or even getting ready for the day at a vanity.

12. Choose bold light fixtures. 

A commanding ceiling light fixture supplies more than just overhead light in a small bedroom. “Small spaces present an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and do something you might hesitate to try in a bigger space,” says designer Liz Wilson of MC1R Studio.

Take note from this spot, where a beaded chandelier creates a focal point and adds a burst of color to the room.

13. Combine a floor lamp with other lighting.

If you thought floor lamps were a waste of precious bedroom space, you might want to reconsider. “A floor lamp with a cantilevered arm can sit next to the nightstand, which leaves surfaces open for things that matter,” says Sybille Zimmermann of Studio Zimmerman. “It’s also a great option when you don’t have room for a nightstand but still need the light.”