The 8 Best Small Bedroom Lighting Solutions, According to Designers

updated Apr 13, 2020
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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 space lighting solutions they swear by, and here’s what they had to say. 

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1. 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.

2. 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.”

Don’t have a hard wiring to mount lamps in this way? No worries! You can fake it till you make it by using remote-controlled battery-operated puck lights in certain kinds of fixtures that have closed shades. Read more about this hack here.

3. 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.

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 one for a classic finish. This is also a good spot to go a little Grandmillenial style with something pleated or will ball trim.

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.

Make Moves

We’ve already talked sconces—but maybe best to look for one that has a built-in range of motion, 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.

Be Bold 

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.

Consider a Floor Lamp

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.”