How to Choose Bedroom Lighting

Brighten each day with smart lighting selections for where you sleep.

By Jan Soults Walker

While darkness inspires sound sleeping, your bedroom requires proper illumination for day-to-day activities, such as reading, dressing, and cleaning. Here's what you need to establish a good lighting plan.

share it!
Garrison Hullinger

Lighting basics

Every room in the house benefits when you incorporate three layers of lighting: ambient, task, and accent.

For ambient/overall illumination, include a central fixture in your bedroom or incorporate a series of recessed fixtures around the room (but don't overilluminate the space). No matter which type or combination of fixtures you choose, make sure light won't shine directly into the eyes of anyone sitting or lying in bed.

Next, consider those tasks that take place in the bedroom, such as reading, using a laptop or tablet, or ironing a shirt; then direct a fixture onto the task area.

For the third layer, locate subtle lighting sources to accent anything you want to highlight, such as artwork, a fireplace, or other architectural features. Accent lighting is also ideal for setting a mood.

Paths to enlightenment

To achieve these lighting layers, choose from a wide range of fixtures, including:

  • Table lamps provide ambient lighting as well as task lighting. Select translucent shades to softly filter light; dark or opaque shades look stylish or sexy but block light. Make sure that the bottom edge of the shade falls below chin level, such as when reading in bed, to prevent light from shining in your eyes.
  • Adjustable or swing-arm lamps are another stylish option for reading and other tasks. These come in models that rest on a table or desktop or mount on the wall, saving space on bedside tables. These lamps are a great solution for reading in bed because the light can be positioned exactly where you need it without disturbing a bedmate.
  • Floor lamps are conveniently portable and are a great option for bringing light where you need it. Like table lamps, translucent shades provide ambient illumination as well as task lighting. For a moodier look, a dark or opaque shade directs light upward and downward.
  • A chandelier produces ambient light while promoting an air of elegance. Place ceiling fixtures on dimmers so you can lower light levels for relaxing evenings or brighten the room to clean, choose an outfit, or pack for a trip.
  • Sconces, cove fixtures, and uplights and downlights are all ideal for setting a mood in a bedroom or for highlighting a special feature. Position uplights or downlights to wash light across a wall, for example, or to illuminate a bookcase.

Most Recent on HomePortfolio

Get more from Homeportfolio
Create your FREE account

Save and share room photos and products and interact with our community

Quick sign up with Facebook


You choose what gets posted to Facebook

We will only share what you choose to share


Sign up with your email

We don't share your email address or send you junk. Clicking above confirms you have read and agreed to our privacy policy

If you already have an account Sign in here

Homeportfolio has been featured in:

Just one more step

Please select your user name and password
so you can log in and start making the most of Homeportfolio

this is how you will be known to other community members

 manufacturer or artisan

Log In

Forgot Password

Enter you email address.

Save To Idea Folder