Bedroom Lighting: FOUR Options to Consider


No matter what the size of your bedroom is, one of the key components to the style and function of the space is lighting.  While dark rooms my be great for sleeping, the right lighting is needed for other functions like reading in bed or getting dressed in the morning or evening.  The style of lighting your choose should enhance your decor in addition to enhancing the atmosphere of the bedroom.

When it comes to bedroom lighting, there are several forms of lighting to consider…

Table Lamps / Floor Lamps / Wall Sconces / Hanging Lights


Table lamps are the most common forms of lighting used in a bedroom.  Placed next to a bed a table lamp not only allows you to easily read in bed but a par of lamps will also enhance the overall room illumination.  When choosing a bedside lamp, consider the side of your nightstand.  You want to make sure the lamp base and shade don’t over power the furniture piece and that the lamp looks proportionate to the size of the bed.

The best way to find the correct height for a bedside lamp is to get into bed and lay against the pillows in your normal reading position. Measure from the floor to just above your shoulder height which is where the base of the lampshade to fall.  A general rule of thumb when selecting bedside table lamps: the bottom of the lampshade should be about 20 inches above the mattress.

ConfettiStyle Spring Bedroom Refresh33


Floor lamps are another option for bedside lighting and are a great option when space is limited and nightstand are not an option.  For more ambient lighting, consider a larger scale floor lamp with an ample size shade.  For more direct task lighting to read by, look at swing arm or library style floor lamps.

Bedrooms--Floor Lamp

Bedrooms--Floor Lamps

Wall sconces and hanging light fixtures will provide ample lighting in your bedroom and are also an easy way to add additional style to the space.



Wall-mounted light fixtures free up bedside table space or eliminate the need for bedside tables altogether and offer a great deal of flexibility. You can choose to hard-wire your light into the wall or if you’re renting and hard wiring is not an option there are lots of plug-in wall sconces available.

To find the right mounting spot for a wall sconce, place your bed and nightstand into position and then determine the best visual and functional spot for the light.  While lying in bed, you want to to easily reach the on/off switch and be able to more the fixture as needed.  Smaller wall sconces can be placed directly over the headboard while larger sconces with swinging arms can be placed off to the side, over a nightstand.


Bedrooms--Wall Sconces via Decorpad

Swing-arm, wall-mounted lights that move both horizontally and vertically offer a solution for people who share a bed but rest at different heights. The lamps can be mounted at matching heights and adjusted for the different reading positions.

Bedrooms--Wall Sconces via Elements of Style

For those of you with more of an eclectic style, consider a hanging chandelier over the nightstand.  Chandeliers will provide lots of light within the room and are sufficient for reading even though the majority of light is cast directly up or down.

Bedrooms--Hanging Chandelier

Another hanging light option is a pendant light.  When hung at table lamp height, pendants will provide bedside lighting but since pendant lights point light to objects directly below, they are not a great option for someone who likes to read in bed.  If you like the look of pendant lights but want to read in bed, choose pendants with a wide shade, opaque shade, or no shade at all.

Both chandeliers and pendant lights are good to use in rooms with low ceiling because they will help give the impression of a higher ceiling height.

Bedrooms-Hanging Pendants


Considering the four most common types of lighting for a bedroom, the ideal solution is to layer your lighting with a combination of ambient lighting (central overhead lighting, chandelier or pendant) and task lighting (table lamp, floor lamp or sconce).  And when choosing light bulbs,  40 to 60 low-watt incandescent lamps at your bedside are best.

ConfettiStyle Spring Bedroom Refresh21


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  1. Shelly, I have not only learned so much from reading your blog I’ve also refined my taste. You’ve helped me be more me, if that makes any sense. Soon I’ll be moving and my new home is going to be more awesome because of you. Thank you!

    • Hi Dana, I’m excited about your move and hearing about your decorating adventure. I hope you’ll share photos when you begin the process.

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