Bedside Lighting Tips & Tricks

How to Choose the Perfect Light

By Megan Johansson

Lighting is another layer of design that makes the space come alive. Different moods can be achieved by manipulating lighting, its intensity, color and placement. With so many options and technologies available on the market, figuring out bedside lighting can get complicated. This simple guide will help you make the right decision while choosing lighting solutions for your bedroom.


Step #1 – Choose Your Light Style

Not all bedrooms are created equal. Some have plenty of floor space for a nightstand and table lamp on each side of the bed. Others have room for only wall sconces. Still others allow for a mix of the two, combining styles and space-saving tricks to get the perfect balance of lighting. So before you fall in love with a gorgeous lampshade or an adjustable copper reading light, assess your room and decide what style of fixture would suit your needs and work best in the space.

Bedroom Lighting #1.jpg

Step #2 – Make Sure You Have the Right Height

Now that you’ve got your light style in place, you need to choose the right height of the lamp or location of the sconce. Think of your reading light as a task light that needs to be high enough to illuminate the pages, but not too high to lose that soft and cozy effect. A good rule of thumb is for a source of light to be about two feet above the top of your mattress (or, about in line with the top of your pillow/headboard). Opting for adjustable versions is a great option, too, since it allows you to shift the light focus as needed.

Bedside Lighting #2.jpg

Step #3 – Decide on Hardware or Plug-In Fixtures

Hardwiring your fixtures requires some planning, but you’ll appreciate it once it’s properly designed and implemented. The result is a seamless design with flexible operation via switches, no visible cords, and switches and outlets that blend in with the wall color. You can even opt for smart switches with dimmers that are connected to your smart phone for easy control. In this project (below), the headboard is deep, so we added a smart phone module so the light can be dimmed or turned on or off without reaching back. It’s incredibly handy – just don’t forget to install a USB plug-in next to the bed to keep your device charged.

Bedside Lighting #3.jpg

Step #4 – Choose Your Bulb Wattage

If there is no dimmer, the final touch is to choose your bulb wattage. If you’re eyes are a bit more sensitive to bright lights before bed or you prefer to have an overall softer ambient glow, then your best bet is to go with lower watt levels (in the 25-40 range). If you prefer a brighter light for reading, on the other hand, you’ll want a watt level between 50-60 – it’s the perfect level of brightness without veering into the harsh light territory. Overall, stick to soft and warm lights (between 2700-3000K in temperature) – they’re best for the bedroom since they help to keep things feeling cozy and calm.

Bedroom LIghting #4.jpg

Got your perfect bedroom light in mind? Then grab your favorite novel or magazine, fluff up those pillows, and get ready to settle in for a great night’s sleep. With your new lighting installed, you may never want to leave.