Bedroom Lights: How to Light Your Bedroom for Rest and Relaxation

You probably haven’t given much thought to lighting your bedroom. After all, isn’t the whole point to keep it nice and dark in there so you can get some sleep? If you really think about it, you’ll realize that you use your bedroom more than you think. You start and finish your day in your bedroom. It’s your inner sanctum. It’s your zen space. It’s where you go to enjoy your own company. Don’t you want the vibe to be right?

Lighting does a lot to set the tone of a room. You don’t want to get dressed in the dark, and you don’t want to sleep in the same light you’d use to make sure your belt and your shoes match. Your bedroom needs a variety of lighting options to illuminate your way - whether you’re on the way out or you’re in for the night.

Working with Natural Lighting

Your bedroom already has some light courtesy of your windows. Natural lighting is a big help to day to day tasks. Whether you’re making your bed in the morning or putting your laundry away while you’re sipping your coffee, daylight is the most gentle way to start the day. Make sure all your bedroom windows are unobstructed and choose window treatments that make it easy to let light in.

Heavy curtains that leave the room dark all the time might make it tempting to oversleep. When the room stays pitch dark all the time, it always feels like bedtime. If you opt for sheer curtains, you won’t have to do much. Natural light will naturally pour into the room, whether or not you open the drapes. Many people find that allowing a little bit of daylight to naturally seep into the room helps them wake up. 

The gradual intensity of morning light is a lot more subtle than switching on a bright lamp while your eyes are still adjusting. Daylight will help facilitate a stress-free morning ritual that allows slow risers to get acclimated to the day before they even put their feet on the ground.

Start With Closet Lighting

You need to be able to see to put your clothes, jewelry, and accessories together. You want a lot of bright light, preferably daylight bulbs, to make sure that everything matches. Think about the way department stores light clothing and accessories, and how easy it is to put things together before you leave the store. You’ll appreciate that same lighting where you’re getting ready.

You don’t need to illuminate your entire bedroom like a department store. Instead, light your closet like one. You’ll be able to see everything you need to see. Since your closet is a smaller space, you won’t need any decorative pieces or expensive installations. Just a few plain, bright bulbs should do the trick. 

Keeping your bright daylight bulbs in your closet where you need them most will also protect your circadian rhythm. If you’re using daylight bulbs at night, your brain might get a little confused about whether it’s supposed to go to sleep or stay awake. It’s best to keep your general bedroom lighting comfortably dim to promote relaxation and restful sleep.

Establish Task Lighting

You shouldn’t keep your makeup and skincare in your bathroom. It’s bad for the products and will cause them to degrade faster. Instead, set up your grooming and pampering area in your bedroom. You need to be able to see to take care of your skin and put on your face, and that’s where task lighting comes in handy. You want to light the rest of the room for rest and relaxation, and the kind of makeup you’ll need to tend to your makeup is very different from the lighting you’ll need to chill out. 

You might also want a reading light for your bedside table or your comfy chair. A small lamp with an adjustable neck will do the trick in a small bedroom. Floor lights with adjustable heads work perfectly for reading areas next to big, comfy chairs. You can focus the bulb directly on your book, magazine, knitting project, or whatever else you’re working on without flooding the entire room with light, allowing you to see what you’re doing without diminishing the calm vibe of your bedroom. 

Choose a Light Color

Color makes a huge difference when it comes to light. It goes without saying that most people won’t want fuschia or kelly green lighting in their bedroom. You’ll want some kind of white or warm yellow-toned light in your bedroom. 

Bright white is the kind of light used in doctor’s offices. It’s an unforgiving kind of light that keeps you alert and focused. You’ll want to avoid bright white light in your bedroom. Instead, opt for soft white light for a modern look. Soft white has a tranquil cool tone. Warm white light has a bit of a yellow tinge to it, making a space feel warm and cozy. Cool white lighting is likely to match the lighting throughout the rest of your house, but is slightly gentler. 

Pick a Main Light Source

In your bedroom, your main light source will likely be a form of ambient lighting. Pendant lighting, a small chandelier, or a ceiling lamp will do the trick. Recessed lighting doesn’t work well in bedrooms. It’s more for illuminating decorative features in living rooms or dining rooms. People don’t look particularly good when illuminated by these kinds of lights. They cast unflattering shadows, which might not be ideal for a room where you’d like to look nice for your significant other.

Placement for a ceiling lighting fixture in a bedroom can be difficult to determine. You probably don’t want to place a large light directly above your bed. Your bed isn’t something intended for direct illumination. Instead, you might find that a fixture works better just past the foot of the bed or in the exact center of the room.

No matter what type of main light source you choose, you want to make sure that the source is dimmable. Not every lighting fixture will successfully dim. Some LED-powered or high-efficiency lighting will flicker or blink without dimming. Fixtures that are designed to work with dimmers will state so on the box. 

Choose Secondary Light Sources

Your secondary light sources will probably go on or around your website table. The easiest way to illuminate your bedside is with table lamps. If you’ve found a set of table lamps you like, it’s as easy as picking the right bulb with the right wattage. If you have small bedside tables or you want to keep the surface area free, there are alternatives.

The first (and easiest) alternative is wall sconces. Mounting the lights to the wall above your bedside tables, beautifully flanking your headboard, will do several things. It will save space, it will provide light, and it will act as a decorative accent. 

The second alternative is pendant lights hung very low, which will serve a similar purpose but may not have as much of a decorative impact as wall sconces. Pendant lights act more as ambient lighting, as their shades do not allow the direction or the intensity of the light to be adjusted. You’ll want to keep that in mind if you’re an in-bed reader. 

Other Lighting

After you’ve established your main and secondary lighting sources, it’s time to move on to the decorative touches. Some decorative touches serve multiple purposes. LED string lights placed behind a TV will look beautiful and also reduce eye strain. If you’re a binge-watch-in-bed kind of person, you’ll definitely want to consider bias lighting for behind your screen. This trick is also handy for bedrooms that also have home office areas with large monitors. 

You might also want to consider a nightlight. If you tend to stub your toe on every piece of furniture on the way to the master bathroom, an unobtrusive night light will help you keep your feet intact. Smaller decorative lights can be strategically placed to illuminate the path to the bathroom without flooding the room and keeping you awake. You can also go the utilitarian route and choose small nightlights with darkness sensors that plug directly into a wall outlet. 


Lighting for any task - whether it be relaxation, building puzzles, playing video games, or cooking dinner - is an in-depth process. Layers of light and alternative sources of light will set the stage for anything you choose to do. The lighting in your bedroom is just as important as the lighting in any other room of your home. Perfectly prep your favorite place to relax and see how easy it is to kick back at the end of a long day. 


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