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See How Lighting Can Make a Plain Bedroom Look a Million Dollars

Get the lighting just right in your bedroom and it can be totally transformed – both at night and in the daytime

Houzz Contributor. I am an editor, journalist, web and copywriter. I was Editor of… More

Well-thought-out bedroom lighting should look just as good unlit during the day as it does at night when it’s doing what it does best: creating an inviting, relaxing haven that’s practical, too. Whatever your bedroom’s size, style and colour scheme, and however you use the lighting, these tips will help you turn it from plain to plainly fabulous.

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Be unexpected
Don’t be limited to a central pendant and bedside lamps – there’s no reason why you can’t choose more unusual fittings for a bedroom, such as a multi-directional floor lamp.

Use it to illuminate architectural features, artwork, your bedside table and your bedtime reading, but go for low-wattage bulbs to keep the light glowing rather than glaring.

See how a dull, beige bedroom was totally transformed with these before and after photos

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Go for understated style
If you’re creating a bedroom that’s all about laid-back boho looks, you might like to keep your lighting pared-back to let the furniture do the talking. That’s when an industrial-inspired fitting can come into its own.

This subtle pendant attracts the eye precisely because it’s so low-key – but it needs a softly tinted bulb so the glass shade emits a warm, welcoming light, not a cold one.

10 things cluttering up your bedroom – and how to deal with them

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Hang an oversized pendant
Does your bedroom have a high ceiling? Then draw attention to the room’s generous proportions with an oversized pendant shade.

Ensure it’s not your only source of light – bedrooms look better brightened with low-level lights, such as table lamps, than they do from a single central one. But that’s all the more reason why a big, show-off pendant should be assigned an important decorative role.

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Consider lighting effects
Don’t just buy bedroom lighting on looks alone – think about the direction in which the light will be cast, which will be dictated by the shape of the shade.

Here, drum shades throw light upwards – to show off the room’s high ceiling – and downwards – to provide reading light. By contrast, tapered shades will direct the majority of the light downwards, a trick to have up your sleeve if you’d rather create a cosier atmosphere.

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Invest in a statement lamp
Bedside lamps aren’t just for lighting – they can be desirable adornments in their own right, and look just as good unlit as lit.

This one has the upper hand for another important reason: the inside of the shade is gold, meaning the light cast from it will be warm and glowing – ideal for a bedroom with an otherwise cool colour scheme.

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Get the light’s position right
Where to position your bedside lamp? It depends on how you use it: for reading lying down, for reading sitting up, as atmospheric lighting, or as a task light. Whichever, you need to ensure the bulb remains unseen or the glare will be uncomfortable.

So if your light is to be multi-purpose, an adjustable design like this is best. Going for a fixed light? Take careful measurements before you shop.

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Make the bed the focus
A central pendant doesn’t always work in its original position in a bedroom, especially if you’ve installed fitted wardrobes on one side of the room.

Rather than live with a poorly positioned light, consider moving it so it sits either over the middle of the bed, or centrally over the foot. Doing so will make both the light and the bed the stars of the show – just as they should be.

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Make your light part of the plan
This bedside light performs several clever tricks at once. Its tapered shade is a deep, almost opaque grape colour that limits the light cast to just the immediate area above and below the shade, creating an intimate feel.

It’s also positioned to be an integral part of the picture display around it, both highlighting a chosen piece and providing reading light.

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Save space at the bedside
The lower your lighting, the cosier the atmosphere in a room, but if your bedroom – and therefore bedside table size – is limited, you might like to save space with a bedside pendant rather than a lamp.

The other must-have? A switch to control it – and ideally the other lights in the room – right at your bedside.

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Create interesting reflections
If your bedroom scheme is an homage to hotel style, you’ll need lighting that’s as glamorous as the furnishings. Crystal-effect shades will be the perfect fit, throwing sparkling reflections on to the walls and bed.

Keep on the right side of good taste by ensuring the design and lines of the light are simple rather than showy.

What kind of bedroom lights do you have? Share photos or tips in the Comments below.
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