Lighting Ideas For Your Bedroom

Bedrooms are used for far more than simply sleeping. They provide places to read, work out using exercise equipment, watch TV, or spend time relaxing alone or with your partner. It's important to have the right lighting for all these different activities - more light will be needed for working at the computer, say, than for relaxing in bed. To achieve this balance, you'll need to have both portable and fixed lights in your room.

Different types of people also have different lighting needs. Couples need individually controlled bedside reading lights so they can go to sleep at different times. Teenagers and students need adequate light for studying. Babies' nurseries should be fitted with a dimmer switch or low-level light so that parents can check on their child without waking them. Plug-in nightlights are ideal for young children to help them find their way in the dark.

Older people need more light to see properly and their eyes are also more sensitive to harsh lighting. If you're older, you should make sure your lights are sufficiently bright but covered with a shade to reduce glare. If you do your make-up sitting at a dressing table, this should be horizontally lit from both sides, otherwise shadows will fall across your face.

Choose your bedroom lighting to complement your furniture and decor. If your bedroom is romantic and traditional, go for bronze or antique fixtures and fittings, or for a contemporary look, incorporate spotlights in the ceiling or floor.

Your central light needs to be high enough to reach all areas of the room, so don't buy a fixture that hangs too low. Before choosing your bedroom lighting, first measure the dimensions of your room and take them along to a lighting showroom. The staff will be able to help you select lights that are the right size for your room.

Bedroom lighting options

o Dimmer switches can be used to adjust the main central light and wall lights in your bedroom to suit your mood

o Recessed lights, or downlights, are light fixtures that are installed into a hollow opening in the ceiling, so that the light appears to be shining down from the ceiling. They concentrate the light downwards, either as a broad floodlight or narrow spotlight

o Uplighting from the floor draws attention to a particular feature, such as a potted plant.

o Directional lighting sheds light on an area of the room where more light is needed, such as a workspace or exercise area

o Track lights are a series of light fixtures attached on a continuous track device which contains electrical conductors. They are useful for highlighting artwork along the walls

o Sconces are a type of light fixture fixed to a wall. Sconces were originally used to hold burning torches and tend to be ornate, so would suit a more dramatically styled bedroom

o Occupancy sensors react to the infrared heat energy given off by people. The sensors can tell if there is somebody in the room or not and switch the lights on and off accordingly. This saves you fumbling for the light switch in the dark and avoids wasting electricity from forgetting to turn off the lights when you leave

o Closet lights are small, fluorescent lights mounted inside a walk-in closet above the door to help you see to choose your clothes

o Candles create a romantic atmosphere in a room, but only use them if you're sure you won't fall asleep and leave them burning

o Fairy lights add sparkle and a feminine touch to your bedroom. Run them along the walls or drape around a feature such as a mirror

Bedside lighting

The simplest solution for bedside lighting for couples is to place individual lights on bedside tables or cabinets. Choose shades that are white inside and a warm colour outside and use a clear bulb to give off warm tones of light. Other options are to mount bedside lights on the wall, or to fix them into the bedhead. However, depending on how tall you are, you may find you have to lie at a certain angle to be comfortable. Make sure they have separate switches so you can turn off your light without reaching over your partner.

Finally, remember that your bedroom may be used during the day and pay attention to the natural light in the room. If blinding sunlight creeps into the room when you're trying to work, use Venetian blinds or muslin curtains to diffuse it.

Leigh A. Matelas is a freelance writer living in the UK. She regularly contributes articles for Taurus Beds, a leading Bed Shop in London.

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