Style Guide: Bed & Bath Lighting Solutions

Decorating expert, Jennifer Berno, shares her tips for lighting your bedroom and bath.


Hi, I'm Jennifer, associate decorating editor at Southern Living. Lighting should always address the tone and purpose of a room. Lighting in a bedroom should be soft and soothing with the room itself. Light in a bathroom, on the other hand, should be bright and clear, as much like daylight as possible. In a bedroom, lamps and sconces work better than ceiling fixtures, which tend to cast a harsh light. A bedside lamp can be the major light source for the entire room, as well as for reading in bed. Depending on the height of your nightstand, the top of your lampshade should be around 27 inches above the tabletop. [MUSIC] Use sconces in place of lamps to save precious space on the bedside table. A swiveling sconce is particularly helpful for directed light while reading in bed. [MUSIC] This ship light plays off a nautical theme and casts a nice bedside glow. In addition to bedside lamps, try using other lamps to create soft pools of light around the room. Bathrooms are better suited to bright lighting. The fact is, there's nothing more unappealing than a dim, poorly lit bathroom. For the most flattering light in the bathroom, install sconces on either side of the mirror above the sink, a few inches from the mirror's edges, and about 65 inches above the floor. [MUSIC] Any mirrors in the bathroom will amplify the light from the sconces, making this smaller space feel brighter and larger. [MUSIC] Low wattage lamps are often too dim for a bathroom. Use them mostly for decoration, when there are other bright light sources like overhead recessed lights, to illuminate the room. For the best skin loving light, use fabric shades or frosted glass shades. [MUSIC] With mid wattage halogen bulbs on a dimmer. [MUSIC] Make sure you choose lighting that best addresses the needs of a room. For more decorating ideas, pick up a copy of Southern Living Magazine. And visit
Experience our exclusive vacation collection.