Style Guide: Bedroom Lighting

Our editor shares ideas to ensure your room has both functional and decorative lighting.


Hi, I'm Jennifer Kopf, home editor at Southern Living. In all bedrooms, ample light is an necessity. When designing your space, consider what you need and want, and then find ways to combine those designs with functional and pretty lighting. [MUSIC] Having several sources of light is always the best way to go. The combination of overhead and tabletop or wall mounted options, gives you a complete look that provides ambiance, decorative and task light. Keeping the style and finishes of your fixtures similar ensures they will visually work well together. [MUSIC] Start with the lighting components around the bed. A pair of matching side lamps looks clean and symmetrical. Make sure that the height of your lamps is in proportion with the height of your headboard, and that the light is delivered near eye-level. [MUSIC] As an alternative to shade lamps, consider task-lighting. The look is a bit more industrial, and allows you to reposition the direction of light as needed. When there is no room for bedside tables or your tabletop space is limited, a pair of wall-mounted sconces, flanking the bed is a great solution. Sconces give off directional light that is perfect for reading. [MUSIC] The classic and always pretty approach is simple brass or nickel fixtures topped with fabric shades that are often pleated. [MUSIC] For a more contemporary look, all metal sconces do the trick. Sleek and simple, this type of fixture tends to add a modern touch. [MUSIC] You can also combined table lamps and wall scones for even more lighting variety. Whatever your choice, make sure the lamp or scones can handle a high wattage bulb. Having your lights on dimmers is a huge plus. This will ensure you can control the amount of light to your specifications day and night. Now it's time to look up. Don't settle for a nondescript ceiling fixture. Instead, choose something that will enhance your room and set the tone whether dressy or casual. An elegant beaded chandelier gives a room a dressy feel. A hanging glass lantern looks handsome and classic. [MUSIC] Up front, unusual and interesting fixture when appropriate, everyone would expect a chandelier. But, an industrial fixture really adds interest and originality to this eclectic room. [MUSIC] Go the extra mile with custom lampshades. They're an easy way to add color and texture. [MUSIC] Simply embellish an inexpensive store bought shade with the trim, ribbon or cord. Or have a shade made of the same or coordinating fabric that you've used else where in the room. When it comes to lighting, don't be afraid to try something different. Hanging pendent lights take the place of table lamps or wall mounted sconces. [MUSIC] This. Unexpected shade such as these crisp bread ones, add refreshing pops and color. This sconce was mounted within, instead of next to an upholstered headboard. If your personal style is more eclectic and has the look of being collected over time, then don't buy fixtures in pairs. And instead, mix a variety of favorite found pieces. For more bedroom lighting ideas, pick up a copy of Southern Living Magazine and visit
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