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Layers of Light
The key to successful bedroom lighting is balance. It needs to be bright in the morning to help you get up and atmospheric at night to provide a relaxing or romantic sanctuary at the end of the day. We at Jim Lawrence have spent many years making handcrafted lights for every size and style of bedroom, so are well versed in what should work for you.
There are three types of lighting to consider in the bedroom - ambient, accent and task lighting. Ambient light gives general background illumination, best provided by ceiling lights; task lighting is required for reading or working in is provided by directional spot lights, wall lights and anglepoise lamps, while accent lighting is covered by wall lighting and table and floor lamps.
Ceiling Lights - for overall illumination
Serves the same function as natural sunlight, bathing your room in as much light as you can muster, as well as providing softer mood lighting for cosy evenings in.
Highlights visual features and adds interest to your room.
Relates to the specific pools of light required for reading or working in bed, or for your personal grooming at a dressing table.
The best bedside lights
How bright should my light be?
Bedroom lighting needs to be flexible to allow for bright light to carry out functions like reading, dressing, working or grooming but also dimmer light to promote relaxation and sleep.
- Use directional lights to focus pools of light where needed.
- Try fitting adjustable wall lights or angled table lamps to produce light where you need it.
- Spot lights are extremely versatile as they work as both tasking and ambient light and can be fitted anywhere – to walls, ceilings, beams, shelves and wardrobes.
- Swap bulbs that give off what/blue light for LEDs that have a soft warm white light to encourage sleep.
- Use dimmer switches with your bedroom lighting to ensure even more control.
How to measure for a bedroom
Step 1 - Understand the space
Look at your room and decide where the main focal point is to be. Generally in a bedroom it is the bed, but architectural features like windows, alcoves and fire places may also act as secondary focal points, as well fittings like a mirror, cupboard or dressing table. Decide what you wish to illuminate with your lighting.
Step 2 - Measure the room
Measure the room's length, width and height at its greatest points. Remember, the style and size of your ceiling light will affect the size of your room visually. A larger, heavier or lower light will make the space around it seem smaller. A flush fitting, glass or smaller light will make the space seem larger.
Step 3 - Determine the light's width
If you are working in feet and inches, add together your room's length and width and convert the answer into inches to give you a good proportional size for your pendant.
Eg If your room is 12ft W and 18ft long, 12+18 = 30, so a light that is 30" wide should work well.
Step 4 - Determine the light's height
We recommend that pendant lights are hung at least 7ft (2m) above floor level to give adequate clearance. A rule of thumb is to allow for your light to have a drop of 3" (7.5cm) for ever foot of space between floor and ceiling. To find this, you mulitply the height of your ceiling by 3.
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Calm and Cosy
All bedrooms rely on ambient lighting to give them a sense of calm and cosiness throughout the year, essential for a good night's sleep. Localised floor or table lamps provide the best background lighting in your bedroom and in most it works well to have one lamp either side of the bed and at least one or two others around the room. A standard lamp by a chair or a pair of lamps on a dressing table give soft ambient light, as do wall lights with fabric shades that diffuse light evenly.
Lights for small bedrooms
- Aim to you use as few lights as possible to avoid cluttering the space.
- Use glass for a central ceiling pendant as it’s reflective qualities won’t impinge on the sense of space.
- Try fitting small pendants around the bed instead of using a central ceiling light.
- Use adjustable lamps to focus light where you need it around the room.
Light and airy
The best advice for lighting bedrooms with low ceilings is to use wall lights instead of ceiling lights and make the most of bedside table lamps and floor lamps to add ambient light.
- If you have the head clearance, a flush fitting light will work well on a low ceiling.
- Rooms with low ceilings can often feel smaller and darker than they actually are, so use glass wall lights to reflect natural light and add to the sense of space.
Lights for low ceilings
For a stylish, uniform look around your home, try matching the look of your wall and pendant lights. Many of or lights are available as both ceiling and wall lights in the same finish.