Bedroom Lighting Guide

Options for Bedroom Lighting

The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

When it comes to sleep time, the darker the better, but what about the other hours spent in your bedroom? Readying for bed, dressing in the morning, reading, relaxing, romance...a bedroom is a busy place even during waking hours. Those activities take a well-lit bedroom—one with several light sources layered from ceiling to bedside.

  • 01 of 05

    Flush-Mount Ceiling Fixtures

    flush-mount bed
    Jenerik Images

    Probably the most common source of overhead bedroom light, flush-mount fixtures sit directly against the ceiling and are typically a light bulb covered with a decorative glass or plastic bowl-shaped cover. In a small-to-medium size bedroom, this may well be all the overhead lighting you need. Look for fixtures that complement your bedroom’s decorating style. Many flush-mount fixtures are very simple, but there are choices with a bit more flair. Metal or painted trim, molded glass, and unusual shapes are all options.

    Tips

    • This is the best choice for low ceilings of 9 feet or less.
    • To prevent unpleasant glare while lying in bed, choose a fixture that has a covered bottom. Otherwise, you’ll be looking up at a bright bulb.
    • Frosted or marbled fixtures are best for the bedroom, as clear fixtures are a bit too bright for the space.
    • A remote control means you don’t have to get out of bed to turn off the light.
  • 02 of 05

    Semi-Flush-Mount Ceiling Fixtures

    semi flush mount bed
    Distinctive Decor

    Another very popular bedroom lighting choice, the semi-flush-mount fixture is similar to the flush-mount but drops down a few inches on a short rod. Often, there is a decorative medallion around the fixture’s base on the ceiling. You’ll probably find the widest range of styles and designs in this lighting category, but many are more suited to other rooms of the home. Although clear glass, open-bottomed and highly shiny fixtures are lovely choices for the foyer or living room, they are too bright for the bedroom.

    Tips

    • This is a great choice if your bedroom’s ceiling is 10 feet or more.
    • Keep the size of your light fixture in scale to your bedroom’s size. In a large room, choose a large fixture. If your bedroom is small, look for an equally small, simple fixture.
    • A dimmer/remote control is a nice feature.
  • 03 of 05

    Pendant Lights

    gray bed in modern home
    Decoist

    Pendant lights hang down from the ceiling on a chain or a long rod. This very trendy and versatile type of light fixture makes a big splash in your bedroom’s décor and is especially popular in contemporary bedrooms.

    Tips

    • Pendant lighting is best with high bedroom ceilings—10 feet or more.
    • You can use pendant lights as bedside lighting by dropping them down over the nightstands. Just make sure to leave enough space between the nightstand and the bottom of the pendant: at least 12 inches and up to 22 inches.
    • If you are hanging pendants for general room lighting, position them near the bottom of your bed, towards the center of the room.
    • In the bedroom, pendants look best over the bed or other furniture, rather than hanging over walkways.
    • Watch out for clear glass or open designs that might be too bright for bedroom comfort. 
  • 04 of 05

    Ceiling Fans

    ceiling fan in bedroom
    Spaces Images / Getty Images

    Nothing beats a ceiling fan on a warm summer night. The refreshing breeze is often enough to leave off the air conditioning. Not every ceiling fan has an attached light kit, but you’ll usually want one in the bedroom. Generally, designs with multiple “candles” or cups look best in dining or living rooms—in the bedroom, choose a fixture with bowl-covered bulbs.

    Tips

    • Ceiling fans can be flush-mount, semi-flush-mount or dropped a foot or more, but they aren’t a choice for bedrooms with very low ceilings.
    • Frosted or white opaque glass is the best choice for the bedroom.
    • While ceiling fans are often casual or country style, you’ll find plenty of sleek, modern designs well suited for contemporary décor.
    • A remote control is a must for a bedroom ceiling fan. 
    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Track Lighting

    track lighting in bedroom
    Incorporated New York

    Track lights are positional spotlights affixed to a metal track on the ceiling or wall and usually used to spotlight artwork or accents in a room, not for general lighting. It’s not used in the bedroom as often as the other varieties of ceiling light fixtures but can work well to highlight a special feature in a large bedroom or brighten the dressing or vanity area.

    Tips

    • Track lighting works best in a contemporary or minimalist bedroom with high ceilings.
    • There are many styles of track heads, including pendant styles, cans, and traditional spotlights.
    • Track lighting is a good choice for large walk-in closets.