Your bedroom may be decorated just how you want it, with everything in its place, but if the lighting is wrong, it just won’t look, or feel, right. When it comes to small bedroom lighting ideas, they should be thought about before you decorate. This will give you time to consider if you need to put in extra sockets or if you want to have wall lights wired in.
Even with small bedroom ideas it is important to consider the three types of lighting – ambient, accent and task – and how you want to use them. Ambient lighting is general, overall lighting, such as overhead lights offering a comfortable level of brightness, for dressing in the morning. Accent lighting focuses on a particular area or object and includes things like lamps and wall lights. Task lighting is defined as operational lighting, giving enough brightness for reading in bed or applying make-up.
‘Lighting choice is so important for setting the perfect mood in bedrooms, particularly as natural daylight moves throughout the day,’ says Claire Anstey, Lighting Buyer at Heal’s (opens in new tab).
‘If you’re looking to create a relaxed and cosy setting, warmer lighting with yellow tones helps to build an inviting, comfortable and welcoming feel. In contrast, if your space has darker furniture and décor, touches of bright white illumination from a table lamp or drop pendant can help to open-up the space and build an energising mood.’
Small bedroom lighting ideas
Bedroom lighting ideas will differ slightly for a small room due to the lack of space. ‘Small bedrooms should be sensitively lit,’ explains Peter Legg, lead designer at dar lighting. ‘An easy solution is to use a dimmable pendant light that can provide a strong stream for any tasks such as getting dressed in the morning and a relaxing gleam at night.’
From wall-mounted lights to dimmer switches we’ve rounded up the best small bedroom lighting ideas to illuminate your petite space beautifully.
1. Go for a statement pendant
Oversized pendants have become really popular and are a trend-led way to make a design statement, especially when teamed with strong colours. Fringed lampshades came back into style as part of the ‘granny chic’ look and are here to stay.
There are multiple ways to position a pendant lamp to complement your small bedroom decor ideas. A large pendant over the bed will make a splash, however, two pendant lights at either side of the bed is a smart space-saving move.
‘Pendant lights dropped from ceiling height are brilliant solutions for those who don’t have room for a traditional bedside,’ explains Peter Legg at dar lighting. Just be careful you hang them with enough clearance so you don’t keep catching your head on them.
2. Choose lighting to enhance your decorating scheme
Lighting should be very much part of your bedroom colour scheme, and choosing coloured glass lights to team with your décor will give it a sophisticated look.
Placing two lights instead of a single pendant light, and hung low over the bed is an alternative small bedroom lighting idea. With lights like these, make sure you choose an attractive flex, traditional fabric flex cables come in all sorts of colours and provide the perfect finishing touch.
3. Arrange matching lamps for symmetry
Apparently, human brains strive to see things symmetrically, as it represents order and makes us make sense of the world around us. And we certainly need that in the bedroom where we want to wind down after a long day.
If you have space for bedside table ideas on either side of the bed, make them symmetrical. Opt for identical matching lamps on both sides, alternatively, if you don’t have space for a table you can mimic the same effect with plug-in wall-mounted lights like the Fulton easy to fit lamps, £32 from Dunelm (opens in new tab).
4. Consider wall lights in a small space
In a small bedroom or one with an alcove you are often constricted by the space available where there is little or no room for bedside tables. This is where bedroom wall light ideas come into their own.
If you have a double bed these should be placed symmetrically on either side of the bed at the right height to read. However, you can also use this tip if you can only fit in a smaller singe bed.
5. Think about the inside of cupboards
Lighting inside cupboards or wardrobes is often overlooked. However, in a small bedroom when the option and space to include lighting is on the short side it is a smart idea to consider illuminating your small bedroom storage ideas.
Installing lights with sensors that come on as you open a wardrobe door will go a long way in making your wardrobe feel just that little bit more luxurious.
6. Choose a layered lighting scheme
The best way of lighting any bedroom, even a small one is with layered lighting.
‘Generally speaking, cool white or even daylight bulbs are only really good for high task or workspace areas where there is no natural light.’ Says Niki Wright, Co-Founder of Lights & Lamps (opens in new tab). ‘Layering warmer light is a more natural way to brighten your bedroom and help transition the day into evening. The use of brighter ceiling fittings in the day is often a subtle enhancement to natural daylight. Dimming them down in the evening and complementing with low-level lamps can transform a bright space by day into a cosy room by night.’
They don’t have to match, in fact, it’s a more eclectic look to mix it up. In a small room think outside the box and try layering different heights and sizes of wall-mounted lighting for a charming, but functional bedroom feature wall idea.
7. Use accent lighting to create atmosphere
Wall lights don’t have to be task lights, they can be decorative and beautiful too. Lights made out of porcelain, like this one, give off a wonderful warm light and illuminate the wall in a subtle way.
It’s a lovely soft light in a bedroom in the evening, and as it’s wall-mounted, doesn’t take up space on the bedside table.
8. Position hanging lamps strategically
Lighting is the perfect opportunity to play around with the illusion of space in a small bedroom. Placing hanging lamps above bedside tables makes the room appear to be wider than it really is.
For an extra dose of glamour opt for gold or brass hanging lamps. These will add warmth and a luxurious touch.
9. Install a multi-arm light for a contemporary look
Known as modern chandeliers, multi-arm lights are a modern take on a classic light fitting and are a great choice for modern bedroom ideas. With four or more arms they can be quite bright, so install a dimmer switch so that you can alter the light levels or use low lumen bulbs. Team with complementary task lamps for a complete look.
10. Compensate for a tall ceiling with a long flex
If you are lucky enough to have a tall ceiling in your small bedroom, while it can help to make the room feel bigger it can be tricky to find the right lighting.
A chandelier – traditional or contemporary – will look good, or a single pendant. Don’t shy away from going big, just because your bedroom is small. However, it is important to consider how high you hang the lamp. Make sure the lighting fitting has a long flex, so that it is hung at the right height to look balanced in the room. Choose a fabric flex too, they come in lots of different colours, to add to the designer look.
What lighting is best for a small room?
‘Every room should have a mix of lighting, including overhead (or ambient), accent, and task lights including a bedroom,’ says Suzanne Duin, Founder of Maison Maison. ‘Whether you are designing a warm and relaxing space for the evenings, carving out a nook bright enough for reading, or working from home, the key is to balance these layers of lighting to help bring a room to life and emphasize different aspects of a scheme for different purposes.’
How do you make a small room look bigger with light?
‘We would treat a small room in the same way as a large room and ensure we had 3 or 4 different light sources, each with very different characteristics. The logic being if you treat it as a small room, it will feel like a small room,’ says Tom Housden, Design Director of Hand and Eye Studio.
‘A small room could have a small reading light, an Omni directional light and a wall light as well as a free-standing light such as a floor lamp. The only difference is we would recommend a reduced lumen output in each light bulb to ensure the room is not overpowered. This way a range of light sources will make a small room will look bigger.’
Where should lights be placed in a small bedroom?
‘Layering your lighting is the key to creating the perfect balance of warmth, cosiness and function in your home,’ says Jo Plant, Head of Design, Pooky (opens in new tab). ‘This is particularly important in a bedroom as you will need a combination of task and ambient lighting solutions for relaxation, reading or getting dressed.
Use a matching pair of bedside wall lights to frame your bed and create an elegant, tailored approach to the bedroom. Carefully consider the purpose of the lighting, as bulbs shaded with material create a more warm and ambient light as opposed to bulbs shaded with glass, which provide a more direct source of light that isn’t always ideal for a calming environment.
‘On the other hand, ceiling lights provide an opportunity to be more creative. Consider hanging pendants over each bedside table for an interesting alternative to a wall light or table lamp which often takes up space.’