Good bedroom lighting considers a careful mixture of practical and psychological factors. The average bedroom has so many different uses – relaxation, intimacy, study, morning preparation – that covering them all can be tricky.
We associate the bedroom with, among other things, sleep. That usually means no lights at all. This says that turning them off should not be a difficult thing to do. If you’ve been lying in bed reading it can be inconvenient to turn them off, especially if you’ve grown sleepy. A main control switch within reach is a great thing here.
That nighttime reading can be a hurtful on the eyes, causing fatigue and headaches. Banish the problem by installing lights in the proper places with the correct color.
Color? Does that mean you should get pink or blue light bulbs? No. Color, here, means ‘color temperature’. Good reading lights are designed to emulate the range of wavelengths given off by natural sunlight, which is determined in part by the temperature of the sun’s surface. Humans’ eyes evolved to be sharpest under those conditions. Getting bulbs and lamps labeled as close to that will provide comfortable reading conditions.
But sometimes, you just want a pleasant ambiance, not a practical light. That, too, should be thought about when coming up with the lighting scheme for the bedroom.
To provide a cheery atmosphere that also provides needed light to tie shoes, connect a tricky clasp, brush hair or do any other common task, place lamps appropriately. Here again keep the light above the eyes, but let it shine directly down. In a home with modern furniture its also important to make sure the light style matches the modern seating selected. Raising it too high creates deep shadows that can hinder makeup application, make clothing color judgment more difficult and so on. Too low and it gets in your eyes, making those chores harder. Choose a pleasing middle level.
Select and place lamps about a foot higher than where your eyes are, and allow them to reflect light off surfaces. That provides the well-known indirect light effect that gives a subdued atmosphere. Whether for romance or just a quiet time away from distractions, that produces a calming effect that is just right in the bedroom.
Morning time is when most people, both kids and adults, will be up and preparing to meet the day. But, depending on the time of the day and season of the year, the sun doesn’t always cooperate to provide the illumination needed. The way the house is oriented makes a big difference, too, so do any wall hangings, curtains or overhangs.
For overall illumination – for entering the room, vacuuming and a hundred other common tasks – a broad ambient lighting scheme is needed. A house with contemporary furniture can really benefit from a creative lighting style. A central fixture with a strong lamp and a diffusing cover is often just the thing. For additional bedroom deisngs additional lighting pieces will be needed. There are often many corners, nooks and other places in a bedroom where deep shadows can hide.
For all of the above applications a dimmer switch, or at least multi-level bulbs, can allow for finer control of light and shadow. They can also allow for some small electricity savings if the light stays on for extended periods. A 300-watt halogen bulb can contribute a chunk to the monthly bill. Dimming it when lower illumination is enough slices that down.
Consider all the ways you use your bedroom and light accordingly.