The bedroom is where you can relax and reflect on the day that’s passed. It’s a sacred personal space that needs to be treated with care and attention. If your bedroom is cluttered, dirty and poorly lit, you’re not going to be able to rest properly. This can affect your sleep patterns, your mental health and, eventually, your physical health.
As a result, it’s important to make sure that your bedroom is as comfortable as possible. One of the major factors that contributes to your bedroom’s comfort level is lighting. To make the most out of your bedroom, it helps to have a lighting setup that’s functional and flexible.
With so many lighting options, however, it can be a bit tricky to create the setup that’s right for you. To help you understand your options, we’ve created a basic guide on effectively lighting your bedroom.
One of the major lighting concepts that you need to understand is layering. This involves fitting your bedroom with multiple ‘layers’ of light, each with a different purpose.
The three main layers are as follows:
- Ambient lighting
Ambient lighting (or general lighting) can be artificial or natural. Its purpose is to light as much of the bedroom as possible.
During the day, you can get ambient light via large windows or a skylight. We would recommend using as much natural sunlight as possible. Multiple studies have shown that exposure to natural light helps to regulate your circadian rhythm and, by extension, your sleeping patterns.
Ambient light can also come from pendant lights or ceiling fixtures. Regardless of what you go with, it’s a good idea to have the fixture as high as possible to allow the light to spread out and illuminate more of the room.
- Task lighting
Task lighting is used for specific activities that require concentration or attention. Such tasks might include studying, putting on make-up or reading. A task light usually lights up a smaller, more concentrated area of the bedroom. It is usually placed near a desk, a nightstand or a vanity.
Common examples of task lights include low-hanging pendant lights, sconces and table lamps. The luminosity of task lights can often be adjusted to accommodate different activities.
Adjustable task lights can also be used as dimmers. Dimmers are used to help you transition into a more relaxed state by providing dimmed lighting to your bedroom. If you only have one light source at full brightness, it can be difficult to transition to sleep. With dimmers, however, you can ease into ‘sleep-mode’ without having to turn your lights off completely. These days, most LED lights are dimmable, so you can have a flexible lighting design while enjoying the benefits of LED lighting.
- Accent lighting
Accent lighting is more for flavour than practicality. It is used to highlight certain parts of the room like a bookshelf or a picture frame. It can also be used to create a soft glow around the area, giving the room a more atmospheric feel.
Usually, accent lighting will be in the form of recessed fixtures or LED strips. The placement of accent lights will vary depending on what it’s being used for. If it’s being used for atmospheric lighting, it will generally be placed near the floors where it’s not as distracting. If it’s being used to highlight a feature, it will obviously be placed near that said feature. For this purpose, the accent light will likely be a sconce or a wall fixture.
Now that you have a basic grasp of layering, it’s time to look at different bulb types. There are two major features that you need to consider: luminosity and colour temperature.
The amount of light emitted by a bulb is measured via lumens (lm). As a general rule, you should aim to have 200-300 lumens per square metre in your bedroom. Anything significantly lower than this will be too dim, preventing you from doing the activities mentioned above. For rooms that require a bit more visibility (i.e. a bathroom), you will need around 400-500 lumens per square metre.
When buying a light bulb, it’s also important to consider efficiency. Ideally, you would want a bulb that emits the desired amount of light while using the smallest amount of energy possible.
For instance, let’s say you’re choosing between an LED light and an incandescent bulb. You should look at their respective wattages in comparison to the amount of light that they emit. In this case, a 16W LED light has around 1600 lumens. To emit a similar amount of light, you would need a 100W incandescent bulb.
Based on this comparison, LEDs are much more energy efficient. As such, even though they are more expensive than incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs will save you more money in running costs.
- Colour temperature
The colour temperature of a bulb (or indeed any light source) is measured using Kelvins (K). The lower this measurement is, the warmer the colour temperature; the higher the measurement, the cooler the temperature.
It’s important to have the right colour temperature in your bedroom as it has a significant influence on your circadian rhythms. Simply put, white and blue lights will tell your body that it’s daytime and that you need to be alert. Because of this, it’s best to use white and blue lights if you’re doing an activity that requires a lot of focus. Warmer temperatures, on the other hand, promote the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). This helps you relax and eventually fall asleep. This makes warmer lights perfect for nighttime reading.
For reference, a warm incandescent bulb has a colour temperature of around 3000 K and a clear blue sky has a temperature of around 10,000 K. LED bulbs are special in that they are able to emit lights across the entire colour temperature range.
As you can see, there’s more to lighting a bedroom than just putting a light bulb in the ceiling. Hopefully, this basic guide gave you some ideas on how to improve the lighting setup in your bedroom.