Children’s bedrooms are used for a range of purposes from playing and studying to—fingers crossed!—sleeping. Each use comes hand in hand with specific lighting requirements, which will invariably change as the child grows older.
This guide will look at the different types of lighting suitable for a child’s bedroom and offer tips and ideas from interior designers Rebecca Dupere and Gilly Craft on creating a cosy yet practical space. Read on to discover more about:
Night lights and dimmable lighting
The main purpose of a bedroom or nursery is to provide a comfortable and cosy place for a child to sleep; however, this can sometimes be a nightly challenge if children are prone to getting out of bed after ‘lights out’ or if they are afraid of the dark.
A plug-in night light that emits a gentle glow will comfort a child if he or she wakes in the night.
Night lights come in many designs to suit any style of décor and can be positioned to suit certain needs. For nervous sleepers it may be beneficial to place a night light closer to the bed, whereas night nights positioned at floor level can be useful for lighting the way for nighttime bathroom trips.
If additional lighting is required through the night, installing dimmer switches to ceiling and wall lights will allow lighting to be turned right down to provide an overall low-level light.
For bedtime lighting that will help children wind down for sleep, keep decorative lighting to a minimum and make sure that you have the ability for a night light.
Creating a relaxing atmosphere with wall and side lights
Children’s bedrooms are generally full of toys and ‘fun’ things that are likely to encourage a child to want to stay awake. Setting the scene for bedtime, with soft, low LED lighting can help with the transition from playtime to bedtime, even more so if light is focused on and around the bed. Wall lights are a great way of providing a soft, low-level light in the bedroom and can work well if positioned on the wall above the bed for bedtime stories. Table lamps are also ideal for reading in bed, particularly for older children who may like to turn the light off them selves before going to sleep.
Fairy and string lights
String lights—whether battery or mains operated—can be very effective when hung above the bed, and the soft, twinkling light that they emit can create a magical, calming effect. There are numerous variants of string lights on the market aimed to suit children of all ages and tastes, with designs featuring anything from flowers and football to The Avengers! Whether you opt for traditional fairy lights or Marvel comic book heroes, do ensure that string lights are hung well out of reach.
Task lighting for a teenager’s bedroom
The lighting for a teenager’s bedroom falls into two distinct categories: relaxing and focused, therefore layered lighting is key.
Focused lighting for studying is likely to be an essential part of a teenage set-up so an adjustable angle poise lamp is ideal for directing crisp light exactly where it is required. Positioning a wall light above a desk also provides targeted task lighting without cluttering up the surface of the desk, which can be useful if space is limited.
Clear overhead lighting from a pendant light or recessed LED spot lights will add to the overall lighting of the room, and can be lowered to provide a more relaxing ambience by connecting to a dimmer switch.
Side lamps and string lights will instantly create a more relaxed ambience. LED colour-changing bulbs enable lighting to be adjusted according to mood and can be operated remotely or even linked to a smart device.
Counteracting the glare emitted from screens
Screen glare—be it from a computer, tablet, smartphone or TV—can have a negative effect on sleep quality and it is advisable for screens to be put away well in advance of bedtime. To find out more about how children use screens—phones, tablets, consoles and TVs—in their bedrooms we conducted a survey, and here’s what we discovered…
The survey revealed that 25% of parents enforce a strict cut-off time for three- to 11-year-old children using screen devices in their bedrooms, yet a similar figure (24%) allow their children to use devices right up until lights out.
A further 11% only allowed their children to have screen time during the day and 7% restricted screens purely to homework or reading. A third of the parents we surveyed did not allow screens in the bedroom at all.
When using a screen it is advisable to counteract the glare where possible. The following tips can help:
- Position a desk or floor lamp behind the device to emit a soft diffusion of light.
- Attach coloured LED lights to the rear of a computer screen.
- Select LED bulbs that replicate natural daylight.
- Position monitors so that light is behind—as opposed to bouncing off—the screen.
- Close blinds or curtains if light from the window is causing a glare on the screen.
- Adjust the colour temperature on the screen itself. Choose cooler lighting during the day and warmer at night.
If there is a TV in the bedroom make sure it has light sensor technology, which will measure the light in the room and then compensate the brightness of the screen accordingly. I would also recommend turning off phones and laptops before you go to bed to save money on electricity as well as cutting out any glare.
Using light to help improve sleep quality
Just as the décor of a room can have an influence on mood, the colour of the lighting can also be invigorating or calming. Lighting that is blue toned can have a negative effect on sleep quality, therefore it’s important to choose more soothing red tones for use in the bedroom.
I would use light that does not have too much blue in the spectrum so choose a violet or purple light, which is much better for the circadian rhythm, thus aiding sleep.