Bedroom lighting: considerations, mood lighting and LED lights

We spend about one-third of our life either sleeping or attempting to do so. Bedroom lighting can help set the mood for sleep, reading and feeling cosy and secure. You should plan your lights carefully to get the most out of your bedroom. This guide will help:

In this guide

How to create mood lighting for the bedroom

Mood lighting is a type of lighting used to create an atmosphere in a room. Mood lighting is created by using soft, ambient lighting to break up practical task lighting. Mood lighting is important for the bedroom as it can help create a calming atmosphere before sleep.

To create mood lighting you should:

  • Combine ambient, task and accent lighting
  • Use warmer colours
  • Use dimmer switches

Ambient vs task vs accent lighting

To create mood lighting, you need to combine the three main types of lighting. Use the table below to find out what each type of lighting does.

Ambient lighting

Task lighting

Accent lighting

  • Also known as general lighting
  • Provides light to an overall area
  • Should be soft without glare
  • Recessed spotlights, chandelier and wall lights can all be used
  • Warm lighting helps create a relaxing mood
  • This is the most important type of lighting for the bedroom
  • Designed to help you accomplish a specific task
  • Bedside lamps are considered task lighting as they help you read in bed
  • Task lighting should be bright enough to reduce eye strain
  • Table lamps and spotlights can be used for task lighting
  • Draws attention to specific locations/objects
  • Mostly used in commercial settings
  • Can be used to showcase ornaments, artwork or other treasured objects

Considerations when choosing bedroom lighting

In this section, you will find key considerations and FAQs for creating the perfect bedroom lighting.

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How many spotlights should be used in a bedroom?

Spotlights are excellent for the bedroom as they can be recessed for a neater look and be used as both ambient and task lighting.

Several variables can affect the number of spotlights needed for the bedroom. These include:

  • The light output – different lights have different brightness outputs. You should always try to get the same brand of light to ensure uniform lighting.
  • The beam angle – Spotlights can have small or large beam angles. Small is better suited for task lighting whilst larger beam angles suit ambient lighting
  • Ceiling height – the higher the ceiling, the wider the beam angle and the softer the light

You can figure out how many spotlights you may need for the bedroom, by figuring out how many lumens you need first.

How many lumens do you need for bedroom lighting?

To find out how many lumens you need for a room, you need to answer the following equation:

Room square footage x foot candle recommendation

Foot candle is a measurement of light intensity that is defined as the illuminance on a one-square foot surface from a source of light.

Each room has a recommended number of foot candles. You can find out more by visiting our guide – how many lumens do I need?

The recommended foot candles for a bedroom is between 10 and 20. The larger your room, the more foot candles you should include.

Simple measure your room and multiply by 10 – 20 and you will have the number of lumens you need.

You can then check the number of lumens provided by the bulb of your choice. Then simply divide the number of lumens required for the room by the number of lumens provided by the bulb.

For example:

  • The average bedroom size is 70 square feet
  • 70 x 20 = 1,400 lumens
  • Example bulb lumens: 590 lm
  • 1,400 ÷ 590 = 2.3

This means the minimum number of spotlights you need is approximately 3. You can always increase brightness by adding more or using other light sources like bedside lamps etc.

What wattage light bulb should be used for the bedroom?

There is still confusion about what wattage means - it simply indicates the amount of energy it uses.

LED lights are much more energy efficient, so they require less power for the same number of lumens as a standard halogen or incandescent bulb.

Lumens are the correct measurement of brightness and you can find them on the box of all modern lightbulbs. Use the equation above to figure out how many lumens your bedroom needs.

What colour light is best for the bedroom?

You should look for warm, orange colours when lighting the bedroom. All lights come at different colour temperatures ranging from cool blue to extra warm white – this rating system is called Kelvin (K)

The warmer the light, the lower the number of Kelvin.

kelvin colour temperature

For the bedroom, we recommend choosing 2700k – extra warm white lights. They will help create a comfortable and soothing atmosphere. However, you may want a slightly cooler light for your reading lamp, to reduce any eye strain.

You can find out more about colour temperature by visiting our guide: what does colour temperature mean?

Best types of lighting for the bedroom

In this section, we will showcase the best types of lighting you can use for the bedroom. Your choice will mostly come down to personal choice, however, consider the room size, décor and amount of natural sunlight your room gets too.

You should layer these different types of lights to create the type of mood you are looking for.

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pendant hanging lamp

Pendant hanging lamps

Pendant lights are some of the most stylish lights you can choose for a contemporary bedroom. They are commonly suspended from the ceiling, they can act as both task and ambient lighting, depending on the type of bulb used.

There are many pendant lights to choose from including:

You can also purchase the pendant fitting, bulb and shade separately to create your perfect pendant light. LampShopOnline offers a vintage E27 pendant in either gold, copper or brass (see right image). It’s fully suited for standard and dimmable LED and it comes with 1.8 metres of cable.

Find pendants lights for the bedroom by clicking here

chandeliers for bedrooms

Chandeliers for the bedroom

Chandeliers are one of the most dramatic lighting options to choose for the bedroom – they are elegant, sophisticated but also the most formal. They look great in a large master bedroom or guest room.

The classic chandeliers can look very traditional and decedent, however, they can also come in a more contemporary style.


  • Ceiling height – You need to ensure your ceiling is high enough to benefit from a chandelier
  • Position – chandeliers should be positioned in the centre of the room
  • Installation – hanging a chandelier is complicated and should only be done by trained professionals
  • Maintenance – traditional chandeliers can be fragile and should be carefully maintained


LED downlights are a popular alternative to standard halogen downlights and are used as ambient lighting across the home. Downlights are also known as recessed lights as they are installed into the ceiling (or wall)

LED downlights are:

  • Energy efficient
  • Cost effective
  • Great for the environment
  • Long-lasting

Many LED downlights can simply replace standard halogen bulbs for a longer-lasting, cost effective alternative.

solo all in one led downlight

All In One LED downlight

The SOLO LED downlight is one of the most popular downlights available because:

  • It’s incredibly durable
  • Fire rated for 90 minutes
  • Dimmable
  • Comes in 3 different colour temperatures (3000k, 4000k, 6000k)
  • Can be installed in shallow ceiling voids
  • 5 year warranty
  • Only £17.22

Click here to view SOLO All In One LED product page

table lamp

Bedside lamps

Bedside lamps are an excellent way to layer your bedroom lighting. You can switch from GU10 light fixtures to your bedside lamps just before bed. They will provide just enough illumination for bedside reading etc. But do not rely on them as your sole source of light

How many reading lamps do I need?

The number of bedside lamps should be dictated by the number of people sharing the room. One bedside lamp is unlikely to provide enough light to read across a double mattress and can cause eye strain.

How big should the lampshade be?

Your lampshade should be:

  • 2/3 the height of the lamp
  • Twice the width of the lamp

And in terms of colours:

  • White lets the most light through for greater illumination
  • Coloured lampshades diffuse more light for a darker look

What style lamps should I use for the bedroom?

The style of your lamp should match the décor of your room. If your room is contemporary, try utilising stylish bedroom ideas like chrome or glass lamps. If your room is more traditional, try a more uniform approach.

There are endless bedside lamps to choose from, you are bound to find some in the style you are looking for.

dimmer light

Dimmers for the bedroom

Dimmer switches for the bedroom are the easiest way to balance task and ambient lighting. There are many benefits to choosing dimmers for the bedroom:

  • It gives you the most control over your lighting.
  • You can set the mood by deciding the level of brightness in a room
  • Modern dimmers can be controlled via apps or remotes
  • Extends light life and the electronic components run cooler
  • Cost effective

There are many dimmable LED bulbs to choose from – whether GU10, panels, filament or more.

led downlight

You could combine:

  1. SOLO All In One 10W LED dimmable downlightoffering three different colour temperatures in one bulb, 3 fascia finishes, and able to be installed recessed.
  2. Varilight V-Pro, 2 way LED dimming switchcan run up to 10 lamps from a single switch, offer silent operation and compatible with both LED and halogen lamps

Wall lights

Wall-mounted lights are designed to directly illuminate a specific area. They can be used as a reading light if placed near the bed, but they are generally designed for ambient lighting. Some wall lights point downwards whilst others face up (known as sconce lighting).

The main benefits of wall lights are:

  • Ambience – because wall lights are directional, they don’t provide a lot of illumination and should only be used for ambient lighting
  • Variety – many designs are available so can match almost any décor
  • Inexpensive – wall lamps are reasonably priced but installation can increase the costs

How high should lights on bedroom walls be?

You should install a wall light at eye level height and ensure you use a shade. This avoids glare as you will not be looking directly into the light. As a general rule of thumb, it’s better to mount of the wall lights lower than higher as this avoids any irritating glare.

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