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Bedroom lighting

Heli Annola

The aim in a bedroom is to achieve a soft background light without glare. In rooms that are large enough to accommodate freestanding furniture, this practical general lighting is often best provided by lamps, and these would always be controlled separately from the bedside lights. Where space is limited an in contemporary interiors, an upligthing solution can be appropriate on one side of the room, perhaps creating a cove. If there are wardrobes, their doors can be wall-washed with recessed downlights. Sometimes low-glare downlights can be used to highlight an extravagant headboard, creating focus in the room. This can work well, but remember to control these on a separate switch so they can be turned off at bedtime to avoid direct glare.

Taking inspiration from five-star hotels, additional low-level light can be introduced in a bedroom, such as recessed floor washers by the entrance to the bathroom or under a bedside table. The wardrobe or the bed itself can have a ropelight below it, to create a floating effect. This type of light is especially effective as a nightlight.

Bedroom task lighting is usually associated with reading in bed. If this is to be achieved with a table lamp or wall light, the bottom of the shade needs to be about shoulder height to provide a spread of light over the page. Any lower and the light will be cast too low; too high and you will get glare from the bulb. A swing-arm wall light follows similar rules in positioning, but can be a more practical option as it can be adjusted as required.

The other form of bedside light that has become fashionable, particularly when used in a restricted area as it avoids the clutter of a lamp on the bedside table, is the pendant light, like this industrial wire cage light by VALO. It is usually more of a decorative effect than an adequate reading light.