The Ultimate Bedside Lighting Guide

Bedside lighting is one of those details in a home that is almost equally form & function. Not only does great lighting add so much character and style to the room, but the specific fixture you choose adds vital functionality to your days (or nights).

Reaching for the perfect light from the coziness of your bed and having it be just where you need it, at the perfect height and just the right brightness, is one of life’s simple little ‘good things’. Is it just me that smiles a little to myself when I walk back into my bedroom for the last time at night and it’s just softly lit by my sweet little bedside lamp and the room is all warm and glowing?

Since I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that’s in love with the idea of great bedside lighting, I’ve put together a guide with my top tips for choosing a great bedside light and a collection of 20 of my favorite lighting picks right now. So many stylish, beautiful things, I kind of want them all!



Consider your arm’s reach

Make sure the switch height is just right for turning the lamp on or off from bed. Remember: if you have a short table, get a tall lamp and if you have a tall table, get a shorter lamp.



Lamp height should be in proportion to the bed (not above the headboard), the table (in good relation to both the width and height), and to any artwork above the table (you don’t want a large painting to overshadow a tiny lamp).



Watch the bulb height

You don’t want to get blinded by the bulb if the lamp is too high or low.


Soft start

A light with a dimmer or multi-level switch allows you to have quick access to soft light in the night before your eyes have adjusted.



Specific might work for you

If you are a reader or want access to light when someone else is sleeping beside you, an adjustable swing arm lamp might be just the thing. Also consider shades that direct the light to your book, rather than generally lighting the room through the shade.


Think outside of the box

There are so many options out there besides a standard table lamp. Consider small chandeliers, pedants hung from an overhead shelf, wall mounted lamps of all kinds, and floor lamp.



Match them up, or don’t, but either way keep the balance

You don’t have to have identical twin lamps, but you should balance both sides of the bed. This can work really nicely with a floor lamp on one side and on the other side, a smaller table lamp with a piece of art mounted above the bedside table.



Get personal

The bedroom is the perfect place for a burst of personality. Consider lighting in your favorite color, something that nods toward your favorite animal or something that you love but just can’t explain why.

Alright, check out all of these beauties - these are my top picks right now and they are all numbered and linked below!

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Hi, I'm Tara.  I'm a professional interior designer living in rural Canada where I help the practical & down-to-earth to love where they live.  I offer professional interior design services in person and online and am the author of a design & style guide to Living With Oak.

I believe you can become a happier person in a more beautiful home and I’m here to guide you in creating a practical plan to pull it all together. I’m here to offer interior design advice and inspiration to help you make that happen.