How To to Brighten Your Bedroom

by Alison Zingaro

As any photographer will tell you, lighting makes all the difference in any space, but this is especially true when it comes to the bedroom. It’s your sanctuary, after all–the place where you go to collect and reinvigorate yourself at the end of a day.

Whether you want to set a tone that’s cozy or romantic, dimmers are a must, multiple light sources are highly recommended, and low-wattage bulbs are key. One more tip: It’s okay to get creative! Standard fixtures and bedside lamps will certainly do the trick, but they’re not your only options. Curious to see what else is out there? Here are eight inventive ideas for giving your room a warm and welcoming glow.


1. String Lights

Strung along a wall or draped canopy-style across a bed, string lights have an enchanting effect wherever they’re placed. For something that feels a bit more permanent than the average LED strand, choose lights with tiny shades or other distinguishing details, like Pigeon Toe Ceramics’ Pleated String Lights or OneFortyThree’s brass-socket lights.

Left: Image via Nordic Design. Top Right: Pleated string lights by Pigeon Toe Ceramics. Bottom Right: String lights with brass sockets by OneFortyThree.


2. Backlighting

Backlighting is a great way to highlight your bedroom’s architectural features while upping its sophistication factor. But if this feels like a big commitment, start with something simple. A backlit headboard, like this one from Sancal, is a subtle touch that can transform your bed into a dramatic focal point.

Left: Patchwork bed from Sancal. Top Right: Image via Apartment Ideas. Bottom Right: Barron House designed by John Pawson. Photography by Åke E:son Lindman. Image via Ideasgn.


3. Portable Fireplaces

For those who weren’t blessed with a working fireplace in the bedroom, don’t worry — you can still bask in the flickering glow of a flame. Ilkka Suppanen’s tabletop fireplace for Iittala and the portable Globe fireplace from Vauni require no vents and run on clean-burning ethanol.

Left: Kaasa fireplace by Ilkka Suppanen for Iittala. Image via Skandium. Right: Globe fireplace by Vauni.


4. Light-Up Wallpaper

If your bedroom walls are looking a little lackluster, Meystyle’s illuminated wallpapers can help brighten them up. The lustrous wall coverings from the UK-based company are embedded with tiny LEDs and accented with hand-laid Swarovski crystals. The papers adhere directly to the wall just like any other wallpaper and turn on and off with a flip of a switch.

Left: Meystyle Continuum wallpaper. Image via Design Bureau. Top Right: Image via Meystyle. Bottom Right: Image via Meystyle.


5. Shadow Play

And if you’re not ready to jump on the illuminated wallpaper wagon just yet, a perforated shade can achieve a similar textural effect. Anagraphic’s Starry Light and Lightexture’s perforated clay pendants will shower your walls with celestial patterns (though a simple grouping of Moroccan lanterns makes a nice alternative, too).

Left: Bazaar lantern via London Garden Trading. Top Right: Starry Light by Anagraphic. Bottom Right: Clay pendant by Lightexture via All Modern.


6. Lighting As Sculpture

There’s art that steals the spotlight, and then there’s art that is the spotlight. A brilliant way to add a punch of color to a neutral bedroom, the Neon Stick Light by Christopher Sheldon (available at Anthropologie) pays homage to artist Dan Flavin’s fluorescent bulb sculptures. Or make your own personal statement with Restoration Hardware’s reproduction marquee lights.

Left: Neon Stick Light by Christopher Sheldon. Image via Remodelista. Right: Vintage Marquee Lights by Restoration Hardware.


7. Multifunctional Lamps

We love it when our furniture multitasks. Cast from aluminum, the Bucket Light by Dutch designer Roderick Vos doubles as a fully functioning planter, while AlexAllen Studio’s colorful Lightbrackets both support your shelf and provide little extra reading light.

Left: Bucket Light by Roderick Vos Studio. Right: Lightbrackets by AlexAllen Studio.


8. Bright & Shiny Accents

If bright is what you’re after, don’t underestimate the power of light-reflecting furniture and accents. Warm metallic objects, like Jaime Hayon’s copper Grid vase, or colored glass, like this piece by John Hogan, can add an elegant gleam to your bedroom.

Left: Tom Dixon Copper Shade. Image via Emma’s Design Blogg. Top Right: Grid Vase by Jaime Hayon for Gaia & Gino. Image via