Whether for reading, relaxing or simply for a restful sleep, the right lighting in the bedroom makes all the difference. So that you can create a pleasant atmosphere at any time of day, you should decorate your bedroom with different lamps. From the perfect bedside reading lamp to a statement chandelier, in this guide we’ll show you stylish ideas and decorating tips to create both functional and beautiful lighting for your bedroom.
How many lumens should you plan per square feet to illuminate your bedroom optimally and comfortably?
The need for brightness depends primarily on the needs of the occupants and the activities that take place in the room. In rooms such as the kitchen or the study, a greater amount of light is needed to cook or work without problems. The bedroom, on the other hand, is used primarily for relaxation: Here it should be cozy, bright light is hardly needed. For optimal brightness in the various rooms of your home, you can use the following rough guide values:
- Bedroom: about 14 lm/square foot
- Bathroom: about 28 lm/square foot
- Kitchen: about 28 lumens per square foot (lm/sq ft)
- Living room: about 14 lm/square foot
- Children’s room: about 14 lm/square foot
- Study: about 28 lm/square foot
- Hallway: about 14 lumen lm/square foot
For example, if you want to pleasantly illuminate a 322 square feet bedroom, your lamps should produce a luminous flux of about 4,500 lumens (322 square feet x 14 lm = 4.508 lm).
What is Lumen?
Lumen (lm) is the standardized unit for the so-called luminous flux and allows conclusions to be drawn about the brightness of a lamp. The luminous flux indicates how much light a light source emits in all directions. Colloquially, one also speaks of the light output of a lamp. Consumers can use the lumen rating to estimate how bright a lamp is: the higher the lumen value, the more light a lamp emits per unit of time.
Different light sources, such as incandescent lamps, energy-saving lamps and LED lamps, produce very different levels of luminous flux per watt. When incandescent bulbs were almost exclusively used for lighting in the home, their brightness was simply identified by their power consumption in watts. But now manufacturers must specify how many lumens a lamp emits.
Scientific definition of lumen
Lumen is the internationally standardized unit of measurement for the luminous flux of a light source. The luminous flux indicates the amount of light produced per unit of time; the unit of time is quasi = 0 due to the speed of light of 300,000 km/second, since the speed of light forms our perceptual limit.
Lumen: What is bright?
To get a feel for how many lumens a lamp shines at, here are some examples:
- a 40 watt (W) fluorescent lamp = about 3.000 lm.
- a 100W – incandescent bulb = about 1.340 lm.
- a candle = about 12 lm.
However, the above examples are less meaningful today than they were a decade ago, because incandescent bulbs and also fluorescent lamps are being used less and less.
The unit watt provides information about the power of a lamp and how much electricity it consumes. When there were only incandescent bulbs, a glance at the wattage was sufficient to draw conclusions about the brightness of a lamp. Back then, the more watts shown, the brighter the lamp shone.
How many lumens does a light bulb have?
The following luminous flux values apply approximately to incandescent bulbs:
25W light bulb = approx. 220 lm
40W light bulb = approx. 415 lm
60W light bulb = approx. 710 lm
100W light bulb = approx. 1.340 lm
With the variety of lamp types nowadays, however, you should rather take a look at the lumen specification of the illuminants. Because nowadays lamps are much more efficient and need much less wattage to shine even brighter than the earlier incandescent bulbs. A high-quality LED lamp, for example, can produce an incomparably higher luminous flux than an incandescent lamp with the same energy consumption. The wattage indicated on the packaging today therefore primarily serves as information about energy consumption.
Luminous efficacy: How many lumens correspond to how many watts?
When considering the luminous flux of a lamp in combination with its power, one quickly arrives at another physical quantity: luminous efficacy. Luminous efficacy is measured in lumens per watt (lm/W) and indicates how efficiently a lamp shines. In other words, luminous efficacy indicates how much energy is converted into light. The higher the value, the more efficient a light source is.
You can roughly use the following values as a guideline for luminous efficacy:
Incandescent bulb: approx. 10 lm/W
Halogen lamp: approx. 20 lm/W
Fluorescent lamp: approx. 70 – 90 lm/W
LED lamp: approx. 60 – 170 lm/W
Can lumens simply be added together?
Yes, the values of different lamps can simply be added together. For example, if you want to replace the lamps in your bedroom with economical LEDs without losing brightness, you can add the individual lumen values of the “old” lamps. This results in a lumen value that can now also be covered by energy-efficient LEDs.
An example: Replacing light sources in the living room with LEDs
The following luminaires are present in the bedroom:
- Ceiling light with four halogen spots, 50 watts each 330 lm
- Floor lamp with energy-saving lamp, 20 watts each 1.140 lm
- Table lamp with halogen, 40 Watt each 260 lm
Previously, the lamps in the living room could produce a luminous flux of 4 x 330 lm + 1.140 lm + 260 lm = 2.720 lm.
After replacing the lamps with efficient LEDs, a luminous flux of 3.371 lm could be achieved in the bedroom. The possible solution to this:
- Ceiling lamp with four LEDs, 5.5 Watt each 345 lm
- Floor lamp with LED, 15 watts each 1.521 lm
- Table lamp with LED, 6 Watt each 470 lm
Which lamp for the bedroom?
To make your bedroom shine in new splendor, a combination of different light sources is ideal. For example, mix floor lamps with stylish ceiling lamps or table lamps to create a moody and intimate atmosphere. How many different lamps you need for your bedroom depends mainly on the size of your room. In a smaller bedroom, one large ceiling lamp can often provide the necessary lighting, while in more spacious rooms, different light sources are needed. As a rule of thumb, however, between 2,000 and 4,000 lumens should provide enough light for your bedroom.
However, not only the number of lamps is crucial, but also the design. Choose subtle lights to give your bedroom a complementary style and finish. If the color palette in your bedroom is rather neutral, then lamps with colorful shades or aesthetic designs can add an interesting accent to the room.
The right lighting for the bedroom
A bedroom is a place of rest and relaxation. Accordingly, your lighting scheme should also reflect this. For a coherent overall concept, you should therefore make clever use of the following three types of lighting: basic lighting, task lighting and accent lighting.
Basic lighting is the basis of lighting and ensures that your entire bedroom is evenly lit. Task lighting is primarily used for functional purposes, such as reading or even dressing. At the same time, the functional light also gives the bedroom a diffused glow, which makes the room look larger and warmer. Last but not least, accent lighting is used primarily for decorative purposes and helps to specifically put visual features in the right light to create an atmospheric ambience.
How to pick bedside lamps
A small bedside lamp is the easiest way to cleverly add some color, texture or even a nice contrast to your bedroom. Depending on their size, bedside lamps provide a subtle source of light, making them perfect for reading or watching TV. Important: If you decide to buy a bedside lamp with a shade, it’s best to choose a light color for it. Dark colors or bold patterns can add a certain drama, but will obstruct the light source and thus make nighttime activities such as reading more difficult.
By the way, if you have limited space on your nightstand, opt for a couple of beautiful pendant lamps on either side of the bed. Depending on the design, these will give the room a beautiful and stylish lighting. Opt for a bold pattern or a beautiful color for the lampshade to give the bedroom a nice accent.
Indirect lighting in the bedroom
The more indirect the light, the more cozy and comfortable a room becomes. Here, the light does not fall directly on individual objects, but is first reflected by walls and floors. The light source is hidden behind a screen or similar and thus cannot be seen directly. Thus, the light is strongly diffused and harsh shadows are avoided. There are several variants for indirect lighting, for example, baseboards and stucco moldings with integrated LEDs, LED strips, wall lights with a screen, niches with hidden light sources or TVs with LED backlighting. LED strips are particularly popular, as they are self-adhesive and only a few millimeters wide. They can be quickly attached to all sorts of objects, whether under the bed or behind the cabinet.