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17 September 2014
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Illuminated headboard

Bedroom delight

The bedroom is somewhere you can really play around with your lighting scheme, using everything from twinkling fairy lights to garish neon depending on your mood.

Adults' rooms

The right light will help you wind down and get a good night's sleep. But you also need strong lighting so you can get dressed in the morning - you don't want to leave the house wearing one brown sock and one blue.

The most important bedroom light is the one beside your bed - useful for when one of you wants to read or watch TV and the other wants to sleep. You can mount bedside lights on the wall, hotel-style, or fix them behind or into the bedhead, use wall-mounted downlighters or simple table lamps beside the bed.

Lights that are built into the bedhead don't cater for extremes of height, and you might also find you have to lie at a certain angle to be comfortable. If you do use them and you have a double bed, put them on separate switches. An inexpensive table lamp on a bedside cabinet or chair is a great solution - make sure it's high enough to read by and shaded so it doesn't shine right in your face.

Try this...

  • Fit a dimmer switch on the main central light or wall light to create instant atmosphere.
  • If you find yourself blinded by natural light streaming in through the window, put up voile or muslin curtains to diffuse the light.
  • Place a switch by the door to use when you come in and out. Make it controllable from the bed, too, so you don't have to get up to turn it off.
  • Dressing tables need to be horizontally lit from both sides otherwise you'll see shadows across your face.
  • Don't use candles in the bedroom unless you're absolutely sure you won't fall asleep while they're burning.
  • Choose shades that are white on the inside and a warm colour outside, and fit them with a clear bulb to give off warm tones of light.
  • Fit tungsten or fluorescent strips in the wardrobe or units that come on when you open the door. If you put one above or below you'll end up with shadows.
  • If you stand between your central pendant light and your blinds or curtains, your neighbours will be able to see you in silhouette - whatever you're doing.
  • Make a suspended canopy from MDF, drill it with holes and fit it with fairy lights.
  • Install a voice-activated light switch so you don't have to get out of bed to turn it on and off.

Children's rooms

Kids have slightly different lighting needs from adults. Safety takes centre stage. Next, the most important thing to remember is that the scheme should change as they get older. There are all sorts of fun, decorative lights aimed at children, from aeroplanes to rotating carousels.

For babies, you need low-level lighting so you can see during those frequent trips in the night to feed, change and comfort. Try a plug-in nightlight or small lamp with a shade and low-wattage bulb - no more than 12V.

Try this...

  • Ensure prying fingers can't open the fitting or get at the hot bulb or electrical wiring.
  • Use wall-mounted lights rather than freestanding lamps that can be knocked over easily.
  • Dimmers work wonders - they help to prepare a child mentally for bedtime.
  • If your child has a computer or television in their room, don't let them watch it in total darkness. It's better for their eyes to use low-level light, either from a dimmed light or from a table lamp with the beam directed at the ceiling.

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