Lighting Research Center

Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment

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Bedrooms need a low-level ambient light for a relaxing atmosphere, with some bright areas for reading or other activities. Reading lights should be flexible and glare free. At least one light should be switched from the bed. A low-wattage nightlight plugged into an electrical outlet can improve safety when getting up at night.

Design features:

  • A ceiling-mounted luminaire with translucent acrylic diffuser provides uniform, shadow-free light when higher levels are desired throughout the bedroom. This luminaire is a 22 in. diameter Energy Star labeled luminaire using two 24-W/830 long twin tube fluorescent lamps with electronic ballast.
  • For lower, more relaxing ambient light levels, a torchiere stands on the floor, directing light to the light-colored ceiling. The torchiere uses three 36-W/830 compact fluorescent lamps. A 3-way switch allows three levels of light. Alternatively (not shown in the figure), a portable swing-arm compact fluorescent floor lamp with 3-way switch, using a 39-W/830 3-level compact fluorescent lamp, provides both ambient lighting and task lighting for a chair.
  • Adjustable arm task lights mounted above the bed's headboard make reading in bed much easier. They can be positioned to direct light onto reading materials without glare. Each task light uses one 18-W/830 compact fluorescent lamp with an electronic ballast.

Lighting Tips
  • Install light switches with toggle that glow in the dark. Place switches near the bed. Wall outlets should be installed 18 to 24 in. above the floor for easy access.
  • Use lamps with good color properties in closets to help color matching of clothes.

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