Contemporary Bedroom Lighting
Do you want your bedroom's decor to show the latest in style? Choosing contemporary lights may seem like an elusive task; try not to get too wrapped up in the distinction between "contemporary" and "modern." Design purists use the terms to describe two distinct styles, while manufacturers and lay people use the terms interchangeably.
This unexpected design uses different varieties of color, pattern and texture to create a cohesive look when combined. Designer David Bromstad used linen curtains and velvet accents to anchor the space, while splashes of pink and a sparkling chandelier bring a feminine touch.
A casual, inviting environment makes cottage style a great choice for guest bedrooms. An easy way to add a cottage feel is to repurpose items, like designer Sarah Richardson did with the bedside lamp made from a birch tree from her yard.
Mediterranean style features texture and bold color to create a one-of-a-kind look. This kids' bedroom features a hand-painted bed and whimsical chandelier that represent the region's culture. Design by Ashley Astleford
Soft hues and delicate fabrics characterize romantic style. The ornate headboard, silhouette bed pillows and white draperies bring a feminine touch commonly seen in romantic design. An abalone shell chandelier provides soft lighting. Design by SPI Design
Contemporary style features sleek furniture, solid colors and chic accessories. The mostly neutral space is brought to life with pops of color in the bed pillows. Design by David Bromstad
Asian style evokes a calm, serene feel in any room. Designer Marie Burgos delivered Asian-inspired elements with a warm color palette, nature-inspired furniture and Japanese shoji screens.
Muted colors and light fabrics are staples in a coastal-style room. Designer Adam Zollinger incorporated a striped ceiling treatment and bamboo ceiling fan to complete the ocean-inspired look.
Minimal design is the epitome of modern style. Designer Andreas Charalambous paired streamlined furniture with a geometric bed wall for a true modern design. Minimal furnishings and a neutral color palette enhance the look.
Old World style can bring a luxurious, regal look to a bedroom. Ornamental wrought-iron details in the chandelier and headboard bring European influence to this bedroom designed by Thom Oppelt. Wooden ceiling beams, intricate wall sconces and textured walls are key design elements of the style.
True "modern" design isn't technically new; it emerged in the late 1800s and leans on Asian and Scandinavian design. Modern furnishings incorporate straight lines and geometric forms and are usually neutral in color. The emphasis is on simplicity and function. The "contemporary" decorating style emerged later - in the 1970s - and continues to evolve based on current trends. While having similarities to modern style, contemporary design pulls on a mix of Art Deco, deconstructivism, futurism and other styles. But don't stress over semantics; if you're looking for clean, simple lines for your bedroom lighting, you have many choices.
For a contemporary look, you'll likely want to choose fixtures with simple, straight lines. Choose colors that complement your decor, and don't be afraid to experiment. You can truly go in any direction you wish, from neutrals to neon bright.
If you love unusual designs, contemporary lighting style is for you. Search the Internet and magazines for ideas. Check out local art galleries for designers' one-of-a-kind pieces. Contemporary means new; you may find a fixture you love that you'd never imagined.
As for light placement, the same general rules apply for contemporary style as for other styles. Table lamps, floor lamps and wall sconces are natural choices. Wall lamps with swing arms can serve as substitutes for nightstand tables, freeing up room on the table for books, an alarm clock and other items. A wall fixture installed closer to the ceiling can provide ambient light. Floor lamps in the category are simple in design and can provide task or accent lighting anywhere your bedroom needs it.
Cove lighting, in which tubes or other lights are hidden above a tray ceiling or crown molding, is a natural choice for a contemporary bedroom, as are recessed lights and lights installed in unexpected places, such as a headboard.
For a dramatic focal point, you may choose to hang a contemporary chandelier over your bed. The size of your fixture will depend on the size of your room and bed and the height of your ceiling. The same principles apply to contemporary bedroom lighting as with traditional, but contemporary chandeliers, which are typically designed more simply and with fewer branches, will look larger than they actually are. These are good choices for bedrooms with higher ceilings (more than 9 feet).
For the look of a chandelier but on a smaller scale, you can hang three or more matching or coordinating pendant lights over your bed. For added interest, choose pendants that are similar in style but have globes in different shapes and shades, and hang them in varying heights. Just be sure to provide enough clearance for getting in and out of your bed.
See Also: Lighting Planning Guide
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