Bedroom Wall Lights

Wall lights can add a touch of elegance to your bedroom while providing the light you need.


This cherry wood bed delivers clean, modern lines, particularly in the curved support at the foot. Linens in shades of blue and gray allow the wooden frame to stand out against the darker tones of the space. Design by Erica Islas.

By: Gina Hannah

When choosing bedroom lights that are functional, beautiful and space-saving, wall lighting is hard to beat. Also known as sconces, wall lights can be used to create ambient light or to accent architectural features or accessories in your bedroom. Choices range from simple and functional pieces to unusual designs that serve as art. You can choose from styles ranging from traditional to contemporary to complement your bedroom's decor.

Budget-Savvy Bedroom Updates

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Upgrade Your Existing Windows

Upgrading your bedroom's existing windows or replacing blank walls with new windows will dramatically change the room's appearance. Windows allow for better ventilation and wash the room with natural light. There are many different types of windows to choose from: double-hung, bay, jalousie, horizontal slider and casement windows are a few of the most popular choices. Photo courtesy of Brooke Giannetti

Update or Install New Flooring

Change the look and feel of your bedroom by installing new flooring. Whether you choose hardwood, laminate, tile or carpet, new flooring allows you to start fresh with a color and style that best suits your space. Photo courtesy of Erin Southwell

Reinvent Hand-Me-Downs

Creatively using hand-me-down furniture is a great way to furnish a bedroom on a budget. Before investing in expensive, new pieces, check with friends and family to see if they have anything they'd like to give away. This vintage bed was old news to its previous owners, but a coat of black paint and a little distressing gave it a fresh, up-to-date look that works perfectly with this bedroom's relaxed style.

Use Accessories That Tell a Story

Personalize your space by displaying a collection of bargain baubles that tell a story about you. Online auction sites carry an endless supply of inexpensive decorative details that will give your bedroom a collected-over-time look. Search for things like alarm clocks, vases, books, lamps and other decor to boost your bedroom's beauty factor.

Create an Artful Arrangement

A grouping is a great way to add interest to a large expanse of wall. Create an arrangement of framed photographs, art and quotes to add personality and pizazz. Tip: Frame your own photos and favorite quotes for a grouping that reflects the people, places and phrases you love.

Dress the Windows

The right window treatment will enhance both your home's architecture and your personal style, so consider the feeling you want to create when selecting window treatments. For an easy-breezy look, use gauzy sheers hung on inexpensive cafe-style rods. Tip: Painters' drop cloths also make great drapes; they're heavy-weight, neutral color and come in a variety of lengths. Bonus: You can find them at any home improvement store for about $10 per drop cloth.

Add Interest With Molding

Wainscoting provides decorative contrast between the upper and lower sections of walls while adding traditional or cottage-style charm. There are several types of wainscoting which, if you're handy with a saw and level, are very easily installed. Popular styles are beadboard, shown here, and board and batten. Photo courtesy of Sarah Barnard

Add Bedside Lighting

While overhead lighting is practical and fills the entire room with light, bedside lamps cast a peaceful, moody glow and are ideal for illuminating bedtime tasks. Tip: Ensure that bedside lamps are the correct height with this little trick: When you're sitting in bed, the lampshade bottoms should be at eye level so light will shine on your reading material not in your eyes. Photo courtesy of Erin Southwell

Mix and Match Bedding

Combinations of pattern and texture add a casual, layered look to the bedroom. In this photo, a mix of muted colors and pretty patterns dress the bed in a luxurious yet relaxed way. Shop catalogs and online for coordinating bedding at bargain prices. Photo courtesy of Erin Southwell

Add a Focal Point

Adding a fireplace to your bedroom will not only add charm and romance, it can also increase your home's resale value. Wood-burning fireplaces offer classic appeal, gas fireplaces are clean and easy to install, and electric fireplaces are affordable and can be placed in a room without a chimney. Photo courtesy of Brooke Giannetti

Vault the Ceiling

A ceiling is much more than just a roof over your head, as demonstrated by the incredible vaulted ceiling in designer Brooke Giannetti's bedroom. If you're considering a vaulted ceiling, first contact an HVAC contractor to determine if your existing heating and cooling system can handle the increased volume of the room. It's also important to contact a structural engineer to ensure that the collar ties are properly located to prevent walls from spreading apart when the ceiling joists are removed. Photo courtesy of Brooke Giannetti

Wall lights also come in a wide range of sizes, so you can find the best wall light fixtures to fit your space. Even miniature wall lights, which are great space savers, can provide plenty of light if they are equipped with LEDs, or light-emitting diodes. Installed on either side of the bed, these lights are good choices if you prefer to draw attention to other features in your bedroom, such as a dramatic headboard or a piece of wall art.

Install wall lights on each side of your bed to provide light for reading; this also helps free up space on your bedside table. Consider choosing wall lights with adjustable or swing arms, so you and your partner can adjust the lights to your preference for reading in bed. Hang a single wall light in a reading or sitting area to create ambiance and provide extra lighting if that's where you prefer to read. For artwork, consider adding a flat wall light to provide accent lighting over your favorite pieces for a gallery effect.

If you desire a more traditional look, choose wall lights with a faux candle design or even a mini-chandelier. Search antique stores for fixtures that can be updated or refurbished. Decide how much light you need; the amount of light provided by wall-mounted fixtures can vary. Mirrored wall sconces can add a touch of elegance to a bedroom, and they can provide enhanced light. Consider putting your wall lights on dimmer switches, and have separate controls for lights mounted on either side of your bed. To ensure a balanced look, keep some guidelines in mind when installing wall lights. The fixtures typically should be mounted between 60 and 66 inches above the floor, and eight to 10 feet apart. Make sure the light fixtures won't be too close to drapes or other flammable materials and are out of reach of young children. For large rooms, place the fixtures higher: about 6 feet high in a bedroom with an 8-foot ceiling, and about 6.5 feet high in a room with a 9-foot or 10-foot ceiling. Wall lights can also be installed higher to create ambient light similar to that of a flush-mounted ceiling light. In rooms with a vaulted ceiling, choose larger wall lights and place them higher for a dramatic effect.

In the master bathroom, place wall lights on either side of the vanity mirror to provide light that is more flattering than a ceiling light. Globes with frosted glass will make light in the area even more flattering.

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