Night bedside lamps have two primary jobs: providing enough light for comfortable reading and other bedroom activities, and looking great while doing so. Selecting the right lamp can be tricky, though. How many do you need? How big should the table lamp be? What style should you choose? Fortunately, there are basic decorating rules that answer these questions and make selecting the right night lamp easy.

night lamp
night lamp

How Many Night Lamps Do You Need?

Generally, you need one night lamp if you sleep alone, and two if you have a partner. In large bedrooms or with a king-sized bed, having a lamp on each lamp offers better balance, regardless of who is using the room. Even with two night lamps, they shouldn’t be your only source of illumination. If there’s no ceiling fixture, consider adding a floor lamp or another lamp elsewhere in the room.

Choosing the Right Size Lamp

A common decorating mistake is choosing a night lamp that’s too small. The right size lamp is a balancing act: the wider your bed, the wider the nightstand should be, and the wider the nightstand, the wider the lamp. Your night lamp should be about one-third to two-thirds the width of your bed, and the lamp should be about one-third the width of the lamp at its widest point, usually the base of the shade.

Selecting the Right Height

The right height for a lamp is crucial, especially for bedtime readers. You don’t want the light shining over your head or directly into your eyes. Assuming your lamp is about the same height as your bed (or within a couple of inches), the lamp should be the height of the lamp plus an extra 2 or 3 inches. For instance, if your lamp is 24 inches high, a lamp around 27 inches tall will look good.

The position of the lamp switch is also important. You shouldn’t have to get out of bed to turn your lamp on or off. The ideal height for the switch is about the length of your arm, typically between 21 and 28 inches. The most convenient option is a bedside lamp with a switch on the cord.

Choosing the Lampshade

The right size lampshade balances the lamp. The height of the lampshade should be about two-thirds the height of the lamp’s body, from the base to the bulb socket. The width of the lampshade should be about twice the width of the lamp at its widest part. If your lamp is very slender, choose a shade that is no wider than its height for the best proportion. For optimal reading light, the bottom of the lampshade should be level with your eyes when sitting up in bed.

  • Height: Two-thirds the height of the lamp.
  • Width: Twice the width of the lamp.

White or off-white lampshades allow the most light through, but colored lampshades can add a stylish accent to your decor. While drum shades are currently popular, you can’t go wrong by matching the shape of the lampshade to the shape of the lamp.

Choosing Your Bedroom Lamp Style

Your bedside lamps should complement the rest of your bedroom’s decor. Enhance a modern bedroom with a sleek glass or chrome lamp, or choose a classic ginger jar lamp for a rustic look. Have fun with lamps that match a motif in your decorating style: an anchor for a coastal room, a palm tree for a tropical theme, or grapes for a Tuscan-inspired space. Think of your bedside lamp as a powerful accent piece and choose accordingly.

In conclusion, night lamps are an essential part of bedroom decor. They provide necessary lighting, enhance the room’s ambiance, and contribute to the overall aesthetic. By following these guidelines, you can easily find the perfect lamp to complement your bedroom and meet your lighting needs.

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