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How to design a multifunctional bedroom lighting plan in New Orleans



A bedroom should be a sanctuary, a place to cast off the stresses of the day and be at peace. One of the most important components in a restful retreat is the lighting.

  Here's where things can get complicated. Different types of light are required for the many activities that happen in a bedroom, from getting dressed in the morning to reading in the evening. The environment also should reflect who you are and make you feel at home.

  Penny Francis, owner and designer at Eclectic Home, emphasizes the importance of selecting light fixtures early in the design process. "It's such a huge design element," she says. "It's the jewelry."

  Michael Ber, owner and designer at Lighting Inc., carefully considers bedroom layout when making his recommendations. "[Lighting] depends on a lot of different factors, like the size of the room, ceiling height, furniture and how the room is laid out," he says.

  Francis says people should make sure they know their bedrooms' measurements. When it comes to hanging light fixtures, even a few inches can throw off the look.

  Francis suggests using multiple layers of light, which allows for adjusting the lighting to fit the situation. She suggests using a main ceiling fixture for the brightest lighting and table and floor lamps for softer, more relaxing light. Ber's customers usually request a ceiling fan with a light kit for the main ceiling fixture.

  Francis suggests using dimmers to control the main fixture's brightness. "[An overhead light] can be blinding, especially if you're reclining," Francis says. "Always have dimmers on your main lighting to be able to adjust the atmosphere."

  For reading light, Francis recommends attaching jointed fixtures to the wall. They can swing into the perfect position to light a page. Ber prefers recessed lighting for this purpose.

  "I like to use a 3- to 4-inch recessed fixture that you can put a small bulb into," he says. "It's a high-intensity halogen bulb, but it's a very narrow beam, so if you put it strategically over the back of the bed, you can read or do whatever you're doing without disturbing your spouse."

  For a decorative touch, recessed lighting can be used to highlight key pieces of furniture or art, Francis says. Ber says customers with high-end bedrooms gravitate toward chandeliers.

  "Chandeliers give ambient light that is more decorative," he says. "We see chandeliers in large houses with high ceilings."

  For the best night's sleep, complete dark-ness is key. A blackout lining can be placed behind curtains or stitched into the backing. Electronically controlled shades descend from a hidden space above the window and roll up in the morning.

  When it comes to style, Francis suggests customers buy what they love and not worry whether it matches. "The area will come together as you work with it," she says.

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