Tips on Bedside Reading Lights
Our lighting expert tells a cozy bedtime story about perfectly positioned illumination.
You once said you used a recessed pinpoint halogen in lieu of bedside lamps. How do you calculate where to put them in the ceiling?
A good alternative to bedside reading lights is to install a pair of recessed adjustable low voltage luminaires in the ceiling above the bed. This is what I like to call the “airline approach” to providing focused light for reading. You may have noticed that the reading lights in an airplane are not located directly over your seat, but actually over the seat of the person sitting next to you. That’s because the airline designers knew that your head makes a better door than a window when it comes to light transmission. Two individually dimmed recessed adjustable fixtures provide pinpoint reading light from above. The same principle applies in the bedroom. The person on the right controls the recessed adjustable luminaire over his or her partner’s side of the bed, and vice versa. By using a lamp with a tight beam spread, such as the MR16 ESX (20W spot), the light is confined to a circle of illumination about the size of a magazine. If all your clients read are paperbacks, you can use an MR16 EZX, which projects a very narrow spot. Regarding where to install the reading lights, I recommend having them 18 inches to 24 inches out from the wall and 2 feet from the centerline of the bed, putting them 4 feet from each other. Make sure that the light over your loved one’s side is the one controlled by the dimmer next to your pillow. This way the light is directed away from the person trying to sleep. If more than two people are in the bed, reading is probably not on the agenda.
Randall Whitehead, IALD
Latest from ask randall
This is a challenging question that may require a bit of compromise. To keep the cooler hues appearing crisp and white, you need to select a color... read full story
First off, I'm very glad that you are using a pair of sconces flanking the mirror. You don’t want fixtures that point light up or down, but instead... read full story
I wasn’t immediately familiar with the CE listing, but I’ve done my research. This is a label used in European countries and is applied to products... read full story
This is a little bit of a challenging situation. You want to have a fixture that you can’t look inside of easily — we don’t want to see the bulbs... read full story
Sponsored by Legrand and Bulbrite. Wednesday, October 5 at 2 p.m. EDT Register for this free CEU webinar here. Webinar Overview:Learning units:AIA/CES LU (HSW) 1.0... read full story
This webinar has already taken place, but you can still watch it on demand by registering here. Sponsored by Emerson and Legrand. Webinar Overview: Learning units:AIA/... read full story
This webinar has already taken place, but you can still watch it on demand by registering here. Webinar Overview:Learning units:AIA/CES LU (HSW) 1.0 Learning UnitIDCEC (IIDA/... read full story