Lighting for a Theme

Nowadays, lighting isn’t just about function. Open any magazine and you’ll find articles on how to incorporate different lighting themes, what lights work best where, and how to create an impact through lighting. These valuable lessons can also be incorporated in to your child’s bedroom.

Firstly, it’s important that task specific lighting is installed in the correct places; i.e. desk light, bedside light, overhead light. Individually controlled, they can be used for task specific purposes or switched on together or in combination to increase or decrease the amount of lighting available to your child. By creating lighting options in areas where specific tasks will be completed you won’t be forcing your child to rely on a single overhead light that may prove too bright or too generic for activities that take place in that area. Imagine trying to get your child to sleep with a bedtime story and only an overhead light to read from!

Children's string lights  to compliment a nautical theme

But when thinking about your lighting, try to also think in terms of the theme of your child’s bedroom. String or fairy lighting is probably the easiest to incorporate in to a child’s room, making a bedside or night lamp unnecessary. LED lighting is a fantastic choice as it’s economical to run and low voltage and so is incredibly safe for use around children.

String lighting depicting an outer space theme

With so many great choices in novelty string lighting available you can continue the décor of your kid’s room in to the lighting; add flowers, butterflies or dragonflies to little girl’s rooms or boats and lighthouses, or spacemen for the boys.

Kid's bedside nightlights in the shape of animals

Bedside lamps that provide a single source of illumination suitable for use throughout the night can also be purchased in keeping with the theme of your child’s room. Mushroom and toadstool lights complete with fairy doors, a bone china owl or rabbit, these are great products that emit a comforting glow that will keep the monsters of the night at bay.

Kid's string lights made of felt in pac-man shapes

A great way to incorporate lighting is too look for ways to create unique lighting suitable for use in your child’s room. For example, take a string of lights and wrap it around an old lampshade frame and hang it, by the lights, over a desk. Ikea have a great range of children’s lighting, including a range of novelty wall lights that would look great in any kids room. Their stores and website offer inspiration on lighting options and placement and is well worth a look if you’re stuck on ideas.

Child's chandelier style pendant lamp

Even older children will love the inclusion of more unusual lighting choices and there are great options available that can be adapted to their bedroom. All lighting can be used in ways not normally considered; think about twin pendant lights above double or twin beds, or place spotlights over a desk. Whatever your child’s age, lighting can be used to bring together a theme and provide not just function but an aesthetic quality that can be used as a unique focus point for their personal space.

Children's Lightening

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Children’s Night Lights

Children’s night lights are simple but effective tools that restore calm to children’s bedtime routines. Many children are afraid of the dark but the  soft glow of children’s night lights  are enough to reassure children and banish those night time anxieties and the comfortingly glow of the light can also help soothe young child off to sleep. As most of them use low-wattage bulbs too, mum and dad will be equally comforted by the low energy consumption!

Simple socket mounted low energy night light

This simple low energy night light from John Lewis can either be plugged into children’s rooms or on the landing to provide a soft illumination. The LED light also has the advantage of staying cool so there is no danger of little fingers getting burnt and the light isn’t too bright. You could even use this light for when guests are staying over to help illuminate the route to the toilet! A simple, cheap and effective night light that has the advantage of being fully mobile.

Children's night light and room thermometer in one

The little Egg-shaped night light and room thermometer from Kiddicare is most suitable for nurseries  or very young children. The gentle, warm glow changes colours to provide a relaxing and soothing effect whilst also displaying the room temperature so parents can tell if the room is too warm or too cold. A great source of comfort for small children and for their parents too!

Kid's bedside lamp in the shape of a rabbit

Older children will love this adorable White Rabbit children’s night  light  lamp from John Lewis. The entire body of the rabbit is lit in a warm orange glow once switched on so it works perfectly as a quirky little night light to help them drift off to sleep. This bone china product makes a wonderful gift to help your little bunnies sleep peacefully.

Kid's owl shaped night light

In the same range is this Owl shaped children’s lamp from John Lewis which might just appeal to your own little owlets. Let old Mr Wise Owl watch over your slumbering babes with his comforting glow letting them know that he’s always on his guard.

Child's night light in the sahpe of a Dachshund

Fall in love with the Dachshund Soft Glow Pet Lamp by Nubie Modern Kids Boutique. This unusual Pet Lamp emits a warm, lovable glow that makes it ideal as a night light and let’s face it, if any night light will ward off night terrors it’s this doggy lamp! He’s available in white, pink or blue and uses a low 12v bulb so he doesn’t use up much energy either! Useful AND obedient – if only all dogs were like this!

Kid's bedside lantern

The Elmer Magic Lantern from John Lewis will light up the walls of your nursery with a projection of Elmer and his pals  which slowly revolves around, providing a peaceful scene that will help lull your child off to sleep. This bright little lantern will work best atop a set of drawers or on a high shelf to project the happy scene onto all four walls.

Toadstool shaped night lamp

Add a touch of enchantment with this Bramble Red Toadstool children’s lamp from John Lewis. By day it’s a pretty and colourful lamp with plenty of detail for children to explore and by night the windows and holes glow warmly, giving the impression of a snug and cosy home for the little, friendly elf. Children will be delighted and comforted by this Toadstool lamp.

Boy's robot themed nigh light in the shape of a mushroom

An unusal take on the Toadstool Lamp is this boy’s Mushroom Ceramic Table Lamp from Heal’s featuring boy’s toys painted around the front such as an aeroplane, robot and train whilst the inside is painted blue so when it is turned on, a cool blue glow radiates from within. It’s a thoroughly modern nightlight!

Children's unusual night light

This cute little creature is the SPÖKA night light from Ikea. It’s battery operated so fully mobile and lasts up to 5 hours fully charged. The SPÖKA has a colour changing glow that can be locked to just one colour if you wish. Perfect for bedside tables to provide a little reassurance in the night.

Child's Dinosaur Shaped NightlightMeet Dino the  Boy’s Dinosaur themed night light exclusively from PiggeryPottery. This jolly dinosaur provides a friendly face for children with his happy grin and playful, chubby cheeks. He also has fire in his belly as when you switch him on, his tummy will glow! Dinosaur mad boys will be delighted to welcome Dino into their rooms and as he only uses a 15w bulb, parents will love him too!

Children’s Lighting

Children's ball style ceiling lightshade decorated with coloured numbersLighting plays an important part in the overall look and day-to-day activities in a room and especially so in a child’s room. For adults, bedroom lighting is all about creating a relaxing atmosphere but younger members of the family will also need background lighting as well as task lighting for reading and study. After all, we largely only use our rooms for sleep but children spend much longer in their rooms playing, reading and doing various other activities.

The lighting used in a child’s room will create an atmosphere as well as providing practical illumination.  It also provides a feeling of comfort and security which is all too important for a child who has recently started to sleep in a room of their own.

It’s important to avoid over-lighting in a child’s room  and employing lights that create too much glare as this can be very tiring and make children feel very ill at ease.

Lighting for different ages

The practical requirements of lighting will depend upon the child’s age. Babies, for instance, will require basic central lighting for everyday use and some form of soft, ambient night lighting through the night. A central ceiling light with an up-lighting shade, combined with a dimmer switch, is most practical, together with a low wattage table lamp or plug-type night light for overnight use if necessary.

For toddlers everyday practical safety should be the main consideration. For table lamps or wall lighting within easy reach you should opt for low-energy light fittings which do not become hot during use. Also think carefully about the positioning of lighting and the chances of lamps and non-fixed lighting being knocked over or damaged. Leads should be tucked out of the way and kept as short as possible.

Older children need a brightly lit room for when they are playing in the evenings or on dark days as well as an optional softer light for winding down at bedtime. A bright desk lamp is also useful for reading and doing homework.


The feeling of being scared of the dark is something we can all relate to and for children this can be a serious issue. A source of light near to the bed which can be easily operated will do much to allay a child’s fears. If you don’t want a nightlight operating through the night then a simple tablelamp or other portable light that they can switch on themselves may be the answer.

A lamp or portable light used in a child’s room should comply with BS EN60598-2-10: Portable Luminaries for Children. This states that the maximum temperature of accessible parts, including the bulb if accessible, is 60 °C for metal parts and 75 °C for other parts, during normal operation.  Most low-energy lamps for children do comply with these regulations but it’s worth double checking.

Also try  ensure that central light controls are easily accessible and safe to use. Nightlights can be used for very young children to provide a reassuring glow and can be useful if they need to get out of bed  during the night. If you don’t want a nightlight in their room, consider placing one just outside in the hall or landing.

Types of Children’s Lighting

Pendant Lights can be used to provide overhead lighting but shouldn’t be relied upon as the single light-source. Wall mounted lights can be used to good effect, providing background lighting without the unwelcome side-affect of glare. Ceiling mounted track lighting and spot lights can also be used to provide background lighting and you can adjust each light so it bounces light from the ceiling and walls to create a softer and more effective radiant glow rather than harsh direct lighting. Uplighters can also be employed to the same effect.

As your child becomes older then so their needs for more practical lighting increase. Task lighting for reading and desk lights for homework or computer use will be important considerations in order to prevent eye-strain.

Novelty lighting can also be used to add a dramatic effect to decorating theme and there are many great designs available – from decorative novelty light shades and fittings to lava lamps and fibre-optics. You can even get lightshades that children can decorate themselves for a truly personal effect.

Nightlights that emit a low energy soft glow are useful for toddlers and young children who are afraid of the dark. The best ones to use are those which plug directly into the socket so that there are no leads for children to pull on. Again do ensure that they comply with safety regulations on heat output.

Children's Lightening

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