Lighting 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.