Stylish Bedroom Reading Lamps (Modern, Traditional & Contemporary)

Steve Sheinkopf  |  July 18, 2014  |  3 Min. Read


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As with any room in your house, in the bedroom, you want to use layers of lighting to provide not only a sufficient amount of light, but more flexibility within lighting zones. Lighting zones can be found in the different applications of lights; whether it is with overhead recessed or wall sconces.

The general lighting in a bedroom should provide enough light to see, but not be overbearing, as to maintain a level of relaxation. General lighting can be achieved through recessed lights, flush mounts, semi-flush mounts, chandeliers, or fan lights. Closets should be well-lit to distinguish between similar colors, and recessed, flush mounts, or semi-flush mounts, could provide the type of illumination needed in that space.

This bedroom encompasses all of the different lighting zones that one should have in their bedroom: There is balanced general, ambient lighting (created through recessed lighting and the ceiling fan) and ample reading light (thanks to the swing-arm lamps) - all in addition to the plentiful amount of natural light.

We will show you the different fixtures available for reading lamps and then the different styles as well

Modern Bedroom by Asheville Design-Build Firms Carlton Architecture

The lighting zone we will be focusing on today is the reading light. Most people use nightstands or side tables with lamps on them, which is certainly convenient. As design changes, there are more options to consider with reading lamps.

Some people have considered using recessed lighting or pendants hanging from the ceiling instead of lamps, as they take up less space on the bedside tables and create a clean-line look.

Contemporary Bedroom by Miami Interior Designers & Decorators DKOR Interiors Inc.- Interior Designers Miami, FL

Swing arm lamps are also popular for this purpose, as they can be installed directly into the wall, thus eliminating the need for a table all together.

Traditional Bedroom by Chatham Architects & Building Designers Polhemus Savery DaSilva

Let’s say, for instance, that you have a concrete wall; not a lot of wall space; or simply cannot install lights into your wall due to electrical or aesthetic reasons - But you still would like a reading light... There is a solution…

Pinup lamps!

Pinup lamps offer the light of sconces or swing arm lamps, but are simply pinned to the wall (hence the name) and plugged into an outlet. They create a sense of stability commonly found in sconces, but allow for the convenience of plug-and-play.

Beach Style Bedroom by Atlanta Architects & Building Designers Historical Concepts

Here, the designer has used pinup lamps for a couple reasons that I can see. While I do not know the electrical situation, I look at the bed only having one small bedside table. This could be due the room’s size and the position of the bed in the room, and therefore, it makes sense to use lighting that does not require a stand.

Traditional Bedrooms

Traditional Bedroom by Minneapolis Interior Designers & Decorators Bruce Kading Interior Design

In this traditional bedroom, the designer has selected pinup lamps in what looks like a nickel finish with fabric shades. These are a great choice for the space, as they continue both the traditional and light-and-airy themes going on with the furniture and fabrics. The pinup lamps have a traditional feel to them, both in their arm construction and fabrication found in the shade.

Below are some pinup lamps by the brands that we carry that I think could also work in this space, both for their traditional design and elegant shades.


  • A.) Portable Lamp One Light Swing Arm Wall Light by Quoizel - Q1560BN $149.99
  • B.) Home Office Satin Nickel Two Light Wall Swing Arm Lamp by House of Troy - WS14-2-52 - $278
  • C.) Decorative Wall Swing Lamps One Light Wall Swing Arm Lamp by House of Troy - WS751-AS $170
  • D.) Home Office Satin Nickel One Light Wall Swing Arm Lamp by House of Troy - WS12-52-J $175
  • E.) Monroe One Light Wall Sconce by Hudson Valley - 771-OB $590

Contemporary Bedrooms

Contemporary Bedroom by Sydney Home Builders Capital Building

In this contemporary bedroom, I love the use of various textures in a neutral color scheme. This helps to create interest without being too busy and certainly works within the realms of the contemporary design aesthetic.  While I like the pendants for their simplicity; their color, texture, and shape; and how they allow for the nightstands to remain clutter-free, I put together some pinup lamps that could work in the space as well.


Modern Bedrooms

Modern Bedroom by Santa Monica Furniture & Accessories Viesso

In this modern bedroom, I like the use of two different types of reading light. Both read very modern through their clean lines and sleek finishes. Each of the lighting choices evokes a different aspect of modernism and yet, they work together in the space by being so different.

Please see below for some examples of modern pinups that could work in this space while maintaining the modern feel!


  • A.) Quattro Double Arm LED Wall Lamp by Sonneman - 2052-16 $430
  • B.) Divi One Light Wall Fixture by Besa - 1WU-185893-SN $414
  • C.) Perch Polished Chrome One Light Swing Arm Wall Lamp by Sonneman - 7085-01 $240
  • D.) Cambridge Wall Swing Arm Lamp by House of Troy - C175-SN $350
  • E.) Generation Generation Wall Swing Arm Lamp by House of Troy - G175-WT $180
  • F.) Orbiter One Light Sconce by Sonneman - 3331-01 $220

As you can see, pinup lamps are a great solution to multiple problems. They are able to provide substantial light within a space for both ambient and reading light; especially when regularly wired sconces are not able to be used. They also eliminate the use of bulky nightstands and allow for more space. Pinup lamps are a nice, easy fix to get more light in a room, as well as style.

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Steve Sheinkopf

Steve is the third-generation CEO of Yale and a lifelong Bostonian. He currently resides in Boston, one mile from where he was born. Despite being one of the worst goalies of all time, he is a huge hockey fan of college hockey and the Boston Bruins. The love of his life is his daughter Sophie.

Steve has also been featured in numerous publications such as the New York Times, Consumer Reports, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Radio, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur, for his knowledge of how to buy appliances and appliance repair.

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