Plus, the bulb you should be using for cozy ambience.

By Jennifer Berno Decleene
September 24, 2019
Tessa Neustadt

Do you love the look of a chic bedside table but lack space necessary in your bedroom? We've found your solution. "I like swing-arm sconces for bedsides," says New York City interior designer Alexa Hampton. "The articulating arms are ideal for reading." In addition to angling the light onto the page just so, these decorative wall fixtures, like the Nelson Cigar wall sconce featured in the room above, free up the top of your night stands for other essentials—like that stack of novels you have on deck or all your healing crystals.

The proper position will depend on your bed height and headboard style, but start with the back plate 45 to 55 inches off the floor and six to eight inches away from the headboard, and move in from there. If you don't want to put a hole in the wall, go for a long-armed, modern Tensor reading lamp: "They're a great option, because they really stretch," says interior designer Elizabeth Lawrence, a partner at Bunny Williams Associates, in New York City.

Related: These Decorating Rules Will Help You Refine Any Room

And while you're at it, make sure you have the right bulb for a soothing light. For living spaces, soft-white 2,700-to-3,000-Kelvin LED bulbs, which cast a warm yellowish-white light, are ideal, says Gale Singer, founder and president of Circa Lighting: "Anything higher is too cool and unflattering." Kelvins measure a bulb's color temperature, as opposed to lumens, which quantify brightness; LED bulbs range from golden-yellow 1,000 K to bluish-white 8,000 K.

Those closer to 2,700 K suit spaces with warm tones and wood, Singer says; use 3,000-K ones in rooms filled with crisp whites. And be consistent: One too-blue bulb can throw off an otherwise serene space. Our pick: GE LED+ Collection bulbs.

Martha Stewart Living, October 2019
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