As a light designer, I often see people who want or have neon lights in the bedroom. But what is my opinion on this matter, and are neon lights in the bedroom actually good for your sleep, eyes, and overall lighting scheme?
Let’s see in detail my advice on this topic.
What Are Neon Lights?
Neon lights are glass tubes that contain neon and/or other noble gases, which produce a vibrant glow when an electric current passes through them. They come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. The color of the light depends on the gas in the tube.
Neon gives off orange light, but other gases are used to produce other colors, such as hydrogen (purple or red), helium (yellow or pink), carbon dioxide (white), and mercury (blue).
Neon Lights In The Bedroom: Pros And Cons
The 3 main pros of neon lights in my view are:
The soft glow and variety of colors of neon light allow for a personalized touch that can complement existing decor or serve as a focal point. Neon lights in the bedroom are best used as accent lighting, meaning decorative light that adds a spark to the existing (functional) lighting scheme.
In that regard, neon lights are an excellent choice for accent lighting.
However, the important thing to remember for accent lighting is that we must never overdo it.
Pro Tip: Overused accent lighting leads to too much “noise” in the bedroom.
Try to install only one neon fixture and see how it fits the overall aesthetics of your bedroom. Usually, it is more than enough and you won’t need a second one.
2. Customization Options
Neon lights offer a wide array of customization options, allowing you to choose specific shapes and words, or even replicate your favorite quotes or symbols. This level of personalization adds a sentimental and unique touch to the bedroom environment.
In a way, they feel like a non-permanent tattoo for your bedroom. They symbolize something and they add decoration to the room. This is why I urge you to think of what you want your neon lights to be about before you go shopping.
3. Mood Enhancement
The soft and warm glow emitted by neon lights can enhance your mood. Many people find the subtle lighting conducive to relaxation and create a cozy atmosphere, perfect for winding down after a long day.
You can leave them on at night if you like a little bit of light when you’re sleeping, and they help a lot with late-night trips to the kitchen or bathroom.
However, you can read my extensive guide on the best bedroom lighting for sleeping, in which you will find tips such as using motion-activated LED lights under your bed!
On the other hand, the 3 main cons of neon lights in the bedroom are:
1. Disruption of Sleep
While neon lights contribute to a cozy ambiance, excessive use or bright colors can disrupt sleep patterns. The artificial lighting may interfere with melatonin production, potentially affecting the quality of sleep.
This is especially true for colors other than red, which has been proven to increase melatonin production when not too bright.
So as far as sleep goes, neon lights – especially warmer colors – are safe as long as you don’t overdo it and they’re not too bright.
2. Energy Consumption
Neon lights are known for their higher energy consumption compared to alternative lighting options. If you are considering neon lights in the bedroom, be mindful of their environmental impact and increased energy bills.
3. Maintenance Challenges
Maintaining neon lights can be challenging, as they are more delicate compared to traditional lighting fixtures. Breakages or malfunctions may require professional assistance, adding an extra layer of maintenance and potential costs.
Tips For Using Neon Lights In The Bedroom
Choose your placement wisely
Planning the perfect placement for neon lights in your bedroom can significantly enhance the overall ambiance and aesthetic appeal. Let’s explore some key considerations to ensure you make the most of these vibrant lighting options.
1. Above the bed headboard
This is a good location to create an impressive but subtle focal point. The eye is already drawn to the head of the bed, so this is a perfect spot for a funny or quirky quote.
2. Around mirrors or wall art
If you’re going for plain neon lights (no quotes or symbols), you can place them around other objects such as mirrors or wall art to enhance them and make them glow.
This also provides indirect lighting and gives a more retro appearance. For something more modern, go with LED lights.
3. Under furniture or along baseboards
Achieve a subtle and modern look by placing neon lights under furniture or along baseboards.
This technique can create a soft, ambient glow, especially during the evening.
4. Behind floating shelves
A really cool trick to make your shelves pop. This placement creates a dynamic and visually striking effect, drawing attention to your decor.
Again, consider LED strips if you want a more modern look because neon lights in this case are more retro.
5. In corners for ambient lighting
Utilize corners of the room for ambient lighting, casting a warm glow that complements the overall atmosphere. Consider softer colors like blue to maintain a cozy and relaxing ambiance.
Red neon lights are mostly suggested for smaller fixtures and accent lighting.
6. Along the ceiling perimeter
Install neon lights along the ceiling perimeter for an immersive and encompassing glow. This placement can mimic the effect of skylights, making your bedroom feel more spacious.
Again, go for softer colors to create a more relaxing mood. You can see in the image above that red and pink-ish colors create a very raw atmosphere which is not ideal for the bedroom.
7. Behind transparent or frosted furniture
For a modern and chic look, install neon lights behind transparent or frosted furniture. This creates a very interesting silhouette effect and adds a touch of sophistication.
Remember: The key is to balance the intensity and color of the neon lights to suit your preferences and create a comfortable environment. Use bluer colors for ambiance and red for accent (don’t overdo it!!), while not being afraid of experimenting with different placements to find the perfect configuration.
Choose your colors wisely
The color of neon lights in the bedroom can significantly impact the ambiance of the room. Cooler tones like blues and greens promote a calmer atmosphere, while warmer tones like reds and pinks can add a touch of warmth and energy.
These are general rules, however, and you should always follow your heart. If you like the color yellow for example, go ahead and buy yellow neon lights without overthinking it much!
In general, neon lights in the bedroom are a good choice, especially for more retro-style homes. The truth is that they don’t fit in well with contemporary/Scandinavian architecture or traditional houses made of earthly materials.
However, they can be a great and fun addition to your bedroom lighting scheme.
I usually prefer their LED colored counterparts as they are softer and give a minimalism which I’m personally fond of. But it is important to remember that all lighting plots are made in constant consultation with the homeowner. To each their own, and it’s very important for you to feel comfortable in your own space.
Considering that you found yourself reading this entire article, you probably want neon lights in the bedroom, so you should go for it! Pick a design or symbol you like (or even go with plain ones for ambiance!), follow the instructions above on where to place them, and get shopping!