Bedroom and Bathroom Lighting for Hotels

hotel room lighting banner

Welcome back to this week’s hotel lighting guide that covers bedroom lighting and bathroom lighting. No worries if you missed last week, we’ll include the important points down below for your convenience. This lighting series covers everything that hotel owners, management, and employees need to know about maximizing hotel lighting. If you want to make sure your guests get the most out of their stay and to get the most out of your bottom line then this hotel series is for you. Be sure to subscribe to this series to get notified when a new post goes live.

Last week main points:

  • Hallway lighting should work to maintain the atmosphere set from the previous customer touchpoints, the exterior, and the lobby.
  • Hallways utilize either BR or PAR series light bulbs for downlight and wall sconces for uplight.
  • A hotel manager’s job is to ensure a great guest experience and to do that requires keeping their safety in mind.
  • An average elevator ride is 118 seconds, use this time to promote your hotel restaurant & bar, shops, and events.
  • We’re packing this series full of information and it still only touches the outer aspects that Lumen Masters like us consider while doing a lighting retrofit. So be sure to give this post an extra read-through if something is not making sense. Better yet, visit our website at or call us at (701) 205-4953 to speak with a Lumen Master directly.

    Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s segment.

    Guest Room Lighting

    So your hotel guests have traveled from your lobby, taken notes of your advertisements on their elevator ride, and walked through your beautiful hallways. Now, they scan their keycard, hear the retracting of the deadbolt, and anxiously open the door to their getaway. Does your guest struggle to find the light switch? Are they impressed with the theme of their room and overall lighting design? Not every room can have window shades that automatically open showcasing the Las Vegas strip, mountains, or the ocean as you enter. You may be managing one of the less glamorous smaller hotels in Fargo North Dakota. What truly matters is that your guest can see that you care about the property? If you care and do the work then your guests will feel the light. We’ll talk more as we progress with this segment, but as a little hint, the answers should all be yes!

    What makes a pleasant stay for guests? Well, guests want control over their experience, and choosing their lighting is no different. The most common complaint in hotel rooms is that the room is dark. It’s so important to be mindful of appropriate switches for dimming lights, controlling fans, and placing them so they are both easy to find and reach. What can make this challenging is that guest rooms involve a unique blend of aesthetics and functionality. Just as our lobby lighting, the guest room light should take advantage of lighting layers. These lighting layers involve general lighting, accent lighting, task lighting, and decorative lighting. View our “Lobby Lighting for Hotels” to learn more about using these layers in your lighting design.

    A common practice to allow guests the level of control they seek with their lighting is by using multiple small light fixtures throughout their space. The benefit of using many small fixtures is that each fixture in a line can be controlled to the preferences of your guests. This wouldn’t be possible with only two large fixtures in the room and a couple of bedside lamps. Using two large fixtures, without a dimmer switch is a no-no in the hotel industry, so be sure to stay clear of this lighting option. The other extreme of using so many small fixtures on individual switches so your guests have to travel around their room to turn on/off each fixture is annoying. The best option is somewhere in the middle, it may be hard to find this happy medium so be sure to consult the advice of a Lumen Master.

    It’s good to have a central light switch to control the main lighting in the room, preferable on a three-way switch. One switch can be placed by the doorway and one can be placed in the nearby room that guests are most often to stay in, near the bedroom. 

    A quick note on this is taking advantage of proper switches in your guest’s rooms, using dimmers is a great way to give your guests added control over their stay while helping you reduce energy costs. The same goes for using control switches for overhead fans, some switches allow for four speeds, converting a typical three-speed fan into a four-speed fan. These added controls are a great way to provide additional comfort during their stay while allowing you every opportunity to reduce your electricity costs. 

    About 30 percent of a hotel’s energy usage is related to lighting costs alone.

    About 30 percent of a hotel’s energy usage is related to lighting costs alone, this is why we recommend using LED bulbs and dimmer switches. Both of these technologies are quickly becoming commonplace for hotels across the country. LEDs already offer great energy savings and these savings can be magnified when used with compatible dimmer switches. Guests will love the ability to set light levels of their choosing throughout the day. Whatever your hotel brand’s standards are, LED bulbs and dimmer switches make a difference. 

    One thing that can be done to keep your costs down is to keep light fixtures easy to reach and maintain. Lower fixtures that are easily reached by housekeeping and maintenance are easier to maintain. When light bulbs burn out they can be changed quickly and easily. The maintenance department should have shelf space that labels what bulbs are used in each section of the hotel. Grand fixtures have their place in suites and penthouses but know that they require special care. Often, maintenance will have to be called with a ladder in hand to change the bulbs in these fixtures. LED chandelier bulbs will save you time and energy, there is still a time commitment on the part of your hotel staff to clean and replace the bulbs on these fixtures. We also recommend keeping your lighting designers in check. If tools are needed to open a fixture and change a light bulb, then the maintenance person is going to break a few fixtures. 

    It’s important to keep in mind the word cohesion as that’s what we’re striving to achieve with your hotel lighting and your hotel’s brand standards. The goal is to aim for a cohesive lighting collection that compliments the overall design of your hotel and guest rooms. This includes the ceiling color, wall color, floor color, carpet, furniture, and the chosen fixtures to be used such as ceiling-mounted fixtures, floor lamps, desk lamps, wall sconces, recessed cans, and accent lighting. Keeping cohesion in mind, all of these elements should belong to the same design family. This will facilitate a holistic and consistent feel to the lighting and design scheme of your hotel.

    hotel room lighting options

    A note on fixture finishes:

  • Chrome, and Matte Nickel fixtures work well for a clean and contemporary look
  • Matte Black, Gold, and Copper finishes work well to add a touch of luxury
  • When it comes to the lighting of your guestrooms, it’s best to follow the recommended 2700 Kelvin to 3500 Kelvin color temperature. This Kelvin range is best for bedrooms because of its warm white glow. It’s relaxing, welcoming, and inspires rest – everything you want in bedroom lighting. For desk lighting and bedside lighting, we can vary this recommendation a little because of the intended operation. For these types of lights, we can boost the Kelvin temperature from 4000 Kelvin to 5000 Kelvin which is best for working because it reduces glare on a computer screen and makes reading easier.. Though we can use a 5000 Kelvin bulb for bedside lighting, we recommend avoiding this option and sticking with a 2700 Kelvin to 3500 Kelvin bulb because it’s usually the first and last light to be turned on by your guest. As highlighted before, we don’t want to blind our guests with powerful light first thing in the morning nor jolt them awake as they prepare to sleep. 

    One thing that can be done to provide a modest amount of light to the guest rooms is to take advantage of wall sconces to provide gentle perimeter lighting. Using a 2700 Kelvin bulb to 3500 Kelvin LED bulb and directing the light upwards is a common method used in hotel rooms. Going this route is a nice option as it creates a relaxing atmosphere, especially when paired with a beautiful fixture that matches your hotel’s theme. This lighting method is called uplighting and is a simplified version of wall washing, and we covered this lighting technique in our “Exterior Lighting for Hotels” post. – head there to get a quick refresher. 

    Many hotels are going with bedside lamps that offer different light settings. Guests can always turn on more light if they need it but if they want a softer tone they should have that option. Bedside fixtures are a great option for general lighting and should include additional plugins and USB slots for modern guests. A hotel room can never have too many USB slots. It is almost ridiculous when you see how much technology a family of 4 will need to charge in today’s world. 

    Dimming or less bright bedside bulbs should never blind or overwhelm guests early in the morning or late at night – let’s not wake the significant other. If you wake the significant other or children who need sleep with a bright light or by being too loud you will have groggy and cranky guests. That’s the wrong way to start your day and unfortunately, some guests would blame the hotel and you won’t be getting any positive reviews. Our owner Tom jokes about sneaking out of his hotel room every morning without waking the family. He actually travels with a loaf of bread, bananas, and peanut butter. At night he moves the coffee pot to the bathroom, arranges his workout clothes there, and wakes up at 4:30 am. Eating his breakfast and drinking his coffee on the toilet, showering, and sneaking out of the room at 5 am. He has become very good at leaving the room without waking his family and has learned to stay out of the room until his family finds him in the gym. 

    We’ve mentioned a lot about Kelvin’s temperature and wall sconces but we haven’t mentioned ceiling fixtures much. This might leave with the impression that ceiling fixtures are not recommended in hotel rooms but this is not true. We love ceiling fixtures but like everything else, they should be done right. Good ceiling fixtures match the hotel’s brand, use the correct Kelvin temperature as discussed above, complement the environment, and should be easy to change. Easy to change is the number one factor most designers neglect. Get these points right and you’ll notice a difference upon entering a guest room. 

    As we’ve mentioned earlier, good lighting is critical to differentiate yourself from your competition and this is no different for your guest rooms. Good lighting makes a difference and your guests will remember you by it. One hotel that does an amazing job of hotel guest room lighting is the International House Hotel, in New Orleans (see pictures below). Each room is beautifully lit using a Kelvin range between 2700 Kelvin and 35000 Kelvin. Each fixture matches the room ambiance that compliments the future layout – something we’ll get to later. When you enter, everything just makes sense and it’s not by accident. 

       hotel room led lighting

    Take note of the furniture placement in all of these rooms – this is something we noted in the hotel lobby but let’s return our attention to this area in our guest rooms. Can you visualize the flow of the room? The Feng Shui is strong with these designs, the furniture placement is conducive to relaxation that compliments the overall lighting design. Notice the picture on the far left of how the fixture matches the furniture color – smooth. The carpet, wall color, drapes, Kelvin temperature, and brightness all come together to create a magnificent room. The same design principles are applied to the two right pictures, taking advantage of ceiling fans, floor lamps, and bedside light fixtures.

    It’s important to manage these factors because they have a direct impact on the guest experience. Factors like the lighting, chosen fixtures, furniture, and layouts of both the furniture and lighting come together to create a remarkable experience for your guests. Getting it right can lead to repeat business, public affirmations, and highly regarded reviews by top publishers. Getting it wrong though, let’s not diverge any more consequences as you should be well familiar with those by now – so, get your lighting in order and reap the benefits.

    Common areas to think about when it comes to lighting your guest rooms

  • The bedroom – general lighting
  • The desk and bedsides – task lighting
  • Wardrobe – general and accent lighting
  • The entryway (if applicable)
  • Common Light Sources

  • Wall Lights
  • Ceiling Lights
  • Table Lamps
  • Adjustable Floor Lamps
  • Chain Lights – hanging on the wall or the ceiling creates a striking starry sky effect.
  • Table/bedside lamps – The first and last to be used during the day, should not be too bright.
  • What About Bathroom Lighting?

    When it comes to bathroom lighting it’s recommended to use the same Kelvin temperature found in the bedroom, that’s the 2700 Kelvin to 3500 Kelvin temperature range. Keep in mind you don’t want to be blasted with light in this space. Recessed can lighting fixtures are a great option to use in the bathroom as well, especially when followed up with complimentary vanity lights. Linestra fixtures are becoming more commonplace because they are great for gently lighting this area, compliments skin tones, and avoids blinding guests with too much light.

    Wrap up

    This wraps up our bedroom and bathroom segment for our hotel lighting guide. As usual, we covered a lot of ground in this segment but you can count on us to do a quick recap below.

  • Take advantage of multiple light options to give your guests more control over their lighting.
  • Use dimmer switches for your lights and fan controls to provide more energy-saving options.
  • Be mindful of how the light designs compliment the furniture and furniture placement.
  • Stick with a 2700 Kelvin to 3500 Kelvin bulb in both the room and bathrooms.
  • Place light switches in easy-to-find locations to avoid any hassle your guests may have found them.
  • Take advantage of the Linestra trend and use them during your new install or retrofit projects.
  • There’s a good amount of information that we covered in this section so be sure to take some notes, review particular areas, and know what you can visit or call us at (701) 205-4953 to work with a Lumen Master. We at GoodBulb have over two decades of industry experience in helping hotel owners and managers shape their visual perceptions and save on energy costs.

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