Nursery Lighting Ideas That Are Best for Baby

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Reviewed by Rachel Zepernick
Updated April 11, 2022
 A bright and tranquil nursery
Photo: Daly and Newton / OJO Images / Getty Images

Rock a bye baby—but not under the bright fluorescents

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Your nursery lighting should be nice and comfortable, but also practical. After all, sneaking into the nursery to check in on baby is a lot easier with the proper lighting. “Lighting is one of the most important aspects of a nursery,” says Rachel Zepernick, interior home expert at Angi. Here are 10 ideas for lighting your nursery so that you and your baby can rest easy.

1. No Harsh Lighting

You know those overhead fluorescent lights in offices and dressing rooms? Everyone hates them; infants included. Infants hate harsh lighting; it stresses them out and can disrupt their sleep patterns

There are many lighting options on the market, so you can light your nursery without disrupting your baby's circadian rhythms. Any bulbs labeled "soft white" will work well, and a lampshade can help tremendously. Stay away from halogen lights and exposed bulbs that can hurt a baby's not-quite-developed eyes.

2. Use Dimmables

Zepernick recommends installing dimmers on your nursery light switches. Dimmer switches are an excellent solution to the shock of waking up with a bright light in your face. With dimmers, you can ease the lights on gradually, allowing your child's eyes to adapt to the brighter environment slowly. Plus, they're great for late-night changes and feedings, as you don't have to turn a light on all the way.

3. Try a Ceiling Fan With a Light

A ceiling fan will not only work to circulate air in the baby's room and help cool them during warmer evenings, but it can also serve as a sort of mobile if you paint it in bright colors and shapes and run it at a low speed. Just as you would use a mobile to soothe your baby to sleep, a ceiling fan can serve the same purpose and provide you with light. If you don't have one installed already, a local electrician should be able to do the electrical work for you.

4. No Floor Lamps

An attic nursery with no floor lamps
Photo: imaginima / E+ / Getty Images

Floor lamps might be fine while your baby is tiny and sleeping in a crib, but you're asking for trouble as soon as they learn to crawl and grab. ”As babies grow up and start crawling and standing, lamps can be dangeros in a nursery,” Zepernick says. Not to mention, they can also create an obstacle course for tired parents in the middle of the night. Do yourself a favor and stick with sturdy table lamps and overhead lighting.

5. Give Yourself Options

No rule says you have to stick to one light source for your baby's room. Placing multiple lamps around the room will allow you to brighten or darken the room for whatever suits your needs. 

Three light sources are a good balance: one overhead, one reading lamp, and one by the changing table. You may want to pop one into the closet if you don't have a built-in—your future self will thank you when you're organizing the nursery closet. You'll have enough light for your tasks, but not so many that they overwhelm the room. 

6. Keep It Cool

You probably considered a lot of safety hazards when you were babyproofing your home, but light bulbs can be concerning if they get too hot. Traditional light bulbs can get toasty, so if you're going to use them, make sure they're out of your baby's reach. Zepernick recommends LED bulbs instead. They use 75% less electricity, last 25 times longer, and don't overheat the way incandescent bulbs can. 

7. Treat Your Windows

A modern and minimalistic nursery with natural light
Photo: onurdongel / E+ / Getty Images

Natural light is wonderful—as long as it isn't streaming in and disturbing your baby before they're ready to wake up. A cool, dark sleeping environment isn't just suitable for adults; it's healthy for babies. Zepernick recommends a window treatment like blackout curtains or a dark roll-down shade so you can control the natural brightness in the room. 

8. Use a Night Light 

Night lights aren't just for toddlers and preschoolers; they work for all rooms and keep you from stumbling around in the dark. Your baby's room may seem like a safe space until you stub your toe on the crib when looking in on them or doing a midnight feeding. Give your baby a little comfort lighting in case they wake up in the middle of the night, and give yourself some peace of mind that your feet will be protected.

9. Get Galactic

Starry skylights and galaxy lights help your baby relax because they're like looking at a visual meditation. The patterns and soothing colors will put your child right to sleep—and provide you with just enough light in the middle of the night to comfortably move around the room.

10. Have Fun

With all these considerations in mind, get whimsical and have fun lighting your baby's room! There are so many options out there so you can choose a theme, get fun colors, and let your imagination run wild. The more you like spending time in the nursery, the more your baby will.

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