Lighting in child’s bedroom
Lighting in child’s bedroom is something you should not take it for granted. Many people will go to considerable lengths to decorate a child’s bedroom in a ‘playful’ style. Often the decor will follow a specific theme based on a child’s interests, sometimes with the whole room being thought of as a plaything itself. Whether or not you choose to go to these lengths, a child’s bedroom can provide a great opportunities for fun lighting, and remember that the child will probably want to have a say in both the decor and the lighting as he or she grows older.
Some of the ideas discussed for the sitting room can be equally effective in a child’s bedroom. This is certainly a good place to introduce some animation, and while expensive projectors with gobo carriers are probably inappropriate for a child’s room, remember that ‘proper’ luminaires are not the only way to achieve it. One form of animation not often considered is the flicker lamp — usually sold as substitute candles, these lamps give off no useful light but, with imagination, they can provide a fun source of accent light. Creating motion from the heat rising off a lamp is discussed on page 76, but, whatever special effects you do install, be certain to use non-flammable materials, and do not compromise the safety of the luminaire or, of course, the children.
Children do a lot of reading as part of their studies, so make sure you provide enough of the right sort of light to avoid eye-strain. Consider this as another example of the home office, and remember that overhead light on a desk should be avoided, as it will inevitably create shadows on the work surface. A light that can be re-positioned to suit different short-term needs would be ideal, variations on the flexible-arm light being the most common; again, irrespective of the luminaire, make sure that it is clear, of the right strength and without glare. The addition of a table lamp dedicated to the desk can be used to enhance the overall lighting in the child’s bedroom.
The child’s bedroom is quite the most common place for the home computer. Whether it is used for games or serious study, the computer has become a significant part of children’s lives, and they probably spend as much time in front of it as those adults whose work depends on the computer. The fact that a child’s use often may be recreational makes no difference to the potential danger of prolonged exposure to the screen, even if the room is otherwise well lit. Try to encourage sensible practice and remember that good lighting would keep the ambient light fairly subdued; keep the task light off the screen and set a comfortable balance between the brightness and the contrast of the screen output.
Smaller children may need a dim light left on all through the night, and the conventional night light is found in many house-holds. There are many specially made night lights, often of whimsical shape and design, and it should not be difficult to find one to suit any child. Night lights should give a soft, dim light, be cheap to run and use lamps with a long life span.
Children grow out of spaces like they grow out of clothes; their tastes will certainly change as they mature, and their need for practical light will become important. Older children will need more adult forms of lighting in addition to, or as a replacement for, the above, so it will pay to plan for the need at the outset. If you have the opportunity, provide as many wall sockets as you can for maximum flexibility; they can always be covered with blanking plates until they are wanted. You can also install some form of ‘free’ lighting track that can have luminaires added, taken away or just moved around as the need arises.