Babies and toddlers aren’t exactly known for sleeping soundly through the night, but neither are their parents. In fact, if you’re raising a little one, you’ll probably lose 44 days of sleep (yes, days) during your first year of parenting. That’s because when your babies wake up crying in the middle of the night or your toddler has a bad dream, you have to be there to help. Nursery lighting can make helping your little one easier while improving their sleep, ditching bright white lights for softer, gentler hues that won’t disrupt their nighttime routine -- or yours. Learn more below.
Are nursery lights necessary?
100%! Nursery lights are necessary for both you and your little one. That’s because nursery lights:
- Promote relaxation. The night lights commonly used in nurseries are designed to be warm and dim, and these attributes are relaxing for both parents and babies. We’ll explain warm lighting and its importance later in this article.
- Minimize nighttime disruptions. Interestingly, it’s not babies who are afraid of the dark – it’s toddlers. (Think about it for a bit and it makes sense: mommy’s womb was a comfy but super dark place.) This means that, as your little one ages, they are more likely to feel scared and cry loudly if they wake up in a dark room. The warm, dim light provided by nursery lighting solves this problem.
- Make nighttime check-ins easier. Nursery lighting might not prevent nighttime disruptions, but it does make checking on your little one much easier. Without night lights, you’d have to turn on a harsh ambient light that can make it harder for both you and your toddler to get back to sleep. With night lights instead, you’ll see just fine during your check-in, and sleeping afterward will be easier.
- Help children find their comfort objects. Toddlers look adorable when they’re cuddled up and deep in sleep with their favorite plushy or stuffed animal. If that comfort object ever gets away from them in the middle of the night, that toddler may wake up scared in total darkness. With nursery lighting, they’ll be able to better locate their tiny best friend and hopefully soothe themselves back to sleep.
Which lighting color is best for the nursery?
Warm lighting is best for nurseries. This light is red or orange in sunset-like hues and it’s often associated with relaxation. Cool lighting, by comparison, resembles the yellow, white, and blue hues that the sun emits at 12 noon – a time when people are more alert. Given the distinction between warm and cool lighting, warm lights are certainly better for nurseries, and to learn more, you can read our blog post about warm lighting.
Six nursery lighting options
For warm nursery lighting that helps your little ones feel relaxed and makes your own return to sleep easier after nighttime disruptions, try the following options:
1. Night lights
There’s nothing wrong with going the traditional route and adding a night light or two in your nursery. After all, these are the lights you probably remember from your own toddler or pre-K years (if you remember those years at all).
For a modern night light twist, use LED lights that you control via remote or smartphone. This way, you can customize exactly the level of dim, warm lighting your little one needs, and the whole family can be wowed at the range of lighting options.
2. Table lamps
A table lamp near your baby’s crib can provide the gentle glow that every nursery needs. Dimmable table lamps are ideal so you can keep the lights low (and cool lights in table lamps are a no-go). Novelty table lamps such as salt rock lamps and lava lamps also work great, but no matter what, keep your lights at least several feet from where your little one sleeps. Even dim lights can potentially get hot, and you don’t want your curious little one touching them.
3. Themed lights
Themed lights are ideal for your toddlers if they love certain kids’ TV shows, books, or other media. If their favorite series is famous enough, there’s at least a chance you can find night lights that project images or characters from the series. Kids surrounded by these familiar sights as they drift off to sleep or unexpectedly awaken might feel calmer in the presence of all their faves.
4. Portable lights
Although you can’t bring the whole nursery when you’re traveling with the family, you can certainly bring portable night lights on the road. Classic plug-in night lights are often small enough to fit snugly into even the smallest travel bags, and portable laser lights are even more compact. Their light is plenty warm and dim – the red BlissLights StarPort USB, for example, shines a soft, red starry-sky effect near your child for ultimate comfort.
5. Star lights
Star lights promote relaxation on two levels. For starters, you can get them in warm colors ideal for nurseries. On top of that, they project starry-sky images that people of varying ages (toddlers included) often find entrancing, thus leading to deep tranquility. The red BlissLights BlissBulb, for example, emits red starry skies from any traditional light socket. The result is a room that’s at once calming and illuminated just enough for kids and parents alike to see at night.
6. Galaxy lights
If mesmerizing starry-sky lights sound great for your nursery, you might find yourself fascinated with galaxy lights too. The stars and cloudy nebulas they project onto walls and ceilings are known to be soothing, and they certainly provide just enough light for nurseries. The Sky Lite Laser Galaxy Projector is a great galaxy lighting option for your nursery, and you might love it too – in fact, folks of all ages on TikTok have sung its praises.
Tips for lighting a child's nursery
As you decide which of the above nursery lighting ideas is right for your kids, keep the following general nursery lighting tips in mind:
- Never use harsh lighting. Perhaps the most important rule of properly lighting a nursery is to relegate harsh lighting to other parts of your house. This kind of lighting might be great for working or reading, but it’s too stimulating for nighttime use. That’s because harsh lighting is cooler in color temperature, meaning it’s inversely correlated with sleep.
- Don’t neglect lighting layers. Although many nursery lighting ideas justifiably focus solely on dim, warm lighting, you might need other lights during the daytime. Ambient lighting is useful for changing diapers, as is task lighting if your ambient lights don’t quite reach your changing station. Just make sure that both these light layers are fully off at night, as you only want the warmest, softest lighting possible during sleep time.
- Don’t use floor lamps. Although floor lamps can provide strong ambient light, they can also lead to accidents. That’s because if your baby or toddler can crawl or walk, they can probably knock over a floor lamp. You don’t want a lamp falling on your little one or lightbulbs falling to the floor and shattering, so avoid floor lamps in your nursery.
- Keep your nursery lighting out of reach. Surely, you know that light bulbs can be hot to the touch, but your kids might not. That’s why you should keep your nursery lights out of reach from your kids so they don’t accidentally burn themselves. Doing so is good practice even if you use LED lights or laser lights that generate virtually no heat. These lights are extremely unlikely to lead to injuries, but you’re always better safe than sorry.
- Use dimmers. Dimmers wired into your walls (or simple plug-in dimmers) give you full control of your nursery’s brightness. You can use them to gradually lower the lighting in your nursery and thus signal to your toddler’s brain that it’s time to sleep. And if you do need to see a bit more during a nighttime check-in or diaper change, you can turn the dimmer back up ever so slightly.
- Block natural light when necessary. Natural light in a nursery can be beautiful during the daytime, but it’s not so great when it prematurely awakens your baby or delays naptime. You can easily block natural light with blinds, curtains, and the like, and anything you install should be childproof.
- Get creative. Lighting a nursery can sound like a clinical, worrisome task given the safety and sleep concerns you should keep in mind, but it doesn’t have to be. Themed nursery lights add adorable, kid-beloved flair to your nursery. Salt rock lamps glow gently and look gorgeous. Laser lights project soothing patterns in dim, warm hues – and you can find them in an especially wide variety of styles.
Light your nursery with BlissLights
Properly dim, warm nursery lighting promotes sleep while illuminating your space. It also provides just enough light for you to see during night-time check-ins and fall quickly back asleep thereafter. Here at BlissLights, our red laser lights check all these boxes, as do our especially calming galaxy lights. Browse our collection to get inspired to creatively light your nursery – both you and your kids might just love what you see.
BlissLights has been a leader in the laser lighting industry since the company was founded in 2006. Our team of experienced engineers and technicians helped create award-winning special effect lighting for major theme parks before minaturizing our patented technology for home use. BlissLights is dedicated to laser safety and education, and is registered with the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH).