A Helpful guide to living room lighting | The Best Ideas & Tips
When deciding how to decorate a living room with better lighting, there are different living room light fixtures and lamps designed for various purposes.
Throwing in some living room lighting fixtures might not be the best idea if you need bright light next to a chair. Or a couple of living room lamps may not be enough ambient light to fill a family room for your next Super Bowl party. You might even have the wrong type of lampshades attached to your needs.
Think about what each area of the living room needs
Try breaking down the room into functional areas.
Ask yourself, where do you need the most light?
Does it need to be bright and focused or a background ambient light?
- Lighting the whole living room, in general, raises overall ambient light.
- A brighter light near to where you perform activities helps you read and focus.
- Adding decorative accent lamps highlights your living room decor and furniture.
HiTrueCare Provides a list of ideas in this guide to help you get some insights on decent living room lighting layouts.
Create Layers of Light
Light layers should be placed to bounce illumination throughout a room and eliminate shadows from corners. In this living room, a burnished metal chandelier supplies overall light and visual interest. Twin sconces give soft accent lighting and define the area around the fireplace and mirror. A scrolling floor lamp offers task lighting for the seating area.
The most classic of all living room lighting fixtures is the chandelier. Generally positioned in the center of the room directly over the main seating area, these elaborate lighting fixtures are at once the room’s primary source of illumination and works of art. Their sculptural shapes fill the void between the ceiling and the living space, and their twinkling, often candle-shaped bulbs provide a multipoint illumination that softens shadows and makes the room’s highlights sparkle.
Sconces are lighting fixtures that attach to the wall rather than the ceiling. They might be equipped with shades or glass diffusers to soften their light, as they’re often installed at or near eye level.
In living rooms, sconces are often installed in pairs, typically over the mantelpiece or on both sides of the fireplace. There they help define the room’s focal point and provide accent lighting that complements firelight when a low light level is appropriate, such as hosting after-dinner gatherings.
Not all light fixtures are designed primarily for illumination. These chandelier-style sconces, for example, are accent lighting designed principally to add shape, texture, and contrast to walls. Most sconces are symmetrically placed, flanking a focal point such as a fireplace or large mirror.
For lots of light from a hidden source — such as the illumination needed in this living room, it’s hard to beat recessed lighting. With the light provided by halogen, incandescent, or compact fluorescent bulbs, recessed can light allow you to position a focused, downward-facing beam exactly where you need it. You can also overlap beams for overall lighting from a virtually invisible source. Dimmers and separate switches for various light banks allow you to change the character and emphasize a room’s illumination.
There’s nothing like firelight to connote coziness and romance, and this living room makes the most of it; in addition to the blazing hearth, candles amassed on a tray suspended from the ceiling add a cheerful glow. The room’s rustic furnishings and exposed beams compliment the firelight’s nostalgic feel.
Floor lamps come in many styles; they are portable, allowing for flexibility in use; and cast light up, down, and out simultaneously, producing an even light that minimizes harsh shadows. Floor lamps create interest at eye level, and their availability in many materials and designs means they fit any style of decor.
Not to be confused with “fanlights” — fan-shape windows, typically located above the entry doors on many Federal-style houses — fan lights refer to lighting fixtures attached to ceiling fans.
These latter-day fan lights come in many varieties. They include multiple lamps on three or more arms extending from the bottom of the fan, or even contemporary-style mini spotlights that can be selectively aimed similarly to track lighting.
Living Room Skylights
Skylights are a dramatic way to bring daylight into a living room, and they are especially effective at adding sunshine to areas that window light can’t reach. Because they face upward, skylights bring in a great deal of light for their size.
Consider a tubular skylight to bring light into a room in an area without much ceiling space. These fixtures pipe daylight in from a collector on the roof to a diffuser in the room’s ceiling, without the expense of building a finished skylight well.
Recessed Lights with a Glossy Ceiling
Pure white paint reflects significantly more light than does even a slight tint of off-white, and glossy surfaces reflect more than other textures. This living room’s open layout and polished white ceiling make the most of its recessed lighting.
With its large bank of windows and white woodwork, ceiling, and bookcases, this room requires little in the way of supplementary illumination. Accent lighting from sconces, one over each bank of built-in shelving, plus a small lantern over the doorway, subtly illuminates the space. The sconces are mounted high on the wall, spilling light over display pieces that fill the shelves and add to the room’s visual interest.
Some Useful Tips
Use Lanterns with Candles
Candles are an excellent way to create a calm and relaxed atmosphere in your living room. However, naked flames near draperies, books, and wooden furniture can have disastrous consequences. Fortunately, there are modern lighting fixtures like flameless LED candles that look as good as the real thing without posing any fire hazard. You can use them alone or place them inside a lantern for a more dramatic effect. These days, you also get LED candles with fragrance and timers that you can pre-set to turn on and off at planned times.
Install Wall Lights
Wall scones, whether traditional or contemporary, are great ways to create a soft, warm glow around the edges of your room. Dramatic yet straightforward decorative items, wall sconces are functional and save space. During installation, connect them to dual switches – one close to your bed; the other, by the door. This will make it easier for you to operate lights when you leave the room or get into bed.
The living room is where friends and family gather to strike up a conversation and spend quality time together. As the social center of your home, your living room deserves some severe design consideration. When deciding on the most suitable lighting solution, make sure that it strikes the perfect balance between functionality and aesthetics. Use the guide mentioned above to find the right lighting strategies for your living room.
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