Living Rooms Are for Living In
Choosing the right ways to light your living room really is important. After all, the living room is an important multi-use space.
It’s probably one of the largest rooms in your home, it’s a great gathering place for family and friends, and it’s likely also one of the most-used rooms in your home. For all these reasons (and more), I understand why you really want to get the lighting right!
From your letter, I also can see that you’re open to some new ideas and creative options as far as lighting goes. And I certainly appreciate how you’re approaching lighting your living room as a new and fun opportunity to tackle.
From my many years of experience doing interior design, there aren’t many things more exciting to me than approaching a room as a blank canvas upon which to create some art and inspiration!
Bringing Layers of Light to Your Living Room
When it comes to transforming any room – many people start by placing some large, ambient lighting in the center of the room, and then try to figure out how to add lighting accents around the perimeter.
While that may be a common approach, it isn’t necessarily the best approach. Personally, I like to start by deciding where I want to place smaller lighting accents and features, and then work my way towards inserting any central lighting fixtures – if I use them at all.
A good rule of thumb is to start by deciding how you use the room the most, or how you want to use the room.
Build some lighting anchor points around those functions, and then you can add lighting layers from there, as needed or desired. What might those layers include? Well, keep reading to learn more!
Some Bright Ideas for Living Room Lighting Inspiration
The best lighting for a living room will typically include a balance of ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. What’s the difference? Ambient lighting is designed to bring a general level of light to the whole room.
Task lighting is meant to illuminate specific task or activity areas. And accent lighting? It’s not there to generate light for the room, per se, but rather exists to highlight specific features of the room that you want people to notice.
Now that we’ve got those concepts established and have laid down a baseline of understanding around layered lighting, let’s look at some different types of living room lighting you might consider:
• Overhead Lighting
I honestly believe that overhead lighting should be one of the last layers to consider, but since it’s probably the first thing many folks think of, I’m listing it here first. When it comes to overhead lighting, your options are almost endless.
There is any number of ceiling light fixtures, pendants, or chandeliers you might consider. Anyone can use an overhead light to simply illuminate a room. I encourage you to choose an overhead light that can help to illuminate your own personality and taste, too!
• Ceiling Fan Lights
I’ll be honest – I haven’t always been a fan of ceiling fan lights. I remember when pretty much every ceiling fan light was mounted in an unattractive globe that dangled awkwardly below the fan.
Having said that, I like the light options I’m now seeing in modern ceiling fans. You can find fans with built-in LED lights that don’t protrude below the fan, including some “smart” light options that can be operated by remote. Ceiling fans certainly serve some useful purposes, and now their built-in lights can, too.
• Task Lighting
Task lighting provides focused light for specific tasks like reading, crafting, playing a board game, or working on a puzzle. Table lamps, desk lamps, and floor lamps are great additions for putting some extra light right where you need it.
And when it comes to task lighting, there are many options when it comes to sticking with a particular décor style or theme, from modern to contemporary to traditional.
• Track Lighting
Track lighting is nice in that it can double as both ambient lighting and accent lighting, depending on how you want to use it. You can use it to highlight a particular piece of artwork or decoration, and you can also opt to angle some of the track lights to illuminate other parts of the room in general.
You can swivel track lights to bring light into a dark corner, or can direct more light basically anywhere you want it. And beyond the traditional track light format, there are also lots of recessed track lighting and recessed can light options you can consider, as well.
• Arc Lamps
Don’t want to place a central light on the ceiling? Well, you’re certainly not limited to that. An arc lamp is another way to provide a central light source for your room, with a creative flair. These types of lamps tend to work best in contemporary settings, but you can mix and match with your motif as you see fit.
• Accent Lights
There are many lighting options for accenting specific room features, including what is known as traditional accent lights – light fixtures that are installed directly above pieces of artwork or specific architectural details you want to highlight.
Accent lights of this nature can include everything from picture lights, display lights, spotlights, and table lights. LED bulbs are a good choice for lights of this nature, as they are generally safer to use over the artwork and other light-sensitive pieces.
Sconces are a particular type of accent lighting that is typically mounted on a wall. These lights aren’t just meant to provide illumination for specific features; they’re also meant to make a statement in themselves.
Sconces come in a variety of styles, ranging from traditional to modern. They can be mounted either vertically or horizontally, and some sconces are really works of art in their own right.
Make Your Living Room Really Shine
Living rooms and dens are meant to be used — for gathering, for socializing, for enjoying specific activities, and sometimes just for relaxing. Don’t leave your living room in the dark! Use these tips to help light your way for you, your family, and your guests!
In the meantime, I hope you have fun creating the right lighting environment for your living room!