Lighting Tips for Your Living Room

A collage of pictures showcasing the lighting in a living room.

Ambience.  Atmosphere.  Mood.  All of these words describe what is created with lighting, a fundamental part of interior design.  Light plays a major role in the design process and the most effective way to achieve a finished look is to layer.  The three levels of interior lighting are ambient, task and accent.

A living room with blue walls and a chandelier that provides lighting.
Photo courtesy of Houzz
A 3D rendering of a living room with enhanced lighting.
Farreys Lighting

Ambient light is the overall light of a room and can be provided with ceiling mount fixtures, recessed lights, lamps and natural daylight.

A white couch in a well-lit living room with flowers on the wall.
A flexible lamp for task lighting
A well-lit home office with bookshelves and a leather chair.
A small lamp positioned perfectly for reading
A well-lit living room with a white couch and coffee table.
A side table lamp for task lighting

Task lighting is exactly what the name implies.  It is for areas where you wish to read or for activities that require a more directional light source.

A living room with bookshelves and a chandelier designed for impressive lighting.
Photo courtesy of Houzz

Accent lights are used to illuminate artwork or to enhance a particular feature of a room, such as a bookshelf or niche.  Small decorative lamps and candles also fall into the accent light category.

A well-lit living room with comfortable couches and a coffee table.
This space is bright and elegant with light fixtures.

When lighting the living room, start with ambient light, such as a ceiling fixture and/or recessed lights.  These will provide the overall illumination in the room and are the foundation of any lighting design.

A living room with couches and cozy fireplace.
Photo courtesy of Houzz

Next, add lamps for supplemental ambient light.  This includes table lamps as well as floor models, depending on the space and the surfaces available.  Keep the size of the lamp in scale with the furniture, especially the table you are using.

Read also: Tips for choosing the right lamp for every room

A living room with brown leather furniture and a fireplace that features lighting.
Photo courtesy of HGTV

Built-ins, architectural niches or artwork can be highlighted with accent lighting.  Art lights are available that are placed directly under or over a piece of art for directional light.  Recessed lights can be used in niches, and sconces can be installed on bookshelves for just the right amount of light.

Read also: 13 Beautiful and Unique Pendant Lights for Your Home

Cheerful and Bright Interior Design Using Shades of Yellow

A living room with a gold chandelier.

A living room provides an array of illumination.

A modern living room with white furniture and lighting fixtures.
Layers of light create a bright space.

Lighting provides the illumination you need and contributes to the style of a living room.  By layering with ambient, task and accent lighting you can achieve a warm and welcoming ambience in your living space.

1 thought on “Lighting Tips for Your Living Room”

  1. Thank you for displaying how effective ambient light is when designing a living room. Moving into the newer and larger house that my family bought has given me a lot of opportunities to decorate it the way I want to, and I wanted to start with the living room. I knew for sure that replacing all the old lights was a priority for me, so I’ll definitely follow your tips and start with ambient lighting when I get an electrician to help me out.

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