We expect an astonishing number of functions from our living room on a daily basis. It must house our guests stylishly, contain our children entertainingly and calm our stress soothingly at the end of it all. With so many demands, it is understandable that interior design experts recommend having multiple levels of living room lighting to accommodate all of the varied tasks involved.
While many homeowners prefer to have a variety of lighting for this area, each layer geared to accommodate a different purpose, it can be difficult to know which are the best living room lighting options. This article will guide you through the different living room lighting options as your disposal and when it is best to use each one.
Main Living Room Lighting Options- The main light fixture should offer a large amount of light. This is usually an overhead fixture, though some designers are moving away from this traditional solution. In addition to being the primary light source, this fixture should add aesthetic appeal to the room because it will be a focal point. Choose something inviting, bold, or creative according to your room decor and taste, but let it be something inherently decorative. Many homeowners enjoy installing chandeliers or pendant and hanging fixtures in the living and sitting room for this reason.
That being said, remember that overhead lighting is great so long as it is accompanied by additional task lighting such as wall sconces or reading lamps. This is to avoid casting shadows, creating glare, and causing eyestrain from insufficient lighting at eye level.
Task Lighting- Use table lamps or free standing lamps for working on individual projects such as a puzzle, game, paper, crocheting or other hobby. Ideally, living room lamps should be set slightly behind and to the left or right of the area being illuminated so the light can come from behind the person’s shoulder and pour light on towards the project at hand. Use smaller track lighting fixtures or other low-level lighting agents for computers and television viewing. This avoids glare and allows the screen its proper image display.
Wall Sconces- Wall sconces provide great ambient lighting, especially larger or multiple arm scones. As mentioned above, sconces and a large overhead fixture are the perfect combination.
Accents & Highlighting- Draw attention to a fireplace with overhead recessed lighting or track lighting fixtures. Alternatively, wall sconces on either side of the mantel will both emphasize the fireplace and offer more lighting for the entire room. An up light situated behind the object can highlight pedestals, figurines or floor plants. Add additional layers with multi-tiered hanging lamps or wall/ceiling wash lights. Accent lights placed in alcoves, corners or closed in spaces will accentuate a specific area or piece and give the room a larger appearance.
Living Room Lamps- Having a variety of lamps around the room is an easy way to create a sit-down, relaxed atmosphere. When you’re ready to kick back for the evening, switch off overhead lights and turn on these living room lamps for some calm time. Floor and table lamps are also great because they offer a portable lighting solution, which means you can move them to a different area if more light is needed for a specific task.
Finally, make sure you are using everything at your disposal to create the optimum living room lighting ambiance. Believe it or not, this includes the walls, rugs, curtains, and furniture too. Dark colors absorb your well-planned living room lighting options, swallowing most of its efficacy. Soft, bright shades, on the other hand, will help enhance the light. Stick to these tones when decorating your living room to create the ideal living, entertaining and relaxing area in your home.
A Few More Living Room Lighting Options & Tips:
- For homes with size limitations, recessed lighting will take up less space and give the area a roomier feel.
- By day, use as much natural lighting as possible. It is the best quality, and it’s free! If you have large windows, maximize them by using sheer drapes or glazed windowpanes to diffuse the light.
- Frequent headaches can be an indication of insufficient lighting. As you will be using your eyes a lot in the living room (between reading, watching TV and hobbying), ensure that there is the proper amount of light so as to avoid eyestrain.
- If you can’t be bothered with 4-8 different fixtures (the average for a living room setting), then you will enjoy the flexibility of a dimmer switch on your main living room lighting source.
- It is also important to combine different types of light bulbs. Mix up your supply of halogen, fluorescent etc., as well as warm white lights or cool blue lights to fit with the room setting, within your fixtures.