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Living Room Lighting Guide: How to light your living room

Living room wall lights

The living room is generally the most used room in the house, but it is also one of the most multi-purpose rooms in the house, so it is very important to get your living room lights right.

The living room is also likely to be one of your largest rooms and this gives you space to include a number of different fittings like table lamps, floor lamps, ceiling lights, wall lights, spotlights, LED candles, even chandeliers.

You need to have general lights and task lights bright enough for things like reading and helping the kids with their homework; ambient lights to create the right mood for relaxing on the sofa or watching a movie; and accent lighting to make your room comfortable and stylish for entertaining or socialising.

Create the right atmosphere


The 'big light' or ceiling light should be selected to fit the size of the living room. A bigger room might use a 5-light fitting while a smaller one can use a 3-light fitting.

Chandeliers and pendants suit high ceilings while flush or semi-flush lights suit lower ceilings. Dimmable lights can be used to create a bit of atmosphere.

These can be combined with wall lights to help create a relaxing mood or emphasize a particular design style, for example. Picture lights can also help to highlight photos and pictures on the walls.

Portable floor lamps can be used in the corner of the room to offer a soft diffused light as it bounces off the walls and ceiling. If you are elderly, disabled or have trouble gaining access to tight spots in your living room, these floor lamps can also come with foot switches to control them from your chair.

A small directional arm could be used to help you read without disturbing anybody else, and this can also apply to table lamps.

Task, Ambient & Accent lighting


More elaborate, decorative fittings can be used as design features in their own right. Light fittings are integral to all interior designs because of the atmosphere they create and because of their physical presence in the room. Minimalist fittings will work better in some rooms while more audacious fittings will work better in others.

Downlighters can be used as accent lighting to highlight features in your room such as shelves, pictures, beams, recesses or plants.

Uplighters can be used to create interesting shadows and colours, lighting a dark corner for example, or adding ambience from behind a television or cabinet.

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