The living room is usually the largest room in the house, a center of activity where various activities take place day and night. Making sure your living room is properly and beautifully lit for family gatherings, entertainment, relaxation, reading, watching TV or movies and all the other activities that take place in this central part of your home is more complicated than putting a dimmer switch on a ceiling light and calling it a day.
A well-lit living room should ideally have layered lighting that illuminates all four corners to create balance and a pleasant atmosphere. This can be a mix of ambient, accent and task lighting - chandeliers, wall lights, table lamps, floor lamps, recessed lighting and even candlelight - to illuminate the room according to the mood and needs. The lighting variation varies compared to lighting within a room. Here are some bright ideas to help you inspire the lighting in your living room.
1) Oversized declaration Light
For this warm and modern living room, Laura Umansky, of Laura U Interior Design, based in Houston, chose an oversized arched floor lamp, with a slender and striking silhouette that offers ample but diffused ambient light.
And it's just as beautiful when it's not turned on. Whether you choose a design classic like a mid-century Arco floor lamp or an affordable Scandi-style tripod lamp, use the surplus real estate you are likely to have in the living room to treat lighting as a piece of furniture as well as a light source.
2) Moroccan lantern
It is not necessary to have a Moroccan style interior to incorporate a dreamy perforated metal Moroccan lantern in your living room. Polish interior designer Mirka McNeill hung a Moroccan lantern in the living room of her London home, adding a whimsical touch to the eclectic décor and casting magical shadows when lit in the center of the room.
3) A wall lamp that duplicates art
If you use your living room mainly for Netflix and to relax, why not use the space above your sofa to install a spectacular wall lamp like the Eclipse Wall Light by Tilen Sepič for Bazar Noir, as you can see in this living room designed by Pamono.
This is the kind of functional wall art and decoration that starts a conversation, creates atmosphere and works particularly well in a minimal space.
4) The old and the new
An antique chandelier or period sconces can warm up a contemporary living room, and contemporary lighting can give a modern feel to a room with a historical framework.
In this charming London period house, interior designer Charles Mellersh chose warm, contemporary lighting such as Michael Anastassiades' polished brass Ball Light Wall Brackets hung on either side of the fireplace instead of the formal sconces that one might expect to give the classic room a timeless appeal.
Additional lighting including a ceiling light and a brass floor lamp allows you to use different shapes while maintaining a sense of harmony.
5) A colored light
This saturated raspberry pink living room by Lisa Gilmore Design is even more atmospheric in the evening thanks to a pair of wall sconces in similar tones.
Placed directly above the seating area, they provide a soft, indirect flattering light and add depth to the wall color without looking too busy, so the emphasis remains on wall color and art.
6) Sculptural light
The classic proportions and framework of this living room are updated in a contemporary way with sculptural LED lighting suspended from the center of the ceiling. Michael Annastassiades globe lights evenly distributed throughout the room balance the light and create a warm and radiant presence that makes the room welcoming.
7) Perfectly adapted
To choose lighting on either side of a sofa, it is not necessary to limit yourself to matching table lamps. In this living room, a table lamp on one side and a low chandelier on the other create a balance without being twins. The brass finishes of both fixtures, as well as the coffee table, maintain the harmony of the whole.
8) Transparent lighting
If your living room has giant windows, consider choosing fixtures that don't interfere with daylight, such as a classic crystal chandelier. For a more airy and streamlined look, try clear glass or plastic table lamps, such as Kartell's Bourgie lamp or the Transloetje lamp which comes in several shades of Fatboy tinted clear glass.
9) Integrated lighting
To add warmth to a contemporary space, built-in or LED strip lighting can be used to highlight a coffered ceiling, to illuminate the underside of a console to give it leverage, or to illuminate open shelves from the back to showcase decorative objects or books. Be sure to add one or two interesting lighting fixtures to keep the room welcoming and to add sculptural interest.
10) Highlight the existing architecture
Polish interior designer Mirka McNeill used a mix of lighting styles in this Warsaw apartment living room, including an antique French chandelier and a mid-century Arco lamp. She highlighted the room's intricate period moldings with a subtle strip of LED lights that draw attention to the architectural history of the space while giving it a contemporary touch.
11) Candle light
Candlelight is the ideal source of light to feel good, and adds a finishing touch to any lighting project that will make the atmosphere of your living room even more comfortable and welcoming. Mix candleholders of different styles and materials to add warmth to a contemporary space.
12) The chimney as a focal point
Nothing is more welcoming than the warm glow of a fire, but those fortunate enough to have a fireplace should have a back-up plan in case of hot weather, as an empty chimney can end up making the room feel cold.
In this living room, a ceiling light with warm-colored bulbs is complemented by wall sconces hung throughout the room to give an even glow and complement the warm accents of the wood. And of course you can always fill your fireplace with environmentally friendly LED candles with convincing flickering flames.