Lighting Ideas for the Living Room

On by adobeliving

Lights are such an integral factor in home decorating as they can create the ambiance of and set the mood for any room. For this particular article, we’ll be focusing on ideal lighting in the living room.


The living room, or family room, is one area in the house where people spend lots of time and engage in a number of activities like reading, watching TV, conversation, and playing. Since people tend to gather in this area most of the time, layering lights is particularly essential to brighten up the space.

Ambient Lighting

To achieve ambient lighting and avoid shadows, it is a good idea to get away from recessed lights and other light fixtures that create a downward direction. In the living room, you want to bounce the lights off the ceiling to create a sense of brightness. As lighting can make all the difference when it comes to the home, it comes as no surprise that anyone who is looking for inspiration for the living room would look into something like Columbia’s top lighting showroom. Depending on what fixture you go for can create a different atmosphere around the home.
A living room’s ambient lighting must be between 1,500 and 3,000 lumens.

Opting for valance or cove lighting may also help you accomplish ambient illumination. You can also install a linear flourescent lighting behind your entertainment unit or bookcases if they do not go all the way to the ceiling. There are flourescent lights available on the market that can be dimmed and can render a warm appearance. You need to make sure the lighting compliments all parts of the room. For example, If you have a staircase leading straight into the living room then you may want to look at ways to incorporate lighting in a cohesive way, such as lighting along each step of the stairs or maybe you want to keep it classic with your wooden stairs from Pear Stairs. Different styles of stairs will require different styles of lighting.

Washing the living room walls with light can also provide ambient lighting. If you decide to do so, recessed lighting may be useful. To accomplish light-washed walls, direct recessed or valance lighting toward the walls instead of directing them downward. You can try using floor light fixtures such as a plug-in floor lamp to achieve the same effect, as well.

Task Lighting

This type of light should ideally be about 400 lumens, and may be provided by adjustable lamps, reading lamps with incandescent or LED bulbs, and other kinds of table lamps. It would be a good idea to consider lighting control systems to improve energy efficiency.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting, on the other hand, is usually integrated in the living room to give emphasis on architectural elements. This may be a sculpture, a bookcase, a painting, or a fireplace. Track or recessed lighting may be used to emphasize a hanging artwork, while uplights may be placed on the floor near a sculpture or a plant.

The Concept of Layering

Another way of introducing the concept of layering into a room, specifically if it’s large and was used to be lit by table lamps or recessed lights, is through embracing a new lighting design. You may install a soffit right above the fireplace; have valance lighting run along the walls; and add a table lamp beside a reading chair. All these lighting may be controlled using a keypad with pre-programmed settings to make switching the lights on or off easier.

In a living room that isn’t too large, a quick, energy efficient fix to achieve better lighting is to replace the switch with a dimmer. This also adds versatility as a dimmer allows you to control how much light you want the room to get.

For more lighting ideas, talk to one of Abode FIne Living’s interior designers!

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