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4th of July Lighting Sale! - Enjoy Spectacular Savings Up To 50% OFF
4th of July Lighting Sale! - Enjoy Spectacular Savings Up To 50% OFF
Buyer's Guide To Living Room Lighting

Buyer's Guide To Living Room Lighting

Your living room is a multipurpose space, so lighting it isn’t an easy task. It’s important for you to approach the project with a plan in mind or you risk having a poorly lit space that strains your eyes. Lighting layers are essential in the living room so be prepared to use ambient, task, and accent lighting. If necessary, have a lighting designer help. Consider how you use the living room throughout the day and draw a lighting plan based off of that. You can even use today’s technology to create layers that accurately depict the time of day. And with endless design options, your fixtures can illuminate with style!

Lighting Layers

Using ambient lighting

Ambient lighting sets the atmosphere. It’s customized according to your living room size and how you use it. There are numerous ways to create it.

One way to provide ambient lighting is to first light the entire room with downlights. Wash the walls with wall washers to eliminate shadows and open up the space. Then spotlight artwork, textured walls, or architectural features with recessed lighting. Add ambient floor lamps and table lamps to light dark areas or corners. Consider portable lamps to shine pools of light onto your face, adding warmth into the room. Hang a pendant or chandelier as a centerpiece for style and ambience.

 Ambient lighting

Increase brightness levels with  a centerpiece, a few table lamps, a floor lamp, a group of recessed lights and an accent light. This also avoids shadows. Brighten ambient light with recessed lights and a central fixture to fill a larger living room or a windowless room. In a modern room without ceiling lights, use an arc lamp.  

Using task lighting

You want to set up your task lighting so that it doesn’t produce television glare or eyestrain. Table lamps without shades, aiming downlights at television screens, and windows are all culprits of glare. Prevent eye strain with desk lamps or floor reading lamps. Floor lamps with swing arms are ideal adjusting the position to accommodate sitting up or laying down. Provide task lighting with a table lamp on one side of a sofa and a floor lamp on the other side. This creates visual balance and emits equal amounts of light in the area.


 Task lighting

Using accent lighting

Angle adjustable recessed lights at 30 degrees on an 8ft ceiling to shine accent lighting on artwork and room features. Keep the fixtures 2ft away from the wall. For remodels, highlight wall texture and architectural details with recessed lighting. This creates a dramatic effect using shadows and patterns. If you’re not remodeling or have high ceilings, then use track and monorail lighting. Adjustable tracks and decorative pendants fit nicely in contemporary living rooms. Illuminate 3D objects with spotlights, uplights, or recessed lights in the floor. Elevate the look of the space with a decorative spotlight. Direct light can cause ugly shadows. With the 3-point lighting technique you avoid the issue by lighting the object with a key light, fill light, and back light. If you imagine the object to be lit in the center, the key light, fill light, and back light, would be positioned at 90 degree angles from each other.

Accent lighting

Living Room Activities

Generally, a living room is used for reading, watching television, and entertaining. Each activity uses different lighting layers for optimal comfort. Keep track of your daily activities so you can customize your lighting to accommodate them.


For ambient lighting, you have a range of fixtures to choose from. Dimmable floor lamps, torchieres, and sconces will protect eyes from bright lights. Task lighting is essential for reading, so use floor, table lamps, or even directional lamps. They prevent eye strain and provide a focused light onto the page. Fixtures that allow you to adjust brightness levels and positioning are good for controlling comfort. If you want to add visual interest, place dimmable fixtures on bookshelves will provide visual interest.

Watching television

The last thing you want is glare on your television screen while watching your favorite show. Give the room ambient lighting with dimmable overhead fixtures. Avoid overlit surfaces by dimming lights above or in front of the television. Stay away from glare-causing wall sconces and floor lamps. One trick to prevent television glare is to use bias lighting. It also increases ambient lighting. You can implement bias lighting by placing warm temperature lighting behind your screen to surround it with extra indirect lighting. That way, your eyes won’t constantly readjust for changing brightness in the dark. Not to mention, it’ll produce richer images. You can place a reading or table lamp behind your seat if you want task lighting to use the remote. Don’t use accent lighting or it’ll distract you away from your television.

Entertaining or socializing

Ambient lighting is the main lighting here. Have floor and table lamps, sconces, and overhead lighting at the ready. Warm and dimmable lighting is key. Warm up the atmosphere with frosted shades. Use dimmable lights for hotspots, glare, and to open up the room. A warm, dimmable pendant or chandelier as a decorative centerpiece is a nice touch. Although task lighting isn’t necessary for entertaining, you can light counters and other surfaces with a dimmable and low input fixture, such as a well-placed table lamp, down-lit sconce, or row of mini-pendants. Create visual appeal with decorative pendants and portable fixtures, pictures lights, and overhead spotlights facing objects and features.

Lighting Technology

LED technology now uses accurate color temperatures to simulate the sunrise and sunset. This helps to maintain circadian rhythm, which is good for your health and mood. These lights are also long-lasting and energy-efficient. Warm Dim and Tunable White technology are available to give you the atmosphere of your choice. Warm Dim dims LED lights down to warmer color temperatures similar to the setting sun, incandescent bulbs, and halogen bulbs. Tunable White allows total control over brightness, color temperature, and hue using a button or app. Increase productivity with daylight, create the calming warmth of sunset, or start your day with morning light. Advanced smart technology lets you put Warm Dim and Tunable White technology into your walls. You can also create a floating ceiling and other unique looks with LED technology. There are also many stylish LED chandelier and pendant options now available.

Design Ideas: Fit Your Style

Now that you have an idea of how to use fixtures for creating layers of light, it’s time to create lighting designs. There are numerous design ideas that you can use as inspiration when customizing your living room lighting. One design idea is to use various types of fixtures to create all of your lighting layers. Place them around the room at different levels of light output. Give yourself the option of using the fixtures together or individually.

Try light fixture combinations! Consider mixing and matching fixture styles and eras. Make a statement with classic and modern fixtures. Create a grid pattern using multiple hanging fixtures combined with simple fixtures that produce clean silhouettes. Or you can create a symmetrical, balanced space with matching table lamps on side tables or flanking a console. Hang a large central hanging light on high ceilings low enough to make an impact. If you don’t have ceiling lights, then try an arc floor lamp. Make sure it’s high enough so you can safely walk under it. This modern light is an easy install since it doesn’t require any wiring. Simply plug it in. Keep placement in mind. For optimal space and function, install a ceiling fan light instead of a regular fan. They keep the room cool, provide light, and bring style.

Highlight objects on shelves with built-in accent lights. Placing recessed lights or strip lights around your ceiling perimeter will elegantly illuminate architectural detail. Highlight fireplaces and textural features with sconces or small lamps on mantels. Artwork can be accented with picture lights. Put them on bookcases to light display items. Track lighting, wall washers, and ceiling mounted accent lights work well as alternative options. Light corners or reading nooks with floor lamps.

Modernize the space with sculptural wall lights or sconces. There are adjustable models that allow you to change the size and direction of the light. A pair of sconces can serve as focal points and lighting. Highlight artwork, use them as décor for a bare wall, or put them on either side of a sofa. Substitute floor and table lamps for sconces in small areas for extra room. For a minimalist look, just install one. Center a dimmable chandelier or pendant in the living room to draw attention and illuminate the seating area. Adjust the lighting to your desired atmosphere. Think outside of the box and connect the living room to other rooms in your home with fixtures, such as pendants.

Remember, your living room should be relaxing space. Enhance it with aesthetics. Have a strategy in mind before you install any lights. This is a chance to showcase your personality. Have fun with it and do what you feel is right!


Customize your living room with any of these 9 lighting ideas. Decide your lighting needs early on to create effective lighting. Draw the lighting plan. Position lights in different locations at varying lighting levels so you can control overall light intensity. Pairing fixtures gives you balance and symmetry. Put matching table lamps on side tables or on either side of a console. Use sculptural wall lights or sconces to highlight artwork or as a wall decoration. They can serve as space savers in small living rooms. To keep it simple, install just one. A dimmable chandelier or pendant makes a statement and lights the seating area. It also allows you to control the atmosphere. Combine recessed lights and a pendant or multiple overhead lights in larger or windowless rooms. Small lamps on mantels or sconces can highlight fireplaces or other features. Rest pictures lights  rest on bookcases and focus on displays. Use them as accent lighting for art. Other options are track lighting, wall washers, and ceiling mounted accent lights. Curved floor lamps are a good substitute for overhead lighting and don’t require wiring. Light corners with floor lamps.

Customize your living room lighting with ambient, task, and accent lighting. A centerpiece, a few table lamps, a floor lamp, a group of recessed lights and an accent light provides bright shadow-free light. Combine multiple hanging fixtures and simple fixtures for grid pattern silhouettes. Light the ceiling perimeter to accent light architectural details. Use an arc lamp in modern settings, making sure it’s high enough to walk under it. Adjustable sculptural sconces add a modern element. Go for shelves with built-in lights to highlight displays. Bring balanced light by flanking a sofa with a table lamp one one side and floor lamp on the other. Mix and match fixture styles and eras to make a statement. Center a large hanging light low enough on a high ceiling to make an impact. Ceiling fan lights can cool the room, provide light, and provide a decorative element. Use lights to join other rooms.

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