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Illuminating Ideas: Light Your Living Room

Smith Home Security Blog


The living room is one of the most – if not the most – used and frequented rooms in any house. It’s very often the place where you work, play, relax and unwind, watch TV and movies, and have friends and relatives around. It is therefore a multi-purpose area and a space where the types of lighting you have should reflect the different activities you do within it.

To this end, having the right kind of lighting for your living room is crucial, so it’s important to know the varieties of lighting available for your living room and how you can best utilize and adapt them.

There are lots of different lighting types and approaches to choose from and consider – here are few of them to help illuminate and make the most of your living room space.

Two General Ideas

One option with general lighting is to consider having a main lighting source from the ceiling and hanging various other lamps throughout the rest of the room – this is a popular lighting scheme option.  Alternatively, you could have a light fixture that incorporates several lights that can be pointed in different directions.

Natural Light

The type of light your living room gets will also depend on whether it’s a north or south facing room, and you’ll need to take that into account when choosing lighting for your living room. However, there are a few other useful things to consider making the most of the natural lighting potential of the room.

For example, you could dress your windows with lightweight, sheer curtains, avoid placing furniture in places that block sunlight, use mirrors that reflect the light and make the room appear brighter, and incorporate furniture and accessories that are in pale or neutral colours to give an overall lighter, glossier appearance.

Ambient Light

Ambient lighting creates a calm and relaxing atmosphere that is a marked contrast from halogen lighting. It’s predominantly used in areas and for occasions where a soft focus and more subdued mood is required. Ambient lighting is good for when you’re lounging on the sofa, reading a book or watching television.


Spotlights are fantastic for emphasising and drawing attention to paintings, ornaments or bookshelves – in other words, spaces you want to show off a little bit.  Accent lighting performs a similar function, allowing you to draw attention to key features of a room, and it can be used effectively in conjunction with ambient lighting to create varying degrees of shade and illumination depending on the lighting requirements of a particular situation.

Illusions With Lighting

Not in the Paul Daniels sense, but there are a few lighting ‘tricks’ to give your living room different dimensions of size and space.

For example, to make your room appear larger you could use wall washers on larger light coloured ceilings, use up lighters to reflect and bounce lights off the ceiling and walls, create panels of lights at one end of the room hence giving the illusion of making the space appear longer, or simply light all four corners of the room. To make the room appear taller, you could use vertical beams or hang pendant lights low.

What Bulb?

Low Energy Bulbs- (also referred to as energy saving bulbs) a sealed glass tube full of inert gas illuminated with an electrical current. They’re highly efficient, use 80% less energy than standard bulbs and can last up to twelve years.

Incandescent Lights- the conventional and familiar bulbs that are now being slowly phased out, although they are versatile and do provide an immediate, bright light.

Halogen Lights- These are similar to incandescent ones in that they provide an illumination similar to natural daylight, plus they’re aesthetically adaptable and safer than mains voltage.

As you can see, there are lots of possibilities to consider when it comes to lighting up your living room, from the type of bulbs and wall lighting you pick to a few neat little tricks you can employ.  It’s not simply a case of screwing in a few bulbs and hoping for the best!

Have you got any other living room lighting suggestions?

About the Author: Estelle Page is an interior designer in the UK who believes that the right lighting can make or break a room.

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