Ultimate Guide to Lighting a Living Room

Ultimate Guide to Lighting a Living Room

The living room is one of the most dynamic spaces in a home. As its name suggests, it is where most of the “living” happens.

The living room hosts a broad range of activities, unique to each person. Depending on the day, it might be where we entertain our friends and family, kick up our feet to relax, curl up with a good book, binge on our favourite shows or even eat the occasional meal. This multi-use space needs carefully planned lighting for everyday living. From spotlighting family photos and artwork on the walls to providing ample light when the kids do their homework, let's explore the many lighting layers that make your living room come to life.

Take a moment to think about:

1. What is the Job of your living Room

  • If it's watching TV. Televisions give off light of their own, so it’s important that your lighting doesn’t conflict with this, causing glare that interferes with your favorite show and hurts your eyes. Glare can come from a variety of lighting sources like table lamps without shades, downlights pointing at the screen, and even windows. Be sure to position your lighting and your TV so no light shines directly toward the screen.

What can help? Bias lighting is a clever way to both avoid glare on the TV screen and decrease the eye strain caused by long exposure to TV screens in dark rooms. Bias lighting involves placing lighting behind a television in order to increase the visibility around the screen, without shining more light directly into the viewer’s eyes. This can be done easily with a simple RGBW LED strip, ideally with a warm color temperature of 1000K to 2700K at night and 3000K to 5700K during the day to help maintain your circadian rhythm. This provides more ambient light in the room and saves your eyes from constantly adjusting between a bright screen and the dark room surrounding it. Far from distracting from what’s on the screen, bias lighting actually makes the images on the screen appear richer.

Bias Lighting by Ivanka Luimere

  • If you like to read in your living room, ambient table and floor lamps don’t provide the focused light you truly need. Desk Lamps or Floor Reading lamps are your best bet ‒ their bright, focused light reduces squinting and eye strain, highlighting the words on the page rather than the space around you. If you’re looking for a more versatile option, consider an adjustable floor lamp like the Oscar Globe Floor Lamp or the Black Swan Tall Lamp. A simple swing of the arm or pivot of the head can accommodate your reading session, whether you’re sitting up or lying down, and easily shifts for the kids coloring at the kitchen table. If your tasks are relatively stationary, a stylish directional lamp may be more your speed, like the classic ForK Lamp. In smaller spaces, you may even consider a Spot adjustable Reading Lamp.

2. Accent Lighting

After selecting lighting for the living room’s main activities, the next step is accent lighting. Accent lighting highlights artwork and architectural features within the space.

  • If you’re building a living room from the ground up or planning a major remodel, adjustable recessed lighting offers a variety of integrated accent solutions. Make sure to install your recessed ceiling lighting at a 30° angle, about two feet away from the wall on an eight foot ceiling.
  • Track Lighting can be a stylish, flexible and practical alternative to recessed lighting, especially rooms with high ceilings or where no remodel is planned. 
  • If using accent lighting on a sculpture, plant, or other three-dimensional focal piece, consider spotlights. Use picture lights to showcase an impressive collection of art, family photos, or a particularly impressive book collection? 


3. Ambient Lighting

Once you’ve figured out your task and accent lighting, the last step is to add some general ambient lighting to fill in the gaps and set the mood. This can be done in a variety of different ways.

  • Add a Centerpiece                                                                                   Whether you go for a romantic chandelier or a modern pendant, a striking light fixture can complete a living roomThe aptly named Ballroom Chandelier, the thoroughly contemporary Dancing spheroids, the show stopping Mesh, or the mid-century modern Satellite are just a few top selling chandeliers with personality. Remember that a chandelier’s primary function is to provide style and ambience, and they’re not always an effective lighting alternative to recessed ceiling lighting, track lighting, and monorail lighting. These light fixtures can be attached to a dimmer switch to make them dimmable and set the mood.
  • Ambient Floor Lamps & Table Lamps for full illumination                            Portable lamps offer localized pools of light at eye level that flatter faces, creating an intimate yet relaxed social atmosphere.

    • Decorative Wall Sconce                                                                                     A wall sconce will provide additional ambient light which is fairly confined to the area near the wall, as well as lighting the wall itself in a decorative way, reflecting diffused light off the wall.

     LED Dimmable Bulbs                                                                                                A lot has gone into making LEDs so popular these days. The price has gone down, color temperature is better, quality is better, modern fixtures are built with LEDs integrated into them. They're the future, so it's time to embrace them. LED’s offer a range of benefits, including long lifespan ‒ they never burn out ‒ and energy efficiency. Several years ago, the most common complaint against LED lighting was the hue ‒ a cold shade of blue that was less than ideal for a relaxing environment like the living room. Today, LEDs have evolved - there are even LED filament Bulbs, for those looking for that vintage touch.

    LED Dimmable bubs by Ivanka Lumiere

    Easy Out-of-the-Box Upgrades

    Dimming can be a nice, easy feature that doesn’t break the bank. Many of today’s fixtures are now dimmable. If you want to stick with your existing fixtures, the Caseta Plug-In Lamp Dimmer works with dimmable LED's, CFLs, incandescent and halogen bulbs, meaning you can keep your fixtures and still bring a hint of high-tech into your space.

    Advanced Smart Home Solutions

    Whether you’re remodelling or building from scratch, now is the time to take full control of your living room, one of your home’s central hubs. Use the DMX Touch Controller and watch your living room transform.

    You may want to seek advice from our lighting expert who will have a vast knowledge of the different sources of light, the many fixtures and fittings on offer, as well as today’s hi-tech control systems. Always employ a qualified electrician to ensure a safe and well-fitted installation.