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From entertaining, to relaxing, to everything in-between, your living room is perhaps the most versatile room in your home. Apart from elements like décor and color palette, the way you light your space is one of the most influential ways to set its visual and emotional impact.
Living room light ideas can range from the form of the light, the color it casts, to where it’s positioned in the room, so it’s wise to know how these factors interplay before settling on a decision.
First, choose a light bulb that’s easy on the eyes because no fixture can compensate for bad lighting. Once you have this nailed down, you can move on to selecting your desired aesthetic. For example, if you prefer subtle minimalism, recessed lighting or wall sconces may work best. Though, if bold and bright suits your style, a statement light fixture or neon sign may be for you.
This guide is a deep dive into what your options are for creating your perfect living room lighting set-up.
Many living room lighting ideas begin with the chandelier — it’s a classic concept that can be iterated on, time and again. So why not consider a chandelier made with unconventional materials, like beads, tassels, or macrame? This chandelier manages to be both quirky and sophisticated. It’s tied together beautifully with millennial pink accents and a funky, chunky throw.
If there’s an architectural detail in your living room you love, boast about it. This image shows a partition wall, accented by a light with a similar shape, but you don’t have to be so literal about it, either. For example, a fireplace with an ornamented mantle will have a greater impact if it’s framed by symmetrical lights on either side.
Sure, there are a bevy of boring floor lamps out there, but there are also plenty of options that enhance the aesthetic of your space. In terms of floor lamps, there’s three factors to consider: the shape of the body, the silhouette of the shade, and the overall height of the lamp, which you can use to complement the rest of your design. For example, this floor lamp is both rigid and curved, so it balances the soft and rigid forms found in the sofa and wall art, respectively.
With its ornate design and lavish form, nothing looks quite as captivating as a Moroccan lantern. What’s more, you can easily make it the accent of your room by stringing-up several in a huddle. This will naturally draw the eye upwards and expand the feel of your space. Choose subtle lighting for the rest of your room, incorporating a mix of candle votives and ceiling spotlights.
Amongst living room lighting ideas, a sculptural light is one of the best ways to imbue a space with elegance. In fine art, sculpture has an advantage over other mediums in that it actually interacts with light and shadow, as opposed to simply receiving it. To this end, consider how the form of your light fixture will catch the ambient light in your space so you can make it stand out in relief to the rest of your interior.
When you can’t seem to settle, don’t. Instead, intentionally mix and match styles of lights to make your living room feel both chic and casual at once. That said, you do still want cohesion, so imagine your lighting as an artwork composition. Consider which light will act as the focal point, either through its placement, design, or color. Then, incorporate lights that have similar details but with an overall simpler form and impact.
Neon lights can create either a polished urban vibe or a grungy, gritty one, depending on what you’re aiming for. If you prefer the former, choose a modern font or design for your neon light and accent the rest of your space with jewel tones and modern décor. But if you like the latter, opt for a block lettering and vintage shapes.
When choosing between living room lighting ideas, think about how much natural light your space receives. If you do get plenty of sun, an origami light fixture can prove to be the perfect anchor in your room. Its understated style will be a breath of fresh air during the day and provide a soft glow at night.
Built-in lighting is a great tool for highlighting particular elements in your room, like an accent wall or bookshelf. Another benefit to incorporating this lighting style is that it doesn’t add any extra bulk, so if space is at a premium in your living room, this is a good option for you. By using LED strip lights you can even get playful, framing your wall art or creating a glow behind your television.
If you’re fortunate to have natural light streaming into your living room, take advantage of it and put on a light show. You can use a metallic mobile that glints and gleams, or hang a decorative chandelier made from glass or crystal to reflect light. That said, you may want to arrange this sort of fixture in a cozy corner set-up to avoid any overwhelming light and shadow effects.
While sifting through living room lighting ideas, consider ways to play-up your lighting without dealing with it directly. For example, you can frame a mirror in-line with your light to create an optical illusion, or cast a shadow that mimics a ripple of water on your walls.
Pendant lights have an industrial sensibility that update the feel of a space. Take the living room in this photo, which balances classic details like a Victorian fireplace mantel and a Baroque style portrait with the streamlined silhouette of a pendant light. In your own space, you can also create a balanced feel, or choose to play-up the industrial vibe.