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How to do lighting for your room?

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

Lighting plays a important role to set mood for your space. Its time to upgrade.

Here we will provide you general information to choose light types, direction to create the mood of your choice.

Depending on light source direction, color combination and shades of your room walls designs, We strategically place light source to set us the desired look of space that is needed. While considering above set of conditions one have to take care in mind the wattage, lumen and visual appeal of fixture available in market.

You may also find this video useful. You can skip in depth reading and watch this video.

Ask yourself, what do you want your living room lighting to do?

Whenever you are deciding lighting for your space decorative always consider different types of lights among each of them are designed for specific use.

Just placing some light fixtures randomly may not be best idea if you want light while reading a book or may be just enjoying a family dinning. Or a couple of living room lamps may not be enough ambient light to fill a family room for your next kitty party. You might even just have the wrong type of lamp shades attached for your needs.

Think about each area of the room and your needs regarding it

Try breaking down the room into functional areas. Ask yourself, where do you need the most light? Does it need to be bright and focused or a background ambient light?

Lighting the whole living room in general raises overall ambient light A brighter light near to where you perform activities helps you read and focus. Adding decorative accent lamps highlights your living room decor and furniture Match the most appropriate type of lighting to the kind of light you need.

Modern living room lighting design can feature either ambient lighting, task lighting or accent lighting.These different kinds of light placement and "concentration" are mainly to do with how focused or localized the light is - is it spread out through the room reflecting off surfaces, or is there more direct focused light close to a person performing an activity.

What Kind of Lighting Does Each Room Need?

There are two rules of thumb: You should have a mix of light sources at different levels to create a flattering ambience, and you need appropriate task lighting for whatever you do in that space (reading, cooking, getting dressed etc). Here are tips for five key spots.

  1. Living Room: Light three of the four corners, focusing one of those lights on an object (art, a plant, a striking chair). Use a combination of table lamps and floor lamps, some with a downward glow and some that shine upward. Allow for reading in as many seats as possible with down-glowing lamps on three-way switches. If you have an overhead fixture, put it on a dimmer.

  2. Dining Room: To draw people in, make the table the brightest spot in the room. Use a chandelier or a pendant above the table, limiting the total wattage to 100. Elsewhere in the room, indirect lighting is best—it’s relaxing and flattering. Give the space a subtle glow with a pair of small table lamps on a sideboard or matching sconces on the wall above. Battery-powered votives inside a glass-front cabinet can be a nice touch.

  3. Kitchen: Focus on overhead lighting (on a dimmer that you can adjust when cooking), and add lower sources to illuminate work surfaces. Use pendants, under-cabinet lights, or a sturdy table lamp but make sure to keep it away from wet area.

  4. Bedroom: Aim for a cozy, insular atmosphere: Place reading lamps or sconces by the bed—but not pointed directly at it. If you have recessed or track fixtures, angle them away from the bed, toward the dressing area. On a low table, include a small, intimate lamp with a tinted low-wattage bulb to mimic candlelight.

  5. Bathroom: The best choice for applying makeup is sidelights, such as a pair of sconces flanking the mirror. An overhead light helps fill in any shadows on your face and also fully illuminates the room (important when cleaning). In a large space, you might also want a light directly over the shower.

Let’s consider a case of an average sized living room. This will help you out to design lighting other rooms too.

Average-sized living room design ideas

The living room layouts below are designed for a typical-sized living room with 3-4 people occupancy, large enough to install a couch, a TV, maybe an armchair and some other small furniture. Cool lighting ideas for living rooms include:

Option 1: An central light fixture, two wall lights and a pair of table lamps

Ambient lighting: (A) Centralized light fixture it can be ceiling lights too and (B) wall lights.

Task lighting: (C) Table lamps.

Ideal for: those who can install light fixtures and are making use of opposite walls.

This arrangement places a decorative light fixture in the center of the room which will illuminate most of the room, and then accents it with short-range lights nearer the edges of the room.

If you have high ceilings you may have room for a living room chandelier or pendant. These will hang down so you'll need several feet of additional height to walk beneath them. But they can add beautiful thematic lighting to your room.

If you don't have the head-room, opt for a semi-flush close-to-ceiling light. These have a more decorative design and are not as boring or ugly as basic dome lights.

A pair of wall lights on a major wall, such as behind a couch, can offer additional brightness when you need it. Seating is usually placed away from the center of the room so it helps to bring extra light close to where you'll spend time.

Wall lights can also illuminate over your shoulder for reading. Alternatively place them opposite the couch, typically behind the television.

Complete the balance of light by arranging a pair of table lamps, either at the sides of the couch on end tables, or in the opposite corners of the room. The lamp shades will shield your eyes while remaining in your field of vision.

Placing lamps on the same side as the TV gives you the option of lighting that area or switching the lamps off while you watch the screen. It can sometimes help reduce glare from the TV by having other lights nearby.

And consider this...

If you put your main lounge room light fixture on a separate switch or circuit, you now have the option of 3 different levels of light, including a nice cozy room using just the wall lights and table lamps.

Option 2: A pair of pendant lights, a torchiere floor lamp and a table lamp

Ambient lighting: (B) Floor and (C) table lamps.

Task lighting: (A) Pendant lights over seating areas.

Ideal for: You can install light fixtures and also would like a secondary and/or portable level of light.

Pendant lights can hang over an area of the living room where you may not be standing, such as over a couch or chair, over a table or some other furniture.

Since they provide a more focused downward light in a specific area, pendants can be used almost like task lights to highlight parts of the room.

To complement the downward-focused light, place a torchiere-style floor lamp in the corner of the room. Floor lamps tend to be a higher wattage or lumens than table lamps and can give a boost to the ambient light.

A torchiere or torch standing lamp aims light upward and so reflects off the ceiling, complementing the pendant lights in building the overall light level. Some torchieres also feature a reading arm which can make them useful next to a chair.

Finish the look with a mid-level light from a table lamp. Placed in a corner or next to a significant seating area it can help you to see for specific tasks and also draw attention to a more active part of the room.

Do you want to enjoy a comfortable evening in?

Then switch off the pendants and just use the floor lamp and table lamp for a soothing experience.

Option 3: A hanging swag light, a pair of floor lamps and a desk lamp

Ambient lighting: (B) Floor lamps.

Task lighting: (A) Plug in swag pendant and (C) desk lamp.

Ideal for: You cannot install light fixtures but want overhead light as well as occasional task lighting.

If you can't install any light fixtures or hard-wired lighting, the next best option is portable lamps or lighting which can be plugged into a regular wall socket.

A plug in pendant light or swag light features a chain or cord which "swags" or drapes across the ceiling from some hooks, and then down the wall to a regular plug socket.

It's easy to install, requires no electrical experience and can easily be moved to another part of the room or another room entirely. Plus it comes with you if you move house.

As a pendant, the swag light can be positioned over a significant area such as a chair or table, or nearer the center of the room if your ceiling is high enough.

Remember that since the vertical position of the swag pendant is adjustable you can place it much closer to the ceiling if you don't have as much room. It can then serve to provide ambient ceiling light to the whole room or to focus on a specific area.

Floor lamps are your next best friends. They tend to be a higher wattage or brighter light output. They either can aim light upward toward the ceiling, out sideways, downwards or in all directions depending mostly on the shade design.

Place the floor lamps in two complementary corners of the living room, or alongside the couch. These tall standing lamps raise the light bulbs higher in the room above eye-level when seated and are particularly out of sight if behind you while seated on the couch.

Finally to give you a focused light for those occasions when you really need to see some details, choose an adjustable desk lamp.

The desk lamp can sit on a side table or desk near to where you spend the most time, and with an adjustable arm you can move it quickly to focus the light exactly where you need it.

With 3 lamps and a pendant light, each with their own switch, you'll have a number of different levels of illumination to choose from.

Option 4: A ceiling fan with a light kit, a reading lamp and a table lamp

Ambient lighting: (A) Ceiling fan with a built-in light, and (C) table lamp.

Task lighting: (B) Reading lamp.

Ideal for: You want an all-in-one installed light fixture complemented with a table lamp, then a reading lamp for specialized activities.

In a comfortable living room sometimes you need a ceiling fan not only to cool the room in summer but also to help the heat to circulate in winter.

Now a days many ceiling fans come equipped with a light kit, which is a small light fixture typically suspended under the fan in some case inside fan. Some fans also have upward-facing lights which add soft ambient light reflected off the ceiling, as a more decorative feature.

You'll be able to operate the fan itself separately from the light fixture. The light kit can contain anywhere from 1 to 4 bulbs. A fan is usually centrally located in the room to provide a general ambient light for the room, or a brighter light if positioned above a seating area.

To complement the fan, add a reading floor lamp. Reading lamps feature an adjustable arm which extends outward and shines light downwards. It can be positioned next to or behind a chair or couch to give you a focused bright light in a small area.

Be sure to check out full spectrum reading lamps which are designed to provide natural light which makes reading and other tasks much easier on the eyes, rendering colors more accurately and reducing glare.

Complete the lighting with an extra table lamp. Since your reading lamp may serve most purposes near to your favorite chair, the table lamp can sit in an opposite or complementary corner to balance the overall light and make sure you don't have dark corners in the room.

Let your fan keep you at the perfect temperature while your lamps soothe your mood.

Option 5: A close-to-ceiling light fixture, two canister up-lights, a pair of wall lights and one or two accent lamps

Ambient lighting: (A) Living room ceiling lights, (B) can lights, (C) wall lights and (D) accent lamps.

Task lighting: None - uses the overall ambiance.

Ideal for: You can install some ceiling light fixtures and want overall atmospheric or mood lighting and don't need highly focused light.

This option features a living room ceiling light such as a semi-flush light fixture. These are more decorative and attractive than a typical dome light and can feature up to 3 bulbs.

The ceiling light will make an excellent central light fixture, or you could even go with two in a longer room. It will leave ample headroom in most rooms since they sit quite close to the ceiling and will provide strong overhead lighting throughout the room.

Add a couple of wall lights on one wall to bring emphasis to an important side of the room. This could be behind the couch or either side of a central feature like a fireplace.

We then would place a pair of canister up-lights, which sit on the floor or low area and shine light upwards, either side of some significant room feature. They could be either side of a fireplace or in two corners of the room, behind a furniture piece or illuminating a house plant to produce interesting shadows.

The up-lights shine light upward, much of which reflects off the ceiling as ambient light, but also much of the light may make contact with a wall or vertical surface, breaking up large expanses of wall or highlighting textures.

To add some finishing touches, choose a couple of decorative accent lamps. These can work in concert with the can lights when the main ceiling lights are switched off, to provide softer mood lighting and fill the room with a lower level of light output.

Accent lamps tend to be relatively dim so should mainly be considered for evening use since sunlight will drown them out.

Turn on some romantic music, flip on the accent lamps and you're good to go.

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