How to Light a Living Room Like a Designer

May 19, 2022

Interior Design

While it’s easy to get bogged down by choosing the right furniture, you don’t want to ignore the lighting in your living room. In fact, a well-lit living room can go a long way toward creating a balanced, productive, and pleasant atmosphere. In today’s blog, the experts at Star Furniture discuss how to light a living room like a designer.

Anchor the Room with Ambient Lighting

Otherwise known as general lighting, ambient lighting serves as the primary source of light for a room. In other words, ambient lighting is the standard light setting and is often attached to the main light switch. When lighting your living room, be sure that there’s enough ambient light to safely illuminate the whole room, but not so much that you’re constantly avoiding glares and shadows. While a wide range of light types can be used as ambient lighting, it often takes the form of ceiling-mounted lights, recessed fixtures, wall sconces, and/or floor lamps. Think of ambient light as the default light setting that is then altered and enhanced by the task lighting and accent lighting in the room.

Take Control of Task Lighting

When decorating a living room, it’s important to consider how the room will be used. Task lighting is an additional layer of lighting in the room that provides increased light for specific tasks. If, for example, you often read novels on your sofa, you may want to put a table lamp on a side table to help illuminate your book. While ambient lighting should be turned on whenever you enter a room, task lighting should only be used on an as-needed basis. Task lighting comes in many forms, including floor lamps, table lamps, buffet lamps, under cabinet lights, and pendant lights. While function is obviously important when choosing task lighting for your living room, you’ll want to do your best to try to match the style and scale of the space.

Set a Mood with Accent Lighting

Otherwise known as highlighting, accent lighting is used to highlight architectural elements in your living room, including a fireplace, wall art, or other points of interest. Unlike ambient lighting, which focuses on lighting the whole room, accent lighting seeks to add style and personalization to the room by highlighting noteworthy items. You might, for example, use track lighting to downlight your gallery wall or to draw attention to your fireplace. Other types of accent lighting include recessed lighting, wall sconces, picture lighting, and cove lighting, all of which can give your living room lighting more depth and style.

Carefully Layer Your Lighting

As you can see, ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting all play a pivotal role in lighting your living room like a designer. So, if you want your living room to reach its full potential, you need to layer all three types of lighting throughout the room. Remember, different lighting can serve multiple roles, but you want to make sure you understand how they’re working in the room. It’s also important to consider how all of your lighting is working together. Your accent lighting, for example, should be three times brighter than your ambient lighting for maximum effect.

Mix Warm and Cold Lighting

You’ll also want to pay special attention to your choice of light bulbs, as they will determine whether you have warm or cold lighting. Warm light will typically have shades of red, orange, and yellow, while cool light will have a bluish green undertone. For that reason, cold lighting tends to work best for spaces where you need to clearly see what you’re doing, while warm light is best for areas where you’re trying to create a warm and cozy atmosphere. Feel free to mix light temperatures as you see fit. You may, for example, prefer cool light in your living room task lighting while choosing warm light for your ambient lighting.

Take Advantage of Natural Light

Natural light has plenty of benefits. It can improve your mood, make your living room look bigger, and improve the aesthetic of a space. Plus, it can reduce the amount of electricity you need, which is more sustainable and saves you money. That’s why taking advantage of natural light in your living room is so important. To get started, you’ll want to amplify the light from your windows by placing mirrors directly next to or across from your windows. This will help you reflect the natural light throughout the room. You can also paint your walls a light color and/or use paint with a higher gloss level to better reflect light.

Pay Attention to Scale

When choosing lighting fixtures and lamps for your home, you’ll want to pay attention to scale. While this means you’ll want to consider the scale of the other furniture in the room, you’ll also want to consider the size of the room. A large, open room, for example, will likely use smaller scale fixtures than a small, confined space. You’ll also need to be conscious of the size of your lamps. Our guide to lamp sizes can help you get started. Now that you know how to light a living room like a designer, it’s time to get started. Visit a Star Furniture store near you or browse our huge selection of lighting options, including floor lamps, table lamps, and buffet lamps. In the meantime, check out our interior design blog where we cover everything from how to choose the right wall art to the best table lamps for every style.