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Designing Your Living Room Lighting: Ideas & Inspiration

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of your living room design. After all, your lounge area is multi-functional. From family film nights to parties with friends, your lighting system has to work for a wide range of different scenarios. If you’re not sure where to start with your living room lighting design, we’re here to help. In this section, you’ll find out more about the basics of how to light your lounge and how to choose a system that works for you, your personal style and your requirements.
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Selection of ceiling, floor and table lamps

The basics of living room lighting

When thinking of living room lighting ideas, it’s important to go back to basics. Generally, living rooms need three different types of lighting:

Ambient lighting

This refers to your overhead lighting. Whether you choose pendant lights, downlights or track lights, the goal is to create a wide beam of illumination to light up the entire room. The key is to choose lighting that is comfortable. Try to avoid bulbs that are too bright or glaring, but be sure that they emit plenty of light when switched on.

Gold geometric frame white globe ceiling light
White marble and gold tall floor lamp

Task lighting

The clue is in the name with task lighting. It’s ideal for areas that need a little extra illumination and typically provides light for a single purpose. For example, you may choose to place a floor lamp next to an armchair for reading, or a table lamp on your side table for soft illumination while you’re watching television.

Accent lighting

Accent lights are generally used to draw attention to specific areas of your living room. For example, you may wish to place a spotlight on a treasured piece of artwork or photograph. Alternatively, you could put accent lights around a bar area or drinks cabinet for extra opulence.

Depending on your style choices and functional needs, you may use a combination of all three or just a couple of these lighting types. Before choosing your lamps and lights, think about how you plan to use your room and where you think might need extra illumination. By forward planning with your living room lighting design, you’ll find it easier to choose the right lighting system to suit your needs.

Industrial black geometric triple ceiling light

Creating flexible lighting

One of the best living room lighting tips is to create a flexible lighting system that works for a wide range of different scenarios. There are a lot of different ways to do this, but below are a few ideas to get you started.

Dimmable lights

Dimmer switches, whether on your ambient or task lights, give you the option of creating different looks depending on the situation. For a cosier vibe, dimmable lights can be softened to a gentle glow (perfect for intimate dinner parties or cosy evenings in front of the TV). For a more vibrant atmosphere, turn your switch to give as much light as possible.

Table lamp with decorative gold metal base

Layered lamps

Layering your lamps gives a depth and flexibility to your living room lighting design. To create the layered lighting look, introduce lamps at different heights throughout your lounge. Floor lamps tend to have a wider beam span that will illuminate a larger area, while table lamps create a more intimate lit space. Mix and match the two until you find what works for you.

Moveable task lighting

It can be useful to have task lights that are easily moveable or tilted. For example, if you intend to have a workspace in your living area, look for task lights that can be shifted to illuminate different areas of your work zone. Similarly, floor lamps which include a moveable task light can be the ideal choice for reading on the sofa.

Bronze and black anglepoise style table lamp
Curved tall modern chrome floor lamp

Choosing lighting to suit your style

As well as choosing the right type of light to suit your space, it’s also important to think about your lighting style. There’s a plethora of lamps and ceiling lights out there and choosing the right ones for the style of your room adds to the overall aesthetic.

Contemporary lighting

Lighting is especially important in contemporary design. Living rooms in this style are sleek and sophisticated, so it’s essential that your lighting system complements these characteristics – so steer clear of anything overly ornamental.

When thinking of living room lighting design ideas for your contemporary lounge, simple styles can often be the most striking. Downlights complemented by statement floor lamps are a good choice. Look for sleek lamp styles in a timeless design to really elevate your living room. Lamps in a metal finish often work particularly well with modern interior décor.

If you like to make a statement, pendant lights can harmonise well with contemporary design. For industrial-style living rooms, metal pendant lights with safely exposed cords will look exquisite. For an on-trend mid-century modern look, choose sculptural pendant lights with a timeless appeal that really make a statement.

Modern black metal mesh and cylinder ceiling light
Stunning cascading rods glass chandelier

Traditional lighting

Traditional living rooms offer a great deal of flexibility when it comes to living room lighting design. Whether you love the rustic simplicity of Scandi design or the comfortable elegance of country-inspired lounges, there are plenty of lighting options to complement your décor.

For your ambient lighting, choose ceiling lights that enhance your design choices. Chandeliers are a great way to add luxury to opulent living rooms. They reflect light beautifully, offering gorgeous illumination that is both welcoming yet statement-making. For a subtler option, choose an elegant pendant light with a slim shade. If you find that you need more illumination than your pendant lights allow, consider subtly placed downlights as well as pendant lights.

Floor and table lamps are a must in traditional style living rooms. They help to add depth to your design, and give you the opportunity to add pieces that complement your overall aesthetic. For an on-trend twist on classic styles, look for metal lamps in a satin brass finish or in natural textures like bamboo or rattan.

Film style black and wood tripod table lamp

We hope that you have been inspired by our living room lighting tips and ideas. For more home styling tips, visit our Home of Inspiration.

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