So, you’ve chosen your furniture, picked your color scheme, and settled on your carpets. The next piece in the puzzle to creating your ideal living room is your lightning. Get the lightening right and you can transform even the dingiest of spaces into a light, bright airy wonder. Get it wrong, and all that money and time spent on getting your décor just so will have been for nothing.
1. Spec Out Space
Before you even start browsing lighting options, take a few minutes to really spec out your living room. Check how much natural light comes in, and whether there are any dark corners that receive less light than other parts, and which may need additional illumination. As Apartment Therapy notes, if your room gets lots of daylight you may be able to abandon overhead lights altogether. Also, check the size: if your room is extra-large, you may do better with several ceiling lights than one; if your room is particularly petite, you may want to scrap ceiling lights entirely (which can pull down ceiling height) and opt for wall sconces and floor lamps instead.
2. Get Smart
If you want a fully modernized lightening system, choose an option that’s smartphone-enabled. As manufacturers catch on with our ever-increasing obsession with our smart devices, they’re pumping out more and more light fittings that can be controlled via an app. Not only is the great for the lazy (if you head to bed before turning off the living room light, you can simply turn it off with your app rather than having to make the return journey downstairs), its also great for the security conscious, providing as it does the option to turn lights on and off (and thus give the illusion that someone’s at home) even when you’re a thousand miles away.
3. Amp Up The Style
Just because lighting is essentially a practical feature doesn’t mean you have to forego style. As well as choosing a light that works well, it’s also important to choose one that looks good. Consider the overall décor and style of your room, and choose a light fitting that will enhance the room with its beauty, as well as its utility.
4. Get Crafty With Dimmers
These days, we all want flexibility in pretty much everything, and this extends to our lightning. And why not? Why have a light do one job when it could just as easily do two? One of the quickest and easiest ways to maximize the full potential of your lightening is to introduce a dimmer. Not only will this allow you to control the amount of light, but it’ll also allow you to set the ambiance – a few turns one way will cast a low light perfect for entertaining, while a few turns the other way will cast enough light for focused activities.
5. Spread The Light
If you’re tempted to take the easy route and stick with a single, central ceiling light to provide all your lightening needs, think twice. As The Spruce notes, living rooms require three types of lighting: ambient, task and accent. Ambient lighting provides general illumination (i.e. the kind provided by central light fixtures). Task lightening provides focused light to particular areas, while accent lights serve to highlight specific areas or features. For all three requirements, there’s a vast area of options out there, so you can really let your sense of personal style shine through.
6. Combine Functions
If you live in a hotter climate, or just have a tendency to run warm, a great way to maximize function is to introduce a cooling feature and light in one- i.e. a ceiling fan. Available in a huge array of options, styles, and colors, ceiling fans can be incorporated into almost any style of décor. Thanks to their two in one function, they’re also a great choice for smaller rooms where installing a separate fan would take up too much space.
7. Floor Lamps
If you’d rather avoid relying on a ceiling light for general illumination, consider introducing a number of floor standing lamps instead. Because of their structure and power, a few floor lamps will do a far better job of illuminating a room than table lamps: just be sure to spread them out equally to ensure an even distribution of light.
8. Create A Focal Point
Lights are capable of doing much more than just letting you see. If you have a particular art work or piece of furniture that you want to draw attention to, a few strategically placed lights can do a grand job of creating a focal point. A few wall structured wall scones, or even a strategically placed floor lamp, can cast a gorgeous glow over a particular area, which will naturally draw attention and make sure that everyone’s attention is on the spot you want.
9. Choose Your Bulbs Wisely
Don’t relax too much once you’ve chosen your light fixture- there’s still a little more work to be done. Just as lighting fixtures can make all the difference to a living room, so can a bulb make all the difference to a lighting fixture. In a nutshell, there are three different types of bulbs: CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights), LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes), and lastly, the very handy incandescent light bulb. While all have their advantages (CFL’s and LED’s are both highly efficient and known for their long lives), don’t just grab for the nearest bulb in the hardware store if you have a dimmer. Not all dimmers work with CFL’s and LED’s, which is where incandescent bulbs, which are the most compatible of the three, come in handy.
10. Color Choices Count
We’ve already touched on the importance of choosing the right type of bulb, but another thing you may want to consider is choosing the right color of bulb. Believe it or not, bulbs can come in several different colors, and depending on which you choose, the results can be dramatically different. White bulbs tend to offer clear, pure light that’s perfect if you tend to use your living room as the center for most of your tasks. Yellow bulbs, on the other hand, cast a much softer glow and are likely to be the preferable option if you use your living room for entertaining.