Lamps in living room ideas: Living Room Lighting Ideas

Living Room Lighting Ideas


Kristin Hohenadel

Kristin Hohenadel

Kristin Hohenadel has written on design for publications including the New York Times, Interior Design, Slate, Fast Company, and the international editions of Elle Decor.

Learn more about The Spruce’s
Editorial Process

Updated on 02/02/22

The Spruce / Michelle Becker

The living room is generally the largest room in the house, a hub of activity where a variety of activities take place day and night. Making sure that your living room is properly and beautifully lit for gathering with family, entertaining, relaxing, reading, watching TV or movies and all the other activities that take place in this central part of your home is more complicated than putting a dimmer on an overhead light and calling it a day.

A well-lit living room ideally should have layered lighting that illuminates all four corners to create balance and a pleasant atmosphere. It can include a mix of ambient, accent, and task lighting—chandeliers, wall sconces, table lamps, floor lamps, recessed lighting, and even candlelight—to illuminate the room for differing atmospheres and purposes. Here are some bright ideas to help inspire your living room lighting.

  • 01
    of 12

    Oversize Statement Light

    Laura U Interior Design

    For this warm, modern living room, Houston-based Laura Umansky of Laura U Interior Design chose an oversize statement arched floor lamp with a striking, slim silhouette that provides ample but diffused ambient light. And it looks just as good when it’s not turned on. Whether you choose a design classic like a mid-century Arco Floor Lamp or an affordable Scandi-style tripod floor lamp, use the extra real estate you’re likely to have in the living room to treat lighting as a piece of furniture as well as a source of illumination.

  • 02
    of 12

    Moroccan Lantern

    Andreas von Einsiedel / Getty Images

    You don’t need to have a Moroccan-style interior to incorporate a dreamy perforated metal Moroccan lantern into your living room. Polish interior designer Mirka McNeill hung a Moroccan lantern in the living room of her London home, which adds a note of whimsy to the eclectic decor and casts magical shadows when lit up in the center of the room.

    11 Moroccan-Inspired Decor Ideas To Incorporate Into Your Home

  • 03
    of 12

    Wall Light That Doubles As Art

    Pedro Gething / Pamono and Bazar Noir

    If you use your living room primarily for Netflix and chilling, why not use the space above your sofa to install a dramatic wall light like the Eclipse Wall Light by Tilen Sepič for Bazar Noir as seen in this living room set-up by Pamono. It’s the kind of functional wall art and decor that is a conversation starter, a mood-setter, and works especially well in minimal space.

  • 04
    of 12

    Old and New

    Chris Tubbs / Charles Mellersh Interior Design

    An antique chandelier or vintage sconces can warm up a contemporary living room, and contemporary lighting design can keep a room with historic bones feeling current. In this lovely London-period home, interior designer Charles Mellersh chose warm contemporary lighting like the Ball Light Wall Brackets in polished brass from Michael Anastassiades hung on either side of the fireplace mantel instead of the formal sconces you might expect to give the classic room a timeless appeal. Additional lighting including an overhead fixture and standing lamp in brass allow you to use different shapes while maintaining a harmonious feel.

  • 05
    of 12

    Colorful Light

    Seamus Payne Photography / Lisa Gilmore Design

    This saturated raspberry pink living room by Lisa Gilmore Design is all the more atmospheric in the evening thanks to a pair of wall sconces with shades in a similar tone. Positioned directly over the seating area, they provide soft, indirect flattering light and add depth to the wall color without looking too busy so the focus stays on the wall color and the art.

  • 06
    of 12

    Built-In Lighting

    dit26978 / Getty Images

    To add warmth to a contemporary space, built-in or LED strip lighting can be used to highlight a coffered ceiling; illuminate the underside of a console to give it a leavening effect; or back-light open shelving to highlight decorative objects or books. Be sure to mix in an interesting fixture or two to keep the room feeling homey and add sculptural interest.

  • 07
    of 12

    Highlight Existing Architecture

    Andreas von Einsiedel / Getty Images

    Polish interior designer Mirka McNeill used a mix of lighting styles in this Warsaw apartment living room, including an antique French chandelier and a mid-century Arco lamp. She highlighted the room’s intricate period moldings with a subtle strip of LED lights that calls attention to the architectural history of the space while giving it a contemporary touch.

    How to Decorate in Contemporary Style

  • 08
    of 12


    bonetta / Getty Images

    Candlelight is the ultimate feel-good light source and adds a finishing layer to any lighting scheme that will make your living room atmosphere extra comfortable and inviting. Mix candlesticks in varying styles and materials to add warmth to a contemporary space.

  • 09
    of 12

    Fireplace as Focal Point

    hikesterson / Getty Images

    Nothing is more welcoming than the warm glow of a fire, but those lucky enough to have fireplaces should have a backup plan for warm weather since an empty fireplace can end up making the room feel cold. In this living room, an overhead fixture with warm-colored light bulbs is augmented with wall sconces hung throughout the room to add an even glow and complement the warm wood accents. And of course, you can always fill your fireplace with eco-friendly LED pillar candles with convincingly flickering flames.

  • 10
    of 12

    Sculptural Light

    Maite Granda

    The classic proportions and bones of this living room/dining room designed by Maite Granda are given an edgy contemporary update with a sculptural LED overhead light hung over the dining table.

  • 11
    of 12

    Perfectly Mismatched

    Nile Johnson Interior Design

    When choosing lighting for either side of a sofa, there’s no need to limit yourself to matching table lamps. In this living room, a table lamp on one side and a low-slung chandelier on the other create balance without being too matchy. The brass finishes on both fixtures, as well as the coffee table, keep the pairing harmonious.

  • 12
    of 12

    Transparent Lighting

    Gray Space Interior Design

    If your living room has giant windows, consider choosing fixtures that don’t interfere with the natural daylight, like a classic crystal chandelier. For an airy, uncluttered look, try table lamps with clear glass or plastic forms.

    27 Dining Room Lighting Ideas for Every Style

39 ways to decorate and illuminate your space |

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Living room lighting ideas are an essential part of the design of the space. Layers of lighting provide the illumination for every one of the room’s functions, and allow changes of mood.

Lighting can also help realize your living room ideas by making the very most of the space’s architecture, highlighting objects on display and artwork and, of course, creating a beautiful element of the room in its own right.

We’ve put together a selection of living room lighting ideas for rooms of every proportion and style to inspire your choices.

Living room lighting ideas 

We have covered living room lighting ideas that are more than just about looks – they also encompass practical solutions, along with a ton of advice from top lighting and design experts.

1. Complement artwork with lighting

(Image credit: Natalia Miyar Studio)

Successful living room lighting ideas harmonize with the space. According to , “the shape of a light needs to complement the rest of the room,’ explains Natalia Miyar. ‘A minimalist geometric light, for instance, might reflect the lines of an abstract painting.’ This Miro-inspired mobile light is a perfect companion for the abstract curved brushstrokes of the painting.  

2. Create intimacy with low hanging lighting

(Image credit: Ian Baldwin)

Adding a low hanging chandelier or pendant light to a seating area will help create a cozy sense of intimacy by lowering the visual plane. In this example, a simple six-branched light fitting acts as a centerpiece for a collection of armchairs and a sofa. Crucially, fittings that hang at head height or below should always be in areas where you aren’t planning to walk or stand – place them over a table to avoid any mishaps. 

3. Bring the outside in

(Image credit: Pandora Taylor/ James McDonald)

Connect indoors to out with living room lighting ideas. This delicate foliage design light is from a project by Pandora Taylor and its leaves reflect what is seen through the window.  

‘This space was inspired by the gardens outside, so we introduced subtle floral motifs throughout, including the patterned sofa and the chandelier by Richard Taylor Designs. 

‘We needed something large as the room is so big, and the delicate spread of the light’s arms is perfect for creating bulk in an elegant way. ’ The chandelier silhouette sits sweetly against the pale green walls, another clever reference to the garden beyond. 

4. Experiment with contemporary LED lighting styles 

(Image credit: Davide Lovati)

Classic lighting structures like candle chandeliers, shaded pendant lamps and half moon wall sconces have stood the test of time, but don’t be afraid to embrace a brave new world. LED technology has made it possible for light fittings to come in a wider array of designs, including this hoop arrangement fitted with an LED bar. The artfully tarnished mirror also creates a visual contrast to the fitting’s slick lines, and will help bounce the light around the room. 

5. Generate subtle warmth with lighting

(Image credit: Susie Atkinson)

Give a living room in a neutral palette with delicate highlights of small-scale patterns an edge with the introduction of a burnished brass pendant shade. The soft metallic sheen of the light will cast an inviting glow across the space.

6. Consider the color of the light your fittings shed

(Image credit: Elicyon)

‘It’s important that you consider the color of the light shed by your fittings, whether that be the bulb color or the light diffused by the color of the shade,’ says H&G‘s editor in chief, Lucy Searle.

‘In fact, if you are clever, you can alter the mood of a room, just with a bulb or shade color – here, in this beautiful space by Elicyon, the light given off by the table lamp will be muted and warm, perfect for a living room.’

7. Introduce a new material

(Image credit: Original BTC/Chris Everard )

Living room lights don’t have to be covered in dripping crystal droplets to make a statement, according to director of Original BTC Charlie Bowles: ceramic designs are having a moment, he says. 

‘For living rooms, bone china products are our best sellers. It’s an ideal choice, bringing a lovely softness of finish and a beautifully translucent glow. This soft light is ideal for creating a cozy atmosphere that makes you feel instantly comfortable and relaxed.’

8. Make space for task lighting in a living room

(Image credit: Future)

Now more than ever, our living rooms are having to multi-task, which means our lighting needs to, too. The newest addition to your living room lighting arsenal has to be light to work by. It needn’t be purely functional, even a pretty table lamp like the one above will create a pool of light to work by.

9. Create personality with living room lighting ideas

(Image credit: Mary Wadsworth)

A retro-inspired ceiling light in bronze will work well with an eclectic mix of pattern and texture in a living room – don’t be afraid to embrace clashing prints. Unify the look with a coffee table in the same material as your lighting. 

10. Get textural with lampshades

(Image credit: Jon Day)

As well as covering up unsightly bulbs and helping diffuse light around a room, lampshades are also a chance to inject extra personality into a design scheme. As well as thinking about color and pattern, consider texture too: in this living room, a wicker lampshade adds another layer of tactility to a fabric-centric scheme. As a fairly solid shade, it will keep most of the light pointing downwards, but breaks in the material will allow for a diffused glow above. 

11. Mix mid century lighting and contemporary decor

(Image credit: Studio Duggan/Mariell Lindhasen)

Classic lighting designs can be successfully combined with decor from different eras. This London project from Studio Duggan features limewashed walls, terrazzo floors, a vintage marble coffee table, and a Ligne Roset sofa together with a mid-century brass Sputnik chandelier from 1stDibs that elevates and takes center stage. All the proof you need that you should mix the classic and the contemporary to hit the style top notes. 

12. Blend lighting and artwork with neon

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

A light fitting can be so much more than a nighttime tool – chosen with a bit of creativity, it can double as a work of art that will help to make your living room beautiful.  

A cool, contemporary way to do this is to seek out neon pieces: lettering and line drawings in bright colors will add personality to a room, while also acting as a glowing light source for moody evenings. You can even go all out and commission a neon artist to create something bespoke for you, featuring a favourite quote or even your own handwriting. 

13. Complement living room patterns with lighting

(Image credit: Todhunter Earle Interiors/Jonathan Bond)

Patterned textiles whether on an upholstered sofa or drapes can inform the decoration of a living room, including the lighting. Here, the curtain’s print in parakeet green, indigo blue and brilliant white is reflected in the green walls, blue artwork, and clear white chandelier. 

Interior designer Samantha Todhunter explains, ‘We chose a vintage Mazzega Venetian chandelier from Vincenzo Caffarella (via Alfies Antique Market) in this London sitting room for its shape. It felt like a comfortable fit with the modernist and graphic scheme and gives a translucent focal point to the space.

14. Use lampshades to create decorative accents

(Image credit: Firmdale Hotels/Kit Kemp)

We are big lovers of pattern at H&G, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that we have picked out adding pattern as one of the bonuses that lighting can bring to a room. Our advice? Use it as an opportunity to add a new accent pattern in a different motif size to the others in your room – and of course, take the opportunity to add a new color, too. 

15. Enjoy salvage style

(Image credit: Lucy Cunningham/Harry Crowder)

Look for a vintage light to create a unique room. Interior designer Lucy Cunningham explains of this project, ‘With this room we actually worked backwards. The client loved these vintage lights, which were already in place, so to create a contrast and allow them to become a feature we opted for a neutral color palette and some pretty patterns, creating a light and airy feel around the heavier more contemporary look of the lights.

16. Make a feature of wall art

(Image credit: Kitesgrove)

A contemporary living room needs a very layered approach to lighting, as it has many functions. ‘Downlighters should be nearly invisible, their light picking out art on the wall or shining directly down onto a central console table,’ explains interior designer, Staffan Tollgård of Tollgård Design Group.  

A traditional picture light can work well above a painting, but a directional LED downlight is a good choice for contemporary artwork or if there is insufficient room to fit a picture light.

17. Go pale – and interesting

(Image credit: Helen Cathcart/ND Studios)

To achieve a smart and serene living room stick to neutral white paint for the walls and ceiling. This will highlight the architectural details making the room appear taller. As for lighting, enhance the airy feel of the room by selecting matching shades. 

Here, the lampshades on the OKA Fortuna metal floor lamp and those on the Vaughan Colombier chandelier complement one another. Introduce a hint of color with sofa pillows. 

18. Use a dimmer

(Image credit: Kitesgrove)

Lighting creates mood and atmosphere, and it needs to be versatile so that it works on a dull day just as well as it does for an evening party. 

‘If you have a large living room with three or more lighting circuits, it’s worth considering a control system to avoid the need for a big bank of dimmer switches,’ advises Sally Storey, design director of John Cullen.

19. Make maximum impact

(Image credit: Elicyon/Michael Sinclair)

When you walk into your living room the ceiling light should be the first thing you see according to founder and director of Elicyon Charu Gandhi.

‘In a recent London apartment project, we suspended a floating blanket shaped chandelier made of cast glass, designed by Preciosa, which frames the main living area and can be seen from the entrance to the apartment, so it draws your eye into the space and then to the window and view.

20. Think about lighting as a finishing touch

(Image credit: Matthew Williamson)

Matthew Williamson is renowned for a joyful, expressive style in his interiors and homeware collections. Here he shares insights on living room lighting. 

‘I’ve always been a maximalist, a lover of ornamentation,’ he says, ‘I want to create things that make others feel happy. I’ve never been able to get my head around minimalism or flat color. When I start a room design, I always to think how I can make an empty space give joy and raise a smile.

‘Table lamps complete a room in the same way that jewellery completes an outfit. They are relatively affordable and so even, if you are working to a budget, a few new lamps are a wonderful way to give a whole room a lovely lift.’

21. Light up a reading spot

(Image credit: Future/ Mary Wadsworth)

Ambient or general lighting is usually provided by table lamps, so make sure you have sufficient power points, including some in the floor if the room is large. A floor lamp, ideally with an articulated head that can be angled to direct light, is useful for reading, although a table lamp at just the right height – so that light is cast downwards towards your elbow level – will do too.

22. Create areas of interest

(Image credit: Future | Jon Day )

Even if you are looking for small living room lighting ideas, you needn’t dial down on choices. In fact, the more options, the more layered the room will feel. Add uplighters in corners to add drama to modern schemes. They are often used to create pools of light and shadow. You can also place them behind sculptures and around furniture for a theatrical effect. 

23. Go for grandeur with a chandelier

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

A chandelier or hanging light will add a decorative flourish to any interior, great for living room ceiling ideas. 

A striking chandelier increases the light levels in the room and acts as an elegant statement piece; consider hanging it as low as functionally possible.

24. Play with scale

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

The sense of scale is a key principle for successful interior design – when thinking about how to plan living room lighting, try mixing it up. This striking version of a table lamp throws in an unexpected change of scale, and injects humor into this space. It also adds impact and draws the eye to the couch it looms over.

Don’t shy away from adding a large piece to a room for fear of it being overpowering; in fact, a large-scale pendant, table or floor lamp often makes a space feel much bigger. Playing with light and shadows is a good way to create a visual impression of additional space. 

In very few instances does bigger mean better, but in lighting that is quite often the case. ‘When pondering the size of a decorative light, bigger is generally better – anything too small tends to look mean,’ explains John Cullen Lighting’s Luke Thomas.

25. Think about shade size

(Image credit: Pooky)

When choosing a shade measure the diameter carefully and if in doubt go bigger.  

‘A grander, broader shade will have more presence, like a wide-brimmed hat,’ says interior designer Matthew Williamson. ‘I often team contrasting colors for the base and shade. A color wheel is useful to choose colors that are direct opposites. I have a lamp with a dusky pink shade on a plain green base at home. Blue with orange or rust also looks fabulous.’ 

26. Highlight zones

(Image credit: Kit Kemp/Firmdale Hotels)

When planning living room lighting, consider the different zones and features you would like to highlight. ‘Use accent lighting focused on a prized possession or artwork above the mantlepiece, while table lamps dotted around the room on shelving and console tables diffuse light across the space, ensuring a cozy effect,’ says co-founder of OKA, Lucinda Waterhouse.

27. Work with existing architectural features

(Image credit: MIND THE GAP)

A living room is a fun space in which to create lighting scenes. According to interior designer Rebecca Leivars, you should ‘aim to design a room that reflects the property’s existing architecture and natural light orientation’.  

Try incorporating floor uplights to create interesting shadows and highlight artwork, and downlights to cast gentle scallops of light onto favorite pieces and to drop pools of illumination onto tables.

28. Think in three when it comes to lighting

(Image credit: Stefani Stein)

Try to incorporate three layers of lighting, including floor, wall and ceiling, which will allow you to create different atmospheres at different times of day. Combine them with localized lighting, such as decorative table lamps, which add warmth.

29. Have fun on the ceiling

(Image credit: Future/PaulMassey)

‘I love to add a big dramatic ceiling light – I don’t think I’ve ever done a room without one,’ says interior designer Matthew Williamson. ‘You should always hang a pendant light lower than you think – that definitely adds an extra dimension to the room.’

30. Add color with the right lamps

(Image credit: Future / Jan Baldwin / Katrin Cargill)

If you tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to using bold patterns in living room color schemes, lampshades and bases are a good way to experiment with print and color.  

A simple lamp base can be transformed into a focal point with the addition of a patterned lampshade, but don’t allow your chosen shade to compete with your base; an elaborate base requires a more subdued lampshade.

31. Make sure to light a seating area

(Image credit: Future / Polly Wreford / Sally Denning)

Ensure that each seating area has its own lighting. While a floor lamp may be best placed by an armchair, a couch better suits table lamps at either end. Alternatively, consider living room wall lighting ideas if you are short on space.

32. Craft a cozy corner

(Image credit: VSP Interiors)

Go for low-level lighting, with table, wall and picture lights. Use lights that are dimmable and with a very warm white color temperature. By this, we mean a yellow rather than blue undertone. A dimmer is the quickest and easiest way of changing the atmosphere.

33. Think about tech with a smart lighting system

(Image credit: Ikea)

Smart lighting is growing, especially controlled through an app. These smart systems allow you to set lighting scenes for the room. For instance, you could tell the app that you’re now working in the space so need a brighter light, which can then be changed again later when you’re relaxing. This lamp, from Ikea, is a smart light and speaker, in one.

34. Dramatize a large living room

(Image credit: Future/Polly Wreford)

There’s an art to choosing pendants that are the right size for a space, but if you’re in doubt – and if you have tall ceilings, like this room – it pays to err on the larger side. ‘Overscaling is a secret trick of the interior design trade,’ says Philippa Thorp, director of decorating firm Thorp Design. 

This black wire chandelier is expansive without feeling heavy, echoing both the proportions of the table beneath and the mirror on the wall opposite. 

Filigree designs, such as this Ligne Roset parachute light, can cast complex shadows around the room, but if you want to soften the effect, take another tip from Thorp. ‘I tell all my clients to use pearl bulbs in order to create a gentle glow,’ she says.

35. Add to the atmosphere with wall sconces 

(Image credit: Mary Wadsworth)

Traditional wall lighting fixtures that usually direct light upwards, sconces have been used within interiors for centuries, but are becoming increasingly popular with today’s interior designers. While historically they would have held candles or oil lamps, today there’s an array of bulb sconce lights with a fresh, contemporary take on the traditional design.

‘Layered lighting is key to ensure your room feels its best all year round, and wall sconces can act as a supplementary light output to work alongside pendants to achieve this. Many of our wall lighting is made for creating cozy corners out of alcoves, archways and other architectural nooks. However, sconces are also extraordinarily apt at creating pockets of subdued light in larger rooms for boosting the ambience where needed,’ says Sheena Lawrence, co-founder at Jim Lawrence.  

When it comes to where to position sconce lighting, Lucy of LCT Home, has this advice: ‘generally they are placed at just above eye level, high enough that the light can reach the areas above and below that you wish to illuminate, whilst also being able to add an aesthetically pleasing decoration to a room when they are not on.’

36. Take a cue from the architecture

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

A magnificent double height living space is the ideal space to showcase a statement pendant light and nothing commands attention like a show-stopping chandelier. While they may be associated with traditional look, they can make a striking statement when fitted in a contemporary space as this beautiful scheme proves. 

‘Placing an interesting, statement light in the centre of the ceiling provides a great focal point and design interest in the room, especially if you are keeping a muted palette in the space. Go for something mid-sized or go for an oversized chandelier if you have a large living room with high ceilings to make a real statement. Afterall, lighting should look beautiful whether switched on or off,’ says Shalini Misra, Interior Designer and Founder, Shalini Misra Ltd and The Design Buzz.

37. Add pattern with table lamps

(Image credit: Penny Morrison)

If you are looking to create a traditional living room you can’t go wrong with table lamps and according to Penny Morrison you can never have too many. Perfect for creating a cosy mood and easy to reposition throughout the room, they are also a great way to add a pop of color and pattern.

‘I always light rooms with lamps only, except where there are very dark corners where I will put small down lights in the corners of the room on dimmer switches which can be used to gently enhance the illusion of daylight on a really dark day,’ says interior designer Penny Morrison. 

‘When the room is large and there are a lot of lamps (a large drawing room can have up to 12 lamps) it makes a huge difference if you use gently patterned fabric shades so as not to see a sea of white or cream on entering the room.

38. Use wall lights to highlight artwork

(Image credit: Kitesgrove / Mark Bolton Photography)

Wall lighting is a brilliant way to add atmosphere in a living room but can also be used to highlight wall decor and artowrk, too. rather than opt for traditional over-head picture lights, why not add an eye-catching design that serves as a piece of wall art in its own right? ‘This light highlights the art in a modern way rather than using traditional picture lighting, and its sculptural silhouette adds a modern touch,’ says says Clara Ewart, head of design at Kitesgrove.

39. Add a floor lamp for reading

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to living room lighting, ‘you need to create a layered lighting scheme to have the right light for different moods and tasks,’ explains Shalini Misra, interior designer and founder, Shalini Misra Ltd and The Design Buzz, so be sure to think carefully about how you use the room and to factor in a variety of light sources to meet the requirements.  

‘Think about flexible light sources for different situations: a floor light with a swivel arm is ideal as an evening reading lamp behind a sofa or chair,’ says Hollie Moreland, creative director of David Hunt Lighting. ‘Remember that shade colours can affect the mood of a room, so for added ambience, choose darker tones which will feel moodier and cosier.’

if you are adding floor lights then you may consider having sockets set into the floor at the centre of the room by sofas to avoid having trailing wires.

What is the best type of lighting for a living room?

Living rooms tend to be one of the most sociable rooms in the home, used for relaxing, entertaining, watching TV or reading, so lighting needs to be flexible, with each effect controlled separately to change the mood.

Currently, the most popular modern lights are actually re-workings of traditional fittings. One of the top selling light bulbs over the past year has been the squirrel cage lamp. The filament in the bulb gives a soft warm glow and it is designed to be seen directly. The lights can either be suspended from the ceiling as naked bulbs in clusters, or used with spun steel pendants for an industrial look.

Recent advances in technology have provided several new lighting opportunities, and in turn, broadened our horizons when it comes to fittings. A single pendant light can add wow factor, as can a cluster of etched glass bulbs hanging at different lengths. In other areas, discreet lighting creates a coolly contemporary touch – small 1-watt uplighters, for example, will add drama to elements you’d like to highlight.

Try to combine ambient, task and accent lighting instead of relying on just one type of light in a room, which can result in a flat effect. Instead, put picture lights, shelf lighting, lamps and downlights on different dimmable circuits to create a layered effect with plenty of flexibility and control.

Bear in mind that classical rooms often benefit from being offset by very modern fittings, while contemporary schemes are frequently enhanced by traditional or retro-style lighting. Try to avoid grids of downlights, as their beams can be too harsh, and don’t neglect darker areas. Lighting corners can often help maximise a sense of space.

How should I light my living room?

‘Aim for a mix of traditional and contemporary styles within a home. In a period drawing room with decorative cornicing, for example, why not consider a very modern chandelier, rather than a classic option,’ advises Luke Thomas of John Cullen Lighting. ‘Discreet, low-glare, architectural style lighting can work well with most schemes, as it will subtly enhance your chosen style.’

To make a bold statement, either use a really decorative light fitting which is a feature in its own right, or opt for much more discreet lighting to highlight an architectural feature. 

Another easy way to create drama and add more light is to use recessed uplights to skim light over a textured wall, the jambs of a fireplace or even columns.

Where should lamps be placed in a living room?

Lamps should ideally be placed near furniture to create a cohesive living room lighting scheme. Avoid just placing lamps around a room’s perimeter, which leaves a dark hole in the center. The key to a well lit living room is to introduce multiple layers that integrate both ambient, decorative and task lighting seamlessly.

Layers of light are the most effective way to illuminate a room that is likely to be used for different purposes, including entertaining, relaxing, reading a book or watching television. This can be achieved by combining decorative wall and table lamps with architectural lighting, so that you can switch between them as required.

Every fitting is different, so working out exactly where to position a light should be considered on an individual basis. However, as a general rule, wall lights are best positioned around head height, while pendants hanging over a coffee table can be lower. But take care that they do not cause obstruction. Opt for those that allow adjustment to the drop length from the ceiling.

Lighting in the living room: 100 photo options for organizing light sources


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From general to local — we tell in detail what lighting should be in a modern living room, and analyze scenarios for different layouts.

Instagram @greydecointeriors

A lot depends on the right light: how comfortable you will be in the room, how the furniture, decoration and decor will look, whether you will spoil your eyesight while sitting with a book under a dim lamp. In this article, we will tell you how to plan lighting in the living room so that it meets all the needs of the residents and looks beautiful.

How to think about the light in the living room

Basic rules
Types of lamps
— For main light
— For local lighting
Scenario options
— Kitchen-living room
– Private room
– Living room-bedroom
— Combination with cabinet
If the ceiling is low

Instagram @tanadji

Let’s start with general rules to help you plan your living room lighting design:

  • Think over the light at the stage of repair. The placement of functional zones depends on this. For ceiling and wall lights, you will need outlets, and you also need to immediately plan the location of the outlets.
  • Regardless of the size and function of the room, there must be at least two types of lighting: main and local. Often decorative lighting is added to them.
  • The number of light points and the power of the lamps depend on the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe room, the location and size of the windows.
  • Each functional area must have its own light sources. For example, if you have a large kitchen-living room, the lamps should not only be on the ceiling in the center of the room, but also in the cooking area, above the dining room and the soft sofa group.
  • Don’t forget the accessories. If the room is dark, a beautiful picture will simply merge with a gray or beige wall. Figured floor vase – will become a nondescript shadow in the corner. So that the accent details are not lost against the general background, spotlight the large decor. This can be either museum-type lighting (for example, small lamps above paintings) or hidden. For decorative lighting in the living room in a modern style, LED strips are well suited.
  • Choose the right light temperature. It should not be too yellow (the eyes will get tired, and the colors in the room will be distorted), nor too white – you will get the effect of hospital lamps, the space will become uncomfortable.



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ohm. There are many models of lamps that fit different scenarios and interior styles.


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For skylight use:

  • Chandeliers are a classic option for which it is important to choose the right height and decor. The smaller the room, the closer to the ceiling the chandelier should hang, so as not to clutter up the space and not visually reduce the height of the walls. The large format and many decorative details are suitable for spacious rooms and matching styles. For example, in Art Deco, Neoclassicism and Classics, a luxurious accent chandelier is indispensable.
  • Plafonds – there can be one large or a group of plafonds on the same base. In the second case, consider their number: the more modest the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe living room, the less they should be so as not to overload the interior.
  • Spots are a miniature version of spotlights. Small in size, they are mounted on the base, and the body itself can be rotated at any angle, directing the stream of light where it is needed.
  • Spot – are built into the canvas and are almost invisible. For maximum effect, choose models without contours – so they completely dissolve into the ceiling.
  • Pendant lights are well suited for local lighting. And in the united space they also zone it. So, most often, hanging models are placed above the dining group in the kitchen-living room. Hangers differ not only in design, but also in the type of fastening: it can be point (on a cord), linear (on a rectangular base) and circular (for a group of lamps). As well as the design: there are linear models and those that are mounted on various cables.



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These include:

  • Floor lamps – various types of floor lamps, which are selected taking into account the style of the room, the height of the ceiling and the necessary functionality. For example, if you love to read in your living room, check out a hinged floor lamp that can be tilted to make the light more directional.
  • Table lamps – small lamps are suitable for illuminating a desktop and a bed, but they can also be used as a decorative light. This includes nightlights and electric candles.
  • Wall – any sconces that are mounted on the wall. They are convenient to highlight a dining group, a reading nook, highlight corners or emphasize decor.



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Let’s analyze the best lighting design options in the living room for different scenarios.

Kitchen-living room

Now this is one of the most popular layouts, as open combined spaces are in trend.

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Main features:

  • It is necessary to illuminate a fairly large area, which is not blocked by walls and blank partitions.
  • There are at least three functional areas: the kitchen itself, the dining room and the hall.
  • Light in this case plays not only a technical role, but also acts as a zoning tool.

If the room is small in area (10-15 sq. m.), for the general overhead light, one ceiling lamp in the center or spots along the perimeter of the ceiling will suffice. For a spacious room, it is better to make two or even three main lamps in different parts of the room.

Local illumination is located in each zone. In the kitchen, this is usually the illumination of the work surface and cabinets. In the dining room, pendant lights or wall sconces next to the dining table. In the recreation area – soft diffused light from a floor lamp or lamps.

If the living room has a stretch ceiling, lighting and different height levels will help zone the space without overloading it with heavy structures. For example, the canvas may be slightly lower in the cooking area and slightly higher in the living part of the room. Above the sofa group, you can organize hidden lighting around the perimeter, which will give a soft, subdued light.



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Separate room

Ceiling lighting in the living room is represented by a beautiful chandelier, a system of LEDs (they can be hidden or accent) or a powerful lamp with a large shade.

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The rest of the illumination depends on the footage, shape and content of the room. If you have a home library, organize micro-illumination of the shelves, and also make sure that it is convenient to read books. For example, place a floor lamp or hang a sconce with a sufficiently powerful light on the wall near the sofa or armchair.

It is important that in the relaxation area you can quickly change the light mode from bright to dim. So you can change the mood and create a relaxed atmosphere for a romantic evening, watching a movie, etc. And dim warm lighting will not glare from the screen.



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Living room-bedroom

If the hall is combined with the bedroom, it is important to think over the lighting scenarios so that you can both relax and spend time actively with family or friends.

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Use the following scheme:

  • Main ceiling light – 1-2 ceiling lamps (depending on the size of the room).
  • Sufficiently bright local sources in the hall – a floor lamp, pendant lamps, sconces.
  • Subdued lighting in the sleeping area.
  • Brighter point sources near the bed (eg nightstand lamp). If you have a dressing table or wardrobe, light them up as well.



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Combination with Cabinet

An apartment does not always have space for a separate office, so the workplace is often arranged in a common room.

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The lighting system here will be the same as in a regular separate living room, only the illumination of the workplace is added. And it should be not only a small table lamp next to the computer. To make it comfortable to work at the computer and with papers, add another light source in this area. Let it be a soft LED-backlight, a small floor lamp or a pendant lamp.



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A completely separate category – a small room with low ceilings. Often living rooms in typical apartments, especially in the secondary housing, are just that.

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Important to know:
  • Light visually corrects proportions and expands space just like traditional tools like a light palette and mirrors. And in combination with them gives an even greater effect.
  • Minimize the number of pendant lights, especially long and massive ones. Use predominantly wall, table and floor models. From the ceiling, pay attention to the built-in spots and track systems.
  • Win-win – LED lighting around the perimeter, which creates the effect of a floating ceiling. The canvas visually deepens and rises up. This type of lighting is easy to equip on a tension structure.
  • To visually stretch the walls upwards, choose vertically shaped sconces and chandeliers with light directed upwards.
  • Highlighting the corners will also visually expand the space.



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Prepared by

Anastasia Stepanova

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60+ photos, placement rules and selection of fixtures

How to arrange lighting?

Before choosing lamps, it is necessary to determine their functional purpose.

  • The living room is usually decorated with general lighting (or central, when the lamps are located under the ceiling), directional (or working, when the light falls on a certain surface), and decorative (designed to create the right atmosphere).
  • The ease of use of the light depends on the location of the switches. Their installation should be considered at the stage of creating a design project. The best options for placing switches are: the space near the door, the walls near the sofa for relaxation, as well as the work area.
  • It is worth remembering that one chandelier in the living room is not enough. Overhead lighting does not give much light, so there should be at least two sources.
  • Light helps visually enlarge a small living room with a low ceiling. One of these methods is the use of floor lamps. It is also recommended to install LED lighting around the perimeter of the ceiling in order to visually deepen it.

Which lamps are suitable for the hall?

With different types of fixtures, you can create several types of lighting in the living room.


Individual objects (paintings, collections of objects) or specific areas can be effectively emphasized with spotlights. They are suspended, built-in or movable on a rail. Swivel lights can be adjusted horizontally and vertically. Whether the spots will cope with the main lighting (for example, built into a stretch ceiling) or serve as directional sources depends on their number and location.

The photo shows a living room with combined lighting, where ceiling spots play the role of the main lighting.


Chandelier is a traditional lighting option in the living room. When choosing it, it is worth considering not only the style of the interior, but also the dimensions of the lighting fixture, as well as the degree of light dispersion. For a small living room, a ceiling chandelier fixed close to the surface is suitable, and owners of spacious rooms and high ceilings can choose a classic pendant product on a long stand or chains.

Pictured is a loft-style living room with low ceilings illuminated by a chic chrome chandelier and LED lighting.

Wall sconces

Wall sconces are often located in the seating area – behind the sofa or the head of the bed, if the living room includes a sleeping place. They can be a pair or act as an independent light source. In a country cottage, lamps are hung on both sides of the fireplace or above it. The light directed upwards is visually able to raise the ceiling.

Floor lamp

Book lovers will appreciate the floor lamp on a high stand – the soft diffused light of the lampshade directs the light downwards and does not allow the eyes to get tired. That is why floor lamps are often placed in the recreation area. In addition to the function of lighting, they can play the role of an object zoning space.

The photo shows a small living room with a floor lamp, which acts not only as a directional side light source, but also as a kind of interior item.


Due to its compactness and mobility, the lamp can be placed on any horizontal surface: cabinet, chest of drawers or coffee table. Its position can be changed depending on the needs of the owner.

The photo shows an emerald living room, where an additional light source is a lamp mounted on a slab table.

Suspension lamps

Today, such products with a variety of shades are at the height of fashion. For high ceilings, this is the best option, as the light from the pendant lamps can be directed to a specific area or create the desired mood.


Lighting in the living room is a composition of several light sources. Let’s take a closer look at the main scenarios.


General lighting is usually used for utilitarian purposes: including a chandelier or ceiling lights, we achieve a room that is evenly flooded with light. This scenario is perceived by people in different ways: someone prefers an abundance of lamps and feels comfortable at the same time, while someone feels discomfort. During the reception, it is customary to turn on as many lighting fixtures as possible – this sets you up for an open and friendly conversation.

Central lighting can be implemented as a single chandelier or in combination with ceiling lights. In the living room, it is better to give preference to warm light – the most pleasant for the eyes is 2600-3500K (Kelvin).

Lighting of functional areas

By locally highlighting a certain area of ​​the room with lamps, we not only achieve comfort by illuminating the desired piece of furniture, but also zone the space. If the dining area is not adjacent to the wall, but is located in the center, the lamp is hung directly above the table. This technique has been very popular lately. The same applies to a sofa placed in the middle of the living room – it is illuminated either by a floor lamp or a pendant lamp.

The photo shows a clear example of light zoning: in the living room-studio there is a seating area (blue armchair), a dining table and a place for cooking.

Another option for functional lighting is to illuminate the wall around the TV. This is not only beautiful, but also useful: the LED strip reduces eye strain, and besides, it is easy to install it yourself.


Decorative lighting is easy to do without, but the interior can lose a lot. Spotlights or ribbons, revealing the texture of objects, can turn ordinary things into works of art. The play of light emphasizes what needs to be highlighted. Among other things, designers make up whole compositions from unusual lamps.

The photo shows a luxurious symmetrical living room with illuminated paintings located on the sides of the fireplace.

Intelligent lighting or smart

Smart lighting allows you to control electrical appliances remotely. Special lamps are equipped with a sensor that reads movement or sound (the famous turning on of light by the clap of the palms). Now devices that can be controlled using gadgets are gaining popularity. In addition to bringing originality to the environment, the intelligent system also saves energy.

Interior styles

Let’s consider the features of living room lighting in different styles.

Modern style

Lighting in a modern living room is both beauty and comfort. When furnishing a room, you must first ask yourself the question: why do we need this or that light source? If he plays to maintain style, as in a high-tech living room, then decorative lighting with a cold tint comes to the fore. Its task is to create a special mood, for example, to transfer it to the “interior of the future”.

If functionality is a priority, then the owner of the room should plan what he will do in this or that zone (rest, read, work), and then mistakes can be avoided.

Pictured is a small living room, where the LED strip on the shelves highlights the decor and serves as a light source for reading, and the LED lighting on the ceiling makes it seem higher.

If a modern living room is decorated with minimalism, then there should be a lot of light. The concept of minimalism is, first of all, an abundance of air. Natural lighting, as a rule, is not enough, so the walls are painted in white tones, and light sources are chosen in unobtrusive, simple forms.

The photo shows a spacious minimalist room filled with light. Sources are ceiling lights, spotlights near the TV, wall sconces and a chandelier over the dining table.


The chandelier plays the main role in the lighting scenario of a classic interior. Additional sources are sconces, floor lamps and table lamps. Lighting fixtures should be detailed, richly decorated, with carved or crystal elements. You can also use candlesticks or their imitation.

The photo shows an elegant living room in a classic style. The purpose of lighting here is not only to illuminate the room, but also to impress.


Living room lighting in loft style, despite the rough finish, must be of high quality. Lamps are what helps to maintain a balance between “industrial” elements and airiness: after all, a loft involves a lot of free space.

Perfectly fit into the loft:

  • pendant lamps in the form of light bulbs on long wires;
  • spots on movable tracks or built directly into ceiling beams;
  • chandeliers stylized as street lights.

Metal and black create contrast and pair well with wood and brick.


Multi-level lighting in the living room in the Scandinavian style, which will provide lightness and comfort, should be conducive to relaxation. In this style, you can combine all types of lamps: laconic wall sconces, floor lamps with thin legs and even massive chandeliers. Do not forget about functionality – it is recommended to choose products with the ability to adjust the light (lamps with a dimmer).

The photo shows a Scandinavian-style living room that combines several lighting fixtures at once.

Design options

Let’s take a look at some more interesting ideas for unusual lighting in the living room.

Living room lighting with stretch ceiling

Today stretch ceiling will not surprise anyone, but unusual designs are still popular in many interiors. A curious solution is the floating ceiling: the effect of the canvas “hanging” in the air is achieved through the use of illumination between the surface and the structure itself.

The photo shows a stylish interior with a “floating” design and purple lighting.

Stylish and modern looks lighting from lines that can only illuminate the ceiling or go to the walls.

The photo shows linear lighting that makes the interior attractive and distinctive.

Romantics and connoisseurs of original lighting will choose a ceiling with an imitation of the starry sky. It will create an atmosphere of magic and tranquility. This design is created using light-conducting threads.

The photo shows a magnificent living room with a soaring ceiling that imitates the starry sky.

Examples of lighting the hall without a chandelier

If you use ceiling lights as the central lighting of the living room, it is important to correctly calculate their number and the distance at which they will be located from each other. This question is best addressed to professionals.

Wall sconces, pendants and spotlights will do the job of illuminating the entire living room.

Multi-level lighting

The idea of ​​mixed lighting is to support several lighting scenarios in the hall at once. Ideally, if each site can be adjusted “for itself.” To do this, you need to have several switches, as well as the ability to adjust the power and direction of the light.

Light zoning ideas

Light zoning is especially relevant in combined living rooms, for example, in a studio or Khrushchev, where the kitchen is connected to the room. By highlighting one zone, we shade what is not currently used.

In the photo there is a living room where several zones can be distinguished by light: a work surface in the kitchen, a dining area and a place to relax.

Zone lighting will be useful if the hall is equipped with an office, a place for needlework or a table for applying makeup.

The photo shows a small living room with a multifunctional table, which is highlighted by light.

Photo gallery

Proper organization of lighting in the living room will allow the interior to look harmonious, and the owners of the house – to spend time comfortably in it.