Living room lighting tips

While visiting one of my clients recently in their home I was asked whether the living room had enough lighting. They recently redone the ceiling and added spotlights which is great but certainly not enough. Since this project is nowhere near the finish line I found this open plan living/dining room similar to the one I’m working on to show you what lighting you need in your space as a bear minimum.

Living room lighting tips


Now, each designer might give you a different answer to this. Some say at least 5 lighting points, others say 6 or even 8. In my opinion, ideally, you want 6 sources of lighting but the absolute bear minimum is 4.

No matter how much daylight your room gets during the day having 4 – 6 lighting sources is vital for creating cosy atmosphere while substituting the daylight in the evenings. Your living room should have general, task, accent and indirect lighting which I wrote about here. The aim here is to create different layers of lighting (by using different lights) which will give you different effects – wall washing, floor washing, downlighting or uplighting. Then use these layers/sources in different proportions and intensities depending on the balance you want to create in the room. Makes sense?

1/ Wall lights – great for creating nice and cosy atmosphere in the evenings. See how these wall lights in the living room (and the dining room as well) bring attention to the art? I love how this type of light is an uplight and downlight at the same time creating a wall-washing effect. I also love how the art in the living area is washed around with a concealed light around it.

2/ Chandelier / ceiling pendant – is a must. But not only for its functionality. Making a centrepiece out of it is a great idea as well. It grounds the area and defines the space and usage. Plus it tells a lot about you and your personality. Use it as a statement.

3/ Floor lamp – adds personality and again functionality. It can be placed next to an armchair and used while reading. Again try to find a lamp which defines your style.

4/ Table lamps – another necessary element which needs to be part of your room. Personally, I like working with them in pairs. They anchor a certain area i.e. sofa, side tables or sideboard. Notice how these table lamps are placed on either side of the corner sofa. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Anchor, define and add another lighting layer.

Does your living room need more lighting? Did you manage to identify what type of lighting it needs? Do tell!

Karolina Barnes Studio


PS: Have you a design dilemma question? Comment below or send me an email and I will cover it next time!