Small Changes, Big Impact
Metal golden wall

Fotocelia / Getty Images

The Ultimate Guide


Living Room Lighting Ideas

  • 01 of 14

    Lighting a Living Room

    Multiple lights in a living room
    Jonathan Adler

    A living room feels comfortable with a layering of ambient, accent, and task lighting. Ambient light, usually an overhead fixture, gives the room its overall brightness. Accent lighting highlights specific objects or artwork. In this living room from Jonathan Adler, a fixture of five hanging pendant lights illuminate the seating area while also casting a light on the artwork over the mantel. Numerous floor and table lamps offer more accent and task lighting.

    Continue to 2 of 14 below.
  • 02 of 14

    A Robust Assortment

    Living room with a variety of lights
    Cheyne Terrace

    A mix of fixtures placed at different points in the space creates this brilliant living room's lighting scheme in London's Cheyenne Terrace. The living room's general lighting comes from two ambient sources, which include the hanging pendant chandelier and strategically placed recessed lights. A few recessed lights also act as accent lighting over the artwork. Cove lighting highlights the ceiling's architecture. To finish the lighting plan, table lamps fill in the seating areas. A sculptural floor lamp brings life to an otherwise bare wall. 

    Continue to 3 of 14 below.
  • 03 of 14

    Dual Purpose

    Warm living room lighting
    Su Hodges Interiors

    In this elegant living room by Su Hodges Interiors, recessed lighting serves two functions. It provides a majority of the illumination in the space. But, it's also strategically placed above the mantel to wash the stone wall with light and to highlight the artwork. The second source of ambient lighting comes from the chandelier. The fixture focuses more on brightening the seating area and eliminates the need for extra table lamps around the sofa. 

    Continue to 4 of 14 below.
  • 04 of 14

    Multiple Fixtures

    Living room with multiple ceiling lights
    Kari Wilbanks Interior Design

    In this large living room, a single overhead fixture wouldn't be enough to illuminate the space. In this living room by designer Kari Wilbanks, multiple lighting fixtures provide ambient lighting. It works in this space without becoming overwhelming to the eye because the fixtures are simple with clean lines. The grouping hangs perfectly spaced rather than in random spots, which helps the living room feel orderly.  

    Continue to 5 of 14 below.
  • 05 of 14

    Ceiling Accent

    Unique ceiling accent light
    Creative West Architects

    Cove lighting around the perimeter of a ceiling in this living room by Creative West Architects accomplishes two things. The cove lighting accents the ceiling's architectural detail, and it also offers soft ambient lighting around the entire space. All that's needed in the rest of this small living room are a few recessed lights to accent the mantel, and lamps for reading.

    Continue to 6 of 14 below.
  • 06 of 14

    Consider an Arc

    Sometimes, the best ambient lighting doesn't come from the ceiling. In this living room by Caitlin McCarthy Design, the arc floor lamp is not only a statement fixture, but it's also the source of ambient lighting. The arc lamp in this contemporary room leaves the ceiling pristine white, which makes it recede for the appearance of a taller room.

    Continue to 7 of 14 below.
  • 07 of 14

    Sculptural Sconces

    Modern living room sconces
    Disc Interiors

    Sculptural wall sconces make a bold statement in this living room by Disc Interiors. Though discreet recessed lighting illuminates the entire space, the adjustable sconces provide both accent and task lighting. The sconces hang on the perfect wall where they reach over the seating and they're also near the room's artwork.

    Continue to 8 of 14 below.
  • 08 of 14

    Built-In Accents

    Built-in accent lights
    Juliette Byrne

    In this living room from Juliette Byrne, accent lighting is one of the most creative elements of the room. The eye is immediately drawn to the task lights glowing inside the built-in shelving. The combination of light and decorative accessories flanking the fireplace creates a bright focal wall. Task lighting on shelving can be accomplished with cabinet lights, such as LED rope lights, tape light strips, or puck lights.

    Continue to 9 of 14 below.
  • 09 of 14

    Visual Balance

    Living room floor lamps
    Barbara Brown

    In addition to recessed lighting, two large lamps give off task light for the sofa and accent light for the artwork at the same time. The lamps balance the lighting in this living room, and it's just enough for this small, already bright space. 

    Continue to 10 of 14 below.
  • 10 of 14

    Pure Symmetry

    Elegant living room with chandelier and sconces
    SFA Design / Meghan Beierle-O'Brien

    This hushed living room is all symmetry in its design, including the lighting. In this room by SFA Design, the lighting fixtures mix traditional and contemporary looks. A classic chandelier and wall sconces blend well with modern table task lamps to add character and personality to this formal space.

    Continue to 11 of 14 below.
  • 11 of 14

    Statement Fixtures

    Living room with sputnik chandelier
    Robert Dana Design via Houzz

    The designers at Robert Dana Design embraced the challenge to light the high ceilings of this living room. The large, commanding sputnik-inspired chandelier grabs the eye's attention, yet it's hung low enough so that it feels connected to the seating area. During the day, the room is further lit with a steady stream of natural light. At night, the sparkling light of the chandelier is cast in all directions while reflecting off the windows.

    Continue to 12 of 14 below.
  • 12 of 14

    Light and Function

    Ceiling fan lights in this living room maximize space and function, especially welcome in warmer climates. Mixed era fixtures, such as the ceiling fans, are often found in midcentury modern rooms. Recessed lighting adds to the ambient lighting plan in the room, layered with table task lights that disappear in the room, leaving the furnishings as the star of the space.

    Continue to 13 of 14 below.
  • 13 of 14

    Architectural Detailing

    The glowing coffered ceiling in this classic, elegant living room by K2 Design Group is low enough in this space so that its illumination accomplishes two things. First, it accents the exquisite architectural detailing of the ceiling. Second, it's also a source of ambient lighting for the entire room. Traditional table lamps function as task lighting.

    Continue to 14 of 14 below.
  • 14 of 14

    Trust Your Instincts

    Statement ceiling fixture by Jonathan Adler
    Jonathan Adler

    The lighting in this vibrant living room by Jonathan Adler is not only fun, but it's also a critical part of why this eclectic decor style works. The inspiring layers of lighting include the massive hanging chandelier which illuminates the seating area, wall sconces to accent the artwork over the sofa, a separate single accent lamp to highlight another piece of art, and a pair of slim floor lamps for task lighting.