living room lighting guide


The living room is easily the most dynamic area of the home. Since we are in 2021 living room lighting should have great lighting fixtures for both function and ambiance. Although every living room is different and requires a unique lighting design, there are a few elements all good living room lighting design should have. 

As we always say Living room lighting should always have — Ambient, Task, and Accent lighting, also we would like to add one more layer for decorative lights under ‘Feature Lighting’. 

Feature lighting is stylish feature solutions, ideal for environments requiring mood & an eye-catching focal point to draw attention. Feature lighting extends beyond ambient and accent lighting to accentuate desired characteristics, create mood or orientation functions. Feature lighting provides an array of solutions for many diverse applications.

We believe the good lighting design for sure is understanding dark as much as understanding light, that best suits the room’s mood, architectural features, and purpose. Let’s take a look color temperature for living rooms, and a few lighting options, we have for living room lighting with these factors in mind.

What mood or atmosphere you want to create with living room lighting?

  • Do you want a warm soft glow or a cool white light for your space?
    Warm lighting is ideal for when you want to relax and unwind, while a cool white light is energizing and ideal for a more open-plan space that benefits from brighter lighting. Read about our detailed blog about light color temperature here


  • Do you prefer a dimmer switch or a standard flick switch?
    Dimmer switches are ideal for setting the right tone for your lighting needs. These will allow an individual to slide the switch to their desired level of lighting, which uses less electricity than a switch that is either fully on or fully off. When combined with LED light bulbs, dimmer switches can help control your building’s energy costs. Read more about lighting control system


  • And finally, what is your budget?
    Lighting can be pretty costly so it’s worth shopping around for what you need.
ultimate guide to living room lighting blog

01. Ambient lighting for overall illumination

Ambient lighting is intended to create a uniform light level throughout a space, independent of any special lighting that may be needed in targeted areas of a room. While many living rooms are equipped for this task with the standard “centered ceiling fan with four light bulbs” fair, you may want to consider alternative light fixtures to give your living room a more stylish or updated look.

If you’re looking to make major changes or want a more even light distribution, spot and downlights are one of the best choices for ambient light in this space since they take up little room and are often installed in multiples to ensure wider light coverage. If you decide recessed lighting is right for you but your ceiling is not already equipped for a recessed can lighting layout, consult an electrician to learn how to accomplish this task.

Also, there are surface mount lights that can be used if there are no gypsum ceilings available. Regardless of your light fixture(s), you will need light bulbs. When choosing bulbs for any space, you should carefully consider factors such as bulb shape and size, light source (incandescent, fluorescent, LED, etc.), brightness, and energy efficiency, although one of the most important yet overlooked factors to think about is color temperature

Many people prefer warm, yellow lighting (3000K-3500K) in their living room because it sets a comfortable ambiance and complements the earthy tones typically used in the living room décor. However, some people prefer brighter, natural white light (4000K) to create a more energizing atmosphere and enhance airy or fresh colors such as blues, greens, and whites. 

So while choosing the color temperature it’s always better to use color temperature between (3000K – 4000K), warm white, and natural white. 

Here is the list of few amazing Luminaires from top lighting brands like FLOS, iGuzzini, John Cullen

ultimate lighting for living room lighting northerncult blog

02. Accent lighting to highlight artworks and architectural features

Accent lighting is used mainly to focus on a specific point of interest or to achieve the desired effect. This type of lighting gives the impression of a larger room. It is more frequently used to highlight an architectural feature, a plant (in outdoor layout), a sculpture, or a collection of objects. There are many ways to incorporate accent lighting into your living room lighting, three of the most common techniques used in living room lighting are backlighting, display lighting, and wall-washing.

  • Cove light & Backlighting is when you place a light behind an object to create the illusion of depth, typically using LED strip light. In the living room, some of the best places to use backlight accents include inside alcoves, under cabinets, beneath furniture, behind screens or displays, and underneath steps.

  • Display lighting is to light or objects you want to make more prominent in a room. You may want to use display decorative objects resting on alcoves or shelves inside a large, glass-door cabinet, to better display artwork on your walls or above your fireplace.

  • Wall-washing is accomplished by directing light towards features on your wall. This technique is typically used to expand boundaries or call attention to positive aspects of a room. Create a wall-washing effect with recessed eyeball lights, track lights, or other directional fixtures


Task lighting ultmitate lighting guide for living room lighting

03. Task lighting to provide light for a specific purpose or task

Task lighting in living room lighting isn’t a luxury, task lighting illuminates the tasks a person carries out in a given space such as reading, cooking, computer work. A brighter light is required in a smaller focal point of the room for these sorts of tasks. For a more pleasant illumination, it is often best to avoid harsh lights or lighting that cast troublesome shadows. It is also practical to install a single switch for focal lighting, independent of the room’s overall lighting switch.

Floor lamps or table lamps resting on end tables are two common examples of task lighting in the living room. You will likely use these fixtures to create low-level lighting while you’re watching TV or to direct light onto a book or other activity while you’re sitting on the couch. 

The light quality for this space should either match that of your ambient light or be a little brighter and whiter so you can have stronger, clearer light to increase your focus on activities. Studies have shown that high color temperature lighting can boost productivity. So if you have a space in your living room dedicated to work or a hobby, you may want to consider using a bulb that emits light in a color temperature above 4000K.

living room lighting guidline blog

04. Feature lighting that gives space personality and identity

Feature lighting is defintly the most eyecatching type of lighting in living room lighting, Feature lighting extends beyond ambient and accent lighting to accentuate desired characteristics, create mood or orientation functions. Feature lighting provides an array of solutions for many diverse applications. 

Feature lighting is the underestimated gem of the lighting world. Your living room is home to such a diverse range of activities, and you need to have the right lighting to help you in each and every situation. Feature lighting will bring the design element in any living room – just make sure you have all three layers of lighting in the mix too. 

FAQs about living room lighting

How do I light up my living room?

1. Develop a basic lighting plan understanding your requirements
2. Choose the right color temperature, the Warm white color is best for livingrooms, bedrooms, providing a traditional warm, cozy feel to them or any room that requires an intimate and personal mood. Consider using Neutral light (4000K) for task lights.
3. Use layers of lighting such as downlight as ambient lights, Pendant lights as accent lights, and consider using floor lamps if you need task lights.
4. Consider using decorative pendant light or chandeliers as feature light to match the ambiance of the living room, which gives a personality to space.
5. Install dimmer switches to adjust the brightness, and maybe a DALI lighting system to group the lights for turn on, dimming, and wireless light control system.

How do I choose a ceiling light for a living room?

Measure the ceiling height. Choose the size of the Ceiling fixture diameter and height. Also make sure you pick the light fixture with the right installation, like a recessed or surface mount light fixture. Use the color and finish to match the overall ambiance of the room. Choose dark finishes like black or bronze if your home has dark door hardware

How many lights should I put in my living room?

Rather than choosing the light quantity try to incorporate three layers of lighting such as downlight as ambient lights, Pendant lights as accent lights, and consider using floor lamps or table lamps if you need task lights. Consider using decorative pendant light or chandeliers as feature light to match the ambiance of the room, which gives a personality to space.

How bright should a living room be?

The living room should be around the average lux level should be 300 lux (28 - 30 foot candles) for general areas, 500 lux (46 - 50 foot candles) for task areas.
living-room-lighting guide

Download Our Free Lighting Ebook Now!

    This Post Has One Comment

    Comments are closed.