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How to Use Lighting to Improve Your Living Room Décor

Interior Design & Decor

(Guest Writer: Emmy Noel)

The right lighting can help to set the mood in your home. Having the right amount of light, especially when it is in balance with your circadian rhythm, can have a positive effect on sleep, mood, wakefulness, digestion, and even your body’s ability to control the temperature.

Poor lighting, on the other hand, can contribute to feelings of depression and even to other deficiencies in the body. Thus, it is important to get your lighting just right.

In addition to lighting, however, there are ways to leverage lighting components to improve the décor in your home. In particular, your living room can take on an entirely new look and feel when lit correctly.

Lighting to create a new look for your living room

Living rooms are the most effective and comfortable with the right combination of ambient, task, and accent related lighting. The room receives its illumination through ambient lighting, whereas task lighting is intended for certain work zones. Accent lighting works to provide specific lighting for room accents.

When you create a mix of lighting, placed strategically throughout the room, it can create dimension and help to tie a room together. For example, mixing floor lamps, table lamps, potted lights, and ceiling lighting such as accent lights can make a room feel spacious, comfortable, and properly illuminated without being hard on the eyes. When the lighting is placed correctly, it can also ensure that there are no shadows.

Sculptural sconces – Wall sconces can add interest to a barren wall, creating a framing effect for your sofa or a favorite piece of art. Sconces can also be exceptionally useful to draw the eye toward a particular section of the room or to create a minimalist look when needed.

Mason jar pendant lights – If you like to do-it-yourself (DIY), mason jar pendant lights are a fun and affordable option. With a canning jar and a pendant light kit (60 watts or less), you can create a great lighting source for your countertop or entryway.

Centerpiece ceiling lighting – There are hundreds of options available for overhead lighting that can work as either a focal point or just to create a look that is seamless with the rest of the room without being over the top. The right fixture can brighten the entire room or can be directed to provide more lighting to a seating area. By using a dimmer switch, you can even create adjustments to the overall feel and mood of the room, making it feel a bit different based on the time of day.

Multiple ceiling lights – If your space will allow it and if you can get the room wired to support it, consider creating multiple drop-down lights as opposed to just one. In larger rooms, one overhead fixture will likely not be sufficient. Hanging multiple fixtures throughout the room will help to draw eyes upwards and towards specific points in the room because the room will be well lit. When going this route, be sure to select simple fixtures that create simple and clean silhouettes. Hang these lights in a grid-like format rather than in random spots, to ensure balance.

Mantel lights – Many living rooms have fireplaces today, and most have either floating mantels or some other form of ledge or shelving above the actual fireplace. Stringing some white Christmas lights across the mantel as a backdrop to artwork can create a great look, regardless of the time of year.

Floor lamps – Floor lamps serve a great dual-purpose. Not only can they help to add lighting to a dark corner of the room, but the right lamp can also curve out into the room, helping to spread the light to more than just that tricky corner. Today's modern lamps can even appear as a work of art themselves!

Dual table lamps – If you have end tables, getting a great pair of matching lamps can help create balance to two sides of the room. Of course, this look is even better when combined with alternate unique lighting in other parts of the room (consider a combination of all items mentioned above).

Ceiling accent lighting – If you have ceiling trim or a unique architectural design on your ceiling, then perimeter lighting can create a subtle and homey feeling. This type of lighting helps to accentuate the details of the design, and can also help to create a balanced look.

In-shelf accent lighting – If you have in-wall shelving (cut-outs), adding some lighting in the back or the upper sections of those cut-outs can create a warm feeling for the room and can help to showcase the artwork that you have displayed within. With these unique lighting effects, depending on the seating arrangement within the room, it can create an excellent focal point to the room, giving it a natural sense of direction and traffic flow.

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