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Posts Tagged ‘Living Room’

living room lightingAs its name suggests, the living room is the home’s most heavy-duty multi-tasker. On any given day, it can function as a daycare, a reading room, a home theater, a game room, a home office, a casual dining room and an entertainment hall – often all at the same time. Lighting for your living room needs to be flexible and meet many different needs. The following tips will help you develop a lighting plan that takes all of these functions into consideration and helps to create a space where you’re comfortable doing all that living.

Begin by drawing up a plan of the room’s layout. How is the furniture arranged? Where are all of the outlets located? If your home is still being built or renovated, now is the time to plan how many outlets to include and where to locate them. In a large room, plan to include outlets in the floor so that lamps can be used in the middle of the room without having their exposed cords pose a tripping hazard. Next, consider each area of the room and how it will be used, being honest about your family’s habits; you might plan a little reading nook over by the book case, but are all of your family members likely to use it, or are they more likely to camp out on the sofa with their favorite book? Be realistic. Don’t base your lighting plan on wishful thinking.

Create a checklist of everything you’ll need to consider, being sure to include the following:

  • What will your general lighting source be? A common choice for ambient lighting in living rooms is table and floor lamps. If this is the case, then it’s important to position lamps carefully; too many lamps, for example, can look cluttered, while placing lamps around the perimeter can leave a well of darkness in the middle of the room. Another option to consider for general lighting is a chandelier or pendant light. Hanging one low in the corner of a room in place of a floor lamp can be an unexpected and stylish choice to provide soft ambient light.
  • What will be the focal point of accent lighting? Refer to our previous post on Defining Features with Light for some good tips in this area, and be careful not to overdo it. Too many focal points in a room lose their impact and defeat the purpose.
  • How will you layer in extra lighting to create softness? Decorative lamps, pendants and sconces, as well as undershelf lighting and recessed uplights are all good choices. Our post on Creating Drama with Light has more great tips on this type of lighting.
  • Don’t forget task lighting. Whether for reading, playing games or working puzzles, an adjustable, swing-arm lamp can be positioned just right for the task at hand.
  • Finally, remember to consider how your lighting will be controlled. Each lighitng effect needs to have its own control so that you can vary the amount, levels and combinations of lighting as needed.
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