A Helpful Guide to Living Room Lighting

Even if your living area is endowed with ample natural daylight, it's imperative to think carefully about lighting to make sure your space is illuminated the way you want during all parts of the day.

Here, we've broken down three ways to successfully light up your space. Follow along and make sure to shop our lighting selection to put these tips into action.

1. Overhead Pendant Lighting

Overhead lighting solutions can provide a functional boost where natural light doesn't solve all your needs. Plus, it can add a serious dose of style. 

Tip: If you have an overhead fixture, put it on a dimmer.

Usage Case #1: Signature Pendant Lighting

The core of this Southern Californian prefab home was kept open to maximize natural light. Clerestory windows, walnut cabinetry, and concrete floors define the living room, while additional lighting is provided by a signature accent piece, the Moooi Random Light

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Usage Case #2: Cluster Chandelier

The Clear Ice Chandelier was designed to resemble a floating cluster of ice.

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Usage Case #3: Natural Materials
A hanging pendant light made with natural materials can bring some texture and warmth to a modern living room. 

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Graypants Ohio Scraplight Pendant
Handmade with layers of recyclable cardboard, the Graypants Ohio Scraplight Pendant finds warmth in the raw material, forming a rustic source of ambient light.

Usage Case #4: Never Too Many Pendants
This house features one-of-a-kind glass pendants from Bocci that accent nearly every room.

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Bocci 28 Series Random Multi-Light Pendant
As much a meditation on process as it is a collection of functional forms, the 28 Series by Vancouver-based designer Omer Arbel is fabricated by manipulating the temperature and direction of air flow into blown glass.

2. Task Lighting 

This is the type of lighting that helps you accomplish everyday tasks like reading on your sofa. A mix of light sources at different levels can help create a cozy ambiance and ensure that you have adequate light. 

Tip: Living rooms should be lit in three of four corners with a combination of table and floor lamps. 

Usage Case #1: Matching Materials
This wooden standing lamp blends in with the rest of the home's material palette.

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Usage Case #2: Modern Sculptural Piece
This graphic floor lamp from FLOS stands out like a work of art. 

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FLOS IC Floor Lamp
Perched on a slender metal arm, the spherical diffuser of the FLOS IC Floor Lamp relies on careful engineering to balance on its minimalistic frame. The opal shade diffuses the light warmly, playing off the metallic finish of the bracket-shaped stem.

Usage Case #3: Functional and Stylish
Sometimes, the right call is to choose a floor lamp that looks like a blown-up desk light. They're bound to get the job done. 

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Usage Case #4: Conversation Pieces
This iconic floor lamp by Serge Mouille, alongside the Flow S4 Pendant designed by Nao Tamura, work together to create a standout space that's inspired by the reflections of the Venetian cityscape.

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Serge Mouille Three-Arm Floor Lamp
French designer Serge Mouille originally created his Three-Arm Floor Lamp in 1952 for a customer who requested a large light for his clients with large rooms in South America.

3. Accent Lighting

Accent lighting can be used to enhance architectural details, artwork, or a favorite piece of furniture.

Tip: Use your lighting to create a spotlight on something special you want to highlight. 

Usage Case #1: Highlighting the Decor
Simple black ceiling lights are sprinkled throughout this house in areas that need extra illumination. Plus, some of them can be pointed in different directions in order to highlight certain areas of the space.

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Usage Case #2: Track Lighting
Track lighting serves a functional purpose, and can be integrated into your space in a more subtle way than you may have imagined. 

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WAC Lighting Summit ACLED Beamshift Line Voltage Cylinder Track Head
The Summit ACLED Beamshift Line Voltage Cylinder Track Head is the perfect replacement for halogen MR16's as they offer lower wattage with superior lumen output, over 10 times the rated life span, less maintenance, no projected heat, and BeamShift technology in-field changeable beam angle.

Usage Case #3: Angular Ceiling That's Covered With Lights

The entertainment and dining spaces sit below the angular roof in this penthouse. A combination of two different types of ceiling lights illuminate the various angles of the ceiling.

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Fabbian Mochi Wall or Ceiling Light
Mochi wall or ceiling light, from the Lumi collection, features a satin-finish, white, blown glass diffuser to evenly diffuse the light. The soft-shape allows this light to be used in various applications. Photo courtesy of Nostraforma

Usage Case #4: Accent Lighting That's Part of the Design

Discretely tucked away into an architecturally interesting ceiling, the lighting in this retreat is actually part of the space's design. 

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Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Dwell Contributor
Jennifer Baum Lagdameo is a freelance design writer who has lived in Washington DC, Brooklyn, Tokyo, Manila, and is currently exploring the Pacific Northwest from her home base in Portland, Oregon.


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