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Designing Room-by-Room: Illuminating the Living Room

Designing Room-by-Room: Illuminating the Living Room


As both the social and recreational center of the home, living rooms have substantial and varied lighting requirements. A chandelier or other decorative fixture centered above the seating area can supply the room with ambient light. Larger rooms may support a pair of hanging fixtures. 


Design idea: Designers are even using low-hung chandeliers behind sofas to creatively partition seating areas from foyers. Possibilities are bound only by your creative inspiration! 

Entertaining calls for a special lighting scheme that enhances the conviviality of the occasion. Bright glare and sharp shadows fracture intimate ambiance. Over-lighting leaves guests exposed and vulnerable. It is especially important to avoid recessed down lights over the seating areas where people cluster, due to the harsh shadows they cast over faces. Wall sconces along the perimeter of your room allow you to dim chandeliers and introduce a layer of soft lighting around the face and torso area. 

Portraits and Paintings deserve to be seen and appreciated without the requirement of excess overhead illumination. Specialty picture lights mount above picture frames to cast accent light over only the area of your artwork or portrait. Widths range from 20 to 105cm.  

Reading is facilitated by the table and floor lamps, positioned behind and to the side of the reader’s shoulder. The shade base should sit at eye level to avoid bulb glare. 


Design idea: A shaded, low-hung pendant can also satisfy reading requirements and add a fresh design touch that preserves open floor space. 

Game Tables need evenly distributed, bright light to illuminate play. Island lights and shaded pendants can satisfy this requirement. Be sure that, when mounted, their bases sit 90cm above the playing surface. 

Fireplaces and other points of architectural or decorative interest are enhanced with thoughtful accent lighting. Flanking a fireplace with sconces draws attention to it and enhances its aura as a place for intimate gathering. Table lamps attract the eye to the piece of furniture they are set upon. Sconces too can showcase a treasured antique, as well as a striking modern piece. 

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