Of all the rooms in the house, your living room is one of the busiest - especially during the colder, winter months. After all, this is where most of the living actually happens; watching TV, hanging out with friends and family, curling up with a good book or catnapping on the couch. 

With so many different activities going on, it's important that your living room lighting arrangement is flexible enough to create the right atmostphere for every occassion. 

Plan your living room lighting in layers

When thinking about your living room lighting plan, avoid over lighting your ceiling with downlights in a grid-like pattern. Instead, consider the combination of ambient, task and accent lighting to create a warm, inviting room that can accommodate a variety of situations. Some important questions to ask yourself are: what can you see and what do you do in this space? Do you have artwork or an architectural feature? Do you have a reading nook? By layering table lamps, floor lamps, wall lights and filling the gaps with downlights, your living room will be properly illuminated to meet any need.

Begin with ambient lighting 

Ambient lighting is an even layer of illumination that fills the whole room and usually starts with your choice of ceiling lights. As your main source of light, choose dimmable options wherever possible so that you can easily change the mood from bright and light for social gatherings to low, subtle light for relaxing and watching TV.

For this layer, choose recessed downlights or a flush mount centred in the room that will cast diffused light evenly throughout the space. Or if you want to create a design feature, consider installing a statement chandelier or pendant light

Include task lighting in your living room where appropriate

Task lighting is meant to be brighter, more directional light used for activities such as reading or studying. While you might think ambient light is bright enough, strategically placed table or floor lamps help ease strain on the eyes, especially as the sun starts to set. 

For more versatility look for table and floor lamps with an adjustable head so that you can position the light where you need it. A reading table lamp should be positioned next to a sofa or lounge chair to cast light directly on whatever is being read or worked on. Due to their larger size, a floor lamp can be positioned behind seating with the same effect. Need to save floor or table space? An adjustable wall sconce will provide the same function and is perfect for smaller spaces.

Put the finishing touches on your living room lighting plan with accent lighting

This is the final layer of light needed in a living room and is a great way to add drama, visual interest and a decorative touch to your space while diffusing any harsh brightness from task lighting. Use accent lights such as wall spots to highlight your favourite artwork or photographs on walls, draw attention to any architectural details or a fireplace or create a decorative vignette on a side table. This layering effect helps make the room feel larger by illuminating any dark corners and areas and creating depth and warmth to keep the vibe relaxed and comfortable – just how you want it.

For small living rooms where floor space is limited, you can also add accent light to any dark spots with track lighting. These can be placed along the perimeter of the room with their direct light specifically focused on hard-to-light areas.

Track lighting is also the most practical way to highlight fireplaces and other details of the room due to each track head being able to be positioned individually.

Ready to fall in love with your living room? Shop Beacon’s inspirational lighting and homewares range in-store or online.