Living rooms are spaces in which we take a breather: this is where we eat, read and relax while we listen to music, watch television or entertain friends.
Create an inviting atmosphere by combining general lighting with atmospheric, decorative and accent lighting. The lighting should vary in intensity and point in different directions.
Preferably plan it together with the furnishings – reflect on the main function of the room and decide where you want to have a nook for reading or a corner for intimate get-togethers.
Atmospheric and decorative lighting
Atmospheric lighting should be soft and shouldn't shine into people's eyes.
The pool of light created by a floor lamp is decorative and atmospheric. The ambience is enhanced by the pattern of light and shade created on the ceiling by the lampshade.
If you want to purchase decorative lighting, choose a material that suits your décor and lifestyle: stainless steel, for example, is a good choice in a contemporary living space.
In the photograph the atmospheric and decorative lighting serves as a focal point as well as a blending of old and new: the floor lamp is a replica of the Arco lamp from 1962.
If, however, you are more of a romantic a chandelier is the perfect decorative lighting choice for you.
Tip: A lamp placed in the corner can make a room appear larger because it makes one focus on the side of the room.
Use accent lighting to illuminate your favourite objects and artworks directly. Adjustable spotlights or ceiling lights work well. You can also use them to cast extra light on architectural details, shelves and family photographs.
General lighting works best when it is distributed over several light sources, such as in the room shown here.
Some interior designers feel a living room does not need general lighting, probably because this often comes from a single bright light in the centre of the ceiling. However, general lighting can create a pleasant atmosphere when well distributed and combined with a dimmer.
Good interior designers approach the lighting of a living area like a work of art: their secret is the contrast and patterns they create with light and shadow.
It is not too difficult to achieve this designer look yourself. Take it a step further with natural light, as seen in our photographs, and use Venetian blinds and a variety of textures to create an interesting play of light and shadow.