Living rooms might seem straightforward enough, but they are complicated rooms both in terms of how we use them and how they need to be lit. Gone are the days when a single fixture in the center of the room or a lamp in a corner was good enough. While this might sound difficult, there are a few simple tips to keep in mind that can make a big difference in choosing the right lighting for your living room.
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Versatile Lighting Makes for a Versatile Room
Much like the kitchen, the living room has gone from being a single-purpose space to a room where the family does a wide variety of things. Since it is used as a home theater as much as it is a game room and an office, it has to have lighting that allows all of these activities to be done equally well. This is where understanding the different kinds of lighting comes in handy.
Types of Lighting
Ambient lighting is what most of us think of when we think of a room’s fixtures. We usually imagine some overhead lights (track lighting, chandeliers, recessed lighting) that fill most of the room with a pleasant light that makes it possible to do most simple tasks. This kind of lighting has some weaknesses, though.
First, it isn’t always great if you’re trying to watch television as overhead lights tend to reflect off of your TV, creating areas of glare where the picture gets washed out. Second, ambient lighting doesn’t always reach all areas of the room equally. We see this is lot in older homes and homes that have been remodeled without the help of a lighting expert. If the room is large or the single ambient fixture is on one side of the room instead of the in the center, it can leave dark corners. While these corners might be a good place to put your favorite chair or couch so you can snooze, most of us also want to be able to sit in a chair and check our email or read a book.
Task lighting is the kind of lighting that helps us do specific things. Whether that means reading, writing, typing, playing video games, or having a family game night, task lighting makes it easy for you to focus on what you are trying to do. Task lighting is most commonly associated with lamps, but with today’s incredibly small and powerful fixtures, the options are nearly unlimited. Grab a couple of floor lamps for reading corners or add a desk lamp to a chairside table for some extra light while you use your laptop. Task lighting works especially well when you have the ability to turn it on or dim it separately from your ambient lighting, so make sure to talk to your electrician about installing any permanent fixtures in a way that gives you more options.
Think of accent lights as the little extra flourish that calls attention to the features of the room that you’re most proud of. Do you have tons of great framed photos of your kids hanging up? Maybe you have a series of paintings from your favorite artist or you’ve restored the fireplace and mantle by hand and you want everyone to notice the hard work you’ve put in. Accent lights are your best friends in cases like this. They draw the eye to whatever is being lit, so make sure you have good enough lighting that does service to your home.
Making Your Living Room Lighting Work
So, how do we make the room more usable? You want to start with using ambient fixtures that comfortably fill the room with a good amount of light. If the room has all of the corners covered, it makes it easier to add task and accent lighting where it is needed instead of having to use those kinds of light to fill in ambient gaps. By combining overhead fixtures with task lighting provided by lamps or sconces, you’ll notice that the room looks and feels more comfortable and that you’ll be able to do most things for longer without feeling eye strain.
Come back soon for more exciting tips about interior and exterior lighting! At Hobrecht Lighting in Sacramento, we love to help you find the perfect style of fixtures that also light up your life. Contact us or swing by the showroom for help from one of our friendly, knowledgeable lighting experts!