Hunkydory Home Blog

Lighting The Living Room - How To Get The Right Light! June 10, 2015 20:29

Not too long ago we renovated our living room, we hadn't realised when we moved in last year that there was no mains lighting in the room until it got dark on the first night and it became apparent that the light switches on the wall were redundant!

Deciding how to light a living room is important as it will set the whole tone and feel of the room, many of us spend the majority of our evenings there after work relaxing and that means most of the time it's dark outside.  People sometimes ask me what lighting is best for a living room so I thought I'd share some ideas including what we did when we refurbished our own room.

Ceiling Lighting For The Living Room

We have beams across our ceiling and decided we were not going to have a ceiling light or 'big light' as Peter Kay calls it.  Most rooms will have a central pendant fixture and you need to decide if you want to make a feature of it or keep something simple there.  In our last house we had this geometric design from IKEA, it looked great but was a nightmare for attracting dust!  We hardly ever switched the light on though as we preferred the soft light from side lamps in the evening.

If you don't want to make too much of a statement you could opt for a drum lampshade for the ceiling fixture, but don't pick something too small for the room - a large 40cm or 50cm drum shade can be very effective if you have space for it.  I would always recommend using a diffuser with the lampshade especially if you're going to be sitting underneath it.

Wall Lights For The Living Room

Rather than ceiling fixtures we opted to install wall lights in our living room combined with a selection of lamps.  I like the way wall lights diffuse light against the wall, but they do their job best against a light wall rather than a dark colour which will absorb the light.  I found these rectangle plaster wall lights from Habitat from one wall and we were able to paint them the same colour as the wall so that they blend into the background - I'm really pleased with them.

Plaster wall light

I have long been a fan of Hannah Nunn's fabulous paper cut lights and seized upon the opportunity to use them in our living room; we put one either side of the fire place and I have to say they have become a real feature in the room in the evening.  They are rather unassuming until you flick the light switch when the patterns burst into life, I chose the coal tit and the cow parsley designs but they're all lovely!

There are lots of options for wall lights for a room, but I did find it tricky to find fixtures that were simple and stylish.

Table Lamps For The Living Room

Hands up... this section is biased towards my own table lamp collection, but that's only because they're the perfect size/height for a living room side table as well as looking super stylish!  I have the oak table lamp bases in my living room and I tend to change the lampshade to suit my mood.  

Natural Cream Wooden Table Lamp

If you prefer darker wood I also have this fabulous rich walnut lamp base which is perfect for modern homes.  Both the oak and the walnut bases are hand crafted by Nick James in Newcastle, none of this mass-produced in a factory business!

Standing Lamps For The Living Room

Ages ago I bought this giant red standing lamp from and it's in my living room now, I think it's lots of fun and it's great for task lighting.  I like to mix the more industrial/retro pieces with the softer contemporary countryside bits I have.  The great thing about this MADE lamp is that it is bright for reading and task work, I tend to put it on if I'm doing something and switch it off and rely on the softer side lamps when we're just watching tv or chilling.

Red Standing Lamp

The wooden tripod style floor lamps are currently popular and available on the high street.  This Oak design from John Lewis would work nicely with our table lamps!

John Lewis Oak Tripod Lamp


So that gives you an idea of how I've used lighting in my home and I hope it's given you some lighting ideas for your living room.  There's so many options to explore, don't be afraid to mix it up a bit!