A Picture Guide To Living Room Lighting Ideas and Designs

Living Room Lighting Ideas

The living room is one of the most used rooms in a home. Using a number of different living room lighting ideas will help create a well designed space.

There are 3 types of lighting that can be used to light a living room – ambient, accent and task lighting.

  • Ambient lighting is general lighting that makes a space comfortable and useable.
  • Task lighting is used in areas where a certain task takes place, like reading on a couch.
  • Accent lighting is lighting that is used to highlight a certain feature in a room. It could be used to light a piece of art work on a wall, a vase of flowers on a table, books on a shelf or a cabinet of showcased items.

Ambient Lighting Ideas For A Living Room

Some ideas from our living room ceiling lighting ideas post include recessed, cove, track and pendant lighting.

  • Recessed Lighting

This is common in modern homes. The light fixtures are fitted within the ceiling, hiding all the parts, providing a clean and modern look.

living room recessed lights

A living room using recessed ceiling lights

recessed lights

Clean and simple – recessed lights are fitted into the ceiling hiding all the parts

Recessed lights are generally the main source of lighting for a living room. Having other lights will help compliment and add different lighting effects to the room.

  • Cove Lighting

Cove lighting is when you install a false ceiling to give a room added dimension. This false ceiling will then have lights fitted within them, completely hidden from view. The light bounces off of the ceiling and provides the living room with soft, diffused, and indirect lighting. Cove lighting also makes a space feel large and grand.

cove lighting living room

Curved cove lighting in a living room

cove lighting living room

Another example of cove lighting in a living room

  • Track Lighting

The great thing about track lighting is that each individual light can be adjusted. So if you were to rearrange the furniture, you can easily change the angle of lights to suit the new layout. Another benefit of track lighting is that a track only uses one light outlet, so you can add multiple lights to a room without adding any extra wiring.

track lighting

A living room lit up with angled track lights

  • Wall Lights

Wall washers (only shines light upwards) and wall sconces (shines light up and down) are two other living room lighting fixtures to consider. They make a space feel wider and creates a sophisticated setting:

wall light

A clean and elegant wall light

  • Natural Lighting

Nothing beats the beauty of natural lighting. Large windows help bring in sunlight during the day, and the level of light can be controlled by simply installing blinds. Below is a photo of a living room making use of natural lighting:

living room

A living room using natural lighting during the day

  • Pendant Lighting

If you have a high ceiling in your living room you will want to have hanging lights. Pendant lights bring the light closer down and create elegant settings. One living room lighting design layout to consider is to install recessed lights for general lighting, and then use pendant lights to bring light lower down in certain areas:

pendant lighting

Pendant lights hang over the side table

pendant lighting

A pendant light brings the light closer down over the middle table in this living room

  • Chandeliers

Another lighting option for high ceilings is to use chandeliers:


If you don’t want to create a traditional décor style in your living room, and are looking for modern living room lighting ideas, there are a number of modern crystal chandeliers options:

modern chandelier

A living room with a modern chandelier

  • Lighted Twigs

These lighted twigs add soft and elegant ambient lighting to a living room:

modern lighted twigs

A modern take on the lighted twigs concept

lighted twigs

Lighted twigs

  • Using Lamps For Ambient Lighting

If you want to make your living room feel cozy and intimate, then avoid lighting the ceiling. Instead opt for floor and table lamps that keep the lighting low down and localized like in the photo below:

cozy living room

A cozy living room lit with a table and floor lamp

Other lighting options to create a whimsical and romantic setting include using string or rope lights:

rope lights

Rope lights lining the floor 


Task Lighting

For most living rooms, reading would be the only task that needs dedicated lighting. This can be achieved by having a side table with a lamp on it or by just having a floor lamp next to the couch:

floor lamp

A floor lamp behind or besides the couch provides comfortable reading light

floor lamp

Another example of a floor lamp placed besides the seating area

There could be other tasks that happen in and around the living room. If you have a bar or a pool table, these areas would need dedicated, localized lighting, which can be achieved through low hanging pendant lights.


Accent Lighting Ideas For a Living Room

Adding accent light fixtures to a living room creates more lighting effects which in turn creates a well designed space. Only having one ceiling light or only recessed lights can make a space look flat and monotone. By adding additional lighting effects, you create a more dynamic and elegant setting.

There are a number of ways of adding accent lighting to a living room.

  • Display Lighting

If you have any art pieces in the living room, these could do with some lighting. A gallery light can be fitted above the frame – this can either be wired or there are wireless gallery lights that are battery powered.

Wireless gallery lighting

Down Lights: Another way of highlighting an art piece or a certain wall is to use recessed lights. As they are installed close to the wall, they wash it with light displaying the texture and the art piece as seen in the picture below:


Recessed downlights fitted close to the wall will highlight walls and art pieces

Cabinet lighting is another option. Along with the cabinet lights, this house makes great use of natural lighting in the day and uses track lights at night:

cabinet lighting

An example of a living room using cabinet display lighting

recessed floor light

Recessed floor light

  • Floor Lighting

In our floor lighting ideas post we highlighted the use of recessed floor lights and floor lamps to create a sophisticated and well designed space (right):

  • Lamps

Lamps can also be used for accent lighting as seen here (below):

tv lamp

Lamps can also be used for accent lighting

  • Home Theater Lighting

Some ideas from our home theater lighting ideas post included:

Behind the Couch Lighting

home theater lighting

Lighting behind the seats add a nice touch to the room

Behind the TV Lighting

TV back lighting

More Living Room Lighting Ideas and Pictures

living room design

living room lighting design

A living room with a flush mount ceiling light and recessed accent lighting above the candle vase

living room design

living room

image credits

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