The living room, as a rule, in the apartment performs a number of functions: here they receive guests, spend evenings in a close family circle, and sometimes this room can turn into a place for high-profile holidays. In addition, in some cases, the living room is combined with a dining room or even a work area. For each of these scenarios of using the hall, it is necessary to provide for its own lighting: for dinners and holidays – brighter, for relaxation and conversation – soft and cozy. Even if the living room cannot boast of a huge area, you cannot be limited to one chandelier if you want the room to be comfortable and multifunctional. What should be considered when planning living room lighting in order to avoid annoying mistakes? Our advice will definitely help you.
# 1. We organize the general light
General lighting is responsible for the illumination of the entire living room. It should light up the room well enough, but not be too bright. As a rule, general light is realized using a chandelier or spotlights on the ceiling. The chandelier can be placed in the center of the living room or in the dining area, if provided. If the room is large enough, then one chandelier will not cope with the tasks of sufficient lighting, therefore, with a living room area of more than 25 m2, it is better to provide several common lighting sources located around the perimeter of the ceiling.
It is necessary to take into account not only the total area of the living room, but also its shape, as well as the height of the ceilings. So, for example, if the room is long and narrow, then even with a small area, it will be logical to place two chandeliers or two lamps in it symmetrically relative to each other.
When choosing lighting devices, you need to be guided not only by your own preferences and enthusiasm for a particular chandelier in the store – it is important to think over the comfort, safety and ergonomics of the living room, especially if the ceilings are not very high. In this case, the following rule is used: the distance from the floor to the bottom of the chandelier should not be less than 2.1 m.The exception is those cases when the chandelier or lamp is located above the dining or coffee table – the height in this case can be about 1.4- 1.6 m. If at the same time the overall illumination of the living room suffers, then the problem can be corrected by spotlighting the room.
When the issue with general lighting is resolved, you need to move on to other types of lighting, because general light is not able to illuminate all areas of the room, accentuate or highlight some part of the space. That is why local and decorative lighting is so necessary.
# 2. Local living room lighting
Wall, table and floor lighting fixtures are classified as local lighting. With their help, you can create brighter light in a specific area for comfortable reading, work, knitting and other activities. In addition, such lamps also serve as an excellent decor in the room, allow you to place accents in the living room and instantly transform it from a space for celebrations and dinners into a rest and relaxation room.
Near the sofa or armchairs in the living room, it is appropriate to install wall lamps in order to create light of sufficient brightness while reading. An alternative to them is floor lamps, which are often placed in the corners of the room. Local lighting in this case can play the role of dim light when the general light seems too bright. If there is a working table in the living room, then in this case it will be most appropriate to use a desk lamp.
In the desire to make multi-level lighting, it is important not to overdo it: a lot of lighting fixtures will decorate only a large living room, and for a hall in an ordinary apartment it will be inappropriate. When installing different kinds of lamps, it is worth remembering a few simple rules that will help make the living room comfortable and cozy. So, it is not recommended to hang the sconce directly in front of the TV, since glare will be reflected on the screen, interfering with viewing. As a last resort, you can place the sconce at a distance of at least 50 cm from the projection of the TV screen onto the opposite wall.
It is recommended to hang wall lamps at a height of 1.2-1.6 m, taking into account the configuration of the furniture, the height of the living room and the features of the lamps themselves: the light can be directed up or down, there are a lot of sconces. The interior of the living room will look more harmonious if the sconces are used in pairs and hung symmetrically relative to some object in the room: a sofa, armchair, mirror, table, etc. Of course, it is better to decide in advance what the interior of the room will be, how the furniture will be arranged, so that later there will be no problems with the installation of wall lamps.
No. 3. Decorative lighting
Decorative lighting, as the name suggests, has no purely practical value, although it can sometimes be used for temporary independent lighting of certain areas of the living room. First of all, such light is necessary to highlight individual zones and focus on individual objects, as well as to visually increase the area of the living room.
Depending on the layout of the hall, the presence of decorative elements in it, you can separately highlight niches, an aquarium, paintings, brickwork, figurines, vases, plants, etc. Paintings and photographs, if you want to pay maximum attention to them, can be distinguished by directed light from halogen spotlights (spots), but most often they just use spot lighting. The peculiarity of the spots is that the direction of the light can always be changed simply and quickly, turning the decorative lighting into a local or even general one. In addition, you can highlight the floor, plinth or the bottom line of the furniture, giving it the effect of levitation, and visually adding space to the room itself. But it is also important not to overdo it with decorative lighting – it is necessary that the living room be harmonious and not pretentious.
Spotlighting of the ceiling also belongs to decorative lighting, which looks especially good if it is a multi-level or stretch ceiling. You can use backlighting, which is based on an LED strip. At the same time, if you use multi-colored lighting, you can set the interior in a cheerful mood, making the living room unique.
The most unusual decorative lighting option is illuminated bubble panels, which are also a stylish decoration element. Aquarium lighting and fireplace can also be referred to as supplementary lighting.
No. 4. Zoning with lighting
Often the living room not only performs several functions, but also connects several zones: a recreation area, a work area, and sometimes a dining and even a kitchen area. If the hall and the dining room are combined, then it is recommended to focus on the lighting on the dining area, and equip the sofa with soft, unobtrusive light. Also, different zones can be delimited thanks to lamps of different types, colors and brightness: near the sofa – a sconce, on the desktop – a lamp, and dim multi-colored lamps or even candles are suitable to create a romantic atmosphere.
No. 5. Where should the switches be located?
It is necessary to think over the placement of all lighting points even before starting the renovation of the living room, therefore it is so important to draw up a project as accurate as possible in advance. It must also reflect the location of the switches for all lamps used in the living room. For convenience, it is recommended to place no more than four switches in one place: otherwise, it will not be very convenient to control the lighting, and the switch itself will resemble a control panel. In addition, in a more or less spacious living room, it is advisable to organize several switches for the same lamp: thus, it will be very convenient to control the lighting from anywhere in the room.
As for the height of the switches, as a rule, they are located at a distance of 80-90 cm from the floor, and the exact height will depend on the average height in the family. In addition, some switches can be equipped with dimmers so that you can adjust the degree of illumination over a wide range and adapt it to a specific situation. In pursuit of maximum convenience, it is important not to cross borders: the number of switches in different corners of the living room should be the minimum necessary.
No. 6. What else to consider when planning your living room lighting?
With the right lighting, you can easily correct some room imperfections. For example, if the ceilings are not very high, then the light from lamps, sconces and chandeliers is better directed upwards, so the range of different models of lamps decreases. For small rooms, it is advisable to pay great attention to lighting in the corners, due to which the space can be visually expanded.
If the ceiling of the living room is completely low, then volumetric chandeliers will have to be abandoned in favor of spot lighting. A room can be accentuated with a graceful floor lamp that matches the style of the room.
By the way, the style of lighting items is not the last question. Naturally, the lamps must match the chosen interior style and be in harmony with each other. So, for example, even in the most spacious living room, made in a modern style, a massive chandelier with candle lamps will not look, but nothing better to come up with in a classic style. For a Provence-style living room, lamps with light fabric or floral lampshades are suitable, Art Nouveau style will require fancy shapes, and minimalism and hi-tech – simple and concise lines, clear sealed forms are welcome.
And finally, we note the important role of natural lighting in the living room. It should be used as much as possible, especially if not so much light enters the room: during the day it will be more comfortable in the living room, and there will be significant savings on electricity. If the windows face north, then the use of massive curtains is highly discouraged, but if you need complete protection from light from time to time, for example, for movie shows using a projector, then you can use blinds, blackout Roman blinds, double-layer roller blinds, using which is very easy to adjust the degree of illumination.
Without a preliminary clear understanding of where and what kind of lighting will be used, it is not worth starting the direct selection of lamps. When planning lighting, you need to take into account all scenarios for using the living room so that the lamps and their switches are located as conveniently as possible. With all this, it is important not to forget about the quality of the lamps and their style.