Illuminating Your Living Room: Choosing the Right Lighting Fixture

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Illuminating Your Living Room: Choosing the Right Lighting Fixture

Staff Writer · Nov 24, 2009

Choosing the right kind of lighting fixture for your living room isn’t quite as simple as it seems. You may assume that the difficult decisions will be furniture style, paint colors and other decor, but the way a room is lighted can totally change its atmosphere. In fact, professional decorators use different types of lighting fixtures to achieve different purposes in lighting. Before you slap any old lamp on an end table without a second though, learn about the ways that light can make a dramatic difference in your decor.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting washes a room in warm light without creating a lot of shadows. Typically, ambient light would come from a ceiling light like a pendant. Usually the light source, a light bulb in this case, is covered up by a glass globe or something similar. This softens the light and directs it throughout the room. Ambient lighting could also come from a table lamp or floor lamp that has a shade. Ambient lighting can also get more creative than the typical table lamp. If your living room is combined with a dining room, a chandelier is a great way of creating ambient light while providing a sculptural accent to a room.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is a decorator’s tool for drawing the eye to certain areas of the room. This type of light helps you highlight parts of the room that you want people to notice. Accent lighting can be used to bring out architectural elements of a room that might otherwise go unnoticed. There are many different types of fixtures that can create this look. Track lighting can be a great way to create accent lighting. Track lighting usually consists of several spotlights that are mounted to a track. Usually the spotlight positions are adjustable, so you can customize the light fixture to highlight specific elements of the room. Use spotlights and track lighting to highlight elements like works of art, a custom built fireplace or a wall niche with a display of photos and trinkets.

Task Lighting

Task lighting is just as it sounds. It is a source of light with the purpose of making it easier to do work. Task lighting illuminates a work or reading area. Typically, you’ll find task lighting in areas like workshops, offices and sometimes in the kitchen. However, sometimes task lighting has a purpose in the living room. If you do a lot of reading in the living room, consider a bright wall-mounted reading lamp for style and function.

Other Lighting

Other types of creative lighting can add interest to a room. Install puck lights in a shelving unit to highlight some of your favorite books, found seashells or other keepsakes. Even something like a fish aquarium can create a surprisingly soothing glow in your living room as well as an eye-pleasing focal point. Lighting a few candles around the room will create an instant romantic glow. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to get creative and gutsy with your lighting.

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