Sanctuary from the world. A place to flop, chat over the day’s events with your partner or get together with friends, the living room is THE place you head for at the end of a long day. Also known as the front room, the snug, the den, the family room and countless other names, the lounge is where you well, lounge. That’s why it’s so essential to get your lighting just right.
You probably know that it also used to be called the parlour – derived from the French parler, meaning ‘to speak’, it was named such because this is where people went to chat, which is still true today.
It’s home to the comfy chair, the sofa, the coffee table, and, most importantly, it’s where the TV lives. Given how many uses your living room has, how often have you adequately considered the lighting? Maybe only when you turn the ‘big light’ on only to find it’s dimmer than a candle and no use whatsoever. OR, on the opposite end of the spectrum, you’re shocked into full-on fight or flight mode by light so bright that Leeds United could play matches by it at night. Not the relaxing end to the day you had in mind!
Choosing living room lighting
Getting the mood right
The living room is the first place you tidy and vacuum when you’re expecting guests – it’s where everyone congregates for a cuppa or a cheeky glass of wine. It’s the place friends and family spend quality time together. Time scrutinising your every decorating choice (or so it feels) so you want it to be a worthy representative of you and your personality.
Historically, the living room was the finest-decorated room in the house. It was the place that you showed off your treasures from far and wide in the hopes of inciting conversation. To a degree, that’s still true – we pick up things from our travels, mementoes of times we’ve enjoyed and display them on shelves. The way you decorate and how you style your lounge says a great deal about you, but no matter how wonderfully decorated your space is, a big part of getting the mood right in your living room is the lighting. Watching a gripping thriller under harsh overhead lighting just ruins the suspense, while trying to perform an intricate task via candlelight is equally as frustrating.
So, how do you create the best atmosphere for ALL the situations that go on in your lounge? Where do you start when planning wall lights, statement lights, table and floor lamps, and how many do you need?
The big light
A statement ‘big light’ can transform your room from OK to WOW. Even upsizing your lampshade can make a tremendous difference to how your space feels. Playing with scale is a great tip when choosing pendant lights, which tend to be centrally positioned in a room and instantly noticed. Create a focal point with whatever you choose: our beautiful bubble chandeliers look at home in any room style, but we have a whole range of gorgeous ceiling lights for you to peruse.
Creating ambience is where wall lighting comes into its own – the warm flattering glow makes everyone look their best. And why wouldn’t you want a bit of that? If you’re into DIY; or you already have lights wired into your walls, then you have options including wall sconces, downlights and elegant drape-and-drop styles from our hotel lights collection. Go simple with Ritz, Manston, or Bramley, each available in a choice of metallic finishes to suit your décor. If you can, always add a dimmer to control the level of your living room wall lights. Our double dimmer switches allow you to tweak the ambience of two sets of lights simultaneously.
If you don’t fancy channelling out your walls for hard-wired wall lights, then have a look at our range of plug-in versions. Equally as stylish, these guys can be moved around your home on a whim!
Living room lamps
Table lamps are a quick fix for all your lighting woes. Instant atmosphere! Ideal for early morning eyes that haven’t entirely adjusted to the new day and tired evening ones more than ready to abandon screen-time in favour of relaxation. The most significant advantage of table lamps is that you can move them around whenever you fancy. Switch positions within the same room for variety, or move them to another room for a total refresh.
Wherever you’ve got a spare surface, you can put a table lamp: coffee table, sideboard, mantle or console table. We’ve got quite the range of styles as well. From quirky animal lamps to caged table lamps, there’s something for every interior style. Fred, the Dachshund, is an excellent addition to your room if you sadly lack in the pet department. Or, if you want to add a touch of cheekiness, opt for Monty instead, a monkey lamp that’s full of character. Whatever your style personality, there’s a living room lamp for you.
The all-important finer details
Closely connected to lighting, but an often-overlooked detail, are switches and sockets. A matt black light switch can elevate your interior quite significantly. It’s an appealing feature that’s beautiful in its own right. A silver plug socket glints seductively in the sunlight, and our range of coloured switches and sockets blend seamlessly with warm tonal palettes for a grounded feel. Toggle switches bring a different sense to your room than dimmers. It’s a personal preference at the end of the day, but if you’re investing in upgrading your living room lighting, it makes sense to smarten up the associated hardware!
And, once you’ve got your lounge lighting sorted, perhaps give a thought to your outside lights – they’re the ones that welcome you home after all. Why stop there? Your hallway might need a bit of attention too. Imagine stepping into your home and getting the feeling of a boutique hotel with our elegant hotel lights collection. Dining room lighting is another often neglected consideration, perhaps because we don’t use that room so much. Our handy guide gives loads of ideas on creating the ideal social ambience with lights.