How to Choose the Best Living Room Light Fixtures for Your Home

living room

Lighting is the least seen but also the most important aspect of interior design. It aids in color management of the space, highlighting key features of the room, creates functionality in all the spaces of a room, and can give the illusion of more space in a smaller area.

The living room, second only to the kitchen, is the main space of a home. If the kitchen is the heart, the living room is the heartbeat. It’s where we hang out with family, enjoy one another, relax after a hard day of work, and is the primary shared space.

Choosing the right living room light fixtures is imperative in making the space as cozy and welcoming as it can be. Here we give you our tips on choosing the best ones for your space.

The Types of Lighting and What They Accomplish

There are three main types of lighting in any interior design. Each should be used in every room to get the most out of your space.

Ambient Lighting

The ambient light is the functional light in a space. It’s what will give the main light in the room and allow the most visibility. It lights up the entire room and can have a varying level of brightness.

To get the amount of ambient lighting needed you’ll need to measure your room in what’s known as “foot-candles”. So, what is a foot-candle? It’s a unit of measure that reflects how bright the light is one foot away from its source.

Living rooms tend to require fewer foot-candles than utilitarian spaces like kitchens and bathrooms. You can get away with around 20 foot-candles of light in a standard living room.

To get the total amount of light you need multiply the number of foot-candles recommended for the room by the actual square footage. This will give you the number of lumens needed for your room. A typical 40W bulb will produce about 450 lumens and a 60W 800 lumens. 

This clues you in on how many of these bulbs need to be in the room wither through overhead lighting or lamps to give you a decent amount of light.

Task Lighting

This is light you place purposefully over spaces you’ll be completing tasks in. Have your desk in the living room? You’ll want a light over it so that you’ll be able to see what you’re working on.

Task lighting is also great for breaking up a large open concept room into usable spaces. 

Accent Lighting

This is light that is purely decorative. It’s the lights you put in hutches to showcase sculptures or the lights placed above paintings to keep them illuminated.

The Right Living Room Light Fixtures for Your Space

Now that you know how much light you need, and are done doing the math phew that was a doozy, on to the fun part – picking the fixtures!

Here are a few of-the-moment options and classic standbys to fill your space with light and sophistication.

Hanging Pendant Lights

Hanging pendants are a great option when you want the lights themselves to make a statement in the room.

They can be pieces of art in and of themselves. Also, vintage bulbs are all the rage. Put your einstein bulbs in there and wow your friends with how chic you are. 


These are wonderful for rooms with lots of wall space but lower ceilings. Vaulted ceilings need elaborate hanging lights but more intimate spaces need a subtle approach.

Modern sconces are also very beautiful and can either blend into the wall or become accent pieces themselves.

Floor Lamps

Nothing is more dependable. Floor lamps are reliable and have stood the test of time. When you’re designing your room, consider placing outlets in the floor under where your furniture will sit. That way no one has to see the plug.

Floor lamps go from elaborate to utilitarian so they can really transform a space while giving you the option to only put one or two on at once.


Depending on the size of the room a grand chandelier might be just what’s needed to set off the space. Rooms with vaulted ceilings and a lot of square footage benefit from the extra light and heft a chandelier adds to a room.

Now, chandeliers have come a long way from the time of gold and jewels. Modern chandeliers are chic accent pieces that vary from large wooden ones that mimic candlelight to sculptural metal pieces that showcase vintage bulbs.

Whichever you choose a chandelier makes a statement.

Ceiling Fans

If you live in the southern climates a fan is a necessity in a room you spend a lot of your time in.

Luckily, ceiling fans now come in a variety of beautiful designs and almost always include a light fixture in the middle. So, you can be cool and not be in the dark.

Lighting Brings a Room Together and Your Family into the Living Room

We hope this gives you some great ideas on how to choose your living room light fixtures. By accurately measuring beforehand you’ll know you’ll have enough light in the end. 

Consider the lighting in the original design to give yourself the option of adding additional outlets, if needed. Having the option of hidden cords is always a great idea especially if you have little ones running about.

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