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Design

Best Living Room Lighting Ideas & Inspiration

living room
Written By
PARACHUTE TEAM
Photographs By
JESSICA SCHRAMM FOR PARACHUTE HOME
@parachutehome
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Though lighting is often an afterthought when designing a home, it holds a lot of weight in terms of aesthetics. You know you need an overhead light in your living room, yet the intense brightness isn't ideal in the evening — especially when hosting or hanging out with your loved ones.

The goal is to incorporate multiple light sources so you can set the mood, highlight different areas and adjust the brightness as needed. After all, light fixtures offer more than just illumination. They're also decorative and a crucial component of achieving the perfect ambiance.

With the right selection of lamps, bulbs, sconces, fixtures and LEDs, you can enhance the design of your space and set the mood at all hours of the day. Ahead, you’ll find stylish living room lighting ideas with expert tips and thoughtful insight to get your wheels turning.

27 Living Room Lighting Ideas You'll Love

You want to show off your tastefully designed living space with ample illumination. But on the other hand, you want to be careful about harsh lighting, as too much brightness can wash out the colors and be generally unpleasant.

With this in mind, the best living room lighting ideas balance bright illumination with a cozy ambient glow. From overhead fixtures and floor lamps to LED installations and tall table lamps, there are tons of ways to breathe light into your space. Let's get started.

1. Oversized Overhanging Floor Lamp

overhead lamp

Standing lamps are an excellent choice for shared living areas. They provide significant illumination, don't need to be placed on a shelf or end table, and take advantage of your vertical space. Having said that, if your furniture isn't up against the wall, a large arched floor lamp might be your best bet. Place it near an outlet with the arm pointed into the center of the room.

2. Industrial-Inspired Accent

If you appreciate an unfinished aesthetic but don't want to go all out, look for industrial-style end table lamps for the living room. Think tarnished metal, visible hardware and exposed bulbs. Consider getting two matching lights to make your space appear more cohesive and intentional.

Get more tips and living room lighting ideas in our guide on How to Create a Modern Industrial Look for Your Home.

3. Mismatched Styles

miss matched lamps

Just as your furniture doesn't have to be a matching set, your lamps don't have to match or even reflect the same design styles. Looking for eclectic living room lighting ideas? Don't be afraid to choose varying fixtures, like how this home features a minimalist arched floor light and an abstract end-table lamp.

4. Simple Sconces

singular sconce

Sconces are a great way to brighten up a room without taking up any floor or table space. This type of lighting is typically hardwired, so the cord is concealed within the wall. If you often find yourself bothered by exposed wires and power cords, sconces might be right up your alley.

5. Simple Statement

Living room lighting ideas don't always have to be elaborate. Bold accents make great conversation pieces, but believe it or not, you can make a statement with minimalist lighting too. See how this understated globe pendant light complements the space without distracting from the rest of the decor.

For more pared-down pairings, check out interior designer Melissa Sanabria's D.C. Home Tour Inspired by Minimalism

6. Oversized Shade

oversized lamp shade

Large light fixtures work well in living rooms. And unlike furniture, there isn't really such a thing as too big. That’s because oversized silhouettes pass as intentional statement pieces. See how the extra-large shade on this arched floor lamp hovers over the compact living space without feeling overbearing.

7. Retro-Inspired Illumination

retro lamp

Do you love mid-century interior design? Consider getting one or two retro-inspired living room floor lamps like the vintage arched design seen here. Your living room light fixtures can complement a 1960s or 1970s theme, or simply nod at throwback style in an otherwise modern space.

8. Modern Lamps, Soft Accents

modern lamp

Modern interior design can sometimes feel stringent and cold. If you gravitate toward abstract or art-deco light fixtures with stark lines and metal bases, you may want to balance out your living room decor with soft accents. Think textured pillows, whimsy plants, woven baskets and knit blankets.

Learn more about making a contemporary space feel welcoming in our guide on How to Create a Modern and Inviting Entryway to Your Home.

9. Strategically Placed Pendants

Pendant lights aren't just for dining tables and kitchen islands. They also work well as overhead or accent lighting in living rooms. Consider hanging a row of pendants above your sofa, a pair over the mantle or a single pendant in the corner to create a reading nook.

10. Abstract End Table

Structural lamps are a great optionfor transitional living rooms. Transitional design is a mixture of classic and contemporary decor styles, such as mid-century, art deco, modern, rustic and industrial. If you appreciate abstract fixtures but don't want anything too distracting, opt for a smaller end table lamp.

Learn how to combine two popular design styles in our blog, How to Create a Tasteful Modern Farmhouse Bedroom.

11. Updated Overhead Light

Overhead lighting tends to either go unnoticed or be an eyesore. If you're not crazy about your existing ceiling light, consider upgrading it to something a bit sleeker. This is a relatively easy and affordable update that'll make a big difference in your living room ambiance.

See what upgrades Parachute founder and CEO Ariel Kaye chose for her #MyParachute Home Makeover.

12. Recessed Lighting

When it comes to living room ceiling light ideas, recessed lighting is tough to beat. While the upgrade is a substantial project, it's one you'll always be glad to have. It's not only visually pleasing but also low-maintenance, as LED recessed light bulbs often last for upwards of 10 years.

13. Abstract Chandelier

Like pendant lights, chandeliers aren't just for dining tables. If you're on the hunt for living room chandelier ideas that don't look out of place, your best bet is to skip the crystals and opt for a minimalist design or a structural fixture with abstract features and sharp angles.

14. Tasteful Track Lights

While homeowners often install track lights in kitchens, these versatile lighting options actually make excellent living room ceiling lights. Installation isn't as complex as recessed lighting, and the wires stay hidden. What's more, track lights come in a range of styles, like modern, industrial, traditional and rustic. Plus they can often be tilted and angled to illuminate different areas.

15. Dimmable Overhead Lighting

No matter what you choose for your overhead lighting, you're wise to make it dimmable. In most cases, this is a pretty easy and affordable upgrade. If you're working with LED bulbs, you can likely install dimmable light switches without having to change out the fixture. Hello, instant mood lighting.

16. Laid-Back Lantern

If your space features soft colors or a boho design scheme, a paper pendant lantern is a lovely choice. In addition to living rooms, this laid-back hanging lamp can work well for family room lighting and bedroom illumination.

Want more ideas for your sleeping quarters? Check out these 27 Bedroom Essentials for Creating a Relaxing At-Home Oasis.

17. Modern Mix

mixed modern lighting

With a great room at home, you might be wondering if your living room lights have to match those in your dining room. While you want the space to look cohesive, it's also important to create distinct zones. When browsing pendants, chandeliers, table lamps and floor lights, look for styles with varying features that complement one another and tie together the rest of your furnishings.

18. Natural Lighting

natural light

When curating the perfect ambiance for your living room, don't overlook natural lighting. Of course, this depends on the size and direction they're facing, but windows offer substantial illumination during the day — not to mention a brilliant glow just before sunset (aka the golden hour).

If you're all about that natural light, you'll appreciate these Summer Home Decor Ideas.

19. Light-Filtering Curtains

There's a lot to love about large windows that offer ample natural lighting. Even so, light-filtering curtains will allow you to adjust the brightness and block the sun's glare throughout the day. Since you probably don't need blackout window coverings in your living room, look for sheer or semi-sheer panels.

20. Mirrored Natural Light

One of the best living room lighting ideas you’ll find is to place a large mirror across from a window. Not only will it reflect the natural light outside (thus doubling it), but an oversized mirror can also make your living room look substantially bigger.

Want more tips? See our guide on How to Decorate With Mirrors Across Your Home.

21. LED Wall Accents

To achieve that sought-after glow and nail your living room luminosity, you should definitely consider accenting your space with LEDs. There are so many routes you can take here, like how this modern home installed chic wall accents over the sofa instead of hanging traditional framed art.

22. LED Strip Lighting

LED strips are one of those living room lighting ideas that look much more expensive and complicated than they actually are. The budget-friendly light strips are widely available and super easy to install without hiring a professional. You can place them around a tray ceiling, under your media cabinet, within built-in shelving, along your mantle, you name it.

23. Candlelit Glow

If you're partial to the natural flicker of a flame, place candles around your living room. In addition to an ambient glow and a cozy atmosphere, you and your guests will enjoy a pleasant scent.

Want to master the aromatherapy in your humble abode? Read our Home Fragrance Guide: How to Make Your Home Smell Good.

24. Ambient Medley

candle medley

Whether you opt for candles, LEDs or both, bear in mind that you'll still need at least a couple of additional light sources. The best living room lighting ideas combine overhead fixtures and floor lamps with statement lights and ambient accents. The result? Layered, adjustable mood lighting for any occasion.

For more comfy-cozy design inspiration for every room in your home, take a look at these Fall Home Decor Ideas.

25. Lighted Wall Art

Think outside the bulb with lighted wall art. Take a look at how this battery-powered shadowbox showcases natural birch branches with a subtle glow. Like candles and LED light strips, illuminated art pieces supplement more robust light sources. 

Looking for more ways to adorn your walls? Check out these 31 Ideas for Decorating a Blank Wall in Your Home.

26. Warm Bulbs, Welcoming Glow

When you shop for light bulbs, you'll see soft white, warm white, cool white and daylight options. While living room lighting is a personal choice, soft white and warm white are ideal for living rooms, as they emit a warmer, golden glow. Cool white and daylight bulbs, on the other hand, tend to be a little harsher and reminiscent of commercial spaces.

27. Fireplace Insert

There's nothing quite like the soft crackle and warm glow of a fireplace. If you're not big on building fires, you might consider getting a gas or electric insert (electric fireplaces are usually more affordable).

For additional tips and guidance on designing a cozy space, see our article, Winter Home Decor Ideas: Room-by-Room Inspiration.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Parachute Stylist

These living room lighting ideas should get your creative juices flowing and inspire you to bring your favorite looks to life. When choosing fixtures, remember that it's all about layered lighting and adjustable illumination.

From bold statement pieces, minimalist living room lamps, understated ceiling lights, modern light fixtures and LED accents, you've got virtually endless options. If you're feeling overwhelmed with choices or need support with a specific design issue, an experienced Parachute stylist is here to assist. 

Schedule your complimentary phone or video styling consultation today!

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