How do I choose my living room lighting?

Most of your living room lighting choices depend the locations of electrical outlets. If you're remodeling you should define your outlet locations by your lighting design. Living rooms have recessed lighting, a single fixture in the middle of the room, floor lamps, corner lamps or perimeter lighting. Lit properly, you'll have a room you love to live in.


Anna Lee, The Lighting Lady, Certified Lighting Expert at Hansen Wholesale

Anna Lee Lights it Up!

By Anna Lee,
the Lighting Lady
Certified Residential Lighting Specialist
at Hansen Wholesale

Your Living Room is extremely important to, well... your life! The Lighting Lady is here this week to give you the tips you need to choose your living room lighting fixtures well for all the occasions your life calls for.

How to Choose Living Room Lighting Fixtures

January 30th, 2017

I don't know about you, but I spend the majority of my weekday down time in my living room. Well, down time other than sleeping!

Some time playing with the Little, laughing. Or talking with my Hunky Hubby about life and such. Sometimes we have impromptu dance parties or karaoke jams. Or, snuggling and watching a show to lose the cares of the day...

No matter how you spend time in your living room, you need to shed some light on all these moments. And, with the right living room lighting fixtures.

General Plan

Living Room Lighting is often mostly ambient (meaning diffused lighting) with a few utility/task lights. Put task lights next to your favorite spot for a little more light when you need it. These days most living rooms have recessed lighting. But, if your house was made before the 1990s most likely you have no direct wire lighting in your living room. It's possible you or someone added it in over the years.

Recessed Lighting

So, let's talk recessed lighting. LED is your best bet. Converting to LED is easy. Buy a LED conversion can and install it. LED produces great color for living room lighting. And, of course LEDs last seemingly forever compared to incandescent or fluorescent.

Ceiling Fans with Lighting

If you have a source of electricity (J-Box) in the middle of your room, you have several options. Your first and most versatile option is a ceiling fan with lighting. You can get ceiling fans in any style with ample lighting. You have options for remote controls or wall controls for dimming.

A ceiling fan serves more than one purpose. It handles lighting with many levels of light (dimming options). It also handles air circulation to assist in cooling and heating and comfort.

Flush / Semi-Flush Fixture

Another option is a flush or semi-flush fixture. This type of fixture fits up against the ceiling or hangs just below). There are endless styles and light levels to choose from in this category.

Perimeter Lighting

You can also use track, monorail or cable lighting. One source of electricity in your ceiling runs many lights on a rail, cable, or track. Or, if you have a very large room, you may need multiple tracks so the lighting covers more area.

For most homes in America, there is no recessed lighting in the living room and no junction box. If this is the case in your home, your best bet to light the living room is using portable lamps.

Choosing Lamps for Living Rooms

Now I know you don't want to have 10 lamps lining your living room. But you want to have some lighting right where you need it and some ambient lighting. Ambient lighting is useful when you relax, watch a show or visit with family and friends.

Depending on the size of your living room, you will most likely need 1-2 torchieres. These are tall lamps that reflect light off the ceiling. Then, place one or two table lamps placed next to the most used seating areas. It's possible to get torchieres that also have built-in task lighting.

Table lamp options include those that shine up, down, or both. Use the right table lamp for ambient lighting or for a direct spot on the area you need it most.

Once you have some general ideas, choose some living room lighting fixtures and see if you can make them work. You might want to mark your working outlets while planning. This way you can easily see how much electrical chord length you'll need. Start with the fixed or recessed lights. After you place the fixtures, move on to torchieres and table lamps to fill your living room with ambient and task lighting.

I hope I helped to enlighten you!

- Anna Lee, the Lighting Lady
Certified Residential Lighting Specialist, Hansen Wholesale