How to get your living room lighting just right

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Take our advice on how to get the lighting right in what should be the cosiest room in the house

A living room that relies on one overhead light is a sad sight indeed.  It suggests indifference, or perhaps decision fatigue – understandable, really, when there are so many options on the market. Instead of giving in to the glare, let our experts talk you through it.

“A layered lighting scheme can transform a room,” says Charu Gandhi, founder and director of design studio Elicyon.

“Add depth with well-placed task lighting, such as table lamps; add height with creative overhead lighting; and create cosy spots through strategically placed floor lamps.

WELL LIT

Adjustable spotlights can also be a great way to draw attention to a room’s most impressive features, such as architectural details or that special piece of art.”

Piero De Marchis, director of Detail Lighting, agrees: “It’s best to have a mix of low-level wall and floor lights. If this isn’t possible, a combination of table lamps and ceiling lights works best. Ensure they’re on separate circuits so it’s possible to dim and blend the styles to suit the mood of the room. I recommend the dimmable white 2700k bulb, which gives off a warm energy.”

1. Haro floor lamp, £POA, Stellar Works | 2. Tequila cactus lamp, from approx £700, Casarialto | 3. Benson curved floor lamp, £110, BHS | 4. Brompton ceiling light, from £285, Original BTC | 5. Easy Peasy portable and rechargeable table lamp, from £220, Lodes

Once you’ve mastered the different categories of lighting, have fun with it. “Be experimental with your choices,” says Charu.

“The more options you add, the more dimensions you create. Illuminate alcoves with uplighters, opt for textured wall sconces to wash light up or down the wall, and incorporate a variety of different shades.”

I love highlighting a room’s architectural detailing. Lighting features directly, instead of thin air, always makes for a more impactful scheme. – Charu Gandhi, Elicyon

Once you’ve mastered the different categories of lighting, have fun with it. “Be experimental with your choices,” says Charu.

“The more options you add, the more dimensions you create. Illuminate alcoves with uplighters, opt for textured wall sconces to wash light up or down the wall, and incorporate a variety of different shades.”

TRENDING LIGHTS

Charlie Bowles, director of Original BTC, tells us what’s trending.

“Nostalgia has been a huge influence on the way people style their interiors,” he says, “and has led to a resurgence of trends like brass fittings, unexpected colours and creative shapes.”

“We’ve also seen a rising appreciation for natural elements like ceramic shades – a great way to introduce calm.”

1. Forden ceiling light, from £125, The White Company | 2. Tapered bamboo pendant, £275, Cox & Cox | 3. Kelly cluster pendant, from £378, Lodes | 4. Julie pom pom pendant, £40, Dunelm | 5.Tulla raffia pendant, £225, Curious Egg | 6. Pillar light, £660, Rothschild & Bickers

That’s all well and good, but what if you have a particularly tricky space to work with? What if you can’t rewire? What if you have mobility issues and finding all the switches on these lamps will be tricky?

“The lighting industry is continually evolving,” says Charu.

“Smart lighting systems now allow for remote control and automation via smartphone apps or voice commands. These systems can be easily integrated into new and existing lighting designs. There is also an ever-growing collection of wireless battery-operated LED wall lighting and rechargeable light bulbs available, if hard wiring isn’t an option for you.”

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