A Guide to Different Types of Light Fixtures

Published on
February 2, 2022 at 8:48:00 AM PST February 2, 2022 at 8:48:00 AM PSTnd, February 2, 2022 at 8:48:00 AM PST



A Regina Andrew Cheyanne Antler Chandelier in a foyer

Lighting plays a crucial role in setting the ambiance and functionality of your living room. Picking the right lights can be difficult when you don't know what the options are, and how they can affect your room. Our guide covers seven different types of light fixtures, explaining their features, benefits, and where to put them in different rooms.

Why are light fixtures so important to your home's style?

As your own personal interior designer, it can be difficult to choose which light fixtures would fit a room the best. Gone are the days where you slap any random light in a room and call it a day. A fixture that doesn't fit well in a room can make it look disproportionate. This can detract from the other attractive features in your home.

Lighting in general is used to illuminate your home, but the possibilities are endless when it comes to enhancing the style with the perfect fitting fixture. It can be used to highlight architectural features in your home, add personality, and add depth and ambiance.

When you think of a study or private library in a home, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Dark leather and cigar smoke, yes, but the perfect ambient lighting that allows the room to speak for itself.

Small wall sconces and picture lights highlight wonderful artwork, and lamps provide that warm feeling that makes you want to curl up and read your favorite book. Just as much as a fluorescent light in a hospital feels clean and sterile, a dark shaded lamp provides warmth for any corner in a home.

How to choose the perfect light fixture for you

When deciding what type of fixture fits best in your room, there are a few things to consider first before purchasing:

  • The Purpose and Function

    Start by understanding the purpose and function of the room. Consider the activities that will take place in the space and the type of lighting required. For example, a kitchen may require bright task lighting for food preparation, while a living room may benefit from a combination of ambient and accent lighting for relaxation and entertaining.

  • Style and Aesthetic

    Assess the existing style and aesthetic of the room. Determine whether the space calls for a traditional, contemporary, rustic, or eclectic light fixture. Look at the furniture, color scheme, and overall decor to ensure the light fixture aligns with the existing design elements. The light fixture should complement the room's style and contribute to the desired atmosphere.

  • Scale and Proportion

    Take into account the size of the room and the scale of the furniture and other elements within it. A large, spacious room with high ceilings can accommodate a grand chandelier, while a smaller room may require a more compact and understated fixture. Consider how the light fixture will visually relate to the surrounding elements and ensure it maintains a balanced and proportional appearance.

  • Lighting Placement and Coverage

    Evaluate a room’s layout and determine the areas that need lighting coverage. Identify the focal points, such as artwork, architectural features, or functional zones, and select a light fixture that effectively illuminates these areas. Consider the direction and spread of light to ensure it meets the specific needs of the space.

  • Personal Preference

    Finally, trust your personal preference and instincts. Choose a light fixture that resonates with you and brings joy to the space. While considering the technical and design aspects, also allow your unique taste and style to shine through the selection process.

1. Chandeliers

Chandeliers are the epitome of elegance and grandeur, perfect for adding a touch of sophistication to formal living rooms or larger spaces. Centrally hang a chandelier to make it the focal point of the room and illuminate the space with a warm and inviting glow.

These fixtures work best in rooms with tall ceilings and allow them to hang freely without getting in the way of your guests. Since chandeliers are more of a decorative statement, it is best to pair them with other fixtures like lamps and sconces to fully illuminate a room.

A Regina Andrew Molten Chandelier over a dining room table

2. Pendant Lights

Pendant lights come in various sizes and styles, making them versatile options for any room in your home. Hang them above a coffee table or a seating area to create a cozy and intimate atmosphere while providing focused illumination. Unlike chandeliers, pendant lights are perfect for rooms with short ceilings.

Choose a fixture that allows you to adjust height to allow the fixture to breathe but still provide a beautiful accent to your decor style. They work perfectly over a kitchen counter in twos or threes, drawing the eye if wanted, or seamlessly blending in with your style.

Regina Andrew Demi John Pendant over a kitchen island

3. Floor Lamps

Floor lamps are excellent for adding both ambient and task lighting in any room. Place them beside a reading nook or near a couch to provide ample light for reading or other activities. Their versatile design and portability make them suitable for different room layouts, allowing you to move them as your room changes, unlike fixtures that require hard wiring.

As an example, if you have tall ceilings with a chandelier, this may be a perfect fixture to add to your room to provide the perfect amount of lighting with minimal effort.

Regina Andrew Nabu Metal Floor Lamp in a living room

4. Table Lamps

Table lamps are perfect for adding accent lighting to side tables, consoles, or mantels. They enhance the aesthetics of the room while providing localized illumination for specific areas.

When deciding between a table lamp style, decide what type of lighting the room you’re planning needs. If you plan on using it as a reading lamp, think of a shade that diverts the light down, instead of up. If you plan on using it to illuminate a certain area of the room, think of using light linen shades to allow light to escape.

Regina Andrew Ibis Task Lamp on a console table

5. Sconces

Sconces are space-saving lighting fixtures that can add focused light to your walls and ceiling. They work well as accent lighting or for creating layered lighting effects, such as the photo linked below. Install wall sconces on either side of a mirror, or artwork to highlight their beauty.

Regina Andrew Happy Sconce next to a king sized bed

6. Flush Mounts

Flush mount lights are ceiling lights fixed flush to the ceiling, without any chains or rope. These fixtures are particularly useful in rooms with low ceiling height, allowing you to choose a style that fits but saving precious space in smaller areas.

If your home is more modern or minimalist, flush mount lights may be the perfect choice. They will not draw the eye as much as a chandelier would, but still provide ample lighting to any space. Despite their small but impactful nature, flush mounts come in all shapes and sizes, still allowing you to express the style of your personality and home all in one.

Regina Andrew Lorelei Wood Bead Flush Mount in a living room

7. Picture Lights

The epitome of style and class, the almighty picture light. If you have artwork or a gallery wall in your living room, consider using picture lights to accentuate their beauty. These fixtures attach to the frame or wall, focusing light directly on the artwork to highlight its details and colors.

Similar to wall sconces these fixtures are the best at providing focused lighting on areas of interest in your room. Just like a spotlight, it provides a focused amount of light exactly where you want it to be. If you feel your room may be lacking something, a picture light over a decorative accent or painting may be just what the doctor ordered.

Regina Andrew Redford Picture Light above a built-in shelf


Choosing the right types of lighting fixtures for your living room can transform it into a welcoming and versatile space. Combine different fixtures strategically to create layers of light, catering to various activities and moods. From chandeliers and pendant lights to table lamps and wall sconces, there is a plethora of options to suit your style and needs. By understanding the unique features and optimal placement of each lighting type, you can curate the perfect ambiance and enhance the functionality of your living room.

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