How to Make Your Living Room Cozy With Lighting

Published on
May 18, 2023 at 1:50:00 PM PDT May 18, 2023 at 1:50:00 PM PDTth, May 18, 2023 at 1:50:00 PM PDT

How to Make Your Living Room Cozy With Lighting


The key to creating a cozy living room lies in the art of lighting.

When you arrive at a fancy restaurant and enter through the large glass doors to be greeted by soft piano music, the smells of a nice cooked steak and a glass of your favorite wine, do you expect harsh, fluorescent lighting overhead? No. You expect low lighting, beautiful chandeliers, maybe even candles on the table. You may be unable to read your menu, but you are thoroughly relaxed when you get to your seat and order your drink. That is all on purpose, and we want to do the same thing with our living room!

1. Layering Light to Make Your Living Room Cozy

Let’s go back to our example of a fancy restaurant. You have your overhead lights, sure, but it is seldom the only fixture in use. More often do you have table lamps, sconces and even candles used all at once to add to that mood.

How do you achieve that feeling? By layering lighting.

Layering your lighting means including multiple types of light, such as general, task, and ambient, to create a layered lighting effect. This includes the height of the fixtures, the types of bulbs you use and their brightness, and how many fixtures you include. You may feel that your living room is missing something if you’re only using an overhead light. That is only the foundation.

Foundation Lighting: Overhead Lighting

To create a foundation when layering light, a good chandelier, pendant, or lantern is the perfect way to start. These fixtures provide general illumination for the entire room, and are used when cleaning or doing an activity such as a puzzle or a game with family.

Lamps, Sconces and Picture Lights

As of late, there has been a trend on social media where people have said no to big, overhead lighting. While we disagree, we do see where they are coming from. Overhead lighting can feel a bit oppressive at times, and the problem comes when there is only overhead lighting.

That is why adding additional layers is so important.

To keep your living room cozy in the evening, make sure to add multiple lamps and sconces that provide illumination for the entire space. We love to add a floor, or task lamp to a reading chair to provide a bit of light in an otherwise dim room. Purchase lamps that have dimmable switches, to allow you to change the mood at any moment.

When it comes to sconces, it's perfect for adding more light to your room without the need for the overhead light to be on. They look amazing flanking your mantel, above a beautiful piece of artwork, or in a niche of your living room.

(If you want to do this in the easiest way possible, look for pinup sconces/plug-in sconces, that don’t require wiring to be utilized)

Task Lighting: Task Lamps and Task Sconces

Task lamps and task sconces are used for direct illumination while doing a task such as reading, writing, or cooking. If you have a reader in your family, put a beautiful task lamp or sconce near their reading area so you can dim the lights in the evening, while still allowing them to enjoy their favorite author.

2. Choose Warm Light Bulbs

Warm vs. Cool Lighting

For your living room, we suggest you purchase nothing above a 2700K bulb, to allow that warm light to bathe your space, and create a calming atmosphere as opposed to bright, blue light, which keeps you awake longer.

Bulb Brightness

Kelvin, or K, for short, isn’t the only aspect of a bulb that can change the feeling of a space. The brightness in lumens, is the area in which a light can illuminate. Even if you were to buy the right bulb temperature (2700K or less) the wrong lumens can still make the light seem oppressive.

For lamps, think of getting lower-lumen bulbs (450 lumens or 40 watts) with warm light.

3. Add Dimmers and Controls

We understand that there are different uses for a living room than just laying on the couch and enjoying your beautiful home. Think about purchasing fixtures and bulbs that are dimmable, such as these dimmable lamps, and install dimmer switches for your overhead fixtures so you can turn up the energy when you’re cleaning, and lower it when you’re relaxing.

4. Properly Place Your Fixtures to Make it Cozy

Overhead Lighting

Central Focus: Overhead lighting fixtures such as chandeliers or pendant lights should be positioned centrally in your living room to provide the correct level of general illumination.

Proportional to Room Size: A larger room may require a more substantial fixture or multiple sources of overhead light such as recessed bulbs.

Task Lighting

Direct Illumination: Place task lights such as task floor lamps, or swing arm sconces next to a cozy reading chair to brighten that area while keeping the others dim for relaxation.

Ambient Lighting

In Corners or Along Walls: Place lamps in corners or along walls to add warmth and fill in areas with insufficient light that has gone untouched by your overhead lighting.

Side Tables: When you’re sitting on the couch watching TV in the evening, the glare of an overhead light can be oppressive and stressful on the eyes, we recommend having at least one lamp in each room to allow for lower light.

Candles: The epitome of relaxation. They look lovely on mantels, coffee tables, or side tables to add that cozy feeling to your home.

5. Experiment and Personalize

By using these tips it will allow you to make good purchases. A good way to do this is to find your preferred overhead fixture and purchase table/floor lamps in your style. You aren’t able to move an overhead fixture with ease, but with a good set of table lamps, or floor lamps, you can move them around the room to get the cozy feeling you want in your living room!

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