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A Beginner's Guide to Layering Lights in Your Living Room

November 16, 2021
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Discover the secrets of combining light sources to create more visually appealing and functional living spaces.

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The living room is used for a variety of activities such as lounging, entertaining family and friends, and more. While most living rooms are bright and welcoming during the day, it is equally important that this space is well illuminated at night to create a pleasant ambience and ensure that the room remains functional even after the sun goes down.

One Foresta Condominium by Interior Choreographer Design (INC Design)

The three different types of lighting

A well-lit room should ideally include a combination of three types of lighting: ambient, accent, and task lighting.

1. Ambient lighting such as ceiling lights, spotlights, wall lights, pendant lights, chandeliers, and recessed lights across the ceiling floods your room with bright light, improves visibility and provides far-reaching illumination.

2. Task lighting such as table lamps, adjustable floor lamps, desk lamps, and swing-arm lamps, can help to highlight a specific area, such as next to a chair, over a table, in a cosy corner, and so on.

3. Accent lighting such as decorative lamps, niche lights, and lights inside cabinets, adds a subtle glow while highlighting statement pieces or specific features in a room.

Layering light in your living room simply means combining three or two of the above to create a cohesive and functional space. Here are some ideas for layering your living room lighting with more than one type of light fixture.

1. A statement chandelier

An iron black chandelier serves as an ambient light in this modern living room, blanketing the entire room with bright, white light. The dramatic lighting fixture also draws attention to the exposed wooden beams on the ceiling, which give the room a worn, aged appearance. Aside from the chandelier, the living room includes an adjustable floor lamp next to the TV console for soft, intimate task lighting at night.

The White Mansion, Ampang Jaya by Box Design Studio Sdn Bhd

2. Spherical pendants

A collection of spherical lighting fixtures ensure that the ambient light cast by the fixtures is evenly distributed across the entire space of this sophisticated living room designed by Wuuu Design Studio. The room is also accented with cove lights and a few task lighting, such as a table lamp and undercabinet lighting, which provide a soft warm glow, making the room feel more elegant at night.

Masera Cheras by Wuuu Studio

Interior Firm: Wuuu Studio

Masera Cheras by Wuuu Studio

Interior Firm: Wuuu Studio

3. An oversize floor lamp

In addition to the ceiling lights that serve as the primary source of light in this living room, PINS Studio added an oversized adjustable lamp next to the L-shaped sofa to transform the corner into a cosy spot, ideal for curling up with a book. This stylish task lighting also creates an ideal dimmed environment for late-night movie watching.

Villa Flora, TTDI by PINS Studio

Interior Firm: PINS Studio

Villa Flora, TTDI by PINS Studio

Interior Firm: PINS Studio

4. Matching fixtures

Viyest Interior Design kept the living room's edgy vibe with a table and floor lamp that provides ample task lighting. Both the floor and the table lamps balance the room without being too matchy-matchy. The designer also layered the room’s light by installing ceiling lights and a bold statement wall lamp that creates a focal point and warms up the space with warm ambient lights. Meanwhile, the black finishes on the light fixtures, as well as the coffee table, helps to create a cohesive look to the space.

Beverly Heights, Ampang by Viyest Interior Design

Interior Firm: Viyest Interior Design

Beverly Heights, Ampang by Viyest Interior Design

Interior Firm: Viyest Interior Design

5. Integrated lighting

In this modern living room, the built-in unit that surrounds the free-standing TV is outfitted with inside-cabinet lighting, which provides soft, indirect flattering accent light to highlight the decor items displayed on the open shelves. Aside from the accent lights, the living room comes with recessed lights that serve as the room's primary lighting source. The combination of these light fixtures contributes to the creation of a warm and inviting space that is ideal for entertaining or lounging.

Setia Residence by ZOGE Interior & Build (M) Sdn. Bhd.
Setia Residence by ZOGE Interior & Build (M) Sdn. Bhd.

6. Accent lights that double as art

Various types of accent lights, such as under cabinet lighting and low hanging pendant lights, are used to draw attention to the contemporary décor of this living room. The unique design of these lighting fixtures also serves as a conversation starter while providing soft, intimate lighting at night. It also helps to balance the bright ambient light cast by the recessed lights and cove lights, keeping the living room's ambience relaxing and comfortable.

The Pearl Residence, KLCC by Blaine Robert Design Sdn. Bhd.
The Pearl Residence, KLCC by Blaine Robert Design Sdn. Bhd.

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