How to choose the right lighting for your living room in 2020

How to choose the right lighting for your living room in 2020


2020 has reminded us of how important having a nice, comfortable living room is.

But how to transform our living room into an interior design gem?

First, we must understand the aspects that affect how we perceive a living room.

Color, shape, and function all set the tone for a living room’s mood. A mood that should be always changing.

One of the most vibrant spaces in our homes, with a vast array of tasks taking place here. A living room is a multi-purpose living space.

This means that our living room must be able to accommodate different situations.

Nowadays the need for reconfiguration gets solved by using smart furniture and adjustable lighting. It is in the latter that we will be focusing on.

To make this a little bit easier to follow, we will separate lighting in a living room as follows:

Ambient lighting: The main source of lighting in a living room. This can be natural or artificial lighting.

Lighting zones: Hierarchic surfaces within a space that has special illumination.

Task lighting: Dedicated to complete a task, like reading. Require some technical considerations, mainly lumens and lux.

Accent lighting: Placed to accentuate the importance of an object. It can be part of an object.

Lighting controls: Dimmers, switches, etc. Domotics play a huge role in this aspect if affordable.

Let us go a little bit deeper.

night light lamp

Ambient lighting

A living’s mood will be drastically affected by its main source of lighting.

When daylight is available our furniture will be the protagonists of the living room. When daylight is not available lighting will be a defining factor in setting the mood, so pick well.

Choosing what kind of mood we want to set is very subjective.

With no wrong or right answers, finding our preference can be overwhelming.

A good rule of thumb is to have warm colors in living spaces and cold colors in working spaces.

Our recommendation for a living room is to pick warm tones making it feel cozier and a bit more dramatic.

tall lamp for bedroom

Lighting zones

Depending on the mood you want to accomplish, there will be zones you may want to highlight. These zones are surfaces that deserve special consideration within the hierarchy. They can be anything: floors, ceilings, walls, etc.

An example can be a wall in your living room that has a different color palette than the rest or special mementos. Anything that makes a surface special.

You may want to be very contrasting with the lighting in these zones. If you have picked warm ambient lighting, maybe you can introduce some slightly colder tones in.

The more control you get the better. Dimmable or color-changing lighting are a very good option for you.

black table lamp

Task lighting

If you want to read a book all by yourself, play some games with your family or make anything requiring precision. You need to consider task lighting.

Often done with floor lamps or hanging lamps, task lighting requires dedicated lighting. In this case both the color and the lux need to suit the specific task at hand.

Here let us make a small parenthesis to explain what a lux is. While there is a lot of technicalities we will try to keep this short.

A lux is a measurement unit that determines how many lumens per square meter a light source can provide over a certain distance. A lumen is the intensity emanated from said light source. While the lumens will always keep constant, a lux fades over distance.

As an example; a hallway may require around 100 lx (lux) while a library requires 500 lx. So the lighting intensity of a library will be five times greater than that of a hallway.

As you can see not every task is the same, try to pick lighting that includes a way to change its intensity, color and position.

lamps for living room

Accent lighting

Any kind of lighting that helps differentiate or highlight any kind of object or surface. Both lighting zones and task lighting can contribute to accent lighting. Accent lighting can be directly embedded or aimed at the desired object. A lighting fixture used to frame a space or an object is considered accent lighting.

LED strips, floor lamps and spotlights are great forms to create accent lighting. Color-changing floor lamps are a good option if you want to have more control over your living room’s mood.

Accent lighting is where you can be as bold as you like. In here colors can be wild and varied. In some cases accent lighting works best when the rest of the lighting is turned off. The darkness of the room makes for a pretty useful black canvas.

Furniture, sculptures, home entertainment systems, everything you want. Accent lighting can be placed anywhere but we encourage you to keep a decent amount of it. Sometimes less is more.

Lighting controls

Although not as visible as the lighting fixtures of our living room, lighting controls are very important. From the moment you turn on the lights the sensation of the click in a switch must cause a positive reaction.

Sensors, screens, and software can take a simple task like “flipping a switch” and turn it into something special.

Being a very important part of domotics is in this part of designing your living room where a lot of thought and investment may go.

For those that do not know domotics is a science that looks to the integration of electronics and information, and its application in buildings and other living spaces.

For example domotics can allow you to control your lighting controls with voice commands, through the internet, and more.


Not always seriously considered, lighting is an important tool for everyone trying to improve a room within their home.

With a wide variety of options you can make your living room exactly as you want it.

While requiring some technical knowledge, choosing the best lighting for you is very easy.

Your budget can range from cheap to very expensive, but whatever you choose your living room would not be the same after.

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