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Our Definitive How-to Guide on Living Room Lighting

November 26, 2019

Our Definitive How-to Guide on Living Room Lighting

The living room is one of the central spots in our home. It's a versatile space where we come together to spend time as a family; it's where we socialise with guests and it's also where we sit back to unwind and relax after a long day. However, it can be confusing to try and figure out how to style and light you living room, given the diverse uses of the space. So, we've created our definitive how-to guide for living room lighting, which will help explore the types of lighting you can use, depending on how you use the space. We'll also answer some of the most frequent questions that we've come across, so keep reading to find out more.

First thing's first: How are you using your living room?

When we think about installing lights in a living room, we tend to think about well-known ideas, like a floor lamp in the corner or a lamp on the side table. However, you need to think more broadly; living rooms are known for hosting a range of tasks, activities and purposes, so you need to create a lighting plan that will effectively and intuitively respond to your family's communal living room needs.


Essentially, these needs can be broken down into three major categories: general lighting, accent lighting and task lighting. General lighting refers to your everyday, bread and butter lighting, such as flush mount ceiling lights, dimmable ceiling lights, recessed lighting, etc. In contrast, accent lighting is used when you want to create a focal point – something that will draw your gaze, such as a chandelier, pendant, wall light, table lamp or floor lamp, etc. And our third category is task lighting, which is used when you want to undertake particular tasks, like reading or knitting; essentially task lighting is for any activity that requires focused, directional and adjustable lighting. Keep reading as we elaborate on how to integrate your specific needs into your living room lighting, thereby creating a seamless, practical and inviting space.

So you: Love to read

We know the feeling: You're snuggled up on the couch and you're getting lost in a good book, with a cup of tea (or wine!) on the side table next to you. But the lighting isn't great and you're craning your neck to get a decent ray of light. Never fear! Here are some of our suggestions for the book worms out there:

  • Task lighting: Task lighting is a fantastic way to create directional and focused lighting. And, if you choose a dimmable light, you can adjust the brightness to create a comfortable, atmospheric setting. Here are some of our best task lighting recommendations for readers.
  • General lighting: For reading, most general lighting will suit your needs, such as floor lamps, wall lights/sconces, table lamps, etc.

Table lamps are our biggest recommendation for reading. This is because table lamps fits into both the task light and general lighting categories. Remember these key considerations when choosing a table lamp:

  • Materials: Metal is a common table lamp material because of its versatility and can boast of many features and finishing combinations. But don't just limit yourself with these styles. Other table lamps are made of wood, brass, marble, rattan or glass. Find the right material that suits your decor.
  • Location: The right table lamp can easily transform a boring corner into a delightful reading nook or a workspace. If you're using a table lamp for a reading nook, just be careful not to create an obstruction in the space. And, consider the size of the table lamp in relation to the table it is placed on.
  • Layering: Different lights in one room creates a dimension of lustre. Use two similar table lamps for a perfect symmetry.
  • Types: Table lamps differ in shapes and styles as well as how it diffuses light. Classic table lamps are the basic types which provides general illumination and often comes with a fabric shade or a glass globe. Explore online to search for modern and experimental table lamp shapes and sizes.
  • Table lamps for the modern man: Some lamp designs come with additional innovations to match your needs. Gooseneck table lamps can be adjusted to focus on the light on varying directions. Tray lamps are used for lighting small spaces. Magnifying lamps come with magnifiers which let you see things more clearly, perfect for those who have poor eyesight. See whether the table lamp you were eyeing have these special features too.

So you: Love to watch TV

If you love to kick back and watch your favourite soap drama, or the latest footy match, we get you. If watching TV is one of the primary activities of your living room, then consider:
  • General lighting: This is the most important type of lighting to consider if you watch a lot of TV. General lighting includes recessed lighting, downlights, wall lights, track lights, table lamps, etc. This kind of lighting provides a wealth of light around the room without distracting your gaze towards it, thereby allowing you to focus on what's really important: that crime drama you're binge watching!
  • Downlights: Downlights are beautiful, ambient lighting systems that can be incorporated with many other styles. When combined with a gorgeous pendant or flush mount light, such as our Glass Ball 3 Arm Ceiling Light or our Vintage Umbrella 3 Arm Flush Mount, it could add a nice, starlit glow to your ceiling. Make sure not to overdo it; install in well-calculated segments to maximize each bulb. 
  • Natural Light: Nothing beats the feeling of the warm morning sun invading your space and filling it with light. Make the most of nature: big windows and daylight spaces give you the opportunity to save on lighting. Of course, you can pair it with a desk lamp to keep you company. Alternatively, a set of wall sconces or hanging bulbs creates an atmosphere that gives you enough illumination during the evening.

So you: Love to socialise

If you're the type of person who loves to have friends over, then integrating general and accent lighting is critical to creating a warm and inviting space. Here are some of our tips:

  • General lighting: General lighting works well with social spaces. If you're not looking to create a big statement, then consider recessed lighting, ceiling lights, and lights with frosted shades to diffuse the light and create a softened space. Dimmable lights are a definite winner here, as you can control the mood of the room to create the perfect atmosphere.
  • Accent lighting: Accent lighting is how you can really wow your guests. From statement pendant lights to grandiose chandeliers, there's no shortage of ways to create a living room that instantly grabs attention.
  • Smart Bulbs: Smart light bulbs are a new and innovative way to create various lighting colours, atmospheres and moods. With smart bulbs, you can create customised routines and colour shows for your living rooms lights, which easily connects to your existing Wi-Fi setup. With smart bulbs, you can create multi-dimensional spaces, which is perfect for when you want to create a warm, colourful and exciting atmosphere when you’re socialising or hosting a party.

However, no matter how you choose to style your living room, remember that it's all about layering. Don’t just stick to a central light; layer your illumination by choosing variants of task, general and accent lighting. Through clever product choice, you can find lights that overlap between the accent, general and task lighting categories, thereby serving several needs all at once. And, if you're still stuck on living room lighting ideas, why not get in touch with our friendly team at Fat Shack Vintage? We're always on call to assist in creating the perfect living room space.

What do you think about living room lighting? Do you prefer general, accent or task lighting? Let us know your thoughts and opinions below!

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