Multiple layers of light make a living room feel more open and spacious; layered lighting adds energy and sufficient illumination any time of the day, making the room more functional and welcoming to family and visitors alike. Designing a living room with layers of light is possible once you understand what makes up each layer and how to combine them. You can use all layers or pick the one that is most important to your overall design scheme for the living room.
First Layer: Natural Lighting
The first and most important layer of lighting in the living room is natural lighting, found through windows and skylights in this space. Mirrors are the best way to enhance small sources of natural light as long as they are balanced with other accessories in order to keep the energy positive in the living room. Natural lighting is your most important source of lighting, and it should be the primary, even sole, source of daytime lighting in the living room if the room receives an abundance of natural light.
Second Layer: Artificial Lighting
Artificial lighting is the primary source of nighttime lighting in the typical home, and many of us use it for a variety of evening and late night activities. This may include reading, writing, using the computer, watching television, enjoying movies, or late night talks with special friends and family members. A flip of a switch can add or remove illumination as desired to create almost any mood or support any function.
The most traditional sources of artificial lighting in the living room include:
– Overhead lighting. This includes ceiling fans, overhead lighting fixtures, and all similar options that are ceiling-mounted. There are literally thousands of different types of overhead lighting to create the perfect look, depending on your sense of style and the room’s décor. A dimmer switch is an important option for controlling the level of light and desired ambiance.
– Lamps. For a softer look later in the evening, lamps are the most popular choice; their light is soft and diffused and lamps can be place exactly where you want extra light. Some are designed for placement on a table, others stand alone, and some are meant to be mounted on the wall.
Third Layer: Flickering Lights
Candles offer a flickering glow that is perfectly suited for romantic interludes or soft, peaceful light that adds cozy comfort. Scented candles add a pleasant fragrance that can be matched to season or mood.
The glow of candlelight and firelight glow goes back to our oldest ancestors, and a fireplaces offers another form of flickering light and homey ambiance. We contain the heat, smoke, and lighting of a fire within a fireplace, directing the heat and light into the living room but diverting the smoke out the chimney or similar method. To get the same look, you can have a gas or electric log that offers the same lighting and environment as a traditional wood-burning fireplace without the smoke or smell of burning wood.