Sure, well-made, beautiful furniture and a strategic layout are important elements of a living room design, but you know what literally sets the mood? Lighting. From understated and recessed to over-the-top statement pieces, the options are endless. Ahead, we’re spotlighting fifteen living room lighting ideas (both ambient and task-specific) to keep your entertaining and hangout space well-lit, stylish, and functional.
If you have a small little niche in your living room, transform it into a reading nook. Take inspiration from this one designed by Corinne Mathern Studio, which features a built-in bench covered in throw pillows and comfy cushions. Add a mini pendant to illuminate the nook without taking up floor space.
The pleated lemon yellow lampshade in this colorful living room designed by Anna Spiro Design is the cherry on top. Though the fun pillows and ottoman, elegant gilt mirror, and bright blue walls make the space fun and inviting, the lamp is what really makes it pop.
Want to go a little glam without looking too showy? Add in minimal brass accents, like a metal-frame coffee table and eye-catching metallic lighting. This living room is also a good blueprint for small space decorating. While the only three furniture items are two seats and a small coffee table, the ceiling light is all it takes to make the entire room feel special.
Designed by Studio Riga, this blue living room is lit up by a modern white chandelier that contrasts well with the more traditional elements, such as the tufted seating and chesterfield sofa. The two table lamps also provide some extra task lighting.
Rice paper shade pendants are as affordable as it gets when it comes to statement lighting that also looks elevated and sleek. They also emit a soft glow. In this living room designed by Leanne Ford Interiors, it complements the all-white aesthetic beautifully.
If you have a super spacious living room, consider breaking it into two distinct sitting areas and creating symmetry by hanging identical light fixtures over each. Take a cue from this Spanish-inspired great room by Madeline Stuart.
Opt for a sculptural sconce that doubles as artwork to spice up your living room wall. It’s an especially effective way to embolden a minimalist living room like this one.
Though the classic floor lamp adds some nice task lighting, the recessed lighting in the coffered ceiling is what really brightens up this living room by designer Heather Hilliard, who added some unexpectedly edgy elements. The floral sofa and the green lucite coffee table are welcome surprises that break up the classic elements without overpowering them.
Modern and minimalist spaces, like an open loft or new development, can be warmed up with earth tones, layers of plush materials, and artful accessories. Here, Tamsin Johnson kept the edgy vibe alive with an avant-garde mirror and a low-to-the-ground chrome coffee table. She also added extra lighting by installing sleek black spotlights by the built-ins.
A blue velvet sofa stands out in the family room of a Manhattan apartment designed by the inimitable Miles Redd. The wallpaper is hung horizontally rather than vertically for a modern, offbeat look. The sconce lamp in the corner lights things up without taking up floor space or being shoved awkwardly behind the sofa.
Get creative! You don’t have to invest in a super expensive statement piece to have beautiful lighting. Designer Leanne Ford painted the natural IKEA rug and custom-made rope light to coordinate.
In this eclectic living room designed by Heidi Caillier, the jute rug, wood finishes, and brass accents—particularly the inverted drum pendant—bring plenty of warmth to ensure a cozy, inviting space. The off-white walls also help warm up the room.
This fun and playful yet classic living room designed by Kingston Lafferty revolves around the rainbow sputnik chandelier. Sputniks are great for a burst of energy, as the very shape makes them appear to be radiating joy.
Though understated and neutral in color, this living room designed by Tamsin Johnson incorporates plenty of personality, from the three-tiered arc lamp to the beachy rattan furniture. While the shapely floor lamp adds character, the abundant natural light also helps set the tone for the room. The window seat is a great addition to a living-room-family-room hybrid since it blends into the background when not in use but also provides a cozy spot when the occupant just feels like hanging out.
If your formal living room is also your family room, you want to make sure it strikes a balance between super comfortable and presentable. A cozy family room that cleans up nicely, if you will. A super soft sectional with plenty of space to spread out for movie nights is a must, but choose one that also looks elegant. Then add fun, eye-catching lighting for an extra punch of whimsy, like the pendant in this Studio DB-designed room.