SHOULD A LIVING ROOM HAVE A CEILING LIGHT?
Living rooms are most commonly lit with a mix of lighting, including overhead (or ambient), accent, and task lights, but if the layers of light do a good enough job, ceiling lights might not be crucial to the scheme. Ceiling lights are often not the key component in the lighting scheme either, with many designs being about the decorative aspect, rather than lighting. Task and accent lighting helps create a warm and cocooning feel in your living room alone. ‘The living room is a place for relaxing, and lighting is crucial for creating the right mood for this. If the lighting is very harsh and cold, it creates a space that feels unwelcoming and clinical,' says Will Earl Design Director of lighting brand J Adams & Co. 'Lighting in the living room should be inviting and warm – done right, it will make a space feel ‘natural’ and allow people to feel relaxed and happy without them even realizing it.’
THE PROS OF CEILING LIGHTS
A ceiling light can act as the first layer and foundation in your layered lighting scheme. It's a place from which to build, supplementing your ceiling light with other forms of lighting in the living room along the way. Recessed lighting can help to make sure that no part of the living room goes unlit. With downlights equally spaced out throughout the ceiling, and all forms of ceiling lights can be linked to a dimmer, meaning you have control over how much light you fill the room with. What's more, ceiling lights can add design detail and personality. 'I do love a statement ceiling light – a chandelier or pendant lighting idea in a living room can add to the drama, mood, and energy of the whole space,' says Noor Charchafchi, founder and CEO of Celine Interior Design.
THE CONS OF CEILING LIGHTS
Firstly, including a ceiling light can add decorative clutter to a living room, whereas not including a ceiling light keeps things visually calm, clean, and inin with minimalistic in interior design. To evaluate whether a statement ceiling light is a good option for you, you need to consider the dimensions of your living room. 'Choosing the right light depends heavily on the ceiling height and the existing scheme,' says Noor. 'A room with a low ceiling is better left without a central pendant or ceiling light and similarly, a room that feels quite full in terms of its design and style often doesn’t require an additional statement light as it can create a look that is too busy.' Another common problem with statement ceiling lights is that they often emit more heat than other lamps. This means they can cause uncomfortable temperatures in high-traffic areas or near windows. Additionally, these bulbs require more maintenance than other lighting options, which can include changing the bulb every few years or so.
WHAT CEILING LIGHT OPTIONS ARE THERE?
Living room ceiling lights can be statement chandelier-type light fixtures, pendants, flush-mounted ceiling lights, recessed and track lighting, or LED strip lights concealed within crown molding. A statement or chandelier-type light or pendants are very popular in the living room. Chandelier and statement fixtures hang down from the ceiling, dangling in the center and help zone the space and provide a real focal point. They are often found in the living room for design purposes, not necessarily to give out the most lighting. Pendants typically hang lower than statement lights or chandeliers and often have a decorative aspect to them too. While they were traditionally reserved for the kitchen – hanging elegantly over a dining table or kitchen island, they are making their way into the living room and even bedrooms.
WHAT COULD YOU HAVE IN PLACE OF CEILING LIGHTS?
Instead of using ceiling lighting, why not go for a layered lighting scheme featuring wall lights, sconces, and a selection of your favorite lamps, as seen in this design in Natalia Miyar's home? There are no hard and fast rules as to how many lights you should have in the living room, and it is based on the size of the room, whether it is open plan or closed off, and what kind of mood you want to create.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS HAVING ALL SOURCES OF LIGHTING?
Ultimately, the best way to light your living room is to layer using all sources of light, including a ceiling light. Just be aware of the above potential flaws with ceiling lights, making sure the ceiling light you choose doesn't overwhelm the space or create too harsh or too little light. Good lighting is all about layering, so make sure any overhead lighting you go for has a dimmer switch.