An antique English dining table and leather-upholstered chairs with bronze nail accents add clubby comfort and create a dark-and-light color scheme. Contrasting light hues include simple Roman shades and a wing-back settee upholstered in two types of silk. The dark hutch has glass cupboards to display fine china. A comfortably elegant couch sits in front of a bay window to offer additional seating.
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Black brings drama wherever it goes. Here, the light fixture, built-in cupboards, tabletop, and two chairs add definitive dollops of black, which repeats in the granite countertops of the adjoining kitchen. Sandy-colored walls, an oversize window, and light wood floors contrast beautifully with the black while allowing the room to remain bright. Bookcases on either side of the window allow adequate space for storage and act as a frame for the handsome view.
Antique painted doors provide elegant passage to the other rooms of the home. A long table provides plenty of dining space and offers room for several guests. A classic chandelier hanging above the table offers soft lighting and elegant ambience. The soft, earthy hues complete the traditional style.
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Dimmer switches in the chandelier’s lighting circuit allow varying light levels. Click here to learn how to install a chandelier and dimmer switch.
Consider a tubular skylight to bring light into a room in an area without much ceiling space. These fixtures pipe daylight in from a collector on the roof to a diffuser in the room’s ceiling, without the expense of building a finished skylight well.
For lots of light from an unobtrusive source — such as the illumination needed in this living room — it’s hard to beat recessed lighting. With illumination provided by halogen, incandescent, or compact florescent bulbs, recessed can lights allow you to position a focused, downward-facing beam exactly where you need it. You can also overlap beams for overall lighting from a virtually invisible source. Dimmers and separate switches for various light banks allow you to change the character and emphasis of a room’s illumination.
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In many ways, the oldest lighting fixture — the window — is still the best. A window brings lots of broad-spectrum daylight into a room. A window’s shape, trimwork, muntins, and moldings add interest to the wall, and offer a view that makes the room seem as big as the outdoors. South-facing windows offer passive solar heat gains that can keep a living room warm and welcoming in cold climes.
The most classic of all living room lighting fixtures is the chandelier. Generally positioned in the center of the room directly over the main seating area, these elaborate lighting fixtures are at once the room’s main source of illumination and works of art. Their sculptural shapes fill the void between the ceiling and the living space, and their twinkling, often candle-shape bulbs provide a multipoint illumination that softens shadows and makes the room’s highlights sparkle.
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Before you ever set the table, set the mood of your dining room with a hanging light fixture. From traditional chandeliers to rustic fixtures to modern lights that look more like sculpture, there’s a light for every look.
Here are some of our favorites.
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A quartet of handblown glass pendants above the custom bronze-base cotto-pesto table is unobtrusive yet inventively modern. The light tabletop — made of fired and colored terra-cotta — adds distinction. Light wood floors offset the dark brown dining chairs. Simple chair cushions combine comfort with style. Oversize glass sliding doors allow sunlight to fill the room, making the pendants shine.
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A custom table featuring a stainless-steel frame and glossy lacquer top joins smoothly upholstered banquette seating to create the notion of a built-in dining nook. Multiple windows surrounding the room allow sunlight to bounce off the polished tabletop. The sleek seating offers both style and comfort while creating a cozy place to entertain dinner guests.
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BHG.COMHome ImprovementLightingPlanningLiving Room Lighting Ideas
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The lines of your lighting fixtures can provide sculpture as well as illumination. Use small-scale track beams to put the spotlight on bookshelves, artwork, and display items. Choose a lightbulb that will render colors more accurately than ordinary incandescent bulbs and lend an extra sparkle to fine-wood veneers and gilded picture frames.
Learn how to brighten any room in style with these top five lighting trends.
Not to be confused with “fanlights” — fan-shape windows, typically located above the entry doors on many Federal-style houses — fan lights refer to lighting fixtures attached to ceiling fans.
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Globe-shape paper lanterns are inexpensive and unobtrusive, and they cast a soft, even, omnidirectional light that’s both pleasing and effective. Such lamps are available in a wide variety of sizes and can use either standard incandescent or compact florescent bulbs.
These latter-day fan lights come in many varieties. They include multiple lamps on three or more arms extending from the bottom of the fan, or even contemporary-style mini spotlights that can be selectively aimed similar to track lighting.
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In this dining room, a Saarinen table is paired with pony-skin Eames chairs. Amber bamboo flooring adds style and elegance to the area. Pendant lights hang from the vaulted ceiling, fitting in well with the 1950s motif. An espresso-colored cabinet beneath the window offers storage as well as workspace on the countertop.
A simple white dining table offers a cottagelike feel. Yellow and green dining chairs add subtle color and pair perfectly with hues found in the area rug beneath the set. Glass doors eliminate the need for a window and offer an idyllic view while allowing sunlight to bounce around the room.
A large, windowlike mirror magnifies light and brings antique appeal to this neutral living room. Light walls and plentiful natural light minimize the need for lamps and overhead lighting.
Light layers should be placed to bounce illumination throughout a room and eliminate shadows from corners. In this living room, a burnished metal chandelier supplies overall light and visual interest. Twin sconces supply soft accent lighting and define the area around the fireplace and mirror. A scrolling floor lamp offers task lighting for the seating area.
Nature takes the design lead with this antler inspired light fixture. Some fixtures use reproduction antlers made from a resin while others are created from real antlers. If shopping for real antlers, look for those that were shed naturally. This rustic look is a good choice for a cabin or cottage owners or any home with a connection to nature.
With its large bank of windows and white woodwork, ceiling, and bookcases, this room requires little in the way of supplementary illumination. Accent lighting from sconces, one over each bank of built-in shelving, plus a small lantern over the doorway, subtly illuminate the space. The sconces are mounted high on the wall, spilling light over display pieces that fill the shelves and add to the room’s visual interest.
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Pendant fixtures — in combination with recessed lighting — bring plentiful light and character to this family-style living room. Often used in high-ceilinged rooms such as libraries and great-rooms, pendant lights bring the source of illumination closer to where it’s needed — and provide visual interest overhead.
Bold and graphic, this dining room came to play. A modern conical shape pendant lined with a gold finish casts a glow on the table and guests alike. An oversized pendant light is the perfect way to make a big statement in your dining room.
A traditional table is joined by bamboo chairs to echo the home’s unique style fusion. Elegantly detailed chair covers bring texture to the room and blend well with the flowers atop the table. Sleek wood floors complete the look with a chic touch.
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This pretty dining area is framed with pastel blue draperies that offer style as well as privacy. Dining chairs adorned in washable chintz slipcovers offer quiet luxury while allowing for easy cleanup. An antique glass-top table reflects light, while the wrought-iron base provides just the right amount of contrast in the room.
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Meals are enjoyed at this dining table that boasts great views provided by a large bay window. Earth tones bring the area together, while an elegant chandelier provides light after the sun has set. Classic drapes blend well with the ornately finished dining chairs to keep the room traditional.
A refinished bench adds extra seating to this unique dining room. The wood table and bench mesh well with the dark wood floors. Wicker chairs flanking the table offer a different texture and provide additional seating. A simple tablecloth and flowers add a splash of color. Putting the dining set in front of the window lets in plenty of sunlight while offering a great view.
The 19th-century French dining table and antique chandelier are paired with sleek armchairs designed by Philippe Starck. Blending modern with traditional makes a chic design. Arched windows surrounding the room offer great views and ample light. The glossy finish of the table bounces light around. The ornate tile design adds a personal touch.
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This dining area serves as a dual-function dining room and home office. The patterned chairs offer comfort and blend perfectly with the hues found on the walls. An ornately detailed area rug brings texture to the room. The wood table offers enough space for two to dine comfortably, or plenty of room to spread out papers, bills, and a laptop. Two windows brighten the space and offer relaxing views.
This modern light fixture hangs above the dining room table like a delicate burst of firework. Multiple curved and lighted ends cast a reflection on the glass tabletop and add sparkling spots of light to create a lovely dining experience.
A cozy seating area offers several types of seating. Black tones provide continuity among the mismatched dining chairs while the black tabletop brings the set together. Orange tones found on the table runner, on a few of the chairs, and on the walls add flair to the room. The wheeled dining table makes it simple to move the arrangement if necessary.
Floor lamps come in many styles; are portable, allowing for flexibility in use; and cast light up, down, and out simultaneously, producing an even light that minimizes harsh shadows. Floor lamps create interest at eye level, and their availability in many materials and designs means they fit any style of decor.
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A country table and chairs are flanked by elegantly upholstered French bergeres in this dining room. A chic rug adds comfort and style, while still allowing the wood floors to offset the wood dining set. A traditional armoire in the corner creates storage space. The checkered curtains add texture — and privacy, when necessary.
If a crystal chandelier a little too traditional, you’ll appreciate this fresh take on a hanging light fixture that combines a metal frame with a strands of draped crystals. The fixture blends styles, making it a good choice for transitional décor.
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Versatile track lighting has many virtues: It can act as a downlight, a flood light, a spotlight, and an accent light. Fitted with enough light fixtures, a track lighting system can also serve as a room’s overall illumination system. Track lighting is flexible, allowing you to change the location and direction of the individual fixtures to suit any room arrangement.
There’s nothing like firelight to connote coziness and romance, and this living room makes the most of it; in addition to the blazing hearth, candles amassed on a tray suspended from the ceiling add a cheerful glow. The room’s rustic furnishings and exposed beams complement the firelight’s nostalgic feel.
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See dining rooms that successfully use furniture and design to create a comfortable and stylish dining area.
If you’re considering replacement windows, think big: Group a variety of window styles to add architectural interest to a room while allowing plenty of wall space on which to hang artwork.
We’re tracking some of the hottest lighting trends and can show you how to use them in your home.
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A green-and-cream-inspired color scheme offers a serene atmosphere and a tropical feel. A comfortable and stylish settee beneath the window can change the table from a dining place to a cozy home office to pay bills. The dark stained tables and chairs mesh well with the creamy hues found on the walls and the beautiful wood floors.
Skylights are a dramatic way to bring daylight into a living room, and they are especially effective at adding sunshine to areas that window light can’t reach. Because they face upward, skylights bring in a great deal of light for their size.
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A love of midcentury modern design is apparent in this dining area, where a Charles Eames table is paired with colorful Arne Jacobsen chairs. Interlocking office-style rubber floor mats catch spills and the spirit of the style. Sliding doors lead to a terrace and enable sunlight to filter into the room. The colorful chairs paired with burnt orange walls offer a fun atmosphere to make dining enjoyable.
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A traditional chandelier meets modern mesh drum shade with this transitional dining room light fixture. The mesh shade diffuses light in the room while the hanging crystals add sparkle.
Not all light fixtures are designed primarily for illumination. These chandelier-style sconces, for example, are accent lighting primarily designed to add shape, texture, and contrast to walls. Most sconces are symmetrically placed, flanking a focal point such as a fireplace or large mirror.
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Pure white paint reflects significantly more light than does even a slight tint of off-white, and glossy surfaces reflect more than other textures. This living room’s open layout and glossy white ceiling make the most of its recessed lighting.
This contemporary dining room boasts a dark table surrounded by modern white chairs. Silver ceiling beams highlight the tall ceilings while enhancing the sophistication of the room. A taupe area rug softens the look of this contemporary space.
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Tip: Special bulbs rated for fan light use are recommended, as these are resistant to the vibration caused by the fan — something that can cause regular bulbs to fail prematurely.
In living rooms, sconces are often installed in pairs, typically over the mantelpiece or on both sides of the fireplace. There they help define the room’s focal point, and provide accent lighting that complements firelight when a low light level is appropriate, such as hosting after-dinner gatherings.
Sconces are lighting fixtures that attach to the wall rather than the ceiling. They might be equipped with shades or with glass diffusers to soften their light, as they’re often installed at or near eye level.
Choose a dining room light fixture that complements your room or table. Here, a single pendant would look too small. A chandelier would look too formal. This horizontal fixture is just right, casting diffused light on all parts of the table. A pair of lamps on the buffet adds ambient light when needed.
If your room is large or you want to illuminate a large table, consider multiple light fixtures. A pair of pendants with drum shades are perfect for a rectangular table. Drum shades are a good option for open rooms with high ceilings because they take up visual volume in the space.
Hung either individually or in groups from a ceiling, these lighting fixtures provide a mobile-like effect that’s equally attractive whether the bulbs are on or off. While often used in contemporary interiors, the minimalist lanterns work just as well in updated traditional interiors such as this one.
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Sweet cottage style lighting draws on historical fixtures for shape and form. A coat of matte gray paint, however, makes this fixture appropriate for modern interiors. Painting a fixture a medium tone like gray helps it blend with its surroundings, a good design trick in a cottage room that depends on found objects from many design periods.
Whether it’s for reading or relaxing, the right lighting helps us do all our living better. Add instant style and function to your living spaces with these ideas for accent lighting, chandeliers, sconces, and more.
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The built-in china cabinet behind the dining set has glass doors to display fine china and closed storage below. French doors enable sunlight to fill the room, while classic drapes allow privacy when desired. The round dining table makes for an intimate gathering place. Upholstered chairs provide comfort and style, and are accented to match the table.
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The black-and-white color scheme found in this dining room is beautifully offset by the wood floors and traditional dining table. Toile wallpaper adds flair. A hutch on the wall behind the dining set offers open space on top to proudly display family heirlooms and hidden storage below. A low-hanging chandelier is a romantic touch.
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