Lighting plays a major role in creating an inviting ambience and a functional living space. We explore the different lighting options for your lounge…

Layered up

In all spaces there are three types of lighting that should be considered to ensure an effective and well-lit area: ambient, task and accent lighting. Like any other room in your home, the living room requires a layered lighting composition comprising these three, says Melissa Davidson of The Lighting Warehouse. Davidson breaks down each type of lighting:

Ambient lighting provides the space with overall illumination. Pendants, chandeliers, wall lights and ceiling lights are all great options for ambient lighting.

Task lighting offers directed light for specific tasks associated with the living room, for example reading. Table, desk and floor lamps are ideal forms of task lighting, as they can be positioned to illuminate specific areas where more light is required such as next to a chair, over a table, in a cosy corner.

Accent lighting is used to highlight specific features in the space, such as art or sculptures for example. Spotlights or picture lights offer a great way to highlight specific features.

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Shedding light

Once you’ve wrapped your mind around the various types of lighting, it’s a lot easier to find what you’re looking for. Kelly Klopper of Eurolux gives us a round-up of what’s on offer, from uplighters and downlighters to wall lights and spotlights:

Uplighters and downlighters

Uplighters illuminate from the bottom up, essentially lighting the ceiling. These types of lights tend to be very comfortable on the eye and create very little glare. Illuminating the ceiling helps to make a room appear larger than it is, which can be useful in small homes. Uplighters also make it seem like the ceiling is the source of light, and as it reflects down it creates a soft, even spread of light.

It is possible that uplighters aren’t the best option for your space. That’s when downlighters will work. Since they’re recessed in the ceiling the main benefit of downlighters is that they allow for an even spread of light. They’re a popular a choice and are available in a variety of styles and sizes. Downlighters are the best option for creating focus within a room, especially if you have a particular ornament or artwork that needs to be illuminated. For the best results use a 24° beam for focused lighting, such as highlighting a picture, and a 60° beam for creating an even spread of light across a broader area or for passageways. A 38° beam is the most common option for downlighters, but they can create “archways” of light on the walls, especially down passages.

One of the best features of downlighters is that they are dimmable, which allows you to easily control the amount of light within a room. Downlighters also work beautifully as “supplementary” lighting if you want to illuminate the inside of a cabinet, a dark bookcase or the inside of a bay window.

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Table lamps and floor lamps

Just like accessories complete an outfit, table lamps and floor lamps add the final touch of lighting elegance to a space. In the lounge, table lamps and floor lamps are especially important, not only for illuminating specific areas but also for enhancing the décor in a space by acting as a bridge between the lighting and the furnishings. The lampshades of table lamps and floor lamps also come with their own special effect – the ability to beautifully diffuse light for a softer ambience overall.

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Chandeliers and pendant lights

A chandelier or pendant light is a great way to create a focal point in the lounge or add a touch of sophistication to your living space. Size is the most important consideration when selecting a chandelier. They are designed to “float” in a space so a fixture that is too big will overpower the space, while one that is too small will look out of place. Chandeliers typically hang in the centre of the room, which could leave the corners dark, but table and floor lamps are a great way to remedy that. If a chandelier is not quite your taste you’re sure to find your lighting solution in a pendant. Pendant lights are a great way to achieve a stylish, modern look in your lounge.


Wall light and spotlights

Wall lights can be made to work beautifully in a lounge, even if you already have a chandelier or pendant lights as a focal point. Wall lights are best used to create an effect on the wall, to illuminate dark corners or to enhance the décor. As they’re generally fitted at eye level and have glass shades, the light from wall lamps is usually beautifully diffused. This also helps to reduce harshness and adds a soft ambience. On a practical note, wall lights are also ideal for highlighting artworks. By reflecting light off the artwork into the room, wall lights help to create a strong point of interest around your picture. Occasionally it may be necessary to highlight key features in the lounge and a standard fitting just won’t do the trick. This is where spotlights are very useful. When opting for this function consider using a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) with a 180° beam, which will give a wider, more even spread of light. CFLs give off less heat than standard light bulbs, which also adds to the longevity of your lamp fitting.

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