In most homes, the living room is the center of day-to-day life. It's where you take a break after work, watch TV, play with the kids, and entertain guests. You may not notice it, but much of it has to do with living room lighting. Living rooms need to be brighter, warmer, and more inviting than the rest of the house. Unfortunately, it takes more than a new lamp or fixture to create that effect. Having said that, lighting your living room doesn't have to be difficult or costly. The trick is to make all the room elements-not just the light-work together to brighten up the room. This includes your walls, area rugs, furniture, and even small accessories. Get started with these few simple tricks. Use more natural light. The best kind of lighting for any room is natural light. If you're lucky enough to have large windows, use them as your main light source in the daytime. Sheer drapes or frosted glass panes can diffuse the light and cast a soft glow around the room. Pair them with yellow area rugs or cream area rugs and you've got a bright, sunny room that doesn't use a single artificial light! Combine ambient and task lighting. There are two main types of room lighting: ambient lights and task lights. The best setup is a combination of the two, especially if you have a multi-purpose living room. Ambient light is best provided by wall-mounted sconces instead of the usual overhead lamp. Use smaller task lights on areas like reading nooks, play areas, and the family TV. Just make sure to tie all the areas together. Try using oriental area rugs as your focal point to give your room some color. Avoid overhead fixtures. More and more designers are moving their lights away from the ceiling. Instead of the traditional chandelier, install your lights along the walls for a more subtle effect. Wall lighting is more flattering and much easier to control. For task lighting, consider getting a floor lamp-it takes up more space, but you can easily move it around to suit your needs. If you have a small living room, go for recessed lights to give it a roomier atmosphere.
Light your favorite items. Do you have a favorite painting, antique collection, or a sculpture you'd like to show off? Living room spotlights are a great way to do that. Wall accessories can be lighted with small sconces on either side, or with movable lights from opposite walls. Combine spot lighting with rugs to create an instant focal point. Braided area rugs are particularly eye-catching and make great accents for wooden furniture. Use bright fabrics. If you have to rely on artificial light, avoid dark shades as much as possible. Soft, bright-colored fabrics work well for carpeting, rugs, curtains, and upholstery. Limit strong shades to room accents, and make sure they complement the dominant color. For example, if you're using earth tones as your color scheme, you can bring them to life with red area rugs or bright blue throw pillows.