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Lighting in the living room: Tips for the right atmosphere

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Article from the 2015-09-10, of Anja Beckmann

Lighting with atmosphere for your home Watching television, receiving guests or reading a good book with atmospheric light - the living room is used in many ways. The living room lighting requirements are accordingly high. Only several light sources add structure and atmosphere to a room and its facilities. Keyword: accent lighting! Your living room in the right light with out tips! What it is necessary to keep in mind? Luminous flux, light colour and the right living room lamps.

Overall, a living room of approx. 20 square meters should have three to five light sources depending on the shape of it. Start with the basic lighting.

Basic lighting at the living room’s ceiling

Basic brightness is given by spotlights, ceiling lights and pendant luminaires. Spotlights and flat ceiling lights can be placed in the middle of the room, or spread across the ceiling spread. Pendant luminaires have their place on top the coffee table: They will be properly emphasized here and the table will be embellished too without the danger of bumping against the light with the head. Take care of chosing a dimmer with spotlights and spots. That’s the only way of adapting the mood of the light.

Ambient lighting does not mean that there must be direct light. A diffuser spreads the light and distributes it evenly in the room. Diffuse light is soft and therefore more comfortable. For example, the Glo-Ball pendant lamps by Flos work with such a diffuser: This opal glass breaks the light and spread it evenly in the room. Pendants can be a real eye-catchers. They will give a completely different look to the room depending on the shape, color and material. Vita provides a hint of romanticism with the lamps EOS and Silvia, the pendant lamps by Tom Dixon convince with their elegant metallic industrial charm. The point is to meet the style of your living room furniture.

Jasper Morrison’s Flos Glo-Ball pendant Classy lampshades made from brass Vita - Silvia

Create more light sources and accents

A light source is not sufficient to meet the diverse requirements of a living room. Accents can be set with a table lamp, floor lamps and wall lights. Create a reading corner: Free-standing luminaires can be individually adjusted by flexible joints and a tiltable frame and thus provide sufficient light for reading. A lampshade opened downwards collects the light and focuses it towards the book. Take care of lamps with a dimmer for the regulation of the light’s intensity depending on the time of the day and to avoit glaring. Avoid strong contrasts of light while reading: In addition to the reading lamp, there should be sufficient basic brightness in order to avoid your eyes from getting tired too quickly.
Product tips for the reading corner: The standing and reading lamp by Absolut lighting, the AJ floor lamp by Louis Poulsen and the Slimsophie floor lamp by frauMaier
Absolute lighting floor and reading light sensor dimmer Louis Poulsen AJ floor lamp Slimsophie floor lamp by frauMaier in yellow
Wall lights add more mood their selective light provides an interesting light-shadow game. This is even reinforced in combination with mirrors. Small, dark rooms appear bigger and brighter. Larger rooms with large, empty walls receive a welcomed break. Pictures, sculptures, shelves and cabinets can be emphasized with wall lamps or selectively installed ceiling spotlights. Product tips for wall lighting: the Mesmeri Halo Wall lamp by Artemide, the Lucellino NT Wall lamp by Ingo Maurer, the Base wall light by Tom Dixon

Artemide Mesmeri Wall lamp Ingo Maurer - Lucellino NT Wall lamp Tom Dixon - the Sconce base wall light

Table lamps also spread accentuated light as well as wall lamps. On the window sill, on a sideboard, in shelves or on a table - a table lamp is not only a light source, but also a very decorative element. For this reason, it should be quietly striking.
Product tips for table lighting: the Wagenfeld lamp WG24, the Pedrera table lamp PD1 by Gubi and the Bourgie by Kartell

Wagenfeld lamp WG24 Gubi - Pedrera table lamp H2O Kartell Bourgie: a light classic lamp of copper

Make sure that your light sources suit each other. That doesn't mean that all lights must come from the same series or brand. But they should not work against each other. If the pendant lamp is already pompous, all the other lights should stay discreetly in the background. If you installed small spotlights and discreet wall lights, however, there are no limits in the selection of the table lamp. Also consider whatever other setting of your living room.

The lights in the vicinity of the TV should be dimmed for not disturbing the screen with reflections. Indirect wall lighting, for example behind the TV, and diffused light in the middle of the room, for example through dimmed ceiling lights or various accent lamps provide comfortable brightness. When it comes to the television there is something more to note: Large brightness differences between screen and room will make the eyes work a lot.

Lighting design with the right light source

Remember the environment and your walled when choosing the right bulb for your living room. LEDs are more expensive at first but they’re noticeable longevity due to the long duration, contrasting energy-saving lamps - and the lower electricity costs will quickly refund the additional costs. The modern bulbs are meanwhile available in different light levels and light colours being just like the warm light of the classic bulbs. The sockets were also adapted in the course of the development: LEDs fit in the standard E27 and E14 sockets of classic lamps. The light source decides on the brightness and the atmosphere, besides living room lamps.

Performance of lighting in lumens

Different rooms need different amounts of light. You won’t need that much light in the living room contrasting kitchen and bathroom. The size of the room and the facilities also play a role regarding the illumination of your living room. This is how brightly decorated rooms need less lamps than darker rooms in order to reach the same brightness. Lumen (lm) measure the luminous flux and thus the value for the brightness of a light bulb. Experts suggest 100 Lumen per square meter for the basic illumination in the living room. This is complemented by additional lighting such as table lamps, indirect wall lights and floor lamps. Dimmable luminaires can adapt the lighting conditions.

The right light color for your living room

Kelvin (K) describe whether the light of a bulb is yellowish warm or cool bluish. There are three areas:

  • < 3,300 Kelvin: warm white light, relaxing
  • 3,300 - 5,300 Kelvin: neutral white light, activating
  • > 5,300 Kelvin: daylight white, encouraging concentration

While a light colour of more than 5,300 Kelvin encourages concentration, colour temperatures of up to 3,300 Kelvin act relaxing. Bulbs of that light colour shine like the old light bulbs and are reminiscent of the light in the evening hours. Warm lighting is therefore evolutionarily linked to the retreat of the day's work and announces the recovery phase through our internal clock. It radiates cosiness and is therefore perfectly suitable for the living room. Of course, the color temperature as opposed to the luminous flux is above all a matter of taste. A living room can also be sufficiently illuminated with natural white light. A lamp in the higher Kelvin range is recommended for the reading corner.

Product tips for warm white light: the LED superstar classic A by Osram, the energy-saving lamp 001 by Plumen, the first design energy-saving lamp of the world, and the Parathom classic P25 LED bulb by Osram

Osram - LED superstar classic A 60 advanced, E27, clear sparkling. Plumen - energy saving lamp 001 Osram Parathom classic P25 LED bulb - 4W, E27, frosted

Indirect lighting in the living room

Direct light creates focussed brightness and emphasizes certain pieces of furniture and room, indirect light ensures comfort and mood. The light source is not open, gently shining light upgrades the room. Recessed lamps and LED strips in ceiling corners, behind furniture or murals are modern and decorative. Apart from that, there are various luminaires, which indirectly can illuminate your living room completely without manual effort. The Italian manufacturer Flos offers a wide variety of ceiling spotlights, which are reminiscent of free-standing luminaires and spotlight the ceiling from below. This throws the light back into the room. A very special effect of indirect lighting is offered by the Moni ceiling lamp by Flos: The light is reflected from the diffuser on the ceiling and broken by a special holder base made of cast steel, reflecting radial, geometric patterns on the ceiling. Another plus: Illuminated ceilings seem higher.

Important: Indirect illumination encourages shadow poverty, a diffuse impression of space is created. Demanding visual tasks such as reading, writing and handicraft require direct light.

Lighting design for the living-room at a glance:

  • Three to five light sources for an average 20 square meter
  • 100 lumens per square meter for basic lighting
  • Diffuse, indirect light for comfort, direct light for resding
  • Avoid brightness contrasts
  • Warm white light for a relaxed atmosphere in the living room
  • Dimmers are able to adapt the luminous intensity in living rooms
  • Orient the lighting direction to the most common looking direction in order to avoif glaring
  • Keep in mind cables, flexible electricity bars, Cable cords and rod systems when installing lamps.
Tags: LED Ceiling Lights, LED Wall Lamps
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