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.
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.
Dimmer switches in the chandelier’s lighting circuit allow varying light levels. Click here to learn how to install a chandelier and dimmer switch.
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.
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.
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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