The living room is where most of the family spends their together time, and so this is one place that really needs to be welcoming and bright. A well-designed living room needs to be well-lit for various purposes. So, obviously, there is no one-solution-fits-all here.

However, when you’ve done up your living room, channelling your inner designer, something still doesn’t seem right… If you’ve ever experienced this, it could just be that your lighting is a bit off.

No reason to panic, say IKEA experts: this is a situation that can be redeemed easily if you understand 3 basic lighting styles. Ideally, living rooms should have layers of lighting, classified as ambient, task, and accent lighting, each of which serves a different purpose.


  • Ambient lights are the main lights that illuminate your living space. This is usually the centre light, pendant lights or ceiling lights, or in some cases, built-in light fixtures around the perimeter of a ceiling. The latter is usually a design element of the building itself and is not something that you could add if you are renting.
  • Depending on what works best for you, your ambient lights should be either dim or bright.
  • If your family members’ pastimes and hobbies require bright lights – reading, embroidery, etc., – a dim living room would be a nightmare. On the other hand, if your family members favour soft lights, then too-bright ambient lights would be a firm ‘no’.
  • So, whatever you do, ensure that your ambient lights provide for a comfortable atmosphere.


  • Task lighting directs light to certain specific zones, such as a table, reading chairs, or corner sofas.
  • Task lighting can take the form of side lamps, table lamps, or floor lights.
  • Try a stained-glass lampshade to create interest at eye level. Or choose floor lights to cast light up and down, while also casting light out, thereby producing an even light that minimises dark areas.
  • IKEA’s extensive range of floor lights are portable, come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and allow flexibility in usage.


  • Accent lights are used to cast a spotlight on specific areas, such as artworks or prints gracing your walls.
  • This can be achieved by a pair of scone lights that are placed on either side of an artwork or the mantlepiece. Explore IKEA’s collection online to choose what suits you best.
  • Accent lights in built-in shelving is a great way of lighting up your shelves, making it a focal conversation piece for the room.

By understand just these 3 concepts, you’re ready to brighten up any room in the house!


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