Lighting a Room the Right Way

From sconces to table lamps, lighting designer Eddie Cohen offers tips on how to properly light a room.
Related To:

Photo By: Geoffrey Hodgdon

Lighting Placement

When you design lighting for a room you have to consider what activities you're going to engage in in that space. The types of activities will influence your choice of fixtures and placement. Most rooms serve more than one function. Lighting must be considered when highlighting certain room elements. Design by Andreas Charalambous.

Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is a good choice for a living room. Consider placing above a sofa, coffee table or chairs. Design by Velvet Hammerschmidt.

Wall Sconces

Sconce lighting is a beautiful decorative option that can add color and style to a room. Sconces come in a variety of materials such as glass, metal and ceramic. They will spill indirect light on sections of the wall and form interesting backdrops or accents to the room. Design by Grace Sorensen.

Lamp Light

Table lamps and floor lamps are a key source of light for a room. This is an easy option for everyone, but there are many things to consider before purchasing. For example, you don't want light shining directly in your eyes while you are sitting next to the lamp. There are also various qualities of light through different types of shades. Shades can change the brightness and the color of the light that fills your room.

Reading Lamp

Think of the activities you will be doing in your room. If you read in your living room, a good light is needed near your favorite reading spot in the room. A floor or table lamp next to a chair, sofa or on a desk should provide the right amount of light. Design by Katie Leavy.

Track Lighting

Accent architectural elements in your home such as a fireplace mantel. You can do this with special spot lighting that is either recessed or on a track. Track lighting is nice over a bookshelf. Design by Andreas Charalambous.

Unique Fixtures

Light fixtures can be a piece of art. An interesting fixture on a table or shelf can be a conversation piece as well as an added light source to a dark corner. Design by Judith Balis.


Candles are always great for creating a casual or even romantic atmosphere. There are some specially designed light bulbs that simulate the light that comes from candles. Design by Elizabeth P. Clarke.

Next Up

Lighting Tips for Every Room

Find out what types of fixtures work best throughout your home

Living Room Lighting Tips

Use different kinds of light to illuminate your living room and create an inviting atmosphere.

Outdoor Landscape Lighting

With carefully placed outdoor lights, you can enjoy the ambiance of your garden into the evening.

Install Recessed Lighting

Transform the look of your room with new recessed lighting.

Installing Under-Cabinet Lighting

Lighting under cabinets can add a dramatic accent to your kitchen or bar.

How to Illuminate Your Yard With Landscape Lighting

Create a stunning landscape that can be enjoyed during the day and night with inventive outdoor lighting solutions.

Light Bulbs: Know the Different Types

Fluorescent, incandescent, halogen and tungsten — learn where each bulb works best.

Light Fixture Enclosure

Disguise an existing light fixture by building a fabric-covered enclosure for it.

Install Track Lights for Instant Flair

These easy instructions will help you install track lighting for dynamic flair.

Tips for Maintaining an Organized Living Room

These simple tips for organizing your main gathering space will put the family back in your family room.