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5 ways to use lighting to transform your living room

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Ed Hawes
5 ways to use lighting to transform your living room

If it's time to give your living room a bit of a makeover, then lighting is your interior design secret weapon. A few strategic choices and simple changes can make a world of difference to the look and the mood of a sitting room – and without breaking the bank.

We asked the lighting experts at Pooky for their top tips for transforming a living room with little more than a crafty use of lamps and shades.

1. Increase the number of light sources in your living room

Home lighting design is all about layering light. That means finding balances between the three kinds of interior light: ambient light (the general light in a room), accent lighting (directional light used to highlight particular areas or features) and task lighting (light needed for a specific practical purpose, like reading).

Playing around with these kinds of light is how you create different moods in a room – atmospheres to suit a time of day or use of the room, from family games to after-dinner drinks. And the more sources of light you have, the greater your options for getting the perfect mood. (You can read more about all this in Pooky’s guide to layering light in the home.)

So our most basic tip is to add more light sources – table lamps, floor lamps and wall lights. Dimmers are good, and if you really want to go for it you could invest in putting them all on a fancy switch system which allows you to create programmed settings for lighting combinations.

The change will be immediate, and once you have an array of lamps at your disposal, many more options open up.

2. Change up your lampshades

There is no more effortless or cost-effective way to transform your sitting room than to simply change up your lampshades every now and again. You can match shades for floor and table lamps for a consistent colour theme, or deliberately mismatch if that’s your thing.

There are countless options, from neutrals to vibrant colours to Indian-inspired ikat patterns; and you can also think in terms of textures and materials, like soft silk, linen or gathered cotton, or more unusual fabrics like jute, rattan or parchment, all of which bring a unique feel.

Without breaking the bank or even shifting any furniture around you can introduce a whole new interior design theme into your living room - and the impact is instant.

For more tips, see Pooky’s complete guide to choosing a lampshade.

3. Make good use of floor lamps

The great thing about floor lamps is while they're big enough to make a real impact, they're also eminently portable – so you can easily give your sitting room a new look just by moving them around a bit. For example, you can add a sense of height and elegance by placing a pair of tall, slim floor lamps at opposite ends of the living room, and select matching lampshades for a smart, formal look.

You can also use your floor lamps to create different zones within your living room. An articulated floor lamp positioned over a favourite armchair instantly creates a cosy reading corner.

4. Think about accent lighting

Accent lighting is where you can really bring out the best existing features of your living room. So, if you have a spectacular artwork or photographic print then make sure you showcase it with a picture light. Highlight your best antique cabinet and its collection of objets d’art with a table lamp. Beautiful period cornicing in a corner? Draw attention to it with a wall light. And if your mantelpiece is a marvel, then place a matching pair of small table lights with square shades on it, one at each end.

Accent lighting means you can enhance your interior design without changing anything at all.

5. Create a focal point with an eye-catching pendant light

Although we always recommend having lots of light sources rather than just a single overhead ‘main light’, there’s nothing wrong with having an eye-catching focal point in the centre of the room.

Pendant lights come in a huge range of shapes, sizes, colours and materials, and are an easy and affordable way of making a real style statement – whether you're aiming for a classic feel or a more contemporary look.

And if you want your focal point to be a talking point, then how about a chandelier? They ‘light up’ a room even when they’re switched off, and even spectacular ones can be surprisingly affordable these days.

Pooky make beautiful, affordable designer lighting for beautiful rooms. Have a browse of their gorgeous range of table lamps, lampshades pendants, floor lamps, wall light, chandeliers and more at pooky.com.

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