Living room ceiling light ideas have to deliver both good looks and functionality in a space used daily by everyone in a home as well as for entertaining.
Generally the most sizeable and eye-catching light in the room, it’s important a ceiling light provides good illumination, but it’s also crucial that it complements your living room ideas.
Here, we’ve put together living room ceiling light ideas that will bring personality and style to your living room ceiling, and interior designers offer their advice to help inform your choices, too.
Living room ceiling light ideas
From dramatic chandeliers to simple stylish pendants, we’ve found some truly inspiring examples of living room lighting ideas to create a centerpiece for the design.
Team ceiling light ideas with living room wall lighting ideas, table and floor lamps plus other accent lighting to provide layers of light for the room.
1. Choose jewelry for the ceiling
Get ready for entertaining with living room ceiling light ideas. ‘The ceiling of this space was enough to celebrate and act as the main stage,’ says Marie Soliman of Bergman Design House (opens in new tab). ‘This room will host beautiful glam gatherings where friends and families meet, which instantly made me think of the fashion and the jewelry guests could be wearing, so I said why shouldn’t the light become a piece of jewelry?’
It is made of three different strings with three looping heights in a mix of Murano handblown glass and walnut timber, and manufactured by Northern Light.
A ceiling light like this can be part of small living room lighting ideas provided the room has sufficient height.
2. Introduce texture
Make an impact by choosing a textural ceiling light design when planning living room lighting. ‘I wanted to give a real focal point to the room, bringing in a strong sense of scale and injection of colour,’ explains interior designer Isabella Worsley (opens in new tab) of this room. ‘I achieved this by bringing in fuchsia and cognac colored yarns, sitting within the neutral string form.’
3. Create ambience
Use living room ceiling lighting ideas to bring a cozy ambience to the space. These functional and decorative lights by Rothschild and Bickers (opens in new tab) create an atmospheric warm glow. Use one on its own or as a cluster for maximum impact.
4. Make living room ceiling lights subtle
Make wall lights the decorative focus by combining practical ceiling spotlights to create ample background illumination for the room with wall sconces to add a touch of character. It’s a strategy that can work well in newer homes without generous ceiling heights, but make sure to factor the cost to install new lighting into your plans.
5. Emphasize the ceiling
Complement the decor of the ceiling itself with living room ceiling light ideas. ‘Ceilings are a passion of mine and this one was a true labour of love,’ says Irene Gunter of Gunter & Co (opens in new tab). ‘I designed everything from the coving and bespoke ceiling rose (from Stevensons of Norwich (opens in new tab)) to the delicate ceiling and wall moldings (from Orac Décor (opens in new tab)). With such an elaborate ceiling design, we wanted a pared-back aesthetic for the pendant, which is why we chose the modern Castle light by Roll & Hill (opens in new tab).’
6. Inject a design surprise
‘A light is a good way to throw surprise in a room, to merge modern with traditional,’ says Martin Waller, founder of Andrew Martin (opens in new tab). One of his expert tips for lighting a living room? ‘Putting an industrial style lamp or a graphic mid-century form in a traditional stucco setting injects excitement, equally an Art Deco chandelier in a stark, modern plan.’
7. Go big
This is not the time to be shy – oversized designs are one of the top living room lighting trends. In this example, a dark metal chandelier is not only tall, but sprawls dramatically across the central third of the room to create a really impressive feature. Of course, fixtures of similar dimensions wouldn’t be suitable as living room ceiling light ideas in a compact room, but you can play with a sense of scale in rooms of any size.
8. Choose a statement pendant
As living room ceiling lighting ideas go, the statement pendant is one that’s likely to stick around for a while to come, says Piero de Marchis, founder of Detail Lighting (opens in new tab).
‘As designers and homeowners seek more uniqueness and individuality in their interiors, statement lighting and in particular statement pendants will become increasingly prevalent,’ explains de Marchis. ‘From sculptural singular wow-factor pieces to sleek cluster designs, striking pendant lighting will be a popular fixture in homes [in the next year].’
9. Use pendants to zone the room
Consider how you might use living room ceiling lighting ideas to zone the space. Pendant lights are great for creating a focal point usually in the center of the room or highlighting a significant seating zone, such as the one in this example, situated in a separate nook.
‘Firstly, decide if you are having a central pendant,’ says de Marchis. ‘If so, it’s important to know whether you are aiming to have this as a decorative piece or if it is going to be the main lighting source in the space. Usually we find that even with a bright pendant, there will be supplementary light needed as pendants can cast shadows.’
10. Rethink the chandelier with contemporary styles
Chandeliers aren’t the sole preserve of period properties, and neither do they need to look like they’ve been plucked out of the 18th century. Take a contemporary approach instead – in this Salt Lake City home by designer Alice Lane (opens in new tab), a Sputnik-style chandelier gives off a mid-century modern vibe, made contemporary through the luxurious combination of brass and black.
11. Balance history and modernity
Among the white living room ideas here, the hoop light fitting designed by Laura Kirar (opens in new tab) for Arteriors (opens in new tab)aims to create a balance between traditional lighting forms and modern concerns.
‘I'm more interested in reissuing classic concepts through my own modern lens,’ says Kirar. ‘As an artist, I design sculptural forms that resonate with a balance of historical and modern principles. I'm driven by the purity of authentic materials and artisanal techniques to create something original.’
12. Get on trend with natural materials
Natural materials like rattan, terracotta and wood are having a huge moment in lighting, and look great among bohemian living room ideas.
‘Reconnect with nature and enrich your home with natural fiber lampshades and hanging rustic pendant lights,’ says Matthew Currington, technical director at The Lighting Superstore (opens in new tab). ‘These pieces are surprisingly versatile; working in traditional, modern, and bohemian rooms.’
‘Stick to earthy tones and neutral schemes to create a calming environment. Compliment with house plants, wooden furniture, textured furnishings to keep it stylish, yet understated.’
13. Go low with an overhead pendant
If you really want your living room ceiling light ideas to be unmissable, think about the option of hanging a light so low that it sits right in your eyeline. This may sound like a daring and impractical strategy, but hanging a low pendant over your living room seating ideas helps to create a dedicated glow around the comfiest area of the room, and placing the light over a coffee table means no need to worry about people walking under it and bumping their heads. In this room, the metal lampshade also adds a modern industrial touch to a traditional space.
14. Make it contemporary with LEDs
For lighting that is contemporary in both look and technology, LEDs are an excellent choice. They can be used to create highly inventive and unusual light fittings such as this stunning gold hoop fixture with an LED bar across its center, or can be used more discreetly for traditional or modern downlighting.
Think about the perimeter,’ says de Marchis. ‘Lighting can be in the form of individual spotlights (surface or recessed) or LED linear lighting which is very popular now. Perimeter lighting helps define the size of the space and avoids any dark living room corners.’
15. Keep it simple
Of course, your ceiling lighting doesn’t have to be a showstopping affair – keeping it simple and stylish can be just what a living room needs. In this living room, a very simple black lampshade around a pendant light is the perfect balance to the black table below and the white walls surrounding, offering a grounding antidote to the colorful, artistic scheme across the rest of the room.
How do I choose a ceiling light for a living room?
Choosing a ceiling light is hugely personal, but ensuring it’s the right fit for your space can make or break a room scheme. First of all, consider the size of your room. Oversized fittings are on trend and can look great, but always ensure you have enough headspace if you intend to walk beneath. In smaller rooms, choose large fittings that have a lot of negative space – like Sputnik chandeliers or lampshades with openings – to make sure the fixture doesn’t feel too dominant.
Founder of Pooky (opens in new tab) Rohan Blacker believes measuring the height of ceiling is most crucial, as this will dictate what fixtures you can use. Rohan says, ‘If you have low ceilings, it’s best to avoid large, low-hanging fixtures. Not only do they have the effect of bringing the ceiling down into the space and making the room look smaller, they’re also at risk of getting in the way. If you have slightly higher ceilings, you can look at having larger more statement pieces, perhaps a chandelier or a cluster of pendants to act as a focal point within the space.’
How much light does a ceiling light generate?
How much light a ceiling light generates really depends on the size and layout of your room, as well as the style of ceiling light you choose – for example, a tiny shade from one single source isn’t going to cut it in large space. Then there are the lightbulbs to consider. Modern LED bulbs are measured in lumens and 10 to 20 lumens is required per square foot.
Juliana Ivanova-Storrer from Lighting Experts (opens in new tab) says, ‘When planning lights for the living room we always advise to view central ceiling light as a feature only. For show, rather than to generate the main lighting of the room. Central lights tend to throw multiple shadows around the room and produce harsh contrast. Instead, we suggest creating a complete lighting scheme using multiple sources of lights at different levels, that is, wall lights, table lamps and floor lamps.’