How do I make my living room cozy with lighting? 7 top tips from interior designers

Experts reveal how to make your living room cozy with lighting

How do I make my living room cozy with lighting?
(Image credit: Future)

If your question is 'how do I make my living room cozy with lighting?' you’ll be delighted to know that there are plenty of ways to use lighting to transform your living room into the perfect place to relax.

As the mercury drops and the weather turns, we all want somewhere warm and cozy to retreat to – this is where living room lighting ideas really come into their own. While there are lots of cozy living room ideas to inspire your scheme, incorporating these ways to make your living room cozy with lighting will instantly create a warm and welcoming ambience in the heart of your home. 

How do I make my living room cozy with lighting?

You can make your living room cozy with lighting by layering a central pendant with lots of table and floor lamps. Layering your living room lighting in this way creates a cozy and intimate atmosphere that can be adapted depending on the time of day and the mood you want to create.

When planning living room lighting, be sure not to overlook the position of the lights in relation to each other, the individual light throw and the strength and color of the bulbs, as well as the design of the lighting.

1. Layer lighting

Lamps from Pooky

(Image credit: Pooky )

The key to making your living room cozy with lighting is layering. Creating a layered light scheme with living room ceiling light ideas supplemented with living room wall lighting ideas and floor- and table-standing lamps ensures that nothing feels too harsh or clinical. 

'When planning a lighting scheme for a cozy living room, think of overhead fixtures as just the foundation. Layer in task and feature lighting like lamps and art lights, adding to the room’s ambiance. For extra coziness as the days get shorter, remember to have at least one lamp in a room for low, moody lighting that will give your home a warm glow as you move about in the evenings,' says Elizabeth Drake, Drake Interiors (opens in new tab)

Mary Beth Wagner, founder of Mary Beth Wagner Interiors (opens in new tab), also values layering lighting. 'I believe lighting sets the tone for a space. To create a cozy atmosphere in your living room, emphasize ambient light via lamps and an overhead fixture rather than can lights that often feel harsh. When designing a living room, I love to place a floor lamp behind a chair in a corner making the perfect place to curl up in an otherwise dimly lit room.'

2. Create a focal point

living room with gray sofa wooden coffee table and golden pendant lights

(Image credit: Image Molly Culver/Design Mary Patton)

Opt for a statement pendant in a metallic gold to create a warming centerpiece for your living room. Choosing a metallic shade will not only create a statement when the lights are off, but will also reflect light when on. This is a useful trick when you are looking for small living room lighting ideas, when wall and floor space is at a premium.

'You can use the lighting as a focal point in your living room. Use a structural lamp or chandelier to tie everything together,' says Mary Patton founder of Mary Patton Design (opens in new tab)

3. Have lights on a dimmer switch

Living room with wooden floor, colorful rug, brown leather sofa and cushions

(Image credit: Polly Eltes)

As well as choosing the perfect designs and positioning for your lighting, a dimmer switch is a great way to cozy up the atmosphere. 'The number one consideration for lighting any space, no matter what the size, scale or budget has to be a dimmer switch. Dimmer switches are a quick and cost-effective way of offering multiple lighting levels in a space, allowing the homeowner to set the tone and change the atmosphere of a room instantly,' says Marketa Rypacek, Managing Director at Industville (opens in new tab).

4. Opt for varying bulb brightnesses

Best colors for a living room

(Image credit: Susie Atkinson)

Layering is not only about including lots of different lights in a scheme but also different strengths of bulbs. 'Remember, when creating a cozy environment, one size fits all doesn’t apply to lighting. Bulbs should be of varying brightness according to their function. For example, fixtures that aid in reading and writing should have the brightest bulbs, while wall lights and table lamps can have more gentle bulbs,' says Elizabeth Drake, founder of Drake Interiors (opens in new tab).

5. Opt for an antique crystal chandelier

living room with wooden floor, gray sofas, blue footstool and crystal chandelier

(Image credit: Darren Chung)

If you want to bring a touch of elegance to your living room then consider an antique chandelier? Living room chandelier ideas offer soft illumination as it reflects the light through its beautiful crystal pendants.

'With the long nights drawing in we’re more likely to be spending time in the comfort of our own homes. While it may be dark outside, antique lighting can bring you all the illumination you need this winter. Statement chandeliers are the jewellery of an interior,’ says Owen Pacey, founder of Renaissance London (opens in new tab). ‘A great way to level up your living room is with a grand, statement chandelier, whether that’s an ornate, rococo-style, gilt piece or a contemporary sputnik globe.'

6. Find the perfect position for lighting

Living room ideas

(Image credit: Champalimaud)

'Don’t rely on just a single overhead light, layer lighting levels from several sources, with a mix of table lamps on surfaces, floor lamps, and wall lights to cast a cozy glow,' says Scarlett Hampton, co-founder of Lightsandlamps (opens in new tab)

'The positioning of lighting is key to any scheme. There is always a darker, north facing side to every home and the use of lighting is an easy solution. Homeowners shouldn’t be afraid of turning on a light during the day, even in spring and summer. Illuminating a dull corner with a table or floor lamp or washing a dark wall with a well-placed wall light can make a huge difference to the energy and feel to a room.'

7. Don't forget candlelight

living room with gray wall fireplace with fire and candlelight wall sconces

(Image credit: Simon Bevan)

If there's one thing that's cozier than a single flickering candle, then it's a collection of candles. One of the easiest ways to make your living room cozy with lighting, a collection of candles, of varying heights and shapes dotted around room will provide the perfect illumination for a warm and welcoming ambience. 

As well as opting for the traditional tealights and pillar candles, why not invest in some traditional wall sconces that can elevate the candlelight and provide a soothing backdrop to your scheme. 

How do you get cozy lighting?

You can get cozy lighting by using a dimmer switch to adjust the light levels and opting for bulbs with a warm temperature rather than a cold white hue. 'Sometimes you don’t even have to go as far as buying a new lamp to create atmosphere through lighting. If you already have a lamp that you love, simply changing the ordinary bulb for a color changing one, or adding a dimmer switch will allow you to easily adjust the ambience to something more romantic or warm,' says Sam Baldry, head of design at Swoon (opens in new tab).

What temperature light is best for living room?

Warm temperature light is best for a living room.

‘Cool white or even day light bulbs are only really good for high task or work space areas where there is no natural light. Layering warmer light is a more natural way to brighten your living space and help transition the day into evening,' says Scarlett Hampton, co-founder of Lightsandlamps.

'The use of brighter ceiling fittings in the day is often a subtle enhancement to natural daylight. Dimming them down in the evening and complementing with low level lamps can transform a bright space by day into a cozy living room by night.’

Holly Reaney
Content Editor and Sub-editor

Having graduated with a first class degree in English Literature four years ago, Holly started her career as a features writer and sub-editor at Period Living magazine, Homes & Gardens' sister title. Working on Period Living brought with it insight into the complexities of owning and caring for period homes, from interior decorating through to choosing the right windows and the challenges of extending. This has led to a passion for traditional interiors, particularly the country-look. Writing for the Homes & Gardens website as a content editor, alongside regular features for Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors magazines, has enabled her to broaden her writing to incorporate her interests in gardening, wildlife and nature.