Want to liven up your living space? How to create an atmosphere with lighting

Today's blog post will help you to see the light - both metaphorically and literally - as your home’s lighting can be a key factor behind what atmosphere it generates. Here are a few particularly surprising ways in which you can take advantage of this...

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If you’ve ever tried to create a cosy feeling, a party vibe or a relaxing space in your home, you’ll no doubt realise what kind of impact lighting can have on creating your desired atmosphere.

It can completely change the mood of a room – just think about how different your home looks when it’s decorated for Christmas with the soft glow of fairy lights casting twinkling light around the room. It’s magical, isn’t it?

Create a layering effect with lighting 

The Spruce explains: “A well-lit living room ideally should have layered lighting that illuminates all four corners to create balance and a pleasant atmosphere.”  

You could therefore go for a good mix of ambient lighting, accent lighting and task lighting — or, to repeat this in a rather less jargon-heavy manner, table lamps, floor lamps, chandeliers, wall sconces, recessed lighting and candlelight — in order to brighten up your living room.

Combine ‘old’ and ‘new’ touches 

You may think that you just have to make do with the existing light fixtures, or that the style of your lights should match the room as a whole. However, you can actually give the space more atmosphere by contrasting antique lamps with contemporary lighting.

For example, if you have recently moved into a new-build home, you could bring a luxurious vibe into the rooms by adding vintage inspired chandeliers. Conversely, a modern-looking light fitting can help to make a period property feel current.

Give certain rooms an oversized pendant lamp or chandelier 

This tactic is great for making a dramatic statement in the entrance hall or over the dining table or kitchen island.

Homes & Antiques advises that, in a dining room, you can enhance this result if you “fit a dimmer switch so you can control the brightness, and hang the fitting so its lower edge is at eye level of the tallest diner or slightly higher.” 

Meanwhile, in the hallway, it would be worthwhile for you to hang an impressive pendant light “slightly above head height and, in the case of a heavy fitting, of course, ensure that it is well secured.”

Photo by Bamaluz Home

Consider quirky options like neon lights and illuminated signs 

You might have seen these before and assumed them to be merely a fad. However, if any spaces in your home are particularly eclectic or industrial in style, lights like these can enhance the effect.

You could try to source across some reclaimed and restored advertising signs for a truly retro look, although these have admittedly become trickier to find over time. It’s a good way to introduce a different colour of light into the room, which can help to create a party feel – just like I did in my kitchen.

Use candlelight — carefully 

This kind of lighting gives off a gentle shimmer capable of making interiors look softer and more elegant. You could display lit candles in lanterns — which, if glazed, can help prevent the candle from being inadvertently blown out and wax from spilling into the surrounding area.

Then, of course, there’s the option of using a candle chandelier to spectacularly light a dinner table for that true Downton Abbey look. But, having an open flame in your home is always a danger so you should NEVER leave a lit candle unattended.

I hope these ideas will help you to create the ambience you’re aiming for in your own home. Let me know what you’ve done to add atmosphere with lighting in the comments below, I’d love to hear your solutions.

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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