The first step when lighting any room is to ask yourself: what happens here? Different activities require different types and levels of light. A well-lit living room will have three different types of lighting: general, task and accent. These are used at different times of day and for different purposes, and key to a functional lighting scheme it to know how and when to mix and use them. Not all homes have a ceiling fitting in the living room, and if you have lots of natural light during the day, you might not need overhead light at all. But if you have the fitting, a central pendant or chandelier helps to zone the space and create a focus. Similarly, potlights or angled spotlights will create a even layer of overhead lighting. In the absence of any overhead lights, a large, arced floor lamp will do the trick.
CHOOSE A COLOR PALETTE, color will set the tone for your room. A mostly blue and green room will have a calming effect, while vibrant colors (reds, yellows, oranges) are energizing. A neutral room of whites, tans, and grays is the perfect canvas for bright, bold accents. Pick colors you'll love seeing everyday. Take a peek at your wardrobe and note the hues you gravitate toward. Or if you're keeping an important piece of art or decor, select a palette based on the main colors of that item. The living space just doesn't feel right until you've found the perfect color palette. Talented design experts weigh in to help you get started right away on picking the best colors for your living room.
Consult your mood, ask yourself if this color palette will make you happy. "This is really and truly the most important question," says Han, "and it's a gut response." Baron agrees. "It's always a good idea to start by thinking about colors that make you happy." So don't over think it. Pick a wall color, now that you've selected your inspiration piece, decide which of its colors might look good on your walls. Pick up free paint color samples from any paint store and tape them to your walls. Experiment with different shades of your original color selection. "Remember, your favorite color comes in many different shades," says designer Sophia Stone of Chateau Sophie in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. "Selecting one that compliments all seasons is my first step in picking a color palette for the living room — you want to love it all year long and for years to come.
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