Problem #1: Clutter Control. Even large living rooms won't look beautiful with a lot of clutter, and small spaces easily become overwhelmed by too much stuff. Owners of small homes have to be especially diligent about clutter control. Solutions: Small spaces are usually short on storage. When decorating a small living room, adding hidden storage and areas is a necessity. Maximize space under coffee and end tables. Even small nooks can become a place for wall shelves. Consider a section of faux built-ins. Wardrobes, closet storage systems, and even stock kitchen cabinets are an affordable way to add a custom look at a budget price. But be careful – storage containers and cabinets can quickly fill up a small space, leaving you right back where you started. I know you love your stuff, but no matter how organized you are, sometimes there's just not enough space to put everything. If so, it may be time to take a long, hard look at your room and remove anything that is unessential, is getting in your way or just doesn't work.
If you watch TV in the living room, choose the surrounding lights carefully to avoid television glare. It can be distracting to have a bright overhead light above or in front of a TV set, so ensure ceiling lights are dimmable, or use offset wall sconces or floor lamps instead. Specific task lighting, such as reading lamps, are important if you read frequently, have low levels of natural light, and especially if you ever work in your living room. A floor lamp spaced between two armchairs can also count as task lighting, as conversation is a task, too (at least in living room terms). Low-level table lamps and floor lamps help to create a cozy atmosphere in the living room, especially at night. Evenly space these throughout the room, usually toward the walls, to create an even, warm glow that bounces inwards. Think creatively about this type of lighting: groups of candles even fairy lights count.
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.
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