A living room is one of the most important areas in our home—the clue is in the name! It’s where we spend most of our down-time, and it is also an important room for entertaining. We put a lot of effort into our choices of textiles, paint color and furniture, but carefully considered lighting design is another vital element in creating a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.

As you explore the options, consider the size and tone of your living room. A traditional den where family gathers at the end of the day to read, watch television, and play board games calls for a very different lighting treatment from a grand set of “receiving rooms” or an ultra-modern lounge.

Give the room a visual anchor with a distinctive lighting fixture for the center of the room. This is where your living room will gain its ambient light, and it’s also a great opportunity to make a serious design statement. Whether you choose a show-stopping chandelier, a contemporary cluster of decorative pendants, or a collection of artfully hung paper lanterns, this piece will bring the character of the room to the forefront. From there, you can continue to add layers of light to the room. This is where smart living room lighting ideas can pay dividends in terms of both functionality and style. A pair of sconces installed at eye-level, on either side of a fireplace for example, add a mid-level lighting layer conducive to conversation. Combining track lighting and accent lighting throughout the room can shine a spotlight on your favourite features, such as art, family keepsakes, and antique furniture. Placing these on dimmers, or using different switches for each light bank, will allow you to change the lighting’s emphasis as you wish. Finally, make sure to provide ample task lighting in the form of table lamps. With an endless variety of lamps available, from the formal to the fanciful, this is another great opportunity to give your living room an extra shot of style.