You need to think about your living room lighting before you start to decorate the room.
For example, you might want to have one or more wall switches which control all the lighting - when you enter the room you can switch on all the lamps, or all the ceiling lights. If that's your goal, then you need to get the wiring done first of all.
It's usually a good idea to have plenty of light sockets around your walls so you can place table lamps, standard lamps or uplighters wherever you want once all you furniture is in place.
There are four types of lighting.
- Task (reading, etc)
- Feature (lighting up objects such as pictures)
You can get maximum daylight into your room by making sure any curtains and drapes can be pulled back clear of the windows. And because the light in most rooms is as little as 10% of daylight, you'll often find (especially on dull days) that one or two table lamps can be lit to supplement daylight.
Background living room lighting can be supplied by chandeliers, wall lights, uplighters and table lamps.
Uplighters are normally associated with more modern or contemporary rooms, but don't let this influence you too much. Unless the design is distinctly modern, uplighters in traditionally furnished rooms are perfectly acceptable. Chandeliers, modern or traditional, unless they have fabric or opal glass shades, can give a harsh light. If it's a crystal chandelier, however, this is an advantage, as the light is reflected and refracted in the crystal.
With most lighting today you can have 'dimmmer' switches fitted. These allow you to control the amount of light emitted, and are very useful. Fit them whenever you can.
Table lamps probably give the most relaxing living room lighting. Their position is such that light is reflected off the ceiling, so they act as uplighters, and they shine light downwards, so they act as reading lamps.
The advantage of table lamps is that you can re-arrange them as necessary. The lamp bases can also be items of beauty in their own right. Hand painted Japanese pots are a classic example of items which are used as lamp bases.
Task lighting can be given by table lamps and specialist reading lights. As well as desk lamps for reading, you'll find floor lamps which can have their light section pivoted to direct the light. These are are very effective for your living room lighting.
Uplighters are available which also have a reading light attached, so you can use either light, or both lights together.
Feature lighting can be supplied by recess ceiling lights, picture lights, spotlights on ornaments etc. Recessed down lights in the ceiling should be able to rotate a small amount, so you have some control over the direction of the light.
Hint: Don't think of lighting as 'this lamp' or 'that wall light'. Think of a lamp as a brush which 'paints' light over the floor, walls and ceiling of your room.