Positioning of lights in living room

a living room

A living room is incomplete without proper lighting. Well positioned lighting gives a remarkable appearance to living room. In this post I am explaining how to position lights in living room that enhances its appearance.

For complete living room lighting, recessed lights should be placed at a gap of 24 inches from the wall while maintaining a gap of 3 feet between two adjacent recessed lights, the floor lamps should be placed near the couch such that the top of lamp is at a height of 4 feet from the floor, wall sconces should be placed at a height of 4.5 feet from the floor.

Positioning of wall sconce in living room


In a living room wall sconces can be used in pairs or individually. When used in pairs each wall sconce should be placed at a distance of 6 inches from the either sides of painting.

When only a single wall sconce is used to illuminate the painting, place the sconce at a gap of 5 inches from the top side of the artwork.

For adding decor or glitter in living room:

When wall sconces are installed to enhance the aesthetic appeal of living room, then wall sconces should be placed in a specific geometrical pattern.

  • If 3 wall sconces are used then place the wall sconces in a linear line at a distance of 3 inches such that the beam spread does not overlap each other.

(NOTE: The gap to keep between two wall sconces solely depends over the width of beam spread of lights.)

  • If 4 wall sconces are used then they should be placed in a square pattern or rhombus pattern.
  • When 5 wall sconces are used then wall sconce should be placed as two diagonal lines crossing each other at a center point.
  • When 6 wall sconces are used, place them in a pattern forming a hexagon.
  • When 7 wall sconces are used, place them in double rhombus pattern.
  • For 9 wall sconces, placed them in a pattern with two adjoining triangles with a common base.

Glitter lighting in living room not only enhaces the boring look of living room but also help to light the dark walls which are not properly illuminated.

flush mount light positioning

Flush mount light spread light in a circle. Therefore, place the flush mount light on the ceiling directly above the coffee table of living area around which couches are placed.

This positioning of flush mount light ensures light spread equally on all the couches.

In living rooms in which the height of the ceiling is low such a hanging light fixture cannot be used, a flush mount light fixture can be placed on the ceiling directly above the coffee table to get proper lighting.

Also the minimalist design of flush mount light fixture allows them to get matched easily with the theme of the living area. Accomplishing the same with a hanging light fixture is quite difficult since the design of chandeliers evolves with time which limits a particular chandelier to be used only in those areas which are themed in a way that matches its design.

Size of flush mount light fixture for living room

Generally speaking for a living room, a flush mount light fixture of diameter 20 – 24 inches is sufficient to get proper illumination in living area.

For smaller living areas the width or diameter of flush mount light fixture should be 20 inches whereas for mid size and large size living areas the diameter or width of flush mount light should be 24 inches.

Ceiling mounted semi flush mount spot lights positioning

Ceiling mounted semi flush mount spot light fixture should be placed over the couch such that the shadows on the couch are not completely removed by light.

If the beam angle of semi flush mount spot light is 38 degrees or less, leave a gap of 24 inches between two adjacent semi flush spot lights. Whereas if the beam angle of semi flush spot lights is 50 degrees, the gap between spot lights should be 48 inches and for semi flush spotlights with beam angle 80 degrees, a gap of 60 inches must be kept between two adjacent spotlights.

Semi flush mount spotlights looks best when used in conjunction with other light fixtures.

Therefore, to avoid a monotonous look on the ceiling another semi flush mount light source can be added to get a variety in lighting design. The placement of new light source is in the center of spot lights layout.

How to choose the correct beam angle of semi flush mount spot lights

The bigger the couch, the smaller is the beam angle of semi flush spot lights.

Main couch sizesemi flush spot lights beam angle
60″ (2 seater)78 degrees
90″ (3 seater)50 degrees
120″ (4 seater)38 degrees

foot lights positioning

From a design perspective, foot lights should be positioned in the living room such that the entire size of living room is highlighted. For this place one foot light near the four corners of living room.

It should be noted that foot lights should not be placed directly behind the couch.

Foot lights should be placed at a height of 8 inches from the floor. Also, on a particular wall, between two footlights there should be a gap of 5 feet.

perimeter ligting postiong in living room

Perimeter lighting is simply lighting the perimeters or boarder areas of an indoor or outdoor space. In a living room, perimeter ligitng can be done around couches or around ceiling with the help of profile lights or LED tubes.

If perimeter lighting is to be done on the ceiling, profile lights are the best whereas if perimeter lighting is to be done around couches then long LED tube lights should be used.

For perimeter lighting to produce the desired lighting effect the led tube should be placed at a height of 6 ” from the floor and the couch should be placed at a gap of 3 icches from the light source.

Each light source used to illuminate the perimeter behind the couch should be around 500 lumens bright.

Track lights positioning in living room

To illuminate the seating area in the living room, position the track on the ceiling directly above the middle of the sitting arrangement. i.e the place where normally a chandelier would be installed.

Direct glare from tack lights can be avoided only if the track is laid directly above one’s head. If the track is laid far from the center of the sitting arrangement then the light can fall directly into one’s eyes.

Once the track is laid, position the track lights head downwards to illuminate the couch and other spots where lighting is required.

In the living room, track lights can also be used to illuminate artworks hanging on walls. For this purpose the positioning of track lights should be on the ceiling at a gap of 24 inches from the artwork or paintings.

False ceiling lighting positioning in living room

There are only three light sources that can be used with a false ceiling to light the living room i.e recessed lights. LED strip light and a chandelier.

The positioning of the chandelier in a false ceiling should be at the center of false ceiling whereas the recessed lights can be placed either at borders of false ceiling or at the inner size of false ceiling.

If the sitting area of living room very small compared to living room and the false ceiling is installed over entire living room then recessed lights should be positioned towards the inner side of false ceiling.

Whereas if the sitting area is almost of same size as the living area then recessed lights should be installed at the border of false ceiling.

Lastly, LED strip lights should be positioned in a way that shows the shape of false ceiling. For instance, If the false ceiling in living room is square, LED strip lights should also be positioned on the false ceiling forming a square.

The basic principle behind the positioning of any light source in the living room

Every living room is different therefore a particular rule for positioning light sources cannot be applied to every single living room. However, there is a fundamental principle behind the positioning of lights in living room.

Living area is a place mostly for relaxing, enjoying leisure, and sometimes doing some activities like reading etc. Thus the lighting there should be placed such that these activities are favored with minimal obstructions and glares.

One of the key aspects of positioning of light sources is the prevention of overlapping of beam spreads.

Also avoid light sources with narrow beam spread as they cretaes sharp lines of light on the wall when used in multiple numbers.

How do windows affect the positioning of lights in living room

Among all the light sources used in the living room only the positioning of wall sconces and pendant lights is affected by the presence of a window. Both the wall sconces and pendant lights when used to add glitter in living room lighting, the wall near which they are installed should be comparatively darker.

If there is a window on the wall on which these light sources are to be installed then there positioning changes.

Normally wall sconces are installed in a particular geometrical pattern however if there is a big window on the wall then wall sconce should be positioned at either side of window.

Same is the case with pendant lights. Generally for glitter 2 or 3 pendant lights are positioned together but with a window on wall, one pendant light can be placed at both left and right sides of window to get a balanced lighting in living room.

Positioning of lights near the fireplace

For properly illuminating a fireplace in living room wall washing lighting technique is used in which the light source is placed over the fire place such that a gap of such that the beam covers greater portion of fireplace wall with lights.

For this two ceiling mounted light fixtures like recessed lights or spot lights are placed on the ceiling parallel to the edges of fireplace.

If the living groom is already illuminated then also light source like wall sconces, pendant lights can also be placed over fireplace for adding decor.

Wall sconces can be placed either on top of combustion area or at both sides of combustion area.

At the sides of combustion area place each wall sconce at a height of 30″ (2.5 ft) from the floor. If there is no space at either side of combustion area to install a wall sconce then wall sconces can be installed above the combustion area at height of 6 ft from floor while keeping a gap of 28″ to 30″ between both wall sonces.

Pendant lights are placed just at placed at a height of 42″ (3.5 feet) from the combustion area of fireplace i.e slightly above the combustion area.

How to position lights to illuminate decorative plants in living room

If plants are placed far from the couches then the lights should be positioned such that the top side of plant and one side of plant is illuminated.

In a living room a plant is considered a decorative item. Normally when these plants are placed close to couches they receive illumination from other light sources however, sometimes they are placed at corners.

Doing so will help to emphasize the shape of plant.

This technique can be used to illuminate any 3d object in living area.

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