6 small living room lighting ideas

1 March 2024

If you live in a small living room, the lack of optimal light can make it look cramped and cluttered. The easiest way to balance the aesthetics and functionality of a small space is to paint the walls stark white and install an adequate number of light sources.

Here are the top six small living room lighting ideas to help you choose the right lights for your place.

1. Lighting floor plan

To know how much light you really need in your living room, plan out the activities that normally happen there and think about the amount of light each activity needs. Then, you can design a spot for them and use the right amount of light. And don't forget about mood lighting! Make sure to adjust the atmosphere of your living room for every task, mood or occasion. Let light match your day with Philips Hue light recipes. Choose the perfect shade of warm-to-cool white light to help you, whether you're focusing on work or relaxing with your favourite book.

Tip: Be sure to mark any features that can't move on your floor plan. Then, if you’d like to move furniture, mark out several options for where your furniture could go to make the best use of the space.

Turn the living room into Dad's personal cinema

2. Brighter light bulbs

If your bulbs aren’t already at the recommended maximum for your fixtures, get brighter bulbs. Often small rooms feel cramped because of inadequate lighting. Brighter bulbs in your light fixtures are a quick way to increase the amount of light in the room. 

Tip: If your room lacks natural sunlight, swap your bulbs for smart bulbs that can easily mimic natural daylight.

Small living room lighting

3. The right type of ceiling lights

Ceiling lights add more light without taking up precious floor space. The type of ceiling light you choose will depend on how you use your living room. If you and your family or friends spend most of your time in the living room relaxing on the sofa, then a hanging fixture such as a chandelier or a pendant light is probably a safe bet. But if you need the vertical space for people to walk around, a flush-mount light is perhaps best. Look for overhead lighting fixtures that either cast light up onto the ceiling or both up and down, because indirect light will spread light more evenly than direct light alone.

Ceiling lighting in a small flat

4. Portable light fixtures

The less you have hardwired into your walls, the more options you have to move things around. Portable fixtures will give you more control of the room because you can rearrange them at any moment. They’re also easier to adapt and customise since you don’t have to turn off the power to remove them.

Bright idea: Consider battery-powered portable lamps to enjoy the flexibility of changing the ambience of your living room. The Hue Go portable smart light can truly go wherever you want, thanks to its built-in, rechargeable battery.

A couple talking in the living room with a Hue Go in the background

5. Wall-washing lights

When using floor and table lamps, try directing them so the light crosses large expanses of your walls. This is called wall-washing light, and this layer can add dimension to a room. It can also work as accent lighting when highlighting features on the wall, such as art or shelves.

Wall-washing living room lighting

Bright idea: Looking for a way to highlight your favourite piece of art? Turn the Signe gradient table lamp towards the canvas and set a colourful light scene.

6. Add Track Lighting

Track lighting is useful because it's a single fixture that can serve multiple purposes. You could easily have some spotlights acting as wall-washing lights, some as accent lighting, and some as task lighting just by angling the heads of the light. You can find it in a variety of modern and elegant styles, and it can be as minimal or as bold as you like.

Track lighting in attic room

How to set up an Entertainment area

Lighting is an important factor in creating the right atmosphere for your entertainment area. Consider adding some dimmable lights or smart bulbs that can be controlled with your voice or smartphone. This will allow you to adjust the living room lighting to suit your mood and the type of entertainment you are enjoying.

*When a bulb displays "Up to" a certain number of lumens in its specifications, it displays the maximum lumen output of the bulb. It shows how bright the bulb can get at 2700 K (White bulbs) or 4000 K (White ambiance or White and colour ambiance bulbs). Learn more about brightness