Light, like color and in combination with it, is a structurally fundamental element in interior design, a fact that we repeated several times in this blog. And not only for a simple matter of illumination (what can one ever find beautiful in the dark?), but also and especially for its ability to interact with the interior environment of your home that absorbs, reflects and diffuses light itself.
As a true creative element of design, lighting is able to literally shape spaces, changing their perceived appearance and in some cases even creating illusions about how big they are. The only precautions to be taken concern the need to balance artificial and natural sources (that is, to set the first one according to the second one), to assess their positioning and any furniture elements to be highlighted. Basically, interior design is connected to lighting.
A broader, and in some ways more complex, discussion is required when living room lighting must be designed with a style that is not only functional, but also elegant and sophisticated, where direction and diffusion, technology and materials must be taken into account.
Thus, when is living room lighting sophisticated?
Beyond the acclaimed essential nature of light within an interior design project, this question arises: how can one create sophisticated, elegant and refined lighting in a room, and in this specific case the living room?
This is simpler said than done: that is when the different light sources are not only designed and aggregated based on their functionality, but also granted the power to provide a certain aesthetic impact, both through the light itself and through the source from which it "is emitted"(lamp, floor lamp, etc.). This is a factor in which furnishing elements such as mirrors or shiny and reflective materials (especially metals) participate in less active manner.
Therefore, it is not just a matter of designing living room lighting such to be able to highlight the structural elements of the interior design, but of choosing the best options so as this value added effect brings forth sophisticated character.
Before adding our suggestions for creating elegant and refined lighting, a final factor (or recommendation) must be pointed out: a toilet, even if gold painted, remains a toilet. Thus, if your furnishing choices feature a style that is not very sophisticated and elegant, it is difficult that a well-designed and arranged lighting will be able to improve the situation.
In the search for a certain environment, each of its structures must be placed in natural balance and harmony with the others, only in this manner the result will be similar to what is desired.
1 - Focusing on variability but with balance
A living room is defined by its furnishing and the colors that distinguish it and by the light that highlights it. In terms of lighting, it is important to combine different light sources in a balanced manner so as to offer effects that combine functional requirements with more aesthetic needs.
If diversifying the number and type of light sources helps to make the living space more flexible and usable, studying its arrangement and combinations can create that elegant and refined effect we are talking about. It is not just a matter of "stratifying" living room lighting or ensuring that each area or micro-area has its own light-point, no matter how large or small it may be: the real difference arises when the light theme works in synergy with the furniture to generate an effect that can be considered sophisticated.
So it is time to leave room for variations, from the large chandelier to the floor lamp, up to the table lamps that delimit individual areas of the living room, but always designing the theme together with the rest with the purpose of offering a harmonious and elegant view.
2 - Add a dominant light element
We pointed out the "variability" factor concerning the light sources, but now we wish to talk about the aesthetic importance of a central element. No matter whether it is a Versailles-type candelabrum or a contemporary design ceiling lamp, the choice of style must be in tune with (in addition to your taste) the rest of the room and must act as a structural and luminous pivot point.
We are talking about that light source that you turn on as soon as you enter the living room, which offers the first and most general view of it: an element that must immediately stand out both for its presence (which can be large or very small) and for the amount of light emitted, a real focal point in interior design capable of establishing the desired atmosphere.
3 - Creating complex luminescence
The next step in the variability (point one) of living room lighting is this: luminescence intended as the use of different types of diffusion and intensity of light. In this case, the real discrimination is offered by the light you wish to direct. Therefore, it will have to be powerful and diffused for the main lighting source (which must obviously be intense enough to take the place of natural light at night), while for the others the number of combinations is almost endless, always depending on your needs and preferences, in balance between functionality and sophisticated aesthetics.
In this manner, not only the small and soft table lamps will fulfill very well their function next to the armchairs (to read or relax in front of the TV), but it will also be used to "sculpt" the furniture near it (the armchair itself or the coffee table on which it rests) and implement its intrinsic beauty with elegance.
4 - Balancing diffusion and accents
The complex luminescence described in point 3, however, must be well balanced: the variability of the light sources and the type/power of diffusion could make your living room chaotic if not added with balance and harmony with each other and in combination with the rest of the furniture.
Going back to the example of the table lamp, it would make little sense if it had powerful brightness; it would be excessive, not in line with its functionality and definitely not very sophisticated. The lighting of the living room will be very special if you know how to design and balance the diffusion and light accents so as to highlight the whole without forgetting the detail.
5 - Giving value to materials
Simple yet not so very obvious: The materials used for the furniture, decorations, accessories and even for the lighting fixtures say a lot about the environment. A plastic lamp with a dull design will never bring anything sophisticated to your living room, while a floor lamp of excellent workmanship, made of quality materials and with refined design will never fail (as long as it matches the rest of the furniture).