By Jacky Parker
Living room lighting has changed dramatically. The days of a drab drum lamp shade lighting up a living room are well and truly behind us, and while a simple pendant may be the right choice in some cases, most modern living rooms whether small or large will benefit from a statement fixture as a centrepiece.
A spectacular design that looks as good switched off as it does when it's on will add elegance and grandeur to a room. Even if your taste is more low key, an over-sized pendant or series of simple bulb pendants will offer statement style.
An interior designer would encourage you to think of it in the same way as you would accessorising an outfit with a beautiful piece of jewellery.
In fact research released by John Lewis & Partners late last year revealed statement and designer lighting to be a key trend for living rooms.
So what to choose? As with most things it depends on the style of your home and the rest of your room scheme. High ceilings will suit a chandelier or pendant with a long drop like some of the examples below.
Yet just because your ceiling is low doesn't mean you can't go for illuminations with impact. There are plenty of styles that make a fashionable feature via their width, such as the stunning chandeliers by Ochre and Talisman shown ahead.
For a truly one-off look, consider a vintage piece, like the mid-century and antique lighting featured in the living rooms below. Alternatively, there are a number of new chandeliers that take their influence from earlier eras such as those by Jonathan Adler and Soho Home.
Whichever style you decide upon, team it with floor lamps, table lamps or wall sconces to create layers of light throughout the room. This way you can alter the mood, switching it up if you're reading or taking it down when required.
See these living room paint colour ideas
Bright colour on the more modern pieces actually draws the eye to the period features, while the white chandelier balances the old and new.
Curtain in Patagonia in Floral Pink, Holland & Sherry. Mirror, Looking Glass of Bath. Clay table, Marc Krusin for DeSalto at Tollgård Design Group. Ring chairs, The Conran Shop
This bubble like chandelier lends a light touch yet eye-catching touch to the colourful scheme.
Get the look Chandelier, Apparatus Studio. Artwork, Sofia Donovan
Black track lights may not be the first thing you'd think of for living room lighting, but here they make a striking statement, chiming perfectly with the dark beams in this former Victorian pub.
Low ceilings in this luxurious living room mean it's the floor and table lamps that do the talking here.
MIX IT UP
A dash of incandescent yellow – Trumpet by Little Greene – delivers a burst of energy and links the front living room to the middle sitting room in the home of interior designer Suzy Hoodless. A simple globe provides the overhead lighting, while decorative mid-century wall and floor lights can be used to change the mood.
STAY IN NEUTRAL
The original architecture is now offset by a bold, monochrome palette, which sets the urbane tone of this home.
Get the look The vintage pendant light is from Morentz. The coffee table was made bespoke by Year of None. These are mid-century chairs by Milo Baughman, reupholstered in Rebecca Atwood’s Shibori linen. This is the Haynes mirror by Egg Collective.
Seventies Italian chandeliers drip sensuously from the ceiling and walls in this living area.
Get the look The walls are painted in Zoffany’s Silver flat emulsion. Find vintage lighting at 1stdibs. com.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
The vibe here is relaxed, but grown-up. It’s tonal on the ground floor, with colours picked from a small palette. The retro light is simple yet striking.
Get the look The walls are painted in French Grey Mid emulsion by Little Greene. The grey sofa is from Sofas & Stuff. The yellow love seat is by Soda. This is the Savine rug by Designers Guild. The upcycled pallet trolley coffee table is by Ines Cole for Liberty. The standard lamp is another Soda design, including a shade made by A Shade Above in Peoneden velvet from House of Hackney. This is the Bubble Saucer ceiling light by George Nelson at John Lewis.
THREE'S A CROWD
Refined yet industrial is how the owner describes the house.
Get the look The bulb pendant lights are by Buster + Punch. The large painting by Gareth Edwards was procured by art consultant Miff Crockford. The sofa is from B&B Italia. For a similar ottoman, try Porada.
This room, with its fabulous crystal ship chandelier and dark-wood panelling, sums up the ‘richness and romance’ the owner wanted for her home.
Get the look The antique chandelier was found at Jonathan Burden LLC. Try Rainbow for similar. This is the Bear Chair by Hans J Wegner for Johannes Hansen. Try 1stdibs.com for Wegner classics. The leather pouf is from Mecox Gardens. John Lewis sells similar. The cushions and colourful rug, opposite, are by Nanette Lepore Villa.
Statement lights aren't just for ceilings. The gold-leaf and pink ostrich feather floor lamp stands in the picture window. It’s a reminder of Aynhoe Park in Oxfordshire, where the owners held their wedding reception. This playful, incongruous sight has been known to stop passers-by in their tracks.
Get the look Ostrich feather lamp, A Modern Grand Tour
MULTIPLY FOR IMPACT
The owners have embraced the factory bones of the building, but embellished it with gleam, colour and decorative flourishes.
Get the look The sofa is a bespoke design by Ligne Roset at Harrods. The First Lady needlepoint throw pillow and vases are by Jonathan Adler. The operating theatre lamp was found at Spitalfields Market – for similar, try Shoreditch Lighting. The pendants were installed by the property developer Chapman Button. The Jade painting is by Sharon Pinsker. You can purchase her work at art.co.uk. MASS does concrete flooring like this.
CASCADE OF CRYSTAL
Mid-century design features here as it is the owner’s favourite eras for style.
Get the Look The antique Murano crystal glass chandelier is from Atomic Antiques. The green leather sofa is a Fifties Danish design from a vintage dealers. A series of mid-century Italian screenprints hang over the fireplace. The white and stainless-steel chair is by Cees Braakman from Atomica. The medical torso was discovered at a French university. The Womb chair and ottoman is by Eero Saarinen for Knoll, while the oil paintings behind are by Jasper John.
Cloud-soft, white-on-gold Milo Baughman armchairs, cascading tiers of a Lucite chandelier and the hazy sensuality of a Marilyn Minter photograph make for a heady mix.
Get the look The chairs are Milo Baughman, reupholstered in Robert Allen fabric. The sofa and the chandelier are from Talisman. The dark artwork is by Angel Otero; the one on the right is by Marilyn Minter. The marble coffee table is from Nihil Novi in Miami. The rug is by Stark Carpet. The floral arrangements are by Absolute Flowers & Home.
TIERS OF JOY
Contrasting colours and surfaces throughout this space create a ‘cabinet of curiosities’ feel to the interior.
Get the look the Arctic Pear pendant light is from Ochre.
Purely contemporary interiors date quickly, but if you define rooms with traditional features it makes everything timeless – and so cornices were restored, spindles re-spun and vintage pieces added.
Get the look For similar consoles, try Adam Williams Design. JRM French Interiors sells similar chandeliers. The sofa is from Camerich. Art photographs are by Isabelle van Zeijl.
This flamboyant, lavish apartment features a mix of upmarket and bargain buys.
Get the look Arini wallpaper by Matthew Williamson at Osborne & Little. Candelabras from Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park. Linen sofa from a dealer on the King’s Road. Red beaded cushions by Matthew Williamson. William Morris cushions from John Lewis. Rug from Lots Road Auctions. Bell jar with a light inside and porcelain poppies trailing from it – bought in a store in Rye. Ornate table bought in New York. Seventies chandelier, Indian ram head and perspex table found in New York.
Moody and atmospheric, the living room relies on luxe finishes – marble, brass and leather – for its air of opulence.
Get the look The blinds are made in Hackney Empire velvet by House of Hackney. The pendant light is by Soho Home at Liberty. The Chesterfield sofa, Tank chairs, rug and mirror salvaged from a train station in the Czech Republic are from Pure White Lines.
TO BOLDY GO
What makes this ‘unbridled, eclectic’ style work? The quiet rigour of a restricted colour palette (blue, green, orange) and the repetition of key motifs. The pared-back, all-white décor lets the furnishings and lighting shout out loud.
Get the look Giant Sputnik chandelier; turquoise Baxter sofa; Big Hair Bob cushion: all Jonathan Adler. Black and white chair, Eero Saarinen. Round chrome table, Xavier Feal. Michael Jackson head, flea market find. Eyes artworks, Jean-Paul Philippe.
In this reception room, a classic sofa is teamed with a funky pendant and a sleek glass table, for a mix of old with contemporary.
Get the look The sofa is from George Smith. This is the PostKrisi 0049 pendant from Catellani & Smith. The glass coffee table is from The Conran Shop.
The dramatic light stands out in this dark and cosy space.
Get the look The Alfred sofa is by Sweetpea & Willow. The spider pendant is by Dwell. The walls and ceiling are painted in Black Blue estate emulsion by Farrow & Ball.
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