Lighting Research Center

Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment

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Living Room

A variety of activities occur in a living room. General lighting is necessary to allow people to see faces, engage in a conversation, and watch television. Task lighting should be available for reading or sewing, and accent lighting can be used to highlight artwork, plants, or any other interesting features. Lights aimed toward the walls and ceilings can also make the room appear brighter than if all the light is directed on the floor. Bare lamps should be hidden behind shades, architectural features, or opaque surfaces of luminaires.

Design features:

  • The wall and ceiling are lighted by two 4-ft long wall-mounted strip lights, each with two fluorescent lamps, mounted behind a wall valance. The lamps are 32-watt (W) T8/830 linear fluorescent lamps (CCT of 3000K and CRI of 80) with electronic dimming ballasts.
  • Plug-in table and floor lamps light the reading chairs. To minimize glare, the bottom of the floor lamp's shade is located at eye level when a person is seated. Floor lamps should be located behind and slightly to the side of the reader. These lamps use 25- to 30-W Energy Star screwbase compact fluorescent lamps or 75- to 100-W halogen incandescent lamps. Table and floor lamps designed for 68-W metal halide lamps can also be used.
  • Adjustable downlights recessed into the ceiling highlight objects on the wall and provide added brightness to the space. These downlights have grooved baffles and use 50-W halogen PAR 20 or PAR 30 floodlights or narrow floodlights, depending on the size of the objects being illuminated.
Lighting Tips
  • Increase light level by placing luminaires close to the task, or by selecting lamps with more lumens (look for the lamp lumen rating on the package).
  • Use light color finishes on walls and ceilings to soften the effects of bright light sources, and to reduce shadows.

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