Updated Light Fixtures: Living Room

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I was recently looking around our place and I realized that we updated the light fixtures in (almost) every room in the house! Bathrooms, bedrooms, the living room, dining room, even the entryway got an update. Although most of the lighting was added purely for functionality, there are a few fixtures that also accent the style and ambiance of the room.

This first post will focus on the lighting we updated in our living room.

THE HOUSE

When we bought this house, we loved it for it’s character. But character can also be code for OLD. The condo was built in 1903 and then renovated in 2003. However, the people who renovated the place chose to pretty much ignore lighting on the upstairs level of the condo - which happens to be where our living room and dining room are. We are on a corner with large bay windows, so during the day, there is plenty of natural light. In the evenings, though, we were stuck with only table lamps in our common areas upstairs. Let me tell you - it was very dark.

So what started as a few decorative lighting elements, quickly became an entire overhaul of most of the previous lighting in the home, especially upstairs.

LIVING ROOM BEFORE

I didn’t do a great job of taking BEFORE photos of our place. These are from the listing. The previous owners used this room as more of a sitting room (or maybe they just staged it that way). They really just had a bookcase and a chaise lounge in there. We wanted to take full advantage of the space, so we use it as our main living room.

The wall with the red cabinet is where our grey couch is currently. As you can see, there are no lamps or anything on this wall. You can also get a tiny glimpse of the ceiling fan, But the next photo shows it better. You may also notice how light and bright the room is in these photos. They had all of the blinds pulled up and there was probably some editing done. The room felt dark 90% of the time, until we made the lighting updates.

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Below is the wall opposite our grey couch. I don’t have a great photo of this spot in our home yet. But you can see again, there are no visible lamps. The blinds are pulled all the way up for maximum light. And you can see the “boob” light fan in this picture.

Let me say: this room was not bad, in my opinion. It was decorated beautifully and looks very inviting. However, we just needed more light for our day-to-day lives. That is what worked for us. So let’s see what we did!

LIVING ROOM AFTER

Wall Scones

We were struggling with lighting in the living room, as I mentioned. We wanted something next to our couch, but the couch was so large, a floor lamp felt cramped. We didn’t have room for an end table/table lamp, either. That is when we decided on wall sconces.

I originally (wrongly) assumed we would have to cut into the wall and run the wires for the sconces. But then I discovered that there are PLENTY of wall sconce options that plug into the wall. The wires are exposed, but it looks pretty cool and industrial. We purchased the wall sconces (pictured below) from Pottery Barn on major sale (they were a returned/opened item). I am very happy with them and they give off just enough light for reading in the evenings.

Full disclosure: since our sconces were sold as an opened item, they were missing the linen drums. We actually went and purchased two lamp shades from Target that ended up being a bit more narrow, which fit our space perfectly. Sometimes, ya gotta get crafty!

Pottery Barn Classic Articulating Arm Sconces

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Ceiling Fan

Next on the list was getting rid of the old “boob” light/ceiling fan combo that hung in the living room. Nothing dates a room like those ceiling fans, in my opinion. I was able to find a ton of options on Amazon. We ultimately went with the Hunter Cassius Black Matte Ceiling Fan. Most of the ceiling light fixtures in our home are black, so it was the natural choice to keep with that theme. I also love the clean look of just a fan (no light). I rarely notice the ceiling fan, which is just how I wanted it!

Our modern fan from Amazon!

Our modern fan from Amazon!

Recessed Lighting

But I soon realized that we needed to add some more aggressive overhead lighting in order to make the living room functional in the evenings. For us, that meant recessed lighting. We already have recessed lighting in our family room downstairs, so I had an idea of how many lights I wanted in each room (6 cans) and how bright I wanted the bulbs (65 watt / soft white / LED). We measured the room and decided on the correct spacing between each canned light and determined the basic 6” cans would work for our space. We ended up hiring someone to do the electric work, but bought the materials ourselves from Lowe’s. Having LED lights meant I didn’t have to worry about replacing the bulbs. We went with the dimmable lights and added a dimmer switch to our Once we got going, we decided to add the recessed lighting in the dining room, as well.

The below two photos were taken during the installation. You can tell in this top photo that the room is still very dark and shadowy. The second photo shows the marking of distance between each light can.

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I honestly didn’t realize how dark it was until we had the new lighting installed! Especially in the evenings. Picture a dimly lit restaurant on date night, with only a votive candle burning at your table - THAT is how dark it was in our home. I kid you not.

Below is a photo taken from the exact same spot as one of the photos above. But you can see the recessed lights are now installed. It really makes a HUGE difference to us and we are so happy with the updates we made. I am linking the recessed lights we used from Lowe’s and I found them on Amazon, too.

The same view of our living room with the recessed lighting addition!

The same view of our living room with the recessed lighting addition!

And the other side of the room. With my husband hiding :)

And the other side of the room. With my husband hiding :)

Utilitech 65-watt LED Dimmable Recessed Retrofit Downlights (5-6 inches) - Lowe’s

If you don’t want to make a trip to the hardware store, I found the same recessed lights on Amazon.

And that’s how I updated the lighting in our living room. Pretty simple, but it really makes an impact to have the right layers of lighting. I hope this helps you make lighting decisions in your space.