How to light a large and dark living room.
Joanna McLean
October 22, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We need some lighting advice. Our living room has high ceilings lined with dark wood. We love the ceilings and are not interested in painting or staining them. We have a ton of windows but because we live in the redwoods most of the day we are in the shade so the natural light is pretty dim. Right now we have one ceiling fan with a two bulb light and some lamps which are not doing the trick. We are looking for ideas on more/different lighting to add to the ceiling to brighten up the room (we have to keep the ceiling fan for heat circulation) and options for around the room that will do more than a few lamps with CFL bulbs. Thank you!
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Amy Cali
I would add cove molding and uplighting. Pretty place :)
October 22, 2013 at 6:27PM     
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Amy Cali
This is the idea. You could add it where the ceiling begins and again where the wood detailing stops. I know it has nothing to do with lighting but have you considered adding a ceiling medallion or faux pearl finish to the recessed part of your ceiling. Kind of seems like all that beautiful wood is leading up to something that isn't there yet :)
October 22, 2013 at 6:37PM      Thanked by Joanna McLean
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Joanna McLean
It definitely needs something up there. Maybe a big wagon wheel :). Would the up lighting actually light up the room or just add a pleasant effect?
October 22, 2013 at 6:53PM   
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Great ceiling. Have you checked the ceiling fan already to see if higher wattage bulbs can go in? Old incandescents and CFLs can get rather dim with time.

Have you considered adding wall sconces?
October 22, 2013 at 6:57PM   
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That one little fan looks lost in that grand room! I would make it a pair and also paint that white ceiling in a semi gloss or gloss.

Cove lighting is a great addition also. Think they do that with rope lighting hidden behind some molding.
October 22, 2013 at 7:19PM     
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How about lighting up the wood and adding some canned lights?

October 22, 2013 at 7:20PM     
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Amy Cali
Not sure the cove lighting will give you all you need but it will layer nicely with lamps and wall sconces.
October 22, 2013 at 7:46PM   
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Paula Kates
I too like the idea of cove lighting, but it can be very expensive and I'm not sure it would add enough light. Here's an idea:

Mini track lighting (this track has timeless mini spot lights), if angled toward the wood could be really stunning.

Also you could flank your ceiling fan with two dropped pendant lights that suit the beautiful architecture (especially the ceiling and fireplace) without detracting from same. I'd be happy to look for some examples.
October 22, 2013 at 7:56PM        Thanked by Joanna McLean
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The room looks very 'top heavy' to me -- almost like the ceiling is going to come crashing down on your head ...

I think maybe darker walls and more substantial drapery to make it look like something is "holding up" the heavy ceiling.

... and you'll just need to add lots of lamps and uplighting to keep it from looking dark/dingy
October 22, 2013 at 8:04PM   
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-B Designs
Rail lights that push the light down would help along with some recessed LEDs. Skylights would be ideal but depend in the construction of the roof. No matter what, you need a much larger chandelier or ceiling fan, in the correct scale of the space.
October 22, 2013 at 8:39PM   
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Paula Kates
I do agree that the ceiling fan is small for the space, so here's a great link to a site where you could get a much larger ceiling fan with lights (up to 5 lights): and all the details you could possibly want are given (including energy rating, wind speed, wattage, etc.).

Honestly, I think this may be the best way to solve your problem -- you'll get more light and you might even get more wind and a remote control if you're lucky!

Also if you're looking for some fun floor lamp or sconces I have an idea book for both (let me tell you it's really hard to find sconces that aren't super gaudy). ;p Good luck and let us know how your thoughts are developing.
October 22, 2013 at 9:22PM   
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Paula Kates
If you're still looking for lighting solutions cable track lighting is very low profile and pretty inexpensive. Here's a good example of one (of many) option:
October 28, 2013 at 11:38PM   
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