How to improve my lighting in the living/dining room
barbaracousens
February 28, 2014 in Design Dilemma
Need advice only on concept to think about when trying to improve my lighting. Too many lamps and not bright enough even so! Ceiling is red paint between exposed wood beams so not sure if recessed would work there.
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TanCalGal
I'd paint the following white: all ceilings, backs of book case (maybe they are?). I'd add lighting: 2 lamps on buffet. Does ceiling fan have a light? Move floor lamp to other side of sofa & have a large chunky table lamp on table. Remove window coverings unless you need privacy. Lighter color braided rug. Living Room Kitchen and Sitting Area
3 Likes   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 3, 2014 at 4:27PM
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janeinfo
If you can do without all the book storage on your bookshelves, you can install puck down lights in the shelves. It's amazing how much ambient light comes from these. I agree with the above poster in regards to the lamps. One other idea might be to install sconces on your fireplace wall.


1 Like   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 3, 2014 at 4:57PM
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decoenthusiaste
If the fan is not a necessity year round, replace it with a good looking chandelier. Light the bookcases with LED strip lights or install pucks. If restyled appropriately and with the backs of the shelves painted, you can get a nice glow going there. Should be 1/3 books, 1/3 decor and 1/3 open space. Change all lamp shades to white, especially the black one in the dining area. When you're up to it, paint the ceiling white between the beams. Looks like some wainscot in the dining area which could be painted to match the bookcases. Lighten the red rug too. If red is your thing, try red accessories, throws, and pillows.
6 Likes   March 3, 2014 at 5:17PM
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barbaracousens
Very helpful especially the third rule. Not sure I know what a puck is...though I do like the idea of lighting the bookcases. Can also definitely imagine the rug change. There is no white in this room - just wondering how it will integrate with the ochre walls? Will think it through over the next days. So many thanks for getting me going!
1 Like   March 3, 2014 at 7:08PM
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Christalyn
Before you rip your rooms apart you may want to check the color spectrum on your light bulbs. From the picture (I know the pictures are not always accurate in color), it looks like they are throwing out a yellowish light. Which means they are probably soft light. Yellow light on yellow walls makes the room look dingy. You may need to go with a blue tint light (natural light). Remember marigolds look best in the sunshine, and if your light spectrum does not reflect that you are going to get the cave effect.

I would start with the light bulbs and then work from there. You may not need to make as many changes.

If you do change you bulbs to a full spectrum light give yourself about a week to get used to it before you decide to rip them out. It takes a little time to get used to a bright house but you will wonder how you functioned without it.
13 Likes   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 4, 2014 at 5:20AM
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Christalyn
By the way, I love that coffee table!
0 Likes   March 4, 2014 at 5:29AM
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barbaracousens
That is a really helpful tip thank you very much. It would never have occurred to me. Pros are always best. Most helpful AND practical. Will get going...my coffee table was hand painted and it IS fun!
1 Like   March 4, 2014 at 5:44AM
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PRO
Creative Lighting
With a dark ceiling, it is important to make sure you get some light on it, and since your is lovely, why not highlight it! Changing out the fan with a fixture similar to the dining room would work wonders. By throwing the light up, you eleiviate the heavy contrast from ceiling to wall and fill the room with light. Lots of opportunities to add little pops of light in your room as well. Lighting the bookshelves or adding sconces to the fireplace would be a great way to add light and drama to the room.
1 Like   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 4, 2014 at 9:26AM
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barbaracousens
thank you so much...that seems to be a good idea. I will research some options...appreciate your input meantime.!
0 Likes   March 4, 2014 at 9:42AM
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Doug Warner
Great suggestion to swap ceiling fan for light! You said recessed lights weren't an option for that part of the ceiling, but you could install a few track systems -- use smallest heads you can find and place them strategically behind beams when walking into LR so they're not so invasive. Place heads as downlights in pathways and point them to highlight bookshelves, fireplace, coffee table, artwork, etc. Don't place them directly over seating areas unless you want to make someone confess to a crime! LOL. It seems like the dining room is fairly well lit, but a second buffet lamp might come in handy. Good luck.
1 Like   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 5, 2014 at 2:58AM
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PRO
Allen Loree Homes LLC
If the beams are faux beams and not structural, can lights could be an option. Measure the ceiling height in the dining room and then in the family room, if they match it is likely that the beams are installed over the drywall ceiling. Optionally you could install a crown molding to the beams but do not run it to the ceiling leave a 1 to 2 inch gap and install rope or strip lighting behind the crown. do a search for hidden rope lighting on this site and you will find some inspiration.
1 Like   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 5, 2014 at 5:05AM
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rhonit
Did you say your ceiling is red between exposed beams? If so paint the red to white, the red is sucking up all the light.
3 Likes   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 5, 2014 at 8:58AM
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PRO
Baker Barrios Architects
Always layer light, you need light above, eye level, and sitting level. By doing this it can help give a room light without being over bright. Good luck, lighting is hard to figure out.
4 Likes   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 5, 2014 at 9:36AM
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heartlander
That's a nice room! Agree w/rhonit that the ceiling should be a much lighter color. If you think you can't deal with white (slight off white...not paper white), several shades up from your ochre would be very nice, and would bounce back some natural light rather than absorbing it. Chrystalyn is also right that whiter bulbs would make a big difference. You will be surprised at how just these two tweaks will lighten and brighten your space, without major expense or burning 3X the electricity. Good luck!
2 Likes   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 5, 2014 at 10:23AM
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Beth Bourque
Definitely get rid of the red ceiling! That is your biggest problem. Consider changing the color of the beams from the dark stain to a lighter, maybe white-washed look. There are so many battery operated led wall sconces now that no one needs to make excuses about not having one or two in appropriate areas.
1 Like   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 5, 2014 at 10:37AM
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onthecoast1
Ditto the other posters: Your ceiling is your problem. Although you do need 2 lamps turned on on that buffet, and you need something lighting up your heavy bookcase area. What helped my living room was when I switched from soft white bulbs to daylight bulbs in my 5 lamps. At night, the blue hue is no longer there and it really does look like daylight -- my room is no longer washed over in gold lighting -- it's nice and bright for reading and visiting. Alabaster glass shades need to be replaced with white frosted or clear, and white lampshades work better than darker ones. Try painting your ceiling an off-white (I wouldn't do stark white between wood beams), lighting the buffet, and daylight bulbs and see if something won't help make it brighter in there.
0 Likes   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 5, 2014 at 12:34PM
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PRO
Robin Lechner Designs
Another issue is that all your lighting is similar. DIVERSIFY! A contemporary LED chandelier over the dining area would add sparkle as well as light (the fixutre featured here is chrome and about 50 little LED lights). Adding lighting strips under your shelving would give the room more atmosphere and depth. Change the sconces to something with a bit more style. Use only one of your floor lamps with the plain shade, and add another with more interest or a table lamp with a bit of whimsey.
0 Likes   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 5, 2014 at 2:05PM
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TanCalGal
Tell us more about the painting on the coffee table!! Very interesting!
0 Likes   March 5, 2014 at 3:16PM
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wmccoy510
Is that other room's ceiling yellow? If so, paint it yellow right away. That would be a huge improvement!
0 Likes   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 5, 2014 at 6:17PM
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pooh0272
I always like to put a small lamp with/without a suitable coloured bulb behind a chair so that the walls are up lighted and some colour/lighting is spread on the floor. Play with the concept
1 Like   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 6, 2014 at 5:34AM
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djmckenna
When you put a lamp in the middle of the room like TanCalGal shows, how do you plug it in? Wouldn't want the cord running across the floor-too hazardous! If you put plugs in the floor, do they have to be a certain kind to meet code?
1 Like   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 6, 2014 at 8:34AM
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1 Like   March 6, 2014 at 10:23AM
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TanCalGal
pooh0272 has a good idea. I use this in my own home and the designers around here are always using it. If you have a plant (or something else) in a corner...place a small floor up-light. These are cheap and throw a lot of light. See these: http://www.lampsplus.com/products/up-lights-@-clip-lights/type_up-light/

djmckenna: plugs in floor would be the best. Codes would vary from state to state. Sometimes I run wires under rugs...not the best idea either.
1 Like   March 6, 2014 at 10:30AM
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PRO
flair lighting
solution: rail lilghting, since you already have power going to a beam, you can remove the fan, (unless you need it), or power it from another point. It can be mounted off the beam or in between. allowing you to get some lighting over the areas you need like the couch and reading areas, and also let you direct some lighting onto the book cases.
0 Likes   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 6, 2014 at 11:24AM
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PRO
flair lighting
here is a large picture of the second photo, this is a company called Tech lighting. Check out their gallery.
0 Likes   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 6, 2014 at 11:25AM
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Fred S
Floor outlets are labeled as floor outlets. They are strong enough to be walked on, and have dust covers for unused outlets. Don't put the cords under a rug. The heat buildup will degrade the wire insulation and eventually cause a spark which will eventually cause a fire. Walking on the rug and thus the cord that no one knows is there, causes even more hazardous damage.
0 Likes   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 6, 2014 at 11:42AM
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barbaracousens
didn't know about floor outlets...will explore.
0 Likes   March 6, 2014 at 8:49PM
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nancytoma
I would put track on the side of two of the beams to light more the center of the room. Edit the bookcases and add lighting down the sides (LED tape or LV linear) to shine into the bookcases. Take the lamp off the buffet and add individual small portrait lights on each painting/print it will light the art ant the buffett. There is a ceiling fan that looks like a regular fan that has an uplight (Craftmade Sentry Model). And yes make sure all the bulbs in your lamps match in color.
0 Likes   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 7, 2014 at 1:54PM
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PRO
flair lighting
i like the art lighting idea. Do not side mount track, it will limit the amount of range do to cut off of light being on the side. I would do rail bottom mounted, or in between the rafters. it is also hard on the fixtures them selves as gravity is pulling them away from the track at all times. led strip lights down the sides will be seen from different angles. place it along the underside of each shelf if you do want to do that. but i would just direct light at it.
0 Likes   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 7, 2014 at 2:01PM
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54cass
I agree about the ceiling ..the bulbs...and I wonder if you might use a glass table on the end of couch with a lovely lamp table lamp. I like it when a couple of the lamps are similar but diversity does help. the floor lamps are unified because they are the same. I get that effect using brass floor lamps with different shapes and lamp shades. ....I do so like that table....
0 Likes   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 7, 2014 at 9:53PM
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ashkbay
سلام هر طوری که راحتی همون خوبه
0 Likes   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 9, 2014 at 11:18AM
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newman1958
Paint the red ceiling a brighter color, maybe pale yellow. The lighter paint would reflect more light from the lamps. Look into the recessed lighting. Very simple and effective.
0 Likes   Thanked by barbaracousens    March 10, 2014 at 6:06PM
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