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    A central light fixed close to the ceiling can create unflattering shadows
    Light shades

    Image supplied by John Lewis

    Lighting

    How a room is lit can change its appearance dramatically, so the importance of lighting in interior design cannot be over emphasised. Living rooms serve many purposes from reading or relaxing in front of the television to entertaining and dining. By opting for a flexible lighting scheme, you will be able to create just the right mood for different times and activities. Using sources of light at different levels is the best way to achieve this.

    The following tips will help you decide how best to illuminate your living room:

    • Avoid a lighting layout that is too fixed. Down lighters recessed into the wall either side of the sofa may produce the effect you are looking for. But what happens if you want to move the sofa to a different position in the room?
    • Wall lights are best positioned near fixed features such as in alcoves and either side of fireplaces.
    • Accent lighting – focussed light used to highlight interior elements – is a great way of drawing the eye to a key design feature in the room.
    • A central overhead light fixed close to the ceiling can create unflattering shadows. This is easily remedied by extending the flex, allowing you to bring the light down to a lower level. A cup hook screwed into the ceiling enables you to raise the light when the room is not in use.
    • Table lamp

      Image supplied by Leigh Harmer

      Table lamps positioned on tables and shelves at the edges of the room will radiate light into the room, producing a spacious yet welcoming environment. 

    Next: Design trends for 2009