18 Living Room Ceiling Lighting Ideas for the Perfect Ambiance

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Chandeliers, flush mounts, pendants — selecting the right ceiling lights for your living room is crucial when it comes to the overall feel of your space. But it goes further than just aesthetics and which one you gravitate toward first. You have to account for things like the type of illumination you need (ambient, task, or accent lighting), the ceiling height, and the size of the room to make sure everything feels balanced and proportionate. Even the kind of light bulbs you choose is important. Bright white bulbs can energize your living space, just like recessed lighting on a dimmer can make your space feel more intimate and cozy. Allow us to spark your creativity with 18 ceiling light ideas that might just be the perfect finishing touch to your living room design.

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1. Don't be afraid to mix and match.

There is no rule that says you have to pick just one light fixture for your living room. This space by Mandi of Vintage Revivals pairs a glam gold Sutnik-style chandelier and a hanging paper lantern. One will brighten the room during the day, while the other gives off soft diffuse light in the evening. You'll be ready for any occasion with this winning combination.

2. Design an intimate oasis with cove lighting.

While it's not something you see every day, cove lighting (lights that go around the perimeter of the ceiling) can really add something special to your living space. It's a great option in rooms with high vaulted ceilings or a cool decorative treatment, like this one featured on Light My Nest, since it draws the eye upwards. Cove lighting will fill your setup with a soft glow that'll be perfect for your next movie night.

3. Embrace multifunctional lighting.

If you live in a hot climate and can't imagine life without fans, there are plenty of options out there that are equally stylish and functional. Case in point, this ceiling-light-meets-fan that Robert and Lauren from Bless'er House selected for their space. The decorative element's rustic wood blades and sleek black hardware blend right into the rest of the living room's neutral farmhouse design.

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4. Enjoy the convenience of recessed lighting.

If you want a truly customizable lighting experience in your living room, nothing can beat recessed lighting programmed on a dimmer switch. This living room by design firm Electric Bowery features cans in every corner of the ceiling so you can quickly and easily go from dimly lit to bright and cheerful with the click of a button.

5. Go glam with a glitzy chandelier.

Who said swanky chandeliers are only reserved for the dining room? In fact, they can add a bit of glam to just about any space in the house, including the living room. The large beauty in this setup by Nune is an elegant addition to the modern-meets-traditional scheme, and the clear glass design keeps it from feeling too heavy.

6. Get creative with suspension lighting.

Don't be afraid to venture out of the box when it comes to the lighting plan in your living room. Use this space by Dekar Design as inspiration and go the creative route when selecting fixtures. Here, suspension lighting artfully swagged across the ceiling makes a dramatic and unique statement. Complete the look with a channel-tufted velvet sofa flaunting a dreamy blush hue.

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7. Invest in a skylight or two.

Yes, this one is a bit more of a commitment (and investment), but if natural light is what you're lacking, there's nothing better than a skylight. This space by design partners Bart and Pieter of Coffee Klatch features a row of large windows in the ceiling that would make any living room feel open and airy.

8. Pick a flush mount ceiling light.

Keep it classy with a simple flush mount ceiling light. This is a great choice for living rooms with lower ceilings, as they will save space without sacrificing style. The team behind Studio McGee chose this chic white and gold fixture, which makes the room appear larger and ties in nicely with the brass picture frames and bright walls.

9. Install a central pendant light.

If your living room is on the larger side, then your light fixture should be, too. Keep things proportional with an eye-catching pendant, like the one used in this space captured by photographer Buff Strickland. The lantern-style light fixture feels perfectly balanced and its open design ensures that it won't overpower the room.

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10. Try a semi-flush mount light fixture.

If you can't decide between a flush mount and a pendant light, consider a semi-flush mount instead. The small drop down from the ceiling will still make a statement, as proven by this living room from Rachel Halvorson Designs, without making the room feel small. The warm ambient light gives this space a cozy feel that's perfect for lounging around with a good book.

11. Install track lighting.

Track lighting has come a long way since the '80s. This sleek multi-light system mimics the look and customization of recessed lights without the added installation process. Track lighting looks great on beamed ceilings, as witnessed in this space by Flavin Architects, since the long rows of lights illuminate the painted wood beams.

12. Pair with lamps.

When you have beautiful large windows in your living room, like the ones in this space designed by blogger Miranda Schroder, bright natural light isn't hard to come by. And while that's great during the day, at night, however, you'll need some kind of illumination — that's where lamps come into play. Pair hanging pendants with table lamps or floor lamps to create an atmosphere that is both intimate and inviting.

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13. Double up.

Overhead lighting is a given in any setup for general illumination, but sometimes one fixture just isn't enough. Well, not to worry. Take note of this living room design idea by Kate Marker Interiors and hang two chandeliers instead of one. Not only will you have an even layer of ambient light, but the matching fixtures will also impart a welcome dose of symmetry into your space. Win-win.

14. Commit to one finish for all of your lighting.

Coordinating light fixtures can be tricky, especially when your house has an open floor plan, but one easy way to tie them all together is by sticking to one finish. Interior designer Zoë Feldman had the right idea in this stunning living room. The midcentury-inspired chandelier (flaunting a black and brass finish) hanging in the center of the room and the wall sconces flanking the fireplace are a near-seamless match. The recessed ceiling lights surrounding the statement fixture ensure there will be ample illumination without adding extra bulk to the overall design.

15. Channel bohemian vibes.

Create the ultimate bohemian hangout with this living room lighting idea by Pure Salt Interiors as your inspiration. The oversize fixture would normally feel too big for this quaint setup, but the open design is airy enough to make it work. The woven shade will also cast the coolest shadows on the walls, too.

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16. Opt for a fixture with exposed bulbs.

It might seem like a small and inconsequential detail, but don't underestimate the power of exposed bulbs. Follow in the footsteps of Andi from Lucky Andi and select a fixture with a clear glass shade, or, in this case, shades, to expose the bulbs and add a dash of retro charm. This modern chandelier is going to be bright since there are no opaque lampshades, but this will come in handy during your weekly game night with friends. Also, if you splurge on a dimmer switch, you'll be able to control the brightness level.

17. Inject old-world charm with a candelabra-style chandelier.

We love the romantic look of candelabra-style chandeliers, like the fixture hanging in this French country living room by Jenna Sue Design. The delicate black metal arms are wide enough to fill out the lofty ceiling space while still maintaining the minimalist vision. The faux candles emit just the right amount of warm ambient light while calling to mind the simplicity of a different time.

18. Amp up the cozy factor with string lights.

This isn't the variety you borrowed from the box of holiday decorations to use in your childhood bedroom. Instead, opt for a version with bigger cafe lights — like the strand used in this living space by Melanie of Melanie Jade Design — so it looks intentional. The large bulbs will cozy up any room and they are the perfect backdrop for late-night conversations and movie marathons.

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Ashley is a freelance writer that has contributed to other websites including Brit + Co and eHow. She lives South Florida her husband and two children.