Having a high-ceiling living room is a luxury that everybody can’t afford. If you’re lucky enough to have one, consider doing the lighting properly. If you don’t light up your living room correctly, you will notice that some space in your living room is darker than others.
If you don’t want unexpected lighting conditions in your room, you have come to the right place. In this article, I will discuss the top lighting ideas for a living room with a high ceiling. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Top 10 High Ceiling Living Room Lighting Ideas
In this segment, I’ll explain the top 10 lighting ideas you can apply in your high-ceiling living room. You’ll surely achieve great lighting for your living room even if the ceiling is up to 20 feet high. Here are they:
1. Recessed Lighting
One of the best ways of lighting a high-ceiling room is recessed lighting. Recessed lighting can be used for both accent lighting and general lighting purposes. For example, if you want to highlight a particular area through accent lighting – you can do it with recessed lighting. This lighting system consists of three major components: housing, trim & bulb.
The housing part remains hidden within the wall & maintains the electrical connection. At the same time, all the visual external work/look is done by trimming. For a high-ceiling living room, you can choose a reflector trim that will maximize light production.
The final component of recessed lighting is lights/bulbs. When choosing the bulb for the recessed lighting, consider getting LED bulbs for cool, efficient, and long-lasting performance. They produce very little heat and are energy-efficient.
2. Tall Chandelier
A tall chandelier is a stunning addition to any high-ceiling living room as it offers aesthetic and functional benefits. Depending on your taste or need, you can get chandeliers of various styles. Every option is available from elegant crystal designs to modern and minimalist designs.
After determining the style of the chandelier, you will have to determine the size too. Chandelier’s size can vary & you can get up to 137 inches of chandelier for your living room. However, you’ll have to choose the size based on the height of your ceiling. If you can’t determine the size of your chandelier – use the rule of thumb.
The rule of thumb for the chandelier size (length in inches) is – 2.5 inches in fixture height per 1 foot of room height. This means you’ll have to multiply the height of your ceiling by 2.5 -3 & the result will be your chandelier’s size (in inches).
Let’s assume you have a living room with 20 feet ceiling. That means your chandelier’s height will be (20 x 2.5) or 50 inches. This length doesn’t represent the actual length of your chandelier as the chandelier has two other components, such as – a chain & canopy. You’ll also have to measure those things’ size while doing the height calculation.
The normal height of a canopy is 4 inches & chain length is average 4 feet. For the sake of calculation, let’s say the chandelier height is 4 feet. That leads the total height of a chandelier to 4 feet chandelier + 4 feet chain + 4 inches canopy = 8.4 feet. You will still have a ground clearance of around (20 Ceiling height – 8.4 Chandelier Height) =12 feet.
If you’re planning on installing a large chandelier in your living room, make sure to keep at least 7 feet of floor clearance. It is important as you don’t want anyone from your home to bump into the chandelier unintentionally.
Note: Don’t take this measurement as a definitive solution for calculating the total chandelier length. Various factors can influence the ideal length of your chandelier. Basically, it depends entirely on your living room design and the desired look you want to achieve.
For example, if your room has tall windows or furniture – you won’t want the chandelier’s shadow to fall on them. In this case, you can hang the chandelier slightly higher. On the other hand, if you plan to use an extra-large chandelier (like a 100-inch one), then you can keep the floor clearance low.
That being said, the ideal height of the chandelier absolutely depends on your room’s design or decoration. Nobody can’t do the exact calculation for you. You’ll have to do the final calculating by visualizing the look you want for your room and installing the chandelier accordingly.
3. Pendant Lights
The pendant light is another way of lighting a living room with a high ceiling. It’s a lighting source hanging from the ceiling by a cord or chain. The key difference between chandeliers & pendants is the number of bulbs hanging with the chain. There is only one bulb per pendant light, whereas it’s multiple bulbs in a chandelier.
You can place pendant lighting in different locations throughout your home. Here are some of the example locations for installing pendant lights:
- Over a Seating Area: You probably have a seating area in your living room. You will probably do some reading there & pendant lights can greatly help you in that case. Also, you can create a cozy & inviting atmosphere by using a group of pendants over the seating area.
- Center of The Room: If you don’t have a ceiling fan in the middle of the room, you can use pendants there. It will create a dramatic look along with providing general lighting.
- Over a Dining Table: A dining table in a living room isn’t that common. Still, if you have a dining table in your living room – you can use pendants over the table as task lighting.
4. Tall Floor Lamp
The tall floor lamp can easily light up a big space like a tall-ceiling living room. You can get floor lamps of various kinds at various price points. Decide whether your floor lamp will have an adjustable or static arm – as both options are available. Aside from constructional differences, some floor lamps support smart assistants like Google Assistant, Alexa, etc.
The most important job of a floor lamp is lighting its assigned area. That being said, you can also choose the brightness level of your floor lamp – by wattage count or the number of bulbs used in a floor lamp. However, you can’t bet on any floor lamp when it’s about lighting a big space like a living room.
There are some 70-72 inches tall floor lamps like Brightech Halo Split Floor Lamp (Amazon); you can choose them for your room lighting. Make sure your floor lamp is tall enough that it doesn’t feel small in a living room with 20 feet (or whichever height of ceiling you have) ceiling height.
5. Ceiling Fan With Light
A ceiling fan with integrated lights does two jobs simultaneously – it lights up the room and maintains the temperature by air circulation. Ceiling fans with lights come in a wide variety of styles and designs, so you can choose one that fits the aesthetic of your living room.
Some fans even have multiple light bulbs, allowing you to increase or decrease the brightness in the room as needed. Moreover, many modern ceiling fans with lights are equipped with LED lights, which are energy efficient and have a long lifespan.
It’s up to you what kind of ceiling fan with light you’ll choose for your living room. Please remember that these ceiling fans won’t provide higher rpm like traditional fans. You’ll get moderate rpm/ speed with these ceiling fans & which should be enough for most people.
Read Also: How to Change Bulb In 30ft Ceiling
6. Track Lighting
Track lighting is a traditional way of lighting residential & commercial spaces. Ever noticed your favorite clothes are surrounded by ceiling lights mounted downwards? Yes, those are the track lights in action.
You can use track lighting in your home as well. Though you can use them to light your entire room, but they suit best by highlighting the things you care about. For example – you can use track lighting for highlighting paintings, picture frames, bookshelves, decorative cabinets and so on.
Track lighting offers great flexibility, unlike other lighting methods mentioned in this article. You can move the lights to different positions as they are connected to a rotatable hinge. Also, you can adjust the intensity or brightness level. All of these features are particularly useful in a living room with a high ceiling, as you can direct light where it is needed the most.
7. Wall Lighting
Wall lighting is an excellent solution for providing better lighting in a living room. You can use wall sconces for this job. Lighting a high-ceiling room is difficult as you’ll need various light sources for the job. Including wall sconces in the light source light will be a great idea, as they will act as the bridge between ceiling and furniture scale lighting.
Moreover, you can use them to highlight specific features or areas of the room, such as – artwork, architectural details, or seating arrangements. Regarding placement, you should evenly spread them throughout the wall at a height anywhere from eye level to higher on the middle third of the wall.
8. LED Strip Lighting Accent
LED strip lighting is a versatile lighting method you can use anywhere. A living room with a high ceiling isn’t an exception. However, you have to be thoughtful while using LED strip lighting in a living room with 20 to 30 feet of ceiling.
Don’t just use LED light strips in the high ceiling as it won’t look good. Consider using LED light strips to illuminate furniture, such as – sofas, coffee tables, etc. Use your LED strip to highlight the darker area underneath your furniture & it will look awesome.
9. Task Lighting
Task lighting won’t illuminate your whole room, but it will illuminate a certain place where you’re reading a book or doing anything that requires extra lighting. This type of lighting is typically achieved through lamps & placed on the end of tables.
Moreover, these lamps can also serve a dual purpose – it adds character and charm to the room while providing functional lighting. Overall, task lighting is great for a living room with a high ceiling & you’ll love this integration in your room for sure.
You can bring as much artificial lighting as you want in your living room, but you will never feel the vibe of natural light. You can’t bring natural light on demand, but you can open a way for the lights to come inside. Skylight is a great way of inviting natural light to a high-ceiling living room.
By utilizing a skylight, you can reduce energy costs as it eliminates the need for artificial lighting during the day. That being said – natural light is a healthy alternative to artificial lighting & it saves lots of money in electricity costs. Consider getting skylights for your living room; I bet – you will love them.
Decoration Advice: Apply The Rule Of Thirds
For decorating a spacious place like the living room with a high ceiling, you should always apply the rule of thirds. To apply the Rule of Thirds in a high-ceiling living room, you will have to divide the space into three horizontal sections – Top, Middle & Bottom.
Make sure each section is equal in height. If you follow and apply this rule in your living room, you can ensure every room layer gets enough light sources. Here is the in-depth explanation of the top, middle & bottom layers:
Top Layer: The top layer is the tallest third portion of the room where you’ll be placing your ambient or general lighting. Some light sources you can use in the top layer are a Tall Chandelier, recessed light, Ceiling Fan with Lights, etc.
Middle Layer: The middle layer is the middle third of the room, where you’ll be implementing accent lighting. You can highlight art, picture frames, cabinets & so on with middle-layer lighting. Consider using wall sconces too as they will light up the whole middle layer of your room.
Bottom Layer: The bottom layer is the bottom third of your room & you’ll be using light sources for highlighting the furniture standing on the ground. For example, you can use LED light strips to highlight the underneath portion of your sofa, table & coffee table. You can also consider doing floor lighting for lighting the bottom layer of your room.
I hope this article was helpful enough to give you new and actionable lighting ideas for your living room with a high ceiling. You can apply these lighting methods in your room to enhance light conditions.
Most of these lighting ideas won’t require professional help & you can do them on your own. However, some of these lighting methods will require you professional help. That said, don’t hesitate to call for professional help.
I am Mark Braeden, a professional electrician based in California. With over a decade of experience in the electrical industry, I have launched this website with the aim of sharing my expertise and providing solutions to common lighting issues that can cause frustration for homeowners.
Whether you need help selecting the right bulb for your living room lamp or require guidance in installing LED strip lights, I am here to assist you.
But it’s not just about fixing problems. I’m also here to inspire you with all sorts of creative lighting ideas that can transform your home.