Supplementing Recessed Lighting in a Living Room
If you're trying to light a living room exclusively with cans, the first step is admitting you have a problem.
Living Room Lighting
In this living room, the pendant offers decorative/ambient illumination, while sconces add some visual sparkle. Recessed adjustable fixtures highlight the art and bookcase, with the floor lamp providing reading light. Photo by Dennis Anderson.
I recently installed eight recessed downlights in my 16-by-16-foot living room -- three rows of three, two and three. I used Halo 6-inch LED lights that have an 8-foot beam spread from a 9-foot ceiling. The room is super bright and awesome.
This is more of a declaration than it is a question. I’m still trying to process the lighting installed in your living room. I had to lie on the floor in a darkened space just to create a mentally safe environment. This lighting would be "awesome" if you were interrogating eight prisoners all at the same time. Have you learned nothing, Grasshopper? Your living room must feel like an alien spacecraft is just about to land and tractor beam you up for a quick probe. I applaud you for using an LED source. All I am asking for is that you use some other sources of illumination in the space, too. Since you have a 9-foot ceiling, consider installing one or two pendants. Maybe add a pair of sconces flanking a tall piece of furniture or a painting. The journey to good lighting begins with a single step light.
Randall Whitehead lighting designer
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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