Asked on Jan 07, 2016

It there such a thing as too many lamps in a room?

MN Mom
by MN Mom
My living room is long and narrow with windows at each end. With natural daylight, the room is flooded and bright but at night it gets super dark in spots. Can a room have too many lamps? I do not have the option of installing overhead lighting. Opinions?
A little too dark...but I don't want it to look like a lamp department show room!
  29 answers
  • PainterNoni PainterNoni on Jan 07, 2016
    Hmmmm........I happen to love lamps.....mainly old and interesting lamps.......finally finding ways to use and display them was wonderful. I have 13 lamps in my main living room. Each lamp is unique............I use different size and type bulbs.........think of lamps as being sculptures, not just sources of light.
    • MN Mom MN Mom on Jan 07, 2016
      I love the warmth of lamplight too and have invested in some Mission style fixtures. I just wasn't sure where to place them. Maybe I need another table?
  • The Redesign Habit The Redesign Habit on Jan 07, 2016
    I agree. I think if you vary the types and have some floor lamps mixed in with table lamps or accent lamps, it's fine. By mixing in different types you can vary them enough to create balance in the room.
  • MN Mom MN Mom on Jan 07, 2016
    We just rearranged this room and having the sofa by the fireplace gives it a whole new look. I was just thinking how could I have all my lamps without the tables where they were but now I am thinking I should go find a cool table for behind the sofa...what do you think?
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  • Colleen Colleen on Jan 07, 2016
    Go for it with the lamps. I for one, love the warm glow that table and floor lamps bring to a room, so I have several. Like you, I've got a chair in one corner and I've placed an artificial tree behind it that I've wrapped with twinkle lights. It's on a timer to come on when it's dark out, and lights up the space with a soft, warm glow that I just love. There's also a floor lamp beside it for reading. I have a torchiere in the opposite, dining room, corner that I sometimes turn on instead of the ceiling fan light (it can also soften the light from the ceiling fan when I have that one turned on), and table lamps on either side of my sofa - so no, I don't think one can have too many sources of extra light :) You could place one of your lamps on the cabinet beside the window. With more lamps, you'll love how warm and cozy your room will feel and you'll lose any harsh shadows in the corners.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jan 07, 2016
    I do not think you can ever have enough lamps. Especially with my tired eyes.
  • For better lighting think about switching to LED lightbulbs! I have to tell you that the light is so much better. As for lamps, I would have lamps on each side of the couch (run an extension cord under the couch to the other side. I would also put a light in the corner where you have a chair (maybe add a small table and lamp fora reading area) Then I would look for some sort of light to uplight on your cabinet on the far left upper corner.
    • See 3 previous
    • Nancy Gramm Nancy Gramm on Jan 08, 2016
      @The Garden Frog with C Renee Of course, you're right. Under the sofa's great. Mine travels partway under a chair. The rest is exposed so cover necessary.
  • Sandra Sandra on Jan 07, 2016
    Barbara, your living room looks so cozy. I also believe you can't have enough lamps. The sofa table is a great idea. Look for smaller lamps for that table. If you think your room will be in this design for a long time, you might want to find an electrician to put in an outlet under the sofa or table. Running a cord across the room could cause a fall or a disaster with your lamps. The other way to do that without the cost of an electrician is to CAREFULLY cut a slice in your carpet and run the wire under your carpet to the outlet. I have also drilled a whole in my floor and run my cord from the television under the floor, drilled another hole under the plug and voile' used the outlet across the room. (I had an old house with hardly any outlets so I had to be creative. Also, a small lamp on the top of the bookshelf you have in the corner would be a nice touch. Depending on how much room you have on the side of your sofa which is closest to us in the photo, you might find a table in accordance with your space and put a lamp there. By the way, the cord of that floor lamp(?) you have next to the sofa and the table lamp could be plugged into that outlet under the sofa. Hope I haven't talked too much. Just love your room and I think the lamps would be a great addition.
    • MN Mom MN Mom on Jan 07, 2016
      How kind of you. My daughter is home from college and surprised me with this new arrangement. We had things in the same old spots for the last 15 years so this was a big turn around! I'm loving the sofa placement and all the great ideas. Thank you for your advice!
  • Snapoutofit Snapoutofit on Jan 07, 2016
    1. Floor "canned" lights (photo). One would look great behind the chair in the corner. 2. Dimmer switches to adjust light for different times of the day 3. different light bulbs (photo) 4. Light timers on smaller accent lighting
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    • Patty S Patty S on Jan 08, 2016
      @Snapoutofit I love this idea, thanks for the suggestion, I as well need more light in my living room.
  • Mickey Baron Mickey Baron on Jan 08, 2016
    I've never met a lamp I didn't like...well, of course I have. What I mean is, I'm a lamp fanatic! If they serve their purpose & fit the decor...GO FOR IT!
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  • Florida1 Florida1 on Jan 08, 2016
    Barb, I would pull the sofa back a bit more (maybe a good foot or so back)-take the chair and turn it so it's adjacent to the sofa. Try n' find another chair either identical to it or similar in lines for the other side of sofa; turn it so the two chairs face each other as they 'flank' the sofa. You have one floor lamp on the window side of sofa; I assume the power outlet is there...? On 'this' side of the sofa; add a small table of some kind-place a lamp with a shade that looks similar to floor lamp (for continuity). I assume there is another outlet - this would be to the right of the fireplace as one stands looking at it...? If so plug lamp into that. Place a (smallish) area rug in front of fireplace as that should cover most/all of cord. It appears there is some gold/dk red in your room? If so I would continue that onto the area rug. Sorry this is lengthy as words take looks great and inviting!!
    • MN Mom MN Mom on Jan 08, 2016
      What you can't see is the table on the end if the sofa nearest the window. Also not in the photo is the other half of this room. It's long and narrow with windows on each end. That other half has two large club chairs and an ottoman, a library table under the windows, a table between the chairs and a tv in a cabinet. Whew!
  • Faye Campbell Faye Campbell on Jan 08, 2016
    I too believe you can't have too many lamps in a room. I have 7 lamps in a large bedroom that all light different areas of the room. I call it spot lighting. The one thing I would suggest to you Barbara is to move that tall lamp beside the sofa. I would place it behind the chair you have in the corner. Table lamps on both sides of the chesterfield would brighten the room and add symmetry.
  • LD LD on Jan 08, 2016
    If you have the option to install ceiling lighting, then I would say yes to installing recessed lights to give overall illumination, and leave the lamps for task illumination. In my leaving room, there is only indirect lighting from the sliding doors to the balcony, so I use Torchiere floor lamps with daylight LED lights so there's plenty of natural illumination in the room.
  • Ann Ann on Jan 08, 2016
    Lots of lamps give you the option of highlighting different areas when you're using the room. I would add a narrow console table behind the couch for additional lamps, decor and shelving underneath. I have seven lamps in my living room but rarely light them all at once.
    • MN Mom MN Mom on Jan 08, 2016
      I do have a narrow library table in the other half of the room, which is not visible in the photo I posted. I'll be moving that behind the sofa and then getting something new to put another lamp on!
  • Cindi Cindi on Jan 08, 2016
    I also like lamps, and lots of light, so have lamps on end tables, on furniture pieces, and have a good light in every corner, it kind of bounces the light into the rest of the room. I would put end tables on each end of the sofa with a good light on each, a smaller light on your bookcase, and one of those pole type lamps, like halogen lights, behind the chair. The lights in the corners kind of bounce light off the walls.
  • Peppi Peppi on Jan 09, 2016
    since i have a sun deficient problem, i have 5 lights just in the den. all are varying heights and wattage. no two are the same. so i don't think you can have too many lights.
  • Cathy Soukup Cathy Soukup on Jan 09, 2016
    Look for unique lamps, too. That way they aren't all matchy-matchy, and they will make a statement. You can find different shapes, animals, antiques, and more, and if they share some element - such as color - they will fit right in and lend interest. Go for it!
  • Kathy Bitzan Kathy Bitzan on Jan 09, 2016
    I don't think you can have to many... you don't have to use them all at once. It just depends on what atmosphere you want to achieve. I dislike overhead lighting in a room such as this or anywhere besides the kitchen. Small lamps can be so decorative and you can slip them in anywhere. I even have a small turtle that lights up. Nice conversation piece also.
  • Lori Lori on Jan 10, 2016
    I agree you can't have too many as long as they are not all the same in some way, like the same shade or same colour shade, all the same height, that kind of thing. Some lamps are works of art.
  • Linda Sussman Linda Sussman on Jan 10, 2016
    Hi, the space feels dark not so much for poor lighting but for lack of some color. You need to want your eyes to move around with same like/coranating pillows .rugs and window treatments. Greenery always helps. Regards Linda Quality Decorations Boca Raton Fl.
    • See 1 previous
    • Leslie Leslie on Jan 10, 2016
      @MN Mom co-ordinating :) don't feel badly Barbara, I can translate typos :)
  • Carol Claremont Carol Claremont on Jan 10, 2016
    I don't like overhead lighting in family/living rooms and no I don't think you can have too many - just mix them up. I love making my lamps look custom so I often hot glue on fringe, beads, lace, pearls etc. - not on every lamp (well, I think every lamp in my bedroom has embellishments) - some are good the way they are - just mix them and add some color.
  • Kari Roberts Kari Roberts on Jan 15, 2016
    Try three hanging lamps in a corner. Hang them close together and at different lengths. different color and shape would be cool.
  • PainterNoni PainterNoni on Jan 16, 2016
    I love swag lamps with at least 3 bulbs.........these not only give light, but can cast interesting shadows on the walls.
  • Kaye Kaye on Jan 26, 2016
    Lots of ways to lighten and brighten the dark spaces,try lamp close to a mirror so it doubles light,use floor and table lamps,wall scones,etc. You can mix and match as long as your staying with same theme! Any large or few mirrors really lighten up. Happy Lighting!!
  • John Carfano John Carfano on Nov 13, 2017

    I love all kinds of lamps in the room to give atmosphere and make it cozy. I have 6 in a 15x15 living room and I think it looks great. I personally like them dim on accent tables. Put some to shine up on a painting. I do have one for reading. The warm glow from all the lamps, in my opinion, is awesome. I know the style now is sparse and cold- but that will never happen with me.

  • Fiddledd224 Fiddledd224 on Nov 13, 2017

    No. But it's not about the number of lamps, but the amount and location of light. Lighting creates the ambiance in a room, so it is important that the areas of interest and areas where you need illumination have the correct lighting.

  • Jayne Burrow-Babester Jayne Burrow-Babester on Apr 30, 2020

    Your room has a lovely cosy feel to it and your rug is fantastic .

    As another reader has mentioned , I would definitely move the sofa back a foot or two , it would open the room up and give the look of more space .

    You could then easily add another lamp at the other end of the sofa and one on a unit to the right hand side of the fire place .

    Remember that you can have different wattage in the lamps so that each gives of a different glow, but I would have the same at each side of the sofa . Beautiful ❤️

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jun 02, 2021

    Hi, You can never have too many lights or lamps in a room!

  • If you want more lamps, add them. It's your home. Do what makes you happy!

  • Katrina Fillo Katrina Fillo on Mar 02, 2024

    I have a lamp addiction. When I would be out shopping with my husband...I would ask the check out clerk to disguise the lamp as much as possible. I drove him crazy with my lamp obsession. Over the years, I have felt guilty and donated some of my wonderful MCM lamps to charities and family. Of course, this loss led me to look for more to fill the gaps. LOL I have lost count of how many lamps I have. Preparing to move to a smaller home and will need to sacrifice some of them to other folks. Deciding which ones should go will be so difficult. The PA Lamp Tramp