1. List the fixtures you need. Decide the usage of your spaces at any time of day. If you use the living room right throughout the day and evening, or for specific tasks, then you'll need a number of different levels of lighting - and lighting types.
2. Decide your Atmosphere. Choose the atmospheres you want to conjure up, too. The answer you give will help you decide how bright the lighting needs to be - and how easy to dim, too. Overall, it's worth fitting and buying lights that can be dimmed - from pendants right through to table lamps. Most stores sell a range of table lamps now that can be dimmed, just as most sell low energy bulbs that can be dimmed, too. Have you got space for wall lights?
3. Match your Fixture with your Space. Getting the proportions of your lights right is just as important as the quality of light they'll give. Have you got room for a big chandelier, or maybe a compact spotlight will be more suitable? How high is your ceiling? If it is low, then a flush or semi-flush light may be the best choice. For larger rooms with high ceilings, a multi-arm light or chandelier with five or more bulbs would be a good buy.
4. Balance your Lighting. This is an important question, especially if the room is large, or zoned into different areas (such as a dining area, a lounging area and a home office). What you need to work out is if each part of the room has adequate lighting for its purpose, but ensure that no particular area will overpower any of the other areas, once all the lights are on. Ideally, each different area will have its own pendant and accent lighting.
5. Emphasize your Artwork. Lighting is the best way to pick out a picture or piece of sculpture. For pictures, choose opal-effect bulbs, which reduce the glare on the glass and provide a more subtle effect. For sculpture, a subtly positioned, adjustable spotlight - usually in a corner at ceiling height - will show it off.