Table lamps can offer great functionality and aesthetic enhancement to a room, their portable nature also requires less design commitment than other types of lighting for the home. That said selecting the perfect table lamp can feel like a daunting task, but with the right pointers it’s really easy.

Our best tip is to start with the type of lamp you’re after before deciding on the style. That may feel counter intuitive at first because we’re all very visually oriented and aesthetics are typically the first concern, but by starting with the type or intended task for the lamp you’re ensuring the lamp will actually perform its intended task, rather than just sit there looking pretty.

Here are some tips for selecting the right table lamp

  • First decide on the application. Decorative table lamps only need to provide the proper amount of ambient light in the room and yes, being attractive doesn’t hurt at all. Reading lamps benefit from a diffuser, aiming arm and dimmer switch. Buffett lamps, as the name suggest, are meant to illuminate a surface at standing height. Likewise, desk lamps are intended to provide illumination for a desk, but shield the light source from direct eye contact.
  • Consider selecting a lamp made from a heavy material. Because a table lamps are free standing, it’s always a good idea to select something substantial that will be stable in its place. Lamps made from solid wood, cast iron, brass, ceramic and natural stone are great choices for the home. This is true whether you are getting a table lamp or a floor lamp
  • The right shade can make or break the lamp. There is more to shades than just their aesthetic appeal; the shade can greatly affect the amount of lighting that you get from the lamp. An opaque shade will send light only up or down whereas a diffused shade will spread the light around in multiple directions. You do want to consider the aesthetics as well, though. For example, do you want a shade made from a hard fabric like vinyl or one made from a soft fabric, such as silk?
  • Don’t forget the dimmer. It is always good to have different light level options with your lamps. Many portable lamps come with built-in dimmer/slider switches to make this simple for you.
  •  Pay attention to detail. People get right up close to portable lamps a lot of the time so after you’ve selected the proper lamp type; it’s worth it to pay attention to the great decorative detail that can be found on some portable lamps.
  • Don’t ignore the light bulb. These days it is very important for you to look at what type of light bulbs can be used in the lamps that you choose to purchase. Traditional incandescent light bulbs are being phased out so you may want to look for a lamp that allows you to use a CFL bulb or better yet, an eco-friendly LED light bulb.
  • Keep in mind that special applications may benefit from specific lamp types. For example, piano lamps and desk lamps are suited to specific tasks and may not be right for general use.

Matching Doesn’t Always Mean Identical

If all that you needed to do was to pick out a single lamp for your home then the task probably wouldn’t seem so difficult. Where it may seem a little daunting is getting the multiple lamps needed for your home to match or share a common theme. You will want all of these light sources to complement one another.

Here are some tricks for choosing matching or complementary lamps:

  • Choose lamps from the same line. Once you find a single lamp that you really like then you can look at the other lamps from the same manufacturer if you’re having trouble finding lamps with a similar theme. Often there will be an entire line of lamps that you can choose to make the process easier. (Of course mixing multiple lines is fine too)
  • Stick with a color scheme. The simplest solution is to go with a monotone throughout the house and jazz them up a bit with the shade selection– a modern and effective choice. However you can choose any basic color scheme and stick within it to make sure the theme flows from one room to another.
  • Choose a specific material. For example, if you choose a table lamp that has a glass shade then you will want to use glass throughout the room. Similarly, if you choose a portable lamp with a natural stone base then you will want to replicate this material in your other lamp choices.
  • Stay with a theme. For example, you may select all vintage lighting or you may choose all contemporary lighting, mixing themes can work but it takes significantly more thought beforehand.

Getting the Proper Amount of Light in the Room

One question that a lot of lamp shoppers have is how many lights they need in a room. This really depends on how many task or accent areas you have (each lamp will provide task/accent lighting for one area) but you can follow these tips to get a better idea:

  • The average portable lamp with a diffusing lightshade will light up an area of approximately forty square feet in a circle around the lamp.
  • Reading lamps should be placed approximately 20” away from the side of the reading chair. Choose enough lamps to provide reading light for all reading chairs in a room.
  • A good estimate is to have 2-3 lamps in a room. They should have a three-way switch or a dimmer to offer maximum and minimum lighting options.

Still confused? Don’t forget that we offer a professional personal shopper service to assist you in finding the perfect lighting solutions for your home!

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