How to Choose the Perfect Table Lamp for Your Space

The key to finding the best table lamp for your space is to look for the perfect combination of form and function. The style and design of the lamp is just as important as the light output. Here are some tips to help guide you through the process of shopping for the perfect table lamp for your space. 

Determine the purpose of the table lamp.

Consider the height and light output of the lamp.

Coordinate the style with your current design.

♦ Use a desk lamp in your home office for focused task lighting. By using a lamp that is adjustable, you can direct the light to shine where you need it to.

♦ Table lamps with the correct scale work well on either side of a bed for both accent and reading light.

♦ Buffet lamps with a  slimmer profile look chic on a sideboard in the dining room or foyer.

♦ A lamp should not be more than 1.5 times the height of the table on which it rests.

♦ In most cases the shade on a lamp should fall at approximately eye level of someone sitting on the chair, sofa or bed.

♦ For reading and other tasks, use at least a 60 watt incandescent or an 8 watt LED bulb. This will provide enough light so you can focus on the task at hand.

♦ Choose colors and finishes that complement (but don’t necessarily match) other design elements in your space. In the above photo, a chrome lamp sits next to a satin bronze lamp – creating a chic combination.

♦ Make a statement. A lamp isn’t just for light – treat it like an unexpected piece of art. 

♦ For high impact, pair two of the same lamp on either side of a console table. 

“The easiest (and least expensive) way to update lighting is with table lamps. I prefer matching table lamps on both sides of a sofa and/or bed as it really pulls together the room.”

Top Four Uses for Table Lamps

1. Bedside Table Lamps

Measure where the bottom of the shade meets your eye level when you are seated or resting on the bed. This will help you determine the height of the lamp so that the light doesn’t shine directly into your eyes.

2. Side Table Lamps

Lamps situated on a side table in the living room should be brighter than those that are placed in the bedroom. If these are placed next to a sofa or chair, they can follow the same rule of thumb as above – the bottom of the shade should meet eye level when seated.

3. Reading Lamps

How much light you need depends on a number of factors including other light sources, your eyes, and where you’ll be reading. Lamp shades can also diffuse the light, controlling some of the brightness. In general, a three-way (50-100-150 watt) bulb is very useful for reading because of the different levels of brightness it provides.

4. Desk Lamps

Desk lamps are important because proper lighting can have an impact on both your productivity and your mood. To minimize shadows when working, set the lamp on the opposite side of your dominant hand. Most desk lamps are adjustable so you can direct the light where you need it to be.