Without proper lighting, even the most stylish space isn’t truly complete. Every room needs a combination of general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting to set a mood and provide sufficient illumination.
Table and floor lamps, which typically fall under the task lighting category, are especially important because they play both a functional and decorative role in your home. Size, shape and style all need to be taken into account when selecting lamps to suit both your lighting needs and taste in home decor.
Design by Lin Lee.
“Think of a lamp as part of the jewelry of a room,” interior designer Judith Balis says. “You need to select the right piece to complement the rest of the room.” When choosing lamps, consider the style you’re going for in your home first.
Is it traditional? Modern? Eclectic? In this bedroom, Balis adds a playful touch to a modern design with quirky, coral-base lamps.
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HGTV Sta judge Vern Yip shares his brightest tips for lighting up your room in HGTV Magazine.
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“Like anything else in decorating, you want to be mindful of scale,” Balis says. Make sure the size of your lamp is appropriate for its location. You don’t want to put a massive lamp on a very small table — not only will it look disproportionate, but it might also be bumped into or knocked over.
Likewise, a very small lamp will look out of place in a large room. As for the scale of the lamp itself, the shade should be one-half to three-fourths the size of the base and should hide the internal hardware of the lamp, Balis recommends.
Design by Erica Islas.
Shades attach to bases in different ways. Some require a harp (a spider fitting), some sit on hardware attached to the bulb’s base (an uno fitting), and others clip right onto the bulb (a clip-on fitting).
If you buy a base and shade separately, make sure they both have the same fitting. Library adjustable 31″-tall lamp in antique nickel finish with D shade, $165, restorationhardware.com
A patterned shade on a solid base looks cool. The reverse works too. Spindle 27″-tall resin lamp with lattice shade, $175, shadesoflight.com
If you choose a lamp with a vibrant shade or base, add accents in the same color — like pillows or a throw — to tie the room together. Gourd 21 1/2″-tall glass lamp in royal blue, $40, lampsplus.com
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Different lamp bases in the same room can look great. To unify them, top them all with shades that have the same shape. HGTV HOME citrus chevron 26″-tall ceramic lamp, $297, hgtvhome.com for stores
Get tips from the experts at HGTV.com for choosing the right table and floor lamps to suit both your lighting needs and your taste in home decor.
When pairing a lamp shade with a base, Balis says a good rule of thumb is to choose a shade that mimics the shape of the lamp itself. If you have a square base, try a square or rectangular shade. A round or drum-shaped shade works well with a round or bulb-shaped base, while a conical shade is a good fit for a tall, thin base.
Design by Daniel Bodenmiller.
Pick a translucent paper or fabric shade — it’ll let lots of light through. Malia 24 1/8″-tall seeded glass lamp, $129, ballarddesigns.com
Shades with a tapered shape tend to blend well with traditional decor. Designer Katie Leavy paired an antique ceramic lamp with colorful Indian textiles and a Chinese wall hanging for a look that’s both worldly and classic.
Measure the base at its widest point — the diameter of the shade should be about twice that. And the shade should cover the switch but let a little of the neck peek out. Wood 32 3/4″-tall lamp with hidden curio cabinet, $190, hsn.com
When I’m putting two lamps on one table, I like to leave at least two to three feet between them so they don’t look clumped together. It also helps distribute the light evenly throughout the room. Esta 24″-tall glass lamp, $249, crateandbarrel.
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10 Bright Ideas for Decorating With Floor and Table Lamps 10 Photos
Table lamps commonly range from 24 to 34 inches tall, including the shade. A good trick for choosing the right height: The bottom of the shade should be eye level when you’re seated. Jamie Young Lighting Saint Croix 20 1/2″-tall mercury-glass base with coral shade, $265, laylagrayce.
A metallic base will reflect light. More brightness for your buck! Teal honeycomb 24″-tall chrome-plated lamp, $55, pier1.com
A drum shade is pretty no-fail. It complements almost any base, from a sleek cylinder to a curvy urn. I’m a fan of white linen, but you can’t go wrong with any neutral, like a cream-colored paper shade or a pale gray cotton one.
Design by Conran Lucina 20″-tall wood lamp, $175, jcp.com
If you’re going for a modern or contemporary look, think simple and streamlined when selecting lamps. Currently in vogue, slim bases and drum-shaped shades can add height and drama to a space without overpowering its other decor.
Design by Troy Beasley.
Check out 10 creative and unique desk lamps for a bold design statement from HGTV.com.
In any room, make sure the lighting you choose is sufficient for the tasks and activities you want to accomplish there. Designer Cindy Aplanalp illuminated this reading area with a gold floor lamp for an elegant look.
“If you need to add color or texture to a room, an interesting lampshade will add just the boost you are looking for,” Balis says. Look for a shade with a bold pattern, an interesting texture or decorative touches like beads or tassels.
Design by Erinn Valencich.
Another important factor to consider when choosing a lamp shade is how much light you need the lamp to cast. If you want the lamp to illuminate an entire room or provide light for reading, a translucent shade is the best choice.
However, if the lamp is strictly an accent piece, try an opaque shade for a dramatic look. Design by Joseph Pubillones.
After selecting the right lamps, deciding where to put them is just as important. Generally, Balis likes to use floor lamps to illuminate corners and reading areas. “If you have a dark corner in a room, the simple addition of a lamp will work wonders for the way the room feels,” Balis says.
Table lamps are great for filling out the rest of the room, she says.
Find the perfect table, floor or desk lamp for a bedroom, living room or other space.
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