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Home/Mor Furniture Blog/Decorating & Design/How to Buy the Right Table Lamp

Ever wonder how come pictures in magazines look so good? Sure, the furniture is beautiful, and the accent pieces perfectly placed. But often it is the lighting that makes a difference in how a space photographs. And how it looks in real life.

The right lighting in your home can change the mood of a room, and that of those in it. Sometimes adding the perfect lighting to a space can change the design altogether. But how do you know which lighting to choose?

When the right elements come together to create the right lighting, your home is transformed into a seamless combination of style and functionality. The right lighting can enhance the aesthetic appeal and highlight the mood and living space. In addition to adding style, the right lighting turns a basic room into a functionally dynamic space.

Table lamps are a big part of this effect -- different lamp styles, lampshades, and even using the right light bulb impact a space. To achieve a balanced look and find the best look for your space when you shop for table lamps, use the following tips.

Choose the Right Shade

Choosing the right shade for your table lamp depends on what you intend its function to be. If the lamps will provide ambient light and will be used for reading, choose a shade that is white or light-colored fabric. This will let diffused light come through the sides while bright light bounces off the ceiling to give you the ambient light your room needs. The light flowing from the bottom of the shade will give you plenty of light for reading.

If you're looking for a darker, more dramatic vibe in the room, choose a table lamp with a black, opaque shade. This type of lamp is excellent for a library where you need light on a book or other work being done near the lamp, but don't need the table lamp to provide ambient lighting.

Determine the Shade Height

To get the perfect shade height, you need to first determine the height range for your lamp. Do this by sitting in the space near where you are going to place the lamp. Measure the distance from the surface the lamp will rest on to eye level. This is the measurement for your base. To determine the average height of the shade, divide the height of your base by three.

For instance, if your base measurement is 18" and you divide it by 3, you get 6". This is the average height of your shade.

Choosing Your Lamp's Height

Most table lamps are somewhere between 24 and 31 inches in height. A shorter lamp would be suitable for use in a bedroom while a taller lamp would work well in a living room. A general rule is that when you sit next to the table lamp, the bottom of the shade should be at your eye level. This lets you enjoy reading by the light without being distracted or annoyed by the glare of the light bulb.

Choosing Your Lamp's Width

When buying a new table lamp, consider the actual table it will rest upon. Will it be on an end table in the family room, or on a bedside table? To determine the width of your lamp, measure the tabletop, and compare it to the diameter of the widest part of the lamp's shade. To create the right proportion, the shade shouldn't be wider than the table you've placed it on.

Also, consider the size of the base and any other items the lamp will share the tablespace with. A big lamp may be dramatically beautiful, but if you don't have any room for your glasses, a cup of coffee or a drink, or even a place to put the book you are reading, the lamp may not work for that space.

Use the Right Light Bulb

If you are using the table lamp for reading, use a light bulb that is 60 watts or more. If you prefer LED light bulbs, check the lumens output of the LED and the rating listed and you'll be able to see if the bulb is comparable to a 60-watt iridescent bulb. If you will use this lamp for different purposes, perhaps you want brighter light for reading, but will want to dim it for watching TV, choose a dimmable bulb.

Create a Unified Look with More Than One Lamp

If you are lighting a larger room with multiple table lamps, and the bases are not the same, don't worry, they don't have to be. Different types of bases will add interest to your space. Create cohesion by topping them all with the same shaped and colored shades.

Consider Your Table Lamp a Design Element in Your Room

Sure, your table lamp gives you light to read by, but it can do so much more. If you fall head over heels for a lamp because it's an amazing red color, or has an elegant silver base, go for it. You can use that lamp to unify your room's design. Pick up on that gorgeous red color by using it in another décor piece in the room—a vase, artwork, or throw pillows.

Arranging Multiple Lamps

If you have a long console table and wish to use two lamps, separate them by about two or three feet of distance. That way, the light is distributed more evenly through the space. Also, lamps look off-kilter and are less functional when clustered together, unlike other pieces of décor such as candlesticks, vases, or picture frames which work well in clusters.

Where to Put Your Table Lamps

Now that we've discussed how to buy table lamps lets talk about where to put your table lamps. It may seem obvious, but there are some nuances to it. Your lighting should enhance the function of your living room. If you want to task light for reading, writing, or hobbies, put a table lamp on an end table near the chair or sofa where you will do the most reading. But, let's look outside the ordinary.

A small accent table with an elegant table lamp brightens up a dark corner in style. Ramp up an otherwise nondescript corner by using a lamp with an unusual base or bold color. Another great way to use a table lamp is on a console table under a piece of wall art. This can help highlight a special piece of art.

Create a Unified Look with More Than One Lamp

If you are lighting a larger room with multiple table lamps, and the bases are not the same, don't worry, they don't have to be. Different types of bases will add interest to your space. Create cohesion by topping them all with the same shaped and colored shades.

Consider Your Table Lamp a Design Element in Your Room

Sure, your table lamp gives you light to read by, but it can do so much more. If you fall head over heels for a lamp because it's an amazing red color, or has an elegant silver base, go for it. You can use that lamp to unify your room's design. Pick up on that gorgeous red color by using it in another décor piece in the room—a vase, artwork, or throw pillows.

Arranging Multiple Lamps

If you have a long console table and wish to use two lamps, separate them by about two or three feet of distance. That way, the light is distributed more evenly through the space. Also, lamps look off-kilter and are less functional when clustered together, unlike other pieces of décor such as candlesticks, vases, or picture frames which work well in clusters.

Where to Put Your Table Lamps

Now that we've discussed how to buy table lamps lets talk about where to put your table lamps. It may seem obvious, but there are some nuances to it. Your lighting should enhance the function of your living room. If you want to task light for reading, writing, or hobbies, put a table lamp on an end table near the chair or sofa where you will do the most reading. But, let's look outside the ordinary.

A small accent table with an elegant table lamp brightens up a dark corner in style. Ramp up an otherwise nondescript corner by using a lamp with an unusual base or bold color. Another great way to use a table lamp is on a console table under a piece of wall art. This can help highlight a special piece of art.