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.