How To Choose A Lamp

Written by: Robby Delgardo

Lamp Types

Table

  • Provides accent or ambient lighting
  • Less than 32" in height

Table lamps are available in broad varieties and are very versatile. They offer functional lighting on bedside tables or end tables next to a couch. Table lamps are ideal for both accent and ambient lighting, depending on the size, shape and location.

Floor

  • Provide accent or task lighting
  • Broad variety of special features

Floor lamps can add functional light to a seating area, or accent any location in your home with ambient lighting. They work especially well next to large furniture, or by filling empty spaces next to walls or in the corner of many living spaces. Floor lamps are often equipped with a diverse selection of features, including swing arms, tray tables, and reading lights.

Desk

  • Practical and functional
  • Excellent lighting for workspaces

Desk lamps as designed to provide functional task lighting to a particular area. They are typically equipped with adjustable arms, allowing the user to direct light for reading, typing, or arts and crafts.

Specialty

  • Designed for a specific purpose
  • Provide great task lighting

Specialty lamps encompass a group of portable lighting options designed for specific purposes. These include Piano lamps, Clamp-On lamps, and Magnifying lamps.

Lamp Sets

  • Matching lamps bundled together
  • Additional savings when bought together

Lamp sets are a combination of matching table, floor, or buffet lamps that have been packaged together for convenience. Manufacturers typically offer additional savings for purchasing a set of lamps rather than each item individually.

Lamp Styles

Buffet

  • Greater than 32" in height
  • Tall and slender body

Buffet lamps are marked by their exceptionally tall and slender look. They are designed to be placed on buffet tables, where they direct light primarily downwards to illuminate the food and table setting. The slender body and base take up minimal space, while the elevated height keeps the lamp shade well above containers of food and moving arms.

Arc

  • Distinctive arc shape
  • Great for living room corners

Arc lamps are characterized by the distinctive long, arc-shaped arm that extends the light and shade far from the body. These lamps are perfect for living room corners, where they can extend over tables or accents without taking up much space.

Tripod

  • Distinctive 3-legged base
  • Provides additional stability and style

Tripod lamps are an exceptional choice for a lighting solution that is both stylish and functional. The 3-legged base provides additional stability over a traditional lamp with a single pole support.

Swing Arm

  • Functional arm allows adjustment of the light
  • Great for task lighting

Swing Arm lamps come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Whether you prefer a table, desk or floor lamp, there is a swing arm configuration suited for you needs. These lamps provide excellent task lighting for many situations, and often also adjust in height to cater to a variety of lighting needs.

Torchiere

  • Distinctive tall body with upward facing shade
  • Provides excellent accent or ambient lighting

Torchiere lamps are a classic lighting solution for living and dining rooms without adequate ceiling lighting. They fit very well into corners, radiating light upwards that reflects off walls and ceilings to create well-distributed ambient lighting.

Piano

  • Lights up sheet music and keys
  • Table or floor standing

Piano lamps are specialty lighting solutions for pianos or organs. They often come equipped with adjustable or swing arms, allowing the light to be directed exactly where it is needed regardless of the size or shape of your instrument.

Boom Arm

  • Straight, swinging arm
  • Reminiscent of studio microphone stands

Boom arm lamps are a popular lamp type that offers the benefits of a swing arm with retro to contemporary style. The can commonly be found on desk or floor lamps designed for task lighting, and often allow the light to be adjusted both horizontally and vertically.

Accent

  • Provide gentle ambient lighting
  • Emphasize style over function

Accent lamps come in many different shapes and sizes, but are all designed with style in mind. These lamps offer a small amount of light in addition to other fixtures or lamps, and serve to create a focal piece that matches the décor of any room.

Gooseneck

  • Characteristic gooseneck shape
  • Fixed or flexible arm

Gooseneck lamps fall into one of two categories. First, there are lamps with fixed metal gooseneck arms, which embody a curvy and traditional style. Second, there are lamps with flexible necks, designed to be moved and adjusted into any position for task lighting.

Column

  • Tall, sturdy floor lamp
  • Often include shelves

Column lamps are marked by their tall, solid stature. The body and base of the lamp are often as wide, if not wider, than the shade(s). Column lamps are also often equipped with shelves, making them ideal for the corners of living, dining, or bedrooms.

Tree

  • Lights branch off a central trunk
  • Provides great ambient or directional lighting

Tree lamps are an excellent choice for living room or bedroom lighting. These lamps are often designed with swing arms or goosenecks, so that each light can be moved independently to achieve the exact lighting configuration necessary to illuminate a variety of objects or locations.

Clamp-on

  • Easily attach to the side of a table or desk
  • Designed for convenient task lighting

Clamp-On lamps provide mobile and versatile task lighting without compromising desk space. They are available with different clamp styles to suit any needs – whether you need to attach your lamp on the side of a desk or the raised backsplash.

Magnifying

  • Provide light and magnification
  • Great for reading or arts and crafts

Magnifying lamps combine lighting and magnification to make everyday tasks much easier. They often include swing arms or goosenecks to further increase their functionality.

Hurricane

  • Traditional style
  • Reminiscent of oil lanterns

Hurricane lamps were originally designed during a time period in which the most common light source was oil lanterns. These lamps have a tall glass cylinder that protects the flame from being extinguished in the wind, hence the name ‘hurricane lamp’. Contemporary hurricane lamps are designed to imitate this style, while offering the convenience of an electrical light source.

Trending Lamp Styles

Specialty Lamp Features

Important Considerations

Switch Type

3 Way Switch

  • Works in conjunction with a 3 way bulb
  • 3 different wattages
  • Can control light throughout the day

Dimmer Switch

  • Works in conjunction with a dimmable bulb
  • Light ranges from nearly 0 watts to bulb’s full wattage
  • You decide on the perfect amount of light

Correct Amount of Light

If you still have questions on the perfect wattage for your room, then check out the calculator below!

How much light do you need?


Suggested Total Wattage*
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