3 Expert Tips To Choose A Table Lamp

It's a well-known rule of thumb within the world of interior design that there should be at least three varying points of lighting within the average room. Only one of these should be overhead lighting---so what are you supposed to do with the other two?

Enter: the humble, versatile table lamp. These lamps can make or break a room! Let's talk about the power they have and which choices might be best for you.

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What's the purpose of a table lamp?

A table lamp is geared to provide an alternate source of lighting for a room, beyond natural light (from windows, etc.) and overhead lighting (light wired into your ceiling).

Table lamps can provide practical pools of light: for example, a desk lamp, or a side-table lamp that casts illumination on a specific person or work-space. They can also be used in concert, two or three to a room, to create a subdued or intimate environment with lower lights.

Ultimately, there are as many uses for table lamps as there are tables, and, just like tables, they are extremely helpful in a number of different scenarios. We'll go more into these below.

Blue Glass Metal Table Lamp Set
Brushed Nickel Metal Table Lamp Set
Clear Crystal Metal Table Lamp Set
Metallic Mercury Glass Table Lamp Set
Warm Brown Solid Wood Table Lamp
White Ceramic Table Lamp Set

Which lamps might go best in which rooms of my home?

First, it's possible that any type or style of lamp can be placed in any room. When it comes to interior decorating, what you like should be held most important.

However, it may be possible that there are specific types of lamps that work best as (for example) bedside tables or desk lamps. Let's talk about a few of these categories below.

Buffet lamps

These lamps are extremely tall, more than 32 inches in height. They are slender and don't take up more than a few inches of space.

Buffet lamps are taller, and they tend to provide punctuated, smaller spotlights due to their height. Therefore, they're a good idea for lighting up an office desk or a bedside table. 

Chromed Metal Square Buffet Lamp
Metallic Stainless Steel Buffet Lamp Set
Antique Blue Resin Buffet Lamp
Black Resin Buffet Lamp Set
Brushed Brass Gold Metal Buffet Lamp
White Glass Metal Buffet Lamp

Swing-arm lamps

These lamps use a series of gears and rotating parts to be able to swing around, while fixed by its base to the table (imagine the Pixar lamp, and you'll have a good idea).

Swing-arm lamps should be used in an area where their movement can be taken advantage of! While they're perfect in a working or desk environment, they're also good in smaller living rooms---where there may only be room for one lamp, but having movable light is a good idea.

Black Metal Wood Swing Arm Desk Lamp
Brass Metal Swing Arm Desk Lamp
Glossy Black Metal Swing Arm Clip On Lamp
Brown Metal Swing Arm Tripod Table Lamp
Gray Metal Swing Arm Desk Lamp
Black Metal Swing Arm Desk Lamp

Piano lamps

These lamps tend to have a glass or metal shell which directs the light downward in a concentrated beam. They are turned on by a pull or a switch.

Piano lamps are good for reading music on pianos but also reading in general as they direct light downwards. Place a few in a reading or living room, or on a desk. As a bonus, they will direct light away from televisions to reduce glare, if they go to a media room.

Metallic Steel Piano Bankers Lamp
Antique Glass Metal Piano Bankers Lamp
Walnut Wood Metal Piano Lamp
Traditional Metallic Piano Bankers Lamp
Metallic Black Marble Piano Lamp
Satin Steel Metal Piano Lamp

Smaller table lamps

As a general term, table lamps are less than 32 inches in height, and they comprise a single pillar atop, which is the light source and shade.

Because smaller table lamps have weaker light, it's good to place them precisely where they are needed: On a side table in the living room right next to a chair, or placed on a table to provide light for dinners or game nights.

Burnished Brass Metal Small Table Lamp
Plastic Blue Small Table Lamp
Antique Brass Metal Small Table Lamp
Black Metal Small Table Lamp
Natural Solid Wood Small Table Lamp
Gray Concrete Small Table Lamp

How can I best match a lamp with my unique decor?

If you're considering how to make a lamp mesh seamlessly with the room that you've already carefully put together, you're in luck! As points of lighting, lamps tend to blend in very well no matter what their base may be. Whether they match their surroundings perfectly or contrast a little (or a lot!), they're already focal points, and they handle that job well.

Crystal Chrome Metal Table Lamp
Black Metal Resin Industrial Table Lamp
Bronze Metal Industrial Desk Lamp
Gray Ceramic Drum Table Lamp
Metal Mid Century Modern Desk Lamp
Brown Solid Wood Vintage Table Lamp

However, there are a few simple guidelines you can follow when you're trying to match a lamp with your decor:

  • Buy within the same furniture niche

Is the rest of your room mid-century modern, with ergonomic, sweeping lines? What about industrial and minimalist (with hard corners and few accessories) or maximalist and Baroque (with an explosion of color and intricate patterns everywhere)? Like goes with like.

A simple sculptural table lamp with a white shade would go well with a mid-century modern room; choose a black iron base with a single lightbulb for minimalist and Industrial. When shopping for a Baroque room, get something with as many details as possible!

  • Buy within the same color scheme

Take a look at your room. Look at the colors within it. Is your room mostly made up of neutral pastels? Do you have pops of a single color, such as blue or yellow? Or is your room mostly darker colors, like maroon and forest green? Purchase a lamp that fits the same part of the color spectrum, and it'll match perfectly.

  • Decide to make your lamp a focal point

As noted above, your lamp will already stand out because it's a light source. However, deciding to go all in on this factor can be a dynamic design choice! Look around at your room, noting the main colors and patterns you see.

However, this time, instead of making a lamp choice that is similar to these selections, pick something diametrically opposite. Plain, if your room is busy; very patterned, if your room is minimalist and bare. Blue, if your room's coloring is reddish and warm; black, if your room is white. This will have an ultra-modern look about it, and it will ensure that you're making an incredible statement with your decor.

Matte Black Metal Table Lamp Set
Metallic Ceramic Drum Table Lamp Set
Floral Motif Ceramic Table Lamp Set
White Brass Marble Arched Table Lamp
Black Metal Novelty Table Lamp Set
Gold Metal Crystal Novelty Table Lamp

Jessica started out as an interior photographer, but her love of pretty settings took her to the field of interior design, where she can combine two of her greatest passions, creating and then capturing the beauty of homes.