Call or Email for Best Price 866-339-5060

8 Tips for Buying Table Lamps

Tip #1 Choosing Lamp Height

Most table lamps are between 24 and 31 inches high. Shorter lamps are usually used in bedrooms and taller lamps in living rooms. A rule of thumb is to have the bottom of the shade eye level when you are sitting next to the lamp--this way, you can enjoy reading by the light without the annoyance of seeing the glaring light bulbs.

Tip #2 Choosing Lamp Width

If your new lamp is going on an end table in the living room or a bedside table, measure the table top and compare it to the diameter of the widest part of the shade. For a pleasing look, the lamp shade should not be wider than the table it sits on. Also consider the footprint of the base and what other items you might want to place on the table beside the lamp. A big lamp may be beautiful but if you have no room to put your glasses and a cup of coffee on the table, it may not work for you.

Tip #3 Replacing a Shade

One of the first things that wear out on a lamp is the shade. When you need to replace one you will want to make sure the new shade fits the base and looks good. The width of the shade should be about twice the width of the widest part of the base. Vertically, the shade needs to cover the switch but let a little bit of the neck part of the base show. Did you pick up a nice lamp base at a garage sale and wonder what kind of shade would go with it? You could try a drum shade--this is shaped like a cylinder, with the top diameter the same as the bottom diameter. Drum shades, in a neutral color like off-white, go well with most bases.

Tip #4 Translucent Vs. Opaque Shades

If your goal is to provide a lot of ambient light in a room as well as reading light, choose table lamps that have white or light-colored fabric shades. Diffused light will come through the sides, bright light goes up and bounces off the ceiling for ambient light, and light comes from the bottom for reading. If you want a darker, dramatic effect in a room, table lamps with black opaque shades will do the trick. These work well in a library where the light is focused on a book or work being done near the lamp, but light is not spraying everywhere.

Tip #5 Creating an Unified Look with More Than One Lamp

In a larger room where you have multiple table lamps, the bases don't all have to be the same. Different types of bases add interest. To create cohesion, top them all with the same shaped shades.

Tip #6 Lamp as Design Element in a Room

Don't think of a table lamp as a provider of light only. If you fall in love with a lamp because of it's amazing color, you can use that lamp as a unifier of the room design. Pick up on that color with other decor in the room--pillows, drapes, pictures, or ceramic ware.

Tip #7 Positioning Multiple Lamps

If you have a long cabinet or table and want to use two lamps on it, separate them by two or three feet. That way the light is better distributed in the room. Also, lamps look odd if clustered together whereas other decor items like picture frames, candlesticks, and vases work well in clusters.

Tip #8 Updating an Old Lamp's Look

If you are getting bored with your perfectly good lamp, try changing the shade for a different look. Just remember to check the old shade and see how it sits on the base so you'll be sure to get a shade that will work with your lamp. A lot of shades have a spider fitting--it has a little hole in the middle that sits on the top of a harp (the wire piece that goes around the bulb). Another type of fitting is a shade that sits on hardware attached to the bulb's base. And some smaller lamps have clip-on shades that sit right on the bulb.