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Lighting It Right: How to Choose the Perfect Table Lamp

As you get deeper into decorating your home, you will realize that it is the tiny details that end up making the biggest difference. While the style, theme and color scheme of the room define it, it is lighting that ultimately sets the mood and creates an ambiance of your choice. In fact, a simple change in lighting can completely alter a room’s vibe and turn it from a dull, boring space into a cozy, inviting retreat or even a cheerful and exciting hub! And few lighting fixtures combine timeless charm, modern allure and smart functionality like the lovely table lamp.

In a world that is dominated by stunning chandeliers, amazingly creative pendant lights and bold floor lamps, the good ol’ table lamp might seem like a less fancy choice. But do not underestimate the value of a sturdy and elegant table lamp. When used right, the table lamp can bring symmetry, color, contrast, texture and of course illumination to any room it adorns. And today we take a look at how to buy the right table lamp that offers everything you need and a whole lot more –

1. Finding the Right Spot

Start off by determining where you want to put the table lamp, and chalk out the exact height at which it will sit, as well as its distance from the bed, couch or cozy chair next to it. Starting off by first buying the table lamp and then trying to fit it into the bedroom or living room is not really a good idea. While it can work if you are lucky, often the lamp would end up being too short, tall or bright for the room. Also, you might not need a bedside table lamp to be as luminous as one that sits on the side table in the living room! So, clearly define the purpose of the lamp before you start shopping for it.

Chalk out the exact spot for the table lamp before you start shopping for it [Design: Sullivan + Associates Architects]
Wallpaper and table lamps add geo style [Design: Malcolm Duffin Interior Design]
Industrial kitchen with large, unique table lamps [Design: Jarrett Design]

2. Sizing Things Up

Here is the tricky part when you are choosing a brand new table lamp. The height of the table lamp you pick is determined more by the room it sits in and the décor around the lamp. If you have a tall bedside table, then it goes without saying that a shorter lamp will do and vice versa. The general norm here is to pick a lamp where the bottom of the shade is at your eye level when you are seated or resting. This works whether you are shopping for a table lamp that fits your reading nook, a beside lamp, or even one that goes next to the couch in the living room.

Base of the table lamp must be on par with your eye level when you sit [Design: For People design]
Table lamps with neutral lampshades can fit in with any backdrop [Design: Accouter Group]
Mirrors accentuate the beauty of the table lamps in this Mediterranean bedroom [Design: Laura Martin Bovard]

3. Play with the Style

Some of our readers might wonder if a table lamp really has a style of its own, and the answer is an emphatic yes. True, often it is the shade that determines the overall appeal of the lamp, but there are plenty of cases where the body of the lamp makes a huge difference and defines it. From the Hollywood Regency-style Miss K Table Lamp to classically opulent Bourgie table lamps, a variety can perfectly fit in with the exclusive and exceptional style of your home. Another approach is to use the table lamp to usher in a completely different style, giving the room a radiant focal point!

Fabulous Copper table lamp from CB2 is a hot seasonal decor piece
Asian living room with stunning lighting [Design: The Golden Triangle]
Eclectic living room with a lovely gallery wall [From: Jessica McKay]

4. A World of Colors

A neutral backdrop that is devoid of bold color is almost the norm in most modern homes, and with neutrals like gray continuing to hold sway in 2016 as well, table lamps give you an opportunity to add a color punch. Multi-colored delights like the Capri Bottle Lamp allow you to bring in almost any hue of your choice, while sparkling copper table lamps with an industrial vibe or those in gold continue to provide that smart metallic glitter.

Capri Bottle Lamp in green for the bedroom [Design: id 810 Design Group]
Eclectic family room with plenty of color [Design: JBM Designs]
Triple Gourd One Light Table Lamp by Robert Abbey Lighting [Design: Rachel Reider Interiors]

5. Lampshade and Shadows

Another important choice to make when shopping for a table lamp is the lamp shade and its size. Do not be drawn in by just the style and the pattern of the shade, and do consider the ergonomics and proportions of the shade in relation to the body of the lamp. The diameter of the lampshade should be at least 2 inches less than the length of its body, and the drum shade is definitely the safest choice out there. The narrower the base of the shade, the less will be the illuminated area; consider this arc before you make a purchase.

Lampshades add pattern to the gorgeous Victorian bedroom [Design: Jeffers Design Group]
Paper lantern table lamp is an absolute showstopper! [Design: Kristen Rivoli Interior Design]
Think out of the box for table lamps that steal the spotlight in the bedroom [Design: Sacha Jacq Interiors]

6. Attention to Detail

Most table lamps allow you to change shades with ease, and while some might have a spider fitting, others could sport a uno fitting or clip-on. DO check this out before you think about switching the lampshade. The bulbs used in table lamps these days have come a long way from the old CFLs, and LED lighting is the preferred choice, as it cuts down the power bill as well. But not all table lamps support this switch between, so check out the finer details (like maximum wattage) before you make the purchase.

Clean modern bedroom with table lamps that usher in the metallic magic! [Design: Geremia Design]
Lampshades unite the two different table lamps [Design: Deborah French Designs]

7. Mix and Match

The table lamp that you choose not only needs to blend in with the style of the room, but also must seamlessly add to the other layers of lighting that already exist. This could be recessed lights that set the general mood, accent lighting which highlights specific architectural features or artwork, or even functional lighting. For a more unique look, try mixing two completely different table lamps with similar colors or geometric shapes to give the room visual symmetry with a fun twist!

Mismatched table lamps in the bedroom make for a quirky addition [Design: Red Images Fine Photography]
Contemporary living room combines multiple sources of illumination [Design: Garrison Hullinger Interiors]
Fun lighting fixtures bring color to the midcentury dining room [Design: Alison Damonte Design]

Sherry Nothingam

Sherry is a blogger who loves to live her life to the fullest. She enjoys everything associated with design, décor and stylish modern trends. Born in California, Sherry has grown up on open ranches and in a wild setting, which has defined her taste for design and developed her interest in examining how structures and homes interact with the beauti[...]

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