Elegant Table Lamps

April 22, 2015

For us, finding the perfect table lamps remind us of weekend treasure hunting.  It takes a little patience but there is  absolutely no doubt when you’ve found the right ones.  In the world of design there are three common forms of lighting we typically refer to: ambient, task and accent lighting.

Table lamps are unique in that they can fall into more than one category, task and accent.  Task lamps generally refer to office desk lamps where accents add drama and character to the room.  Ambient lighting is the general lighting in a room and is essentially the combination of overhead, wall and table lamps.  With so many choices, buyers often find themselves overwhelmed. So today we’re sharing the criteria we use for sourcing the perfect lamps for clients.

Design Now- Choice Lamps

1.) Scale-

This is the most common mistake when it comes to lamps that we see out in the field. The grandness of a great room is diminished by the disproportionate scale of the lamps. Same goes in a beautiful bedroom and on entry console. So how can we overcome this obstacle? Here is my formula for finding the right scale. If your ceilings are 9’ tall or lower aim for at least between a 26”-30” lamp with shade. This will draw the eye up and add balance to your other furnishing.

2.) Style-

Lamps: Standard Height

When lamps are on matching end tables, for example in an average sized Family Room, I like to keep them the same style. This can add an extra boost of symmetry which is soothing to the eye in small areas. In larger more formal spaces like Living Rooms, depending on the Furniture style you can mix it up a bit more if you need a unique lamp that acts as a conversation piece for guest when they first enter. Here is Arizona we see a wide range of room styles. There’s more modern, minimalistic, desert chic and industrial. If you prefer something unconventional I recommend asking your Home Stylist, we have a good grasp on what’s new and trending in the design field.

3.) Color and Material Variations-

We love that today shades and bases are offered in a variety of colors. Some manufactures even offer the ability to custom select your base color. The more timeless you need your lamps the more natural the material. Iron, Wood, Glass and Metals are still popular choices here in the desert. It all depends on the other elements in the room. Natural material lamp bases pair well with other elements, for example if your side tables are have stone tops and wood bases, an iron lamp is a good choice for pairing. On the other hand if your tables have mirrored tops or Carrera marble a lamp with a crystal or porcelain base will be better suited.

Sample Board

4.) Textured, smooth or combination-

With a surge in more quiet spaces that use a monochrome color palette we prefer smooth lamp base with minimal detail in glass or marble. We like that this style won’t detract from the still nature of the space and takes up less mental energy to process. For rooms that incorporate warm tones in the furnishings and accessories, a more style specific lamps with texture or stained glass can add to the warmth of the environment.

5.) Function and Purpose –

Take a little time and consider the use of each lamp. Will they be used for reading, studying or family game night in a Family Room? Will they light guest in early evening or after Holiday family dinners. Do your lamps need to make a decorative statement or will it set a mood?
Table and floor lamps are necessary for light balance and to eliminate dark pockets in an environment. Consider also that other lighting can carry some of this load. Generally speaking illumination from chandeliers or scones are present in Living and open Dining Room concepts. Then we see overhead fan and light combinations are more prominent in Family Rooms, Bedrooms, Offices and Loft spaces.

6.) Price Point & Exclusivity-

The importance of budgeting for lighting should not be an afterthought. Since the impact of a well lit space can make a lasting impressions and ensure your guest feel at ease. Lighting is just as important as seating and art work and adds to the comfort of family and friends. Lighting like all room elements can be discussed with your consultant. Make lighting a priority and it will yield greatly as a long term investment.  One last point about price point, make sure you consider exclusivity vs. lamps that are widely available.

7.) Traditional & CFL vs. LED Bulbs-

Bulbs for lamps

What’s important to note here is that while LEDs are now recommended over incandescent or CFLs (spiral tube)  for environmental reasons of longevity.  In table lamps LEDs they can sometimes be overpowering in a bedroom if you choose too high a lumen. A lumen is the amount of light that a bulb produces.  Often they are better suited in larger rooms on fans.

When adding LEDs to a fan light kit, they can flood the room which is great for late night studying or wood working in a garage but for table lamps a lower lumen is more useful for everyday general use. Likewise, please be aware, there are only a few LED bulbs on the market that can be used with a dimmer.

LED and traditional incandescent bulbs are available in different color spectrums. They range from cool (blue-ish tones) to more warm (yellow-ish tones) and include some pink varieties.  Some specialty stores allow testing the bulbs while in their shops which can be helpful.

Another alternative bulb is the latest Edison lamps. These bulbs while in the higher price radiate a soft and subtle light but have a shorter life span of 1-2 years.  They look great in exposed glass fixtures in Industrial or rustic styled spaces.  We like that you can stare directly into the bulb and appreciate the paper clip shaped element.

In Summary

The best solution to balance your lighting is by adding a variety of sources.  Combining table, floor and overhead lighting (with dimmers)can help you create the layering effect you desire.  This combo light solution offers the greatest flexibility.


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