Accent Lamps for Table or Bedside
How to Choose Lamps
The perfect combination of form and function, a lamp can be instrumental in room design. These pieces provide unique design elements, set the mood and make working and living in your home comfortable. Whether you want to illuminate the entire room or create an atmosphere, consider a lamp's size, design, color and materials to find the perfect piece.
Size & Budget
Lamps come in various styles to fit any space, with prices that often vary based on the lamp's size and materials. If your room size is limited, look into wall sconces and hanging lamps. Table lamps are a great option to fill surface space on end tables, sofa tables or nightstands. If you have the floor space for it, try a pair of standing floor lamps. Popular styles also include desk and lantern lamps to complement your home.
Popular and simple, torchiere lamps are available in many different styles and can provide uplighting in nearly any type of room. Tiffany lamps or brass lamps work well in traditional rooms. Use tripod or arc pieces to complement modern design schemes. Finally, choosing a tree or swing arm lamp offers versatility and directional lighting.
When considering how to add lighting to your room, remember that buying lamps in pairs lends a polished balance and symmetry to your room, while pairing differently styled lamps together creates a custom-designed or eclectic look.
Lamps with dark-colored bases or metallic finishes, like chrome, bronze or brushed steel work well in most rooms. Clean white or pastel-colored bases look good in contemporary designs. To add interest to a neutral space, try adding a colorful lamp:
Bases are often ceramic, glass, wood or metal. Ceramic and glass lamps are elegant and fit with traditional decors. In rustic settings, wooden lamps are perfect, while metal works in many different settings. With an aged black finish, iron can give a rustic feel, while polished chrome offers a modern or industrial look and brass provides a traditional style.
Lampshades can be the same material as their bases or provide contrast. Metal lamps can have solid metal shades to direct light or wire-frames, which leave bulbs exposed. Glass lamps usually have stained glass shades, which provide multi-colored illumination. Most commonly, however, lampshades are made of fabric or dense paper. These shades soften harsh light and spread it evenly around the room. Because some lampshade materials block the light and some let it shine through, always check your lampshades with the lights both on and off.
Designers recommend layering your lighting in these three levels:
- Ambient lighting – This is broad-reaching lighting that illuminates the entire room. A series of recessed lights around the room is a very neutral way to create this effect. A more dramatic solution would be a chandelier centered in the room. Chandeliers have become a popular way to light even casual living rooms. With such a large variety of styles to choose from, they can blend with other room furnishings or add a pop of personality to the room. Some larger floor lamps or torchiere lamps (which provide broad indirect light by projecting light upward toward the ceiling) especially when used in pairs can provide ambient light as well.
- Task lighting – Task lighting is more concentrated lighting that is focused on one area of the room. For instance, a reading light beside a sofa or chair creates an inviting place to curl up with a great book. It can set the stage for a cozy conversation area. Task lighting can be achieved with floor lamps and table lamps. Think about how you use your room to determine which areas need task lighting. Is there a specific place you sit to read, do puzzles, chat or do other tasks, these are the places to feature task lights.
- Accent lighting – Accent lighting is mainly decorative and designed to bring attention to one specific item or area of the room. For instance a fireplace, an architectural element, accent wall or work of art. Often accent lighting is achieved with wall sconces, possibly mounted above a fireplace, or flanking either side of an art piece. Recessed lighting can also function as accent lighting, and this is especially effective with architectural features such as recessed nooks. Be selective with accent lighting, if too many accent lights are utilized they compete for attention and the effect is lost.
For the ideal effect, rooms benefit from having all three of these types of lighting. Ambient light opens up the room, enabling easy, comfortable visibility of all furnishings and surfaces.