Choose the Right Lamp for Any Room

Time for the Lamps


You have chosen the paint and rug, you have placed the upholstery and found the perfect end tables – you are almost done.  But don’t forget one of the key ingredients of any room – lighting.  Between your windows and overhead lighting or chandeliers you may feel like you have enough light in a room but every room needs lamps.  Why?  While overhead lights may be great for cooking and cleaning, table lamps offer task lighting for activities like reading and add considerable warmth to every room.


What style lamp do I need and should they match l?  How tall should my lamp be?  What kind of shade should I buy?


Reflect the décor of the room

Living room lamps might be more formal, made of porcelain, glass or an old vase.

red lampVCCHA8924CGNPlp-62882


Family room lamps are more casual.  They may be made of pottery, wood, metal or glass.  Because this room gets more use the lamps should match the furniture – which is likely to be larger, more comfortable and sturdier than living room furniture.

living room lamp

arterior, family family, vc

Like other rooms, your bedroom lamps should follow the design style of that particular room.

bedroom lamps arterior, family 1 lp-62204, bedroom

Typically lamps in a dining room are placed on a sideboard.  Tall thinner lamps with smaller shades work best on sideboards.  If you have artwork or a mirror over your sideboard you don’t want to interfere with the sight line of those.  And, you want to leave plenty of room in the middle for Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings.


 Lamp Size

The correct height of a table lamp depends on the room, the size of the table and the use of the light. You have to balance the size of a lamp with the furnishings around it.


Most living rooms can handle a lamp that’s 26 to 34 inches tall. “But you don’t want to be looking up into the hardware,” says Jamie Young, a Los Angeles lighting designer.  The correct height of the table lamp is typically determined by the seating piece and the height of the table beside it. The table lamp should be tall enough for the bottom of the lampshade to come to the eye level of the person seated beside it. This will provide the best light without glare from the bulb.


Bedside lamps should be in proportion to the bedside table and typically 19 to 21 inches from the top of the mattress.  The same rule applies in the bedroom – you don’t want to look up into the bulb.


On the sideboard in your dining room you can probably manage anything up to 34″ to 36″ inches.


Five Tips for Buying a Lamp

  1. Buy a lamp that matches the tone of your room.
  2. The lampshade should be at eye level when you are seated.
  3. Try to keep all lamps in the same room about the same height.
  4. If you love a lamp and it is too tall – put it on a smaller table.  If the lamp is too short – add a few books under the lamp.
  5. You don’t have to match lamps on either side of a sofa – just make sure they are similar in height.


There are so many lampshade shapes and sizes out there that if you need to replace an old shade or find one for a new lamp be sure to bring your lamp with you on the search.


Lamp shades are made in a variety of materials too – silk, parchment, linen, synthetic materials, today almost anything goes.

lamp  shades


Five Tips For Buying a Lampshade

  1. The width of the shade should be at least as wide as the widest part of the lamp and can be up to 2x the width.
  2. The shade should be 40% to 60% of the height of your lamp.  For example a 30″ lamp might have a 13″ shade.
  3. If you buy a lamp without a shade, it typically comes with a harp, measure the harp and add an inch or so for the minimum height for your shade.
  4. Be sure to leave 2 to 3 inches of space between your bulb and the shade.
  5. Match your shade to the mood of the base.


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